Inside the Potting Shed at Mottisfont

On our way back from our Dorset break at the end of March we stopped off at the National Trust's Mottisfont in Hampshire. It was my first visit there and it certainly lived up to its romantic billing in the NT blurb. I'll share more from our time there over the next few weeks, but today I'm concentrating just on one quite small part of it, and that's the Potting Shed. Which is, as its name suggests, a shed.

Mottisfont is a large estate, and yes I'm showing you a shed

And yes I know, it's a vast estate - we walked around a lot of it - and I'm showing you a shed. But, it's a very nice shed!

IT'S A VERY NICE SHED!

IT'S A VERY NICE SHED!

You're starting to believe me now aren't you?  

It was the kind of place I could happily have spent a good hour or two in, but I didn't think I'd get away with that so I spent as long as I could. It was also the kind of place that had the right mix of being a real space, but also carefully orchestrated, and I couldn't work out which it was more of. My head said the orchestrated side, but my heart just wanted to pull up that stool and get my nose into one of those books. I'd have preferred an easy chair over the stool, but I think that's probably why there wasn't one!

Garden tools close at hand and neatly stored

And is it just me, or do those tools say G & T? 

Boxes of seeds and a cup put down to enable a two-handed rummage

I like the wooden box for seeds, and make use of some wooden wine boxes in my own greenhouse and they're a great modern day equivalent. I always look out for those on our French trips and so far, have been lucky twice.  

I wanted to rummage through the seed box and sift through the papers on the desk but held back. Just. The notebook telling part of the story was a nice touch and a tactic that Mottisfont used in the property too, where if I'm honest I found it a little too forced, but also the handwriting a little too small and too wordy when the place was much busier. It worked here in the shed though as there was time to read it without someone hovering at your shoulder willing you to move on. 

Like many areas of the house the NT uses the display to educate visitors

The rose paintings on the wall were beautiful and reminded me of a herb book I have, a present from  my nan, with its botanical style illustrations. And it's true, I think, the best roses do survive and quite often we rarely know their names, just how they flower, their scent and of course their colour. 

Hand-painted pictures of roses decorate the walls of the potting shed at Mottisfont
A dog rose painting in the potting shed at Mottisfont

It's hard to believe isn't it, that this is just a relatively normal sized shed, perhaps a little bigger than most of us have, but definitely somewhere to ponder and learn, experiment and succeed. And for all kinds of roses too.  

A real rose alongside a trug and other paraphernalia in the potting shed at mottisfont

The "in tray" made me smile too. Not just the old tobacco tins no doubt used for storing seed, but also because it's just the kind of in tray I'd be happy with. I've still seeds to plant right now and so it's a job I  must get on with this weekend. 

Old tobacco tins, no doubt storing seed, in the in tray and terracotta pots
More seeds and vintage looking packets, looking about as neat and orderly as my own seed store

Yes, it really was a fascinating place and jam packed with information and treats for the eye everywhere I looked. Even down to what must surely be orchestrated dirt... 

crates and terracotta pots, and more of the Mottisfont story

Quite a shed, and it's easy to see why sheds are often a safe haven and places for pottering isn't it? My pottering place is my greenhouse, while MOHs is his shed although lately neither of us have had enough time for a decent potter - we'll need to put that right, won't we? 

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