Last year we made a brief trip to the English countryside for a friend’s fiftieth birthday. He and his wife live in the village of Wroughton, not far from Swindon, in Wiltshire. After the celebrations on the Saturday night, our hosts recommended that we go and look at some of the beautiful English country gardens in the area, opened to the public on weekends to raise funds for charity. A quick peek at the internet revealed and directed us to several such gardens. All offered a splendid English afternoon tea, complete with cakes and cream scones, to be enjoyed in magnificent grounds.
I can’t remember where we were – somewhere in Wiltshire, not far from Wroughton – but it was a glorious sunny June afternoon, and the surrounding countryside was breathtakingly beautiful.
After a pleasant drive through rolling hills dotted with sheep, we found our sought-after garden. It had a miniature “henge”, made from several large tall stones,
a rose garden and herb gardens, and superb floral walkways.
This popular ditty inevitably came to mind whilst wandering happily through these magnificent surroundings:
How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
I’ll tell you now of some that I know
And those I miss you’ll surely pardon.
Daffodils, heart’s ease and flox
Meadowsweet and lady smocks
Gentian, lupine and tall hollyhocks
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, blue forget-me-nots
In an English country garden!
There were many visitors that sunny Sunday afternoon, enjoying the sublime weather and their tasty teas on the immaculately manicured lawns.
Plump bumble bees buzzed in the profuse floral clusters, lured by their heady scents, and birds twittered in the trees. It was the very model of an English country garden – surely part of the beautiful panoramas that inspired the Nature Poets of yesteryear.