The hedges at Montacute House

Over the weekend my 2016 photo book arrived, yes a little delayed, but it was a busy year. And a busy year means a lot of photos. One of the things that stood out was our visit to Montacute House in Somerset, and so today, I’m sharing the hedges from there.

Well, you know me and hedges. And these are some hedges.

Hedges at Montacute House in Somerset

Ok, I was teasing you there. You might be wondering what is so special about the hedges, but as well as the more traditional hedges, there was also what you could call a cloud or a bubble hedge.

A bubble hedge at Montacute House in Somerset

The sheer size of it was amazing. Not just its height, or length but also how deep it was. As you can see from the photo below, I decided I needed a closer look, and not only found a path and another flower bed behind the hedge, you could quite clearly see how much it had been cut, I’m sure to reclaim the path.

behind the hedge

The house, which you can see part of in the photo above is ‘a masterpiece of Elizabethan Renaissance’ according to the National Trust website, and the glass in the house and the garden you can see through its windows are pretty special too. Our visit, how it was three years ago I don’t know, was on one of those crisp and clear autumn days, and the dahlias were still full of flower.

pom pom dahlias in the border

The hedge is yew, and the photo below gives you a sense of its size.

a bubble or a cloud - what do you think this hedge looks like

I told you the hedges at Montacute House were pretty impressive, didn’t I? It’s definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area, and I haven’t even told you about the windows yet…

Poppy heads and tentative sweet peas

We’re staying in Yorkshire for today’s post, and it’s the first Flowers on Friday for a week or two. When I was sorting through photos of Castle Howard for yesterday’s Brideshead Revisited post, the poppies and their seedheads stood out. I”m not sure if it’s the insect on one, how they’re all standing to attention or the contrast with the dark background, which is actually a yew hedge. Or the delicate pinkness of the flowers. Or the sun, which has been mostly missing this week hasn’t it?

poppies in the walled garden at castle howard

It’s not been cold though. Just wet. Very wet.

Maybe it’s the sun as this sweet pea making its way up the obelisk also appealed. Sigh.

a tentative sweet pea

Just a short post today, but one full of sunshine. A girl can dream hey?

Or, we could all combine our sun dancing skills, it seems we’ve perfected our rain dancing ones!


Brideshead visited and restored

Yes I know it should be revisited, but as it’s my first visit I can hardly revisit can I? Though I will admit when we booked our trip to Yorkshire last year Castle Howard was high on my ‘to visit’ list, which may just have been swayed by the TV series which aired in the early 80s. MOH though, was of course, completely unaware of this.

In fact the walled garden was fantastic and by far exceeded my expectations of a walled garden, I’d like to a post, but it seems I’ve not shared them yet. Clearly I’ve been keeping them for myself (and the other hundreds of thousands of people who visit each year!)

But once we were in the house, I was on Brideshead watch. So I was pleased with the Brideshead Restored exhibition.

mirrored panelling and an ornate fireplace

The rooms from this exhibition were completely destroyed by fire in 1940, five years before Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited novel. While the original series was filmed at Castle Howard, it also hosted the cinema version released in 2008. The burnt out shells of the rooms still remained when Miramax were looking for locations, and the producers quickly realised there was an opportunity to turn these rooms into film sets.

Just the pattina and pure gorgeousness at Castle Howard

In 2007 the area was cleared for carpenters, set builders and painters to transform it into a dramatic painted interior. The murals have been “convincingly distressed” to look as if they have been part of the fictional Brideshead Castle for many years.

A bit of a picture on the wall

This room was used for two scenes in the film - dinner on the first evening when Charles Ryder stays with the Marchmain family, and Lord Marchmain’s deathbed scene if you must know. I don’t think I’m breaking any secrets by saying in both cases some licence was taken by the film makers.

ruched fabric on the ceiling at Castle Howard

The view from the windows also featured strongly in the film, and when it’s this good, why wouldn’t it?

Views through the arched windows and the uncharacteristically blue skies and scorching heat

And I couldn’t end this post without a glimpse at the Brideshead cast reunion. Sigh.

a peak at the cast from Brideshead Revisited together again

I’ve a feeling I’ll be dipping into the book for a top up of some teenage memories. Let’s just call it the Downton effect…