Thursday, October 22, 2015

England, Day Ten, Part Two

After visiting beautiful Bateman's we are traveling to see one of the places I have dreamed of visiting since beginning to garden.  The beautiful Sissinghurst Castle Garden!!!  Believe me, I was so excited to visit this gorgeous place.  I hope you will join me as I share Sissinghurst, the world famous garden of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson built in the 1930's.  Sissinghurst began life as a Saxon pig farm.  It also housed a small moated manor house.  The family that lived here were the de Saxingherstes.  The original house does not remain but parts of the moat does.  In the late 16th century the Baker family built a Renaissance home, with a vaulted gallery, 37 fireplaces and a tower at the center.

The castle was leased to the government during the Seven Years War (1756-1763).  It was used as a prison camp for 3,000 French sailors.  They destroyed the house.  It is from this period that Sissinghurst became known as Chateau de Sissingherst or Sissinghurst Castle.

The Parish of Cranbrook took out a lease in 1796 to create a poor house where 100 men were offered a home along with employment and food.

In the 1800's Sissinghurst was home to the Mann Cornwallis family.  They repaired the buildings and left their legacy on the tower weather vanes marked MC 1839.

We have parked in the car park and notice that Sissinghurst is a very popular place.  We've checked in and are ready to explore.  Please come along and enjoy the garden with us!

The garden is now cared for by gardeners and many volunteers.  There are several "rooms" with different colors and scents.

Walking through the Arch we can clearly see the age of this beautiful castle.  I love the old leaded windows.

The garden opens up to full view as we walk through the arch.

The borders surround the interior brick walled center of Sissinghurst.  The center lawn consists of beautifully manicured grass.

Continuing along a path to the center back we come to a small garden house with lilacs that smelled heavenly!  There are several buildings dating from the original Tudor period within the garden.  In fact the South cottage and the South side of the house is still occupied by the Nicolson family.  The Priest house to the North of the garden is available to rent through the National Trust cottages.

The white garden is just around the corner.  As the name implies everything is a white bloomer here.  I have known gardeners who only plant white bloomers and it gives a wonderful brightness to a garden.

Roses were in full bloom and just beautiful and so fragrant!  Espaliered on the side of this wall is a beauty!

The tower was built in the 1560's and is the center of the Sissinghurst estate.  This is the view from the white garden.

I am so happy to be at Sissinghurst!  There is so much to see here.  Vita Sackville-West's poetic nature worked with Harold Nicolson's more classic and formal influence to create the most gorgeous garden.  There is so much to explore.  Let's continue on.  We must make our way through the giant hedges.

It is a gorgeous day to enjoy this beautiful garden.  There are flowers blooming everywhere!  Clematis in every color of the rainbow!

There is so much to see at Sissinghurst, but I must go into the herb garden.  Come along and let me show you a very special place.

On the way we see espaliered roses and a plant I don't know the name of!

The herb garden is just around the corner and is a favorite of mine.

Inside the herb garden is this darling bench covered in chamomile!

This little bench looks as if it is straight out of a fairy tale.  In fact the whole garden at Sissinghurst is filled with the dreams that gardeners dream of for their own gardens.

Sissinghurst is also a working farm with cattle, sheep and pigs.  There are rare species of wild flowers, insects and birds.

As much as I want to linger we must move on.  There is a lovely tearoom for us to enjoy our lunch.  Grayden and I ordered a BLT sandwich and tea.  The menu has a wide variety of items that I'm sure you will enjoy.  After lunch we have one more place to visit today.  I hope you will join us! ♥

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October birthdays and an Anniversary

October is a very busy month celebration wise!  Grayden and I both have birthdays and it is also our anniversary month.  We are so blessed with a happy and long marriage.  We usually go away for our birthdays and anniversary and this year was no different.  Usually you would find us going to Williamsburg or the mountains and some years even to a beach for our celebration.  This year we decided to go somewhere completely different and quite unusual for us.  We went to Scottsdale, Arizona last week to celebrate 48 years together!

This photo was taken when we were dating and right before we were married.  Grayden was a senior and I was a freshman in college.  We were so young, but very much in love.  We knew what we wanted in life and very much wanted to get married.  My parents were quite concerned that we were too young to get married.  They said we should wait, but we had other ideas.  I was not a rebellious teen, but I wanted to get married!  Grayden and I had plans to marry no matter what.  So we decided to elope!  Now you must know I was the child that always did what my parents wanted, but I felt they were being unreasonable and I knew what was right for me!  How confident I was that I was doing the right thing!

Grayden picked me up from school on a Friday afternoon and we traveled to South Carolina to get married.  You could not marry in Virginia without your parent's permission!  How bold we were.  We had rented a small apartment to move into after we married.  We were poor college students that were certain of what we were doing!

My parents were so hurt by what I had done, but accepted me and Grayden with open arms when we returned back home on that Sunday evening.

Looking back on this experience I find I can hardly believe I did this.  I am so blessed to be married to a fine man who loves me and I love him.

As I grew older and had children of my own, I realized how bold I was to have taken such a step as a young woman.  I don't recommend it to others.  Marrying so young is not advisable!  I was very lucky that it worked for us!  That alone is a miracle that is a gift that I thank God for every day! ♥

Friday, October 9, 2015

England, Day Ten

Today we are traveling to visit the home of Rudyard Kipling.  Bateman's is a lovely Jacobean Wealden sandstone home built in 1634.  It is located in Burwash, East Sussex.  Kipling was an English short story writer, poet, and novelist.  You may know him best for The Jungle Book or Kim.

After parking the car in the car park we find we are a little early for the opening of Bateman's so let's look around at the lovely garden and grounds.

There is a large vegetable garden that is just beautiful.

I was thrilled to see another English Robin on this trellis.  He was not afraid of humans!  His song was so lovely.

I was so happy to see this beautiful espaliered red rose on this weathered wall.

The grounds are simply beautiful on this gorgeous morning.  I've mentioned my love hate relationship with wisteria.  I guess I need to figure out a way to make mine look like this on our home!  It is breathtakingly beautiful!!

I am in love with this lovely home and we haven't entered yet.  Let's go around front and see if we can go in now.  But first look at these beautiful grounds.

They are ready for us to go in.  Upon seeing Bateman's Kipling said-- "Behold us, lawful owners of a grey stone lichened house—A.D. 1634 over the door—beamed, panelled, with old oak staircase, and all untouched and unfaked. It is a good and peaceable place. We have loved it ever since our first sight of it." (from a November 1902 letter)

Rudyard Kipling and his wife lived here from 1902 until his death in 1936 and upon her death in 1939 she gave the home and it's belongings to the National Trust.  The interior is filled with their belongings just as they left them.
Kipling was born in 1865 in Bombay, India.  He was educated in England but then returned to India in 1882.  In 1892 he married, American born, Caroline Balestier.  They made their home in Brattleboro, Vermont.  While living there he wrote The Jungle Book and Gunga Din.  Rudyard Kipling was the highest paid writer in the world at the time.  He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.  His ashes are buried at  Poets' Corner, part of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey, next to the graves of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy.

It's a little dark inside, so let your eyes adjust as we begin.

The wallpaper in this room is so lovely.

Daniel Hoskins Lantern Clock

The woodwork and panelling was made from the oaks on the property in the 16th century.  It is lovely beyond words!  There is a treasure trove of books at Bateman's as one might imagine.

I loved this sweet little miss in the rocker.  She is wearing a new dress as her old one was thread bare.

There is lovely porcelain in several handsome secretaries.

Here is portrait of Rudyard Kipling that you may be familiar with.

John Collier portrait of Rudyard Kipling

After climbing the stairs we enter Kipling's study.  It is beautiful with the overfull bookcases and a large window to write by.

There were balled up pieces of drafts all over the floor as Kipling was known to do.

There were cases with sketches of all of his books and his writings.  Here is an article about the Kipling's home in Vermont.  You can stay at Naulakha.  Check out the site Here

Next up was the Kipling bedroom that featured this gorgeous canopy bed, dressed in lovely embroidered bed coverings.

Mr. Kipling was a sharp dresser.  Check out the morning coat.

This was his son's bedroom.  He left it as it was since John was killed in the First World War in 1915 at the Battle of Loos.  Rudyard Kipling became involved in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission after the death of his son and wrote the poem "My Boy Jack" during this time.  

We now are going downstairs to view the kitchen.  Look at that charming stove!

Bateman's was a lovely surprising home for us to visit.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you! ♥