The Rose Garden at Parcevall Hall

Today I’m sharing a burst of sunshine, both literally as it was a glorious day for my visit and because it’s great to look around an independent garden.  I think there’s some real gems out there and we often overlook these, unless we already know them or they’re close by.  I discovered Parcevall Hall as I was scouring maps of the local area on our trip to Yorkshire to see what was close by.  It wasn’t that far away, as the crow flies, but in reality it was more up and down than I expected as it’s in Wharfedale in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  I don’t know about you but I find driving on steep and windy country roads exhausting, less than walking obviously, but tiring nonetheless given the additional concentration needed.

It was worth it though, as the gardens didn’t disappoint.  I’ve plenty of photos to share from here and some will no doubt brighten up the chillier days ahead, and I’ll not apologise for sharing some more sunshine when I think we need it. To buck the trend I’m not starting at the beginning of our visit either, instead starting with the Rose Garden, which at the end of June was full of the heady scent of roses, a scent that until our trip to the Loire I didn’t get.

A gravel path filled with scent and blue skies at Parcevall Hall in Yorkshire

The garden was set out symmetrically, its paths willing you to wander around.  There were places to stop and enjoy the garden, but with so much to explore we didn’t pause as much as perhaps we would have if I hadn’t already planned for us to go to RHS Harlow Carr in the afternoon, and squeeze in an afternoon tea at Betty’s - I told you I’d packed it in, didn’t I?

But taking some time to wander around and enjoy the roses was just what we needed, and there were certainly plenty to see and smell, all types and colours too.  There were roses with tightly packed petals and more open, relaxed roses.  Pinks, whites and reds the most prominent colours.  And, oh the smell in the sunshine, heavenly.

frilly white roses packed with petals
Open more old fashioned roses

Even then I remember thinking it wouldn’t be a garden I’d look forward to dead-heading, there were just so many blooms. You’ll see though that the garden looks no worse for a few decaying roses, and of course if everything was dead-headed there’d be no rose hips. 

bursts of red roses too
Rosehips in the rose garden at Parcevall Hall in Yorkshire

I normally favour roses with plenty of petals, but in this garden these delicate pink edged blooms caught my eye, and so my journey into the world of roses, with this rose with its more wild rose style flowers knocking me for six.  

pretty pink edged petals full of scent
pink roses at all stages of flowing at Parcevall Hall in Yorkshire

And look. Proof, that a garden can still look pretty and be enjoyed when it’s not perfect. The photo above shows every stage of flowering for a rose, and if there was a rosehip I’d have a full house! 

That’s pretty reassuring, isn’t it? 

A fine farm for florists and regal roses

Today I'm taking you to another part of the Chateau de Chenonceau estate, and a part you might not have heard of before, the farm. Yes I wasn't expecting to find one here either, and it was a lovely discovery. Especially as it was so pretty. And so French. We approached past the duck pond who, as you'd expect living so close to such a grand chateau also had some rather plush duck accommodation.

The 16th century farm buildings at chateau de chenonceau
Could this farm at Chateau de Chenonceau look any more French

The farm is a group of 16th century buildings and includes Catherine de' Medici's stables. One of the buildings houses a floral workshop where two florists work all year round creating the stunning flower arrangements which I've already shared. And it provides easy access to the vegetable and flower gardens nearby. But before we go there, just look at this honeysuckle I spotted. It's huge, and was lovely and fragrant when we visited, but growing in a way - like a cordon - that I'd not seen before.

honeysuckle at chateau de chenonceau grown as a cordon and in a way i've not seen before

Moving through one of the farm's arches, I got my first glimpse of the productive part of the garden. And I wasn't surprised at how orderly it was. I loved the grass between the crops - which is a similar approach I have in my allotment, it's just that in my allotment the grass is almost knee high!

My first glimpse of the orderly flower and vegetable garden at chateau de chenonceau

The cordoned fruit trees were in fruit too. And I promise when I took the picture below I was still on the right side of the path.

looking down on the miniature fruit trees bordering the vegetable and flower beds at chateau de chenonceau

There's twelve square plots each of them edged with apple trees and Queen Elizabeth rosebushes, hence the regal roses reference in the title. And lots of alliteration throughout this post. The whole space covers more than a hectare and like many of the potagers we visited is pretty as well as functional. 

Throughout the garden there was added interest, with wicker ornaments and metal wells. The sunflowers were growing tall and strong. And straight. Take a look at how thick their stems are. 

An archway with flowers growing over it at chateau de chenonceau
strong sunflowers growing straight, tall and in a line in the flower garden at chateau de chenonceau
the garden at chateau de chenonceau was interspersed with some intriguing items like this well head

And we were there when the peonies were out. They are still a June favourite of mine and were part of my wedding bouquet too. I always wonder at how they stay upright with their heavy blooms, and it seems they don't always. I think if I were a peony I'd be like this too.

the peonies in the flower garden at chateau de chenonceau struggled to stay upright

Actually if I was a peony I'd be more like these fuschia ones!

it seems the cerise peonies at chateau de chenonceau were heavier than the lighter coloured counterparts

What struck me about the roses - apart from the sheer volume of bushes in flower - was the supports they were growing up and against. Most were growing against quite humble wire fencing. But how it transformed it.

the regal roses growing in the flower garden at chateau de chenonceau
And white lilies also grown in abundance in the flower garden at chateau de chenonceau

In other parts of the garden there were bushes of lilies growing like I've never seen before. But if you've a house the size of Chenonceau to keep in fresh flower arrangements then it makes sense. These also look like they've got their own irrigation system too.

The heritage greenhouses are also hosts to roses, these ones were the palest of peach which complemented the stonework so well.

climbing roses on a wall at chateau de chenonceau making a pretty entrance to the working greenhouses


Close to the greenhouses I spotted an extra pot similar to those around the wall in Diane de Poitiers gardenalthough here it was planted with some spare santolini, rather than geraniums. Well, I assume it was spare. I guess using as much as they do in the formal gardens, it's always worth having some spare. 

some spare santolini at chateau de chenonceau no doubt for emergency use in the formal gardens

And it's a plant that is going on my plant list. I've been stalking it for a while so next year, is the year. Remind me if I forget!

Before I go, a puzzle. In the squash bed there were several of these wicker baskets on a stick (that's my name for them) and I've no idea what they're for. We've considered all sorts, but each of our suggestions seem just a little too odd, but maybe our ideas aren't quite as far fetched as we think. 

and a puzzle too, what are these wicker baskets amongst the squash plants in the vegetable garden at chateau de chenonceau for

If you know why the ten gardeners, who keep the gardens at Chenonceau so well kept, have "planted" these wicker baskets, please leave me a comment and let me know. And if you don't know for sure what they're for, I'd love to hear some of your wacky suggestions too.

Soon we'll be back on the bikes and back on the Loire a Velo cycle path heading towards Tours, which was the last stop - and biggest town - on our trip. I've mixed feelings about Tours. I love a big town, but had been enjoying the smaller countryfied towns and villages. I was pleased to get to Tours as I was keen to visit Villandry, but equally being in Tours and visiting Villandry meant our trip would soon be over, and that was less pleasing. But all that's for another day, until then let me know about those wicker baskets on sticks!

The roses at Hyde Hall

This year for me, seems to be one of roses. They were everywhere we went in France and since we've been home I've been noticing them too. Before I would have said I wasn't a fan of roses - well apart from the chocolate variety - and they were a definite no for my wedding bouquet (I had peonies if you were wondering).

However it's been all about the scent for me this year, and it could be the year I publicly declare myself a rose fan.  I've already shared the two cottage gardens at Hyde Hall with you, and today it's all about the roses there.

Even before I reached the Rose Garden in the centre of the site I saw these in the borders of the Australia and New Zealand garden. And look at how the rose changes colour as it ages.



slightly tattered but still beautiful
rosehips or alien lifeforms?

There weren't many rose hips around on my visit at the start of July - most likely a little too early - but there were a few starting to form. I imagine the rose bushes will look almost as good covered in these, almost berry like but slightly alien looking forms.

As you'd expect the roses in the rose garden were spectacular. I like these with the background of lavender and yes, they're both traditional cottage garden flowers aren't they, so are bound to look good together.

pink roses against a bed of lavender

The variety of shapes, colour and form amazes me and I think the peachy pink ones below are my most favourite shape. I like how their petals change colour giving the flower a 3D look in my photos.

peachy pink tea roses
The pink is more obvious in this rose

Perhaps it's no coincidence that the year I start to notice the roses is the year that my own Gertrude Jeckyll has sprung to life. That's partly because I've sited it in a more favourable place and it's repaying me, but I'm sure it is linked. These clambering pink roses reminded me of my own, although I'm not sure if they're the same sort.

pink roses, blue sky and breathe
pink roses against the cloud, but where did that come from
the layers of a rose are many

There were roses everywhere at Hyde Hall - in the Shrub Rose Borders and in the Queen Mother's garden. And of course now I'm not sure where I snapped these.  I don't think that matters though.

a rose in flower with more buds to follow
a cluster of pink flowering roses

And to end a couple of yellow roses, because everyone needs some yellow in their life and I'm thinking where roses are concerned that logic also applies.  These look so heavy and laden with petals that they can't quite lift their heads don't they, or perhaps it's so they can direct their scent down to us. What do you think?

laden flower heads so heavy they can't look up

So are you a diehard rose fan, or a new convert like me?