Thursday, June 8, 2017

Spetchley Park Gardens

If you ever wanted to be a gardener, then England would have to be the place with its cool rainy climate. I had not heard of this place prior to our arrival but just happened to see it on a map and it's not very far from Upton.

As seniors, we got a 50 p discount on the regular entrance fee of 7 pounds. Marianne got a map and away we went into the garden.

A map of the stately house and garden.

Plants for sale.

Even though I don't like gardening, I do like to walk through gardens and see what others have managed to accomplish. And I like to take lots of photos and create a very long blog.

We were each issued with a free audio guide. You simply pointed your little gizmo close to the blue thingie, something beeped and then you could hold the gizmo up to your ear and listen to the commentary which was quite helpful.

The garden has many tall trees of different species.

Even though it is only early June, there were plenty of blooming flowers.

A hedge made of holly.

There were plenty of bees buzzing around the flowers. No doubt there is a very happy bee-keeper in the area.

We kept wandering along the paths.

Note how the branch of this tree is propped up.

Entrance into a walled garden.

The greenhouses are sunken into the ground so that they are not so cold in the freezing winter.

I asked a passing gardener if these banana plant ever produced fruit. As I expected, he said no.

Note the knight in armor. There is closeup photo further down.

Statue of a stag.

Note how the armor is made out of flower pots. Quite ingenious.

A trellised pathway.

This section of walled garden is actually within a larger walled garden. At one time it was used as a tennis court.

It's very lush.

The branches of this tree had been lopped off and you can see the remains at the bottom of the trunk.

Eventually we came to an open area and there was the mansion.

Most stately homes need to generate lots of money to fund their upkeep and this one hosts weddings and receptions.

The mansion overlooks a couple of lakes.

The stables and carriage house at the back of the mansion.

There is apparently a Roman Catholic chapel within the house, but immediately adjacent to the mansion is All Saints Church which was the local Anglican church.

The back of the mansion which was just brick. The main entrance and front were covered in Bath stone.

The entrance to the church.

Very old weathered gravestones.

 I suspect these holes would have been for the ropes to the bells.

Inside the church.

A small organ.

It is mostly fairly plain inside.

I wondered what the significance of the 4 was and then noticed that the wood had weathered and there would have been a matching diagonal.

The main entrance for guests. The Wiki article states that this house was to be used by Winston Churchill and his cabinet during WWII if the blitz became too dangerous. In 1811 the house replaced the prior house that burned down. The owners of the house also own Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

The lakes.

What a tree.

There is a path beside the lake that crosses a small bridge.

The famous composer Edward Elgar had a close relationship with the family that owned Spetchley and supposedly there is a photo of him fishing on the lake.

Some swans and brood turned up.

Two of the cygnets.

We noticed some peculiar objects sticking out of some water.

We think they were protrusions from the roots of this tree and had never seen anything like this before.

A small folly where a few elderly people were eating their packed lunches.

We were impressed by the trunk of this tree.

And then noticed this Peter Pan type figure nestled into the branches.

The property extends further and apparently is covered in daffodils at the right time of year.

This part of our stroll quickly became my favourite. It was deserted and very peaceful with just the sound of the wind in the tree branches. I am not sure if this is the same area, but the sound of the wind in the trees inspired Elgar in part of his 'Dream of Gerontius'.

They reminded me of juniper berries but they are probably something entirely different.

This is the Garden Cottage. Elgar went to school at the Catholic school across the road and became friendly with the owner of the mansion. In later years, Elgar would come and stay in this house. Most of us know only a few works of Elgar like his Pomp and Circumstance Marches and perhaps the Cello Concerto and Symphony #1. However he wrote a lot of music and I have come to really like his Piano Quintet, particularly the 2nd movement which you can hear here, starting at 14:30.

When we arrived we were greeted by these three very helpful and very cheery ladies. I told them they were having too much fun.

I suspect this was at one time the school across the way that Elgar attended, but I could be wrong.

It was a lovely garden to visit and if you are ever near Worcester, try to visit.

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