Thursday, 15 August 2013

Picnic at Mottisfont Abbey

The last fragrant puffs of rosarian splendour that line the walls of the garden here at Magical Manor were sadly taking their final bows this week and I felt the need to ensconce myself in an environment that would soothe my roseless jitters.

 Click Images to Enlarge

After packing a picnic basket with cucumber sandwiches and elderflower champagne, we headed to Hampshire to catch the final act of the infamous old fashioned roses in Mottisfont Abbey's romantic walled garden.

The former 13th-century Augustinian priory is situated on the banks of the River Test, one of the longest and finest chalk streams in the world and said to be the birthplace of modern fly fishing.

The priory was founded in 1201 by William Briwere, one of the barons who signed the magna carta.
In the early 20th century, society hostess Maud Russell used the abbey as a base for her wild lifestyle, attracting members of London's social circle and many a bright young thing. Visitors and lovers included George Bernard Shaw, Ian Fleming and Rex Whistler.

The entire rural estate exudes a serene energy and tranquillity that calmed me almost immediately. The house still retains the hypnotic spring or 'font' from which its name is derived, feeding the babbling brooks and crystal clear streams that meander through the magical woodlands, some shallow enough to paddle in barefoot.

This perky little chap followed me on my walk to help me find a pretty place to relax and eat.

Finding the perfect spot, we picnicked streamside, serenaded by a bubbling aquatic soundtrack before spending the rest of the afternoon savouring and memorizing the scent and beauty of every available rose within the walled garden.

Adieu mes belles roses. See you next year,
Mottisfont Abbey
Romsey, Hampshire
SO51 0LP


  1. What a beautiful and serene place Mr. Paul. Don't be sad, the roses will be back again in full force and fragrant next year. The Swans are so elegant. We don't have those here in TO. A picnic with cucumber sandwiches and Elderflower champagne sounds yummy. I hope you saved some for me!

  2. WOW. I honestly felt as I was in a POEM, sir Paul! From the cucumber sandwiches to the elderberry champagne (WOW), I was there with you!

    We have similar parks here in my city; a creek named, MINNEHAHA runs miles and miles through various suburbs and there are some areas that are just magic. But your roses here, oh dear, what a scent to remember. I always remembered August as being the hottest month of summer, but these days, they are cooler than usual, and August is now the final act for all the lovely flowers to take that bow.

    As the curtain draws, may we have sweet dreams for next summer. A VOTRE SANTÉ!!! Anita

  3. You had me at "cucumber sandwiches and elderflower champagne"!

  4. Thank you very much for that wonderful pictures - I've been there in 2001.


  5. So glad you are back, Magical One! Thanks for another lovely garden tour. Look at all those gorgeous roses! Sigh!! As I mentioned previously, my roses are having conniption fits this year: all refusing to bloom :( Oh, well, maybe next year.
    x Loi

    1. I thought you were going to burst into Send in the clowns for a moment!

      There ought to be "Blooms"
      Well, maybe next year!

      Oh Loi you have made my day, it's been a long time since I have heard of anyone or thing having a conniption fit. Love that expression!

  6. So,SO,SOoooooooooo dreamy post,Paul!!!

    I LOVE roses and these beyond beautiful light on your photos....

    How amazing is this park:)))*

    Thankyou for share all these beauty here,
    Wish you lovely weekend,filed with relax and a sunshine:)


  7. Hi, old friend Paul. Haven't been in touch for awhile, but, low and behold, here you were this morning. My romantic side wants to say that the' perky little chap' is the robin showing you the way to another Secret Garden.I like that yours has cucumber sandwiches and elderberry champagne! Beautiful place and your roses will be beautiful again next year. Believe in the Magic!!..Happy Thursday..Judy

  8. What an entrancing day - presumably Hercules pack the cucumber sandwiches and elderflower champagne!!! The roses and the dappled sunlight playing on the water is to use one of your words "magic".

  9. I was reading about Mottisfont Abbey only this week and had made a note to visit.....and here is your beautiful post on it! Along with the cucumber sandwiches and elderflower champagne, it looked like the perfect day out!

    Sophia x

  10. Sir Paul! Thank you kindly for coming to visit; yes, I had quite the scare the other day but I tried to be BRAVE! AH! Now I can think on lovely things, like roses, ponds, swans and elderberry wine with friends. I can't wait to see what you share with us for the autumn and winter seasons!!!

    PEACE! Anita

  11. Hi Paul,

    I thought I had seen a lot of gardens in the south of England, but this is another one I missed. Enough reason to visit again soon :-)! It looks like a beautiful place! The elderflower champagne (home made?) and sandwiches sound delicious.

    Thank you for your kind comments too. Happy weekend!

    Madelief x

  12. Paul, when I come to London on my next trip will you give me a personal tour? Your photographs, prose, wit and appreciation for nature, and the wonderful settings you visit enchant me each and every time I visit!

    Thank you for sharing the beauty and history of GB!

  13. Dear Paul, You had me at elderflower champagne and cucumber sandwiches! However, your photos of this divine spot were beyond beautiful. I just read this twice as it was a bit of a mini escape. Love that bridge! The little bird! And what gorgeous roses and paths. I'd love to idle a few hours away daydreaming here...

    Thank you for the very sweet note on my blog. xx

  14. What a beautiful place! The roses are stunning and so is just about everything else but then they top it off with the swans. A fairytale.

  15. Paul- I don't think you could have found a more beautiful place for a relaxing day and picnic. Surrounded by the scent of those lovely roses-- their colors are just splendid! Wonderful photos to share with us as always-- I feel almost like I was there too.

    Cucumber sandwiches are my favorite :)