I’ll let you into a secret (and please don’t mention this to anyone) I’m absolutely desperate to take down the Christmas decorations and give the house a really good clean! Can you believe it? I’m a cross between Mary Poppins and The Grinch! There have been little festive garlands and ornaments disappearing since yesterday and today the Christmas mugs came out of the dishwasher and were promptly wrapped in tissue paper instead of being put into the mug cupboard. My hubby wants to keep the decs up for a while longer but how on earth can I stop the House Elf from tidying up when our backs are turned? He’s a crafty little fellow (the elf, not my husband) who just loves the feeling of….. S P A C E ….. that happens when all the decorations come down. I can see his point.
We visited Chatsworth House in October and bought the metal reindeer (above) to add to our Christmas display. We’ve fallen in love with him so he may escape being put into a box and be kept out all year. As much as I have the urge to pack Christmas away early every year I have a strange habit of also keeping something out on display. I have fairy lights over the fireplace all year (too pretty to take down), a purple berry wreath on the kitchen door (the door looks sad without it), a large star made out of twigs in the garden room (I love stars as much as hearts!) and quite possibly a metal reindeer on the bureau in the hall 🙂
However, I will miss all the greenery in the house the – the tree smells wonderful and I’m looking forward to making an Easter wreath already.
It’s been such a nice Christmas and I feel relaxed, refreshed and looking forward to the New Year. The housework has slipped, the garden has been sorely neglected (although the weather is even too soggy for wellies) and there has been way too much drinking and eating naughty food… simply wonderful!
Some of my favourite things are (1) a lovely cotton Owl bag to help with the grocery shopping – the design on this is great and I’d love to have this as a cushion… maybe I’ll have a go at making one next year! (2) I love books more than anything else and usually have three on the go at once so these stocking fillers will keep me quiet for a while. (3) My husband bought me the sparkly heart shaped necklace ♥ (4) This is actually a paper pot maker for my seedlings so I can make my own little pots. (5) A new diary always makes me smile… it’s completely empty at the moment and yet is so full of possibilities. Roll on 2013!
Wishing you all a very happy New Year and fortunate 2013 x
It is widely believed that Pemberley from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was based on Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. The architecture, landscaping and vistas are simply breathtaking and as the House is approached it’s easy to see why this could be Pemberley:
“They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;—and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!” Jane Austen (1813)
The original house dates to the 16th Century and the gardens the landscaping designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown. On this occasion we didn’t tour the house but concentrated on the gardens and landscapes. Chatsworth manages to blend both grand and informal design beautifully and throughout the gardens there are various sculptures which I believe only enhance the space. I’m not sure what Capability Brown would have made of the sculptured hares… but I loved them!
Chatsworth has a lovely gift shop partly set in the old stables which is filled with unusual gifts and books. We bought a Christmas reindeer (nicer than it sounds) a rustic heart (because a girl can never have too many hearts in the home) and lots of pretty ribbon. It’s always nice to bring home ideas so this trip was no different!
1. Plant some box hedging and keep it clipped.
2. Buy a sculpture for the garden (it doesn’t have to be a hare!).
3. Continue with the house renovations (Chatsworth was probably built in less time than it will take us to renovate!!).
4. Read Pride & Prejudice again (and again, and again…).
5. Get my own Mr Darcy to help me with some digging this weekend to put the garden to bed!
I’ve come across the original copy of my Kitchen Garden plans and they’ve made me smile….. because they’re embarrassingly basic!! In my imagination the Kitchen Garden is always full of healthy herbs, climbing plants, seasonal produce and plenty of flowers for the bees and butterflies. Mmm, I should have paid full attention in Art class at school as my sketch is rather primitive! My lovely husband used CAD to make it a workable diagram for the builder….. everything else is in my head (no hope for anyone but me then)!
Kitchen Garden Plans
Fortunately, the work in progress looks more like my vision than the sketch does!! The raised beds are now complete, the new hedges have been laid and all we’ve now got to complete the French drains, put some stone down and wait for Spring! There are new changes every week and I want to capture what happens and, hopefully, look back with happiness. All I see at the moment, however, is a huge amount of bare brickwork that is crying out to be covered with plants!
The garden has 7 raised beds in total and a central island that can be used for a fountain/birdbath. The Nectar Bar will be planted to attract bees and butterflies and there is a secluded area behind this bar where we’ll be able to relax (or hide!).
The perennial vegetable bed contains asparagus and rhubarb and I keep excitedly rushing home from work to looking for signs of life before it gets dark!
I’m pleased to say that I’ve found the cutest baby asparagus spear! It’s smaller than a matchstick but looks perfectly formed already… As I’ve already mentioned, I’m usually too impatient to get dressed before dashing outside so it will be torture for me to wait a couple more years before harvesting.
Tiny Asparagus shoot
I’ve always felt drawn to Victorian walled gardens and love visiting stately homes to see them. I’m off to Chatsworth House next week and will hopefully come back with even more inspiration… only on a much smaller scale!