The parterre at Helmingham Hall

We’re getting about a bit this week with the posts I’m sharing, so in between quick visits to Lisbon on Tuesday and Italy tomorrow, today we’re somewhere a little closer to home and have landed in Suffolk. In the parterre at Helmingham Hall to be precise. It’s a great garden to visit, another independent garden where you’re never quite sure what you’re going to find.

We visited during our Suffolk break, and I was surprised to see I’ve only shared a single post from our visit so far, and if you’re a fan of knot gardens, then this is worth a visit if you’re in the area. I originally planned to share photos from the Potager, but somehow my fingers had other ideas, but who am I to argue?

formal lines provide a relaxing space at Helmington Hall in Suffolk

While first off this garden might look very traditional, and its choice of plants - box hedging and santolina, it’s not quite as traditional as you’d expect. It’s in good company as that’s the combination used in the formal gardens of Chenonceau too, though the santolina (the light coloured plant) was more densely planted in Suffolk, which brought a bolder ‘stripe’ to the parterre.

great lines that you just want to follow

The other less traditional thing, but gorgeously so, are these pink cosmos which on our visit were used in the central bed.

cosmos fill the central bed

From a distance, I assumed they were roses, so it was quite a discovery when I got close enough. While I’m converting to roses, i think because these weren’t roses, it was even more of an exciting discovery. It’s quirks like this, or the plant you don’t expect to see that makes a garden a garden and not a forumaic reproduction of what we know works.

the symmetry is reasuring
box topiary in the parterre at helmington hall in Suffolk

It’s a great space, calming and viewable from the house across the moat - which if I’ve not mentioned before is pretty and fascinating, though sadly not open, but I mean, it has a moat. And surely that means you can imagine anything you like about the place and the reality would never match up to it.

The other thing this garden has, which appeals to me, is those gates which lead to the Potager. So soon, I’ll share more of what’s behind them as I’m rather partial to those too, as i discovered at Cheverny.

A wander around Snape Maltings

For today’s post we’re off out and about. We’re off to Suffolk in fact, and as well as travelling there we’re going back in time. We had a few days there a couple of years ago and as I’ve been looking through my photos, these are another rediscovery. It was our first time at Snape Maltings, which now is full of shops and such like. You might remember the velvet yellow sofa from a previous post, or the embroidery project for the future, which is still very much for the future, but no less beautiful.

But there’s some great walks in the area too, and while our wander features mostly the buildings and sculptures close to the buildings, there’s routes which take you further afield. As soon as we were out of the car, the tiles on this roof called my name. Well, they would wouldn’t they?

arriving at snape maitings and spotting a roof to photograph

Next we, or rather I was fascinated by this sculpture called Myriad, whose clean lines and mirrored sections gave an easy view of the sky above.

A sculpture with a view at snape maltings

It was the sort of place, and the sort of day, where it was easy to wander inside and out. And the more I saw of the main building, the more I knew it was one I would like. And I wasn’t wrong, it was a fascinating place. As well as the shops, sculptures and cafes there’s also a concert venue and exhibition space. I’ve a feeling we’ll be back again, and not just for the shops. In fact our visit was prompted by a festering seed planted by a wedding present ten years earlier.

bricks, tiles and cladding all together stylishly so

No really. Our neighbours bought us a mosaic tea light lantern, which they bought at Snape Maltings. It’s one we still use, and one they’d bought here, so I had a feeling that it would be a place I liked. Completely true, and it goes to show how much first impressions count.

But back to exploring the buildings. Next up was the Dovecote, I don’t remember what it’s current use is, other than drawing admiring glances for the corten steel and brick structure. It’s previous use is pretty easy to guess though.

Another of the exhibits, this one clad in corten steel
The windows at the dovecote have seen better days

The windows. I’d happily have photographed this many which ways, but there’s always more to see - and really there are only so many photos you can take without ending up with at least a few duplicates. But don’t tell MOH that, as it’s something I always deny…

a look at the dovecote from the other side

We had some fun with the final sculpture on this wander. There were three stacks to this one, and the round circular gap was just about head height. And as usual, my reluctant model posed for a silly picture or two. And the silly pictures always make it into our photo year books.

another modern sculpture with a great view

I’ve enjoyed this electronic wander, and a wander through memories made on what was actually quite a random way to choose a day’s activity. Have you been to Snape Maltings, or do you have anywhere equally as random for selecting where to visit?

A sewing project for the future

Now this post is likely to confirm a certain level of craziness you may never have realised I had. And that's ok, because when I saw this partially (in fact barely) completed embroidered tablecloth when we visited Snape Maltings over the summer, I knew there was no way I was going to leave this in the shop. I also knew that there was a high chance that I wouldn't do anything with this for quite a while and that's ok too (and now that I've found crochet, it could be even a bit further down the list, but the good news it's still on the list!)

Now isn't it beautiful?

My linen tablecloth embroidery project - someone else has made a start

And it has the potential to be a stunner. Even though it's been many years since I've done any embroidery. And there is no pattern or colour chart. And I don't have any threads, or actually I may have some but that's reliant on me finishing another long-held cross stitch project. I've dug that out again since we've been back from Suffolk (this one that I shared on Instagram), so that's a good sign but quickly realised I needed my eyes testing as the count was a bit smaller than I remembered.

My linen tablecloth embroidery project - just a leaf started in this corner

Predictably MOH was on hand to ask what I needed this tablecloth for and where I could possibly use it. Of course knowing this was coming I was ready for it and my answer of "on that old French table in the garden" was clearly said confidently and assertively enough that it was accepted.  Must remember that for the future. It's true though it will look great on that table, and one day I may even get around to re-painting that too.

My linen tablecloth embroidery project - a completed corner

I think there's enough clues in the work that's already taken place to carry on, and make the tablecloth my own. I'll worry about what the stitch is when I'm closer to starting I think, unless you can identify it from these photos.

My linen tablecloth embroidery project - a completed yellow rose

There's a pink and peach coloured rose in each corner, or rather that will be my aim. There's one completed yellow rose midway between those, so there's another three to do, and there's a central section which hasn't been started yet, but again the colour for that isn't something that needs deciding now.

I told you this post might confirm a certain level of craziness, but for ten pounds, it really did need rescuing didn't it?