On Thursday afternoon I went with a couple of friends on a visit to Cottesbrooke Hall just over the border in Northamptonshire. It is a very grand house built in 1702 in the Queen Anne style and reputed to be the inspiration for Jane Austens Mansfield Park.
At the front of the house the Park style has long vistas and beautiful views, but the surrounding gardens are smaller and more intimate. There was something indefinable about the crumbling brickwork and overgrown planting that I found really pleasing. The gardens have been restored in the Italian Renaissance style, various garden designers have been called in and their work is stunning.
The kiss of the sun for pardon
The song of the sun for mirth
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth
August isn’t really the best time to visit gardens, as everything is starting to go over, but there are still some interesting plants to be found.
These Monarda were stunning – and I have to say that this was a very bee-friendly garden, they were everywhere especially on the Erygium
This border was filled with Cosmos, Nigella, plum coloured poppies and dahlias plus this lovely white flower with a blue centre (any ideas what is is – the name Spraxia comes to mind but I could just be making this up).
This is the cafe which used to be the old Laundry Room and this is the seating area outside where we had the obligatory pot of tea and a piece of cake.
The black pool which gives perfect reflections
A beautiful pergola covered in vines.
There was just something about Cottesbrooke that I couldn’t put my finger on, that made it really special. The gardens weren’t over-gardened – the borders looking a bit scruffy and overgrown – but it had a lovely atmosphere – very regal and formal in some parts, but in others it was just like stepping back into the past.
On the way home we got lost as usual and found ourselves on a gated road where this herd of bullocks were taking shelter in the shade of a tree, all except one who was obviously being ostracized for some reason.
Then we passed a flock of young pheasant who scuttled off pretty sharpish at our approach.
We eventually found the right road and headed for home, or at least we thought we were until we came across a huge tailback of traffic caused by an accident, so we had to turn round and take a detour and home seemed even further away. Panic was setting in and deep-breathing was required – who said women were useless at map-reading! Whoever they were, they were right.
These are my four favourite photos from the week – synchronised swimming cygnets at Wistow Park, so many Peacock Butterflies on the Buddleia, the view across the Mowsley Hills towards the village of Saddington and a baby Sparrow on the fence (the garden is swamped with them at the moment).
And, finally, the Friday flowers – mostly Cosmos and Sweet Peas – but I am picking Zinnia from the cutting patch which certainly brighten up my day.
Hope this post has brightened up your day too – have a good weekend.