Saturday, 31 July 2021

American Graffiti

I love word patterns - and especially where you have the same vowel repeated in a word

caraway, bejewel, bikinis, monopod, cumulus. Such a word is rococo - defined as 'architecture characterized be an elaborately ornamental late barque style of decoration, prevalent in 18th century Europe, with asymmetrical patterns involving motifs and scrollwork, and pastel colours'

On Sunday afternoon, Denise and Kevin took us to the amazing Rococo Gardens in Painswick. In 1830, Charles Hyett, a wealthy landowner built Painswick House [now Grade I listed] and on his death, his son Benjamin inherited the estate. Following the fashions of the time, he had an elaborate garden laid out in Rococo style. With deceptive vistas, serpentine paths, and peppered with follies, the garden was a delight to all who visited. He commissioned a local artist, Thomas Robyns to paint his garden in 1748.

But tastes change, rococo was deemed vulgar, and the garden was altered. By 1950, it was abandoned and planted with timbers. In 1984, two men saw this painting in an exhibition of Robyns' work - and wrote about it. The then owners of the House, Lord and Lady Dickinson, were inspired to restore the garden to its former glory. Forty years on, that garden looks like this
The artwork was used as a guide for the replanting. It was such a beautiful afternoon as we walked among the plants. Denise is not only a fantastic gardener, but also a good teacher. Knowing that I am determined to be better at gardening in retirement, she spent ages pointing out plants which would be good to grow [and the difficult ones to avoid] Having an expert guide alongside me was great- but I didn't take as many pictures as usual.

This folly curves round a pond, its intricate columns reflecting in the water. The layout of the kitchen garden shows the fruit and vegetable planting - vivid splashes of colour among the lush green foliage.
I liked the little folly which was almost like a chapel - arched windows and a lovely wooden seat- and the windows etched [in Latin] with quotations from the Song of Solomon. 
The flowers appear o the earth, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land.
I am my beloved's and he is mine, he feeds among the lilies
Arise my love, my fair one and come away. 
There were lovely wooden sculptures in the woods, lots of natural habitats for bees and birds and one very interesting folly
During WW2, the garden was a ruin - and some USAF troops were stationed nearby. They came to Painswick - and wrote their names on the inside of these columns [you can see Bob reading them]
Now this American Graffiti is preserved as a record of what was happening at the garden over 7 decades ago. There is a sign asking people not to add their contemporary graffiti. Sadly it appears that some visitors ignoted the polite request, and have put their names and dates on the wall too. As Kevin said, then it was history, now it is vandalism.
After a reviving cuppa in the tearoom, we moved on to climb Painswick Beacon [aka Kimsbury Hill Fort] The weather wasn't quite good enough to see everything - but it was pretty astounding nonetheless, and worth making the ascent.

What a fabulous day! The beauty of Cotswold architecture, the glories of the gardens- and the awesome vistas across the countryside. And great company, good food, and happy conversation. Our 2 days away felt like our first proper holiday in years! Bob and I felt very blessed, and so thankful for our family. 


  1. So glad you had a lovely break. Often a good two days away by car is worth more than any elaborate holiday with the hassle of trains, boats and planes!
    I used to live near a beacon hill, love the history of them.

  2. The Rococo Gardens are beautiful - the snowdrop displays are the start of the year are simply stunning.

    Glad you enjoyed this beautiful county 🙂🙂

  3. Glad you got to go away for the weekend and enjoyed visiting with family and taking in the sights. :)


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