Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland

Last week we took advantage of a gorgeous blue sky day to visit Branklyn Garden in the ‘fair city’ of Perth – the original one of course, not the one in Australia which is what usually pops up if you google ‘Perth’.

Branklyn Gardens
I’m sure that this tree is a type of cherry but there was no sign of any blossom on it – it has fantastic glossy red bark though.
Branklyn Gardens
The gardens aren’t huge but they’re just perfect for having a relaxing stroll around and you can have a sit down or even visit the very pleasant tearoom.
Branklyn Gardens
This is a hillside garden which is owned by the National Trust. It’s just two acres and it was created in the 1920s using seed collected by plant hunters.
Branklyn Gardens
There’s a pond which is fed by a wee waterfall.
Branklyn Garden

The azaleas and rhododendrons were looking perfect.
Branklyn Garden

Branklyn Garden

Branklyn Garden
And you get a good view of Perth from the garden. It’s just a short drive from the city centre.
Branklyn Garden

Lastly, you can just catch a glimpse of the house which was built by the original owners, but it isn’t open to the public. This is a lovely place to visit if you’re near Perth, and you can always buy plants there which have been propagated from plants in the garden.
Branklyn Garden

Holmwood House – Glasgow

Last month we visited Holmwood House in Glasgow which is an Arts and Crafts property owned by the National Trust. It was designed by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson. It isn’t a massive house, just four bedrooms and over the years has been owned by various people, before the National Trust took it over a Roman Catholic convent inhabited it and they made some strange changes to some rooms, including installing ‘confessionals’ in the dining room! The National Trust is slowly putting the place back to how it looked in its glory days.

The hall walls have just recently been refurbished, all hand painted by four men apparently, I don’t know how they had the patience for that!

Holmwood in Glasgow

There are various designs of floor tiles that have withstood the years well.

Victorian Hallway floor tiling

There had been a private school in residence at one point and had damaged the lovely wooden flooring, all part of the building’s history now I suppose.

Upstairs room wooden floor

I’ve never seen a ceiling like the very ornate one on the oriel window of the drawing room below. It was designed so that the blinds and curtains are recessed behind it so you can’t see the top of them, very posh!

Drawing room Holmwood Glasgow
A close up of the window recess ceiling.
ceiling Drawing room , Holmwood

The colour scheme in the drawing room is certainly vibrant.
Holmwood Drawing room

I have no idea why there’s a hallstand in the drawing room. Holmwood is still a work in progress.
Drawing room , Holmwood, Glasgow

The ceiling ‘rose’ in the midle of the drawing room ceiling is quite unusual, the actual ceiling is marbled, a paint effect I think. At first glance I thought they had had some water damage but phew, it’s meant to look like that.

Holmwood Drawing room  ceiling

I have quite a few more photos but that’ll do for now. I thought I’d already done a post about the outside of the house but apparently not.

Biddulph Grange Gardens – part 1

Biddulph Gardens & Grange

Biddulph Grange Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire is owned by The National Trust although only the gardens, the grange house is privately owned. It was a popular destination, it was difficult to take photos with no people in them, but I couldn’t help thinking that it must be very strange to live in a house that size, but have no real garden of your own. I think it must be awful to have nowhere to hang out your washing! Trust me to think of the domestic problems. On the other hand you have these beautiful gardens on your doorstep and you don’t have the worry of the upkeep of them. The photo above is of their monkey puzzle tree area, the framework on the right is sheltering a display of baby monkey puzzles (Araucaria).

Biddulph Gardens

Reflections and a huge carp.

Biddulph Gardens

The photo below is the Chinese Garden area.

Biddulph Gardens
It’s a lovely place to visit if you find yourself in the Midlands of England. You can read more about it here.

Biddulph Gardens

The Glasgow Tenement House

After we visited the very grand Pollok House in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago, we decided to go to the other end of the National Trust properties in Glasgow – the tenement in Buccleuch Street in Garnethill, not far from the Art School. Sadly I wasn’t able to take any photos of it, this is something which drives me round the bend as I can’t see a down side to people taking photos in NT properties. Obviously the camera’s flash could be turned off if they are worried about ancient tapestries that would be damaged by the light.

You can see a few photos of the tenement flat which are online here and here.

Miss Agnes Toward lived in the flat for about 50 years and in that time she doesn’t seem to have changed anything, even having gas lighting up until the 1960s. So it’s a bit of a time capsule, the flat has just one bedroom in it but the kitchen and the front room (parlour) both have a bed recess and box beds fitted into them.

Sadly there seem to be no photos of the bathroom online. It has a lovely basin in the shape of a shell with the water coming out of a smaller shell instead of a tap, and more shell shaped grooves for the soap and whatever.

It was all very familiar to me as I was born in a Victorian Glasgow flat, although it was a larger one with ornate cornicing and ceiling roses. In fact Jack did mention that the glass lemon squeezer on display in the kitchen is exactly the same as the one which we still use, there were quite a few things there which we have in our home.

The Tenement House is well worth a visit, it’s a wonderful glimpse back for anyone interested in social history.

Ode to the Countryside – Poems to celebrate the British landscape

I was looking online to see if there were any books illustrated by Clare Leighton available when up popped this one, Ode to the Countryside. It has only one of her illustrations in it but a few reviews mentioned that it is a beautiful book packed full of gorgeous artwork from many of those distinctive 1930s poster artists. I had to buy it as it was going for about fourpence ha’penny on the internet and when it arrived I wasn’t disappointed, it’s a thing of beauty, with lovely thick pages. Obviously it’s a book of poetry but for me the poems aren’t so exciting, if you’re into poetry you’ll probably feel differently. The book is a National Trust publication.

Here are some links to artwork by some of the featured artists.
Dora M. Batty

Irene Fawkes

Edward McKnight Kauffer

Frank Newbould

Herbert Kerr Rooke

Cragside, Northumberland again

This is the lake at the entrance road which leads to Cragside in Northumberland. I think it’s called Tumbleton Lake and is man-made but it’s very pretty anyway.

a lake at entrance road

And this one was taken on the terrace leading to the woodland walk which leads down to the power house which made the hydro-electricity for the house.

Cragside gardens 1

This part of the garden is just below the house, you walk through a rockery which leads down to the woodland walk. It’s a great place for kids to scramble around in, and bigger people too.

Cragside garden

This was just a fallen tree but as you can see, part of it has been carved into an image of a Green Man. I think it looks fantastic and really quite scary. I wish I had been able to see the artist at work on it.

a wood carving

I think that’s just about all of the photos I took at Cragside. We’ll definitely be going back again because we want to see the gardens at their best, well I do and I don’t suppose Jack will complain. As it was October when we were there and we were actually on our way back home to Scotland and a bit pushed for time we didn’t even bother going to see the formal gardens, deciding that it would be best to see the plants in the spring or summer. So we plan to go there again next year. Meanwhile I’ll be popping the vitamins and keeping to my walking regime to be in optimum shape for it, you have to be quite fit to tackle the grounds, especially when it’s muddy underfoot which just about everywhere has been this year!

Cragside, Northumberland

On our way back up to Scotland, after our short break in Yorkshire a few weeks ago, we stopped off at Cragside in Northumberland, another National Trust property. It was the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. Thanks again to Margaret @ Booksplease for pointing us in its direction. We were lucky with the weather, although it had been raining most of the week which meant it was a bit muddy underfoot in the gardens. We got a great day for viewing it all, it’s a very popular destination so it was fairly crowded in parts but most people stayed close to the house. I think it’s best described as quirky, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about all those roof angles but the inside is full of Arts and Crafts details.

Cragside house from gardens

It’s a very homely place though, despite being huge, as it’s Victorian, the furniture isn’t too precious, lots of us own bits and pieces of Victorian furniture and knick knacks, so most of it doesn’t seem grand, especially the bedrooms. I’d love to own a patchwork quilt like this though.

A bedroom in Cragside.

I love this quilt too, as you can see, this room has William Morris wallpaper, one of his brighter designs, they can be a bit dark sometimes. I have absolutely no idea what the boxes on the floor at the bottom of the bed are, I don’t even recall seeing them!

Cragside interior bedroom 1

I took lots of photos of the interior as it was such a nice change to be able to, for some reason the National Trust for Scotland still don’t allow photos inside. So I’ll probably show more of Cragside again soon, it’s a real delight for anyone interested in Arts and Crafts design.

Studley Royal, Yorkshire

Studley Royal is a water garden, owned by English National Trust which adjoins Fountains Abbey, it was created in the 1700s and its setting is very artificial looking compared with all the trees which surround it, but gardening has always been about fashion and I suppose the moulding and taming of the natural water to a man made shape was popular then. The photo below seems quite foreshortened somehow, it was actually taken quite a long way away from the bridge. The whole place is covered with hundreds of pheasants, you can just see a couple of them in the foreground. It was a surprise to me that there were so many of them because I thought that they mainly spent their time hanging about on the edges of roads, trying to chuck themselves in front of cars. They are handsome looking birds but terrifyingly stupid.

a stone bridge

The photo below is taken from quite high up on the opposite bank from Fountains Abbey, as you can see, some of the trees were just beginning to get into their autumn colours. The water is home to quite a variety of birds.

reflections at Studley Royal

This octagonal tower is one of several ‘folly’ like structures in the gardens, the others are mini classical temples but I thought this was the prettiest of them.

an octagonal tower

I couldn’t resist another view of the tree reflections. Studley Royal is a lovely place to visit, even on a cold and slightly misty autumn day. It involves quite a lot of walking and some steep paths but it’s well worth it if you’re fit enough. If you aren’t up to it then you can just enjoy the view from the water’s edge. You can see more views here.

a long view, Studley Royal.