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.
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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,