Wednesday 26 June 2013

You Can Leave Your Hat On...

... I believe he sang, Joe Cocker, all those years ago... 
And here, in my favourite garden, a hat may be advisable to shield you from the sun, but on some days you need not worry about any other clothing, as The Naked Gardeners welcome visitors in their birthday costumes on certain dates throughout the season...

However, on Friday last week when I revisited Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, it was a normal day, where the only nudity on display was offered by a few statues in the glorious, creative and inventive gardens that constitute this green gem. The photo above was taken from the tiny island in the river, a perfect spot from which to admire the majestic backside (no pun intended!) of the house.

I love the contrast of the wilder, "junglier" area down by the river, after having admired the slightly more formal garden rooms in front of the house. 


The sun loungers looked very appealing on this sunny day, as did a game of chess...

The front of the house is covered in an array of gorgeous green leaves and more colourful floral phenomena...

And when we sat down for a drink in the café by the koi carp pond, Robbie came to say hello. Well, Robbie admittedly seemed more interested in the biscuits my fellow garden admirers were munching than in any real bird-human bonding, but even so, I fell in love with this little feathery fellow!

Now look at those curves! I LOVE this section of the garden, with the funky gigantic green head, the lollipop trees and all the shaped box hedges and trees...!

Gorgeous giant poppies, red, pink and white, all looking as if made of silky paper...

Now, I am not the kind of girl who forces people to do things, nor do I tend to give unsolicited advice to my friends, but I may just have to make an exception here... You simply HAVE to visit this garden one day! It is a very special place and if you do not find at least one spot in the five acres of green loveliness that makes you weak at the knees or at least filled with a desire to plant your bottom on the lawn and just be for a moment, soaking up the view from your tranquil spot, well, then I am not sure what to say!

There are loads more photos from this garden under the heading Abbey House Gardens in my Categories - please feel free to browse them should you like to see more.

Blog posts are not exactly bombarding your screens from The Swenglish Home at the moment. Summer hibernation has set in, I am afraid, and I spend more hours outdoors than in at the moment, far, far away from screens and keyboards. I hope you are also enjoying the warmer season. A special thank you to all of your who still pop in to visit my quasi-dormant corner of the blog world, and a special-special thank you for kind comments!

With much love,

Thursday 13 June 2013

Lollipops, lucky clover and a surprise little black number...

Just outside our double doors to the garden, there is a small patio between the house and the steps that lead into the actual garden. If you have visited my blog before, you will have seen this little corner of my world a lot, as this is an area that changes with the seasons throughout the year.

With the baskets of pansies looking less than... well, less than alive, shall we say, after my visit to Sweden (when they were left without the tender love and care they crave), it was time to invite some new players to the team...

Can you see all the four-leaf clovers in this beautifully coloured clover-y plant? I look forward to many lucky moments in my life over the next few years, if this is a sign to go by! And my new lollipop mini-trees - what is it about me and my lollipop trees? I can't seem to get enough of them. They are just so... cheerful!

For the second time in my life, "a little black number" has found its way into my decorating. Or two little black numbers to be precise, both old terracotta pots that had a close encounter with a jet black paint brush the other night... The greens of the clover and the other fluffy green loveliness seemed to demand to be offset by a black pot, and I obeyed, of course.

And my dear Buddha seems to have survived last winter without any cracks or blemishes, and sits on his special spot on the steps, spreading vibes of serenity and calm to anyone walking past.

Cluttered with pots? Perhaps. But as our neighbours have recently cut down all the bushes and blackberry branches that used to form a little roof over this seating area and offer a leafy feel to the place, as well as covering some of the not so pretty parts of the old wall, well, this abundance of green and purple eye candy works for me!

Today the winds reign here in Wiltshire. Everywhere I see people muttering and mumbling as they pull their coats tighter around their sun-longing torsos. The sky shows very little promise of anything that does not involve wet and damp, but I will cling on to the hope that we will have more of those lovely temperatures that only a few days ago spoke of summer and planted sunshine in our hearts and in freckles on our noses...

May the sun be with you, in heart and happy freckles!

Thursday 6 June 2013

Precious pickings...

"It is like a dream", he said.
"It is almost unreal", he continued.
"It is like a fairy-tale."

As we were walking along the small country road, the dry gravel going crunch-crunch under our feet, my nine-year-old sighed in awe of the beauty around him. We were on our way to pick some Mother's Day flowers for grandma (Mother's Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of May in Sweden), and having just arrived in a gloriously warm and sunny Sweden from a bitterly cold UK, this seemed even more like Paradise than usual.

All around us, nature had just exploded in a symphony of floral festivity, and we soon realised that we would not be able to contain ourselves and pick only the traditional lilies-of-the-valley bouquet, but at least one more bunch of stems picked with little fingers and much love would come home with us that day.

"There are just sooo many trees!", my younger son exclaimed. "I haven't seen this many trees in one place for a loooong time", he said, emphasising "sooo" and "loooong" in such a manner you would think that the poor child lived in a concrete bunker and not in green and lovely Wiltshire in the UK. Not to mention the fact that we visit Sweden several times a year...

But they are right, both of them. 54 % (or as much as 75% of the land area according to Wikipedia) of Sweden is covered by forest, and where my parents live is no exception. And it is breathtakingly beautiful. It is also a particularly peaceful place, where the only music accompanying me on my walks are the sound of my own thoughts against the pleasant backdrop of multi-layered birdsong and the occasional humming of a lawn-mower in the distance.

Football fun for the boys and flower-picking in the adjoining field for mum 
- now that is what I call a win-win!

And when it gets too hot to carry on with either...? Well, next to this field of wonderful wild flowers is the lake, offering to cool us all off. (In fact, if truth be told, FREEZE us all off, more like it!!!)

With spring having lasted what seemed like only a day or two in Sweden this year, before summer took over, the mix of flowers on offer was a strange one when we arrived. White anemones* and the occasional daffodil* rubbed shoulders with summer flowers of every shape and colour, all looking somewhat surprised to see each other on the same stage... (* = not pictured here)

And within the week we were there, the apple blossom came and went...

Yes, you may have wondered about my -unplanned- long blog break, but having spent most waking hours outdoors for the past couple of weeks, my laptop has had to cope without me, and it has done me a world of good!


Our home in Hungarian magazin Otthon...

A few days ago, one of my kind Hungarian blog readers sent me an email to tell me she had seen a feature of our home in Otthon Magazin (6/2013), a Hungarian interior magazine. In 2011, photographer Brent Darby and journalist Hazel Dolan did a feature of our home, which was published in the UK magazine Country Homes & Interiors in April 2012. 

Through an agency, this feature has subsequently been sold to German magazine Landhaus and now Hungarian magazine Otthon. I have got nothing to do with this and do not know anything about this when it happens. I have in both cases found out from kind blog readers who have recognized the Swenglish house, and I am very grateful to them for letting me know. 

I have not yet read the feature in Otthon, but having seen the layout drawing they have made of what they claim to be our house, I have realised that it is not only in gossip magazines that a certain measure of -shall we say- "artistic freedom" is used when it comes to portraying the truth. The layout they have made up does not in any way represent reality! OK, so it is perhaps not such a big deal that they have fabricated every square inch of the layout of our home, but it really surprised me and again made me realise that not everything that is printed is true. I will soon find out if the text carries the same "creativity"...


Last but not least, a small apology to those of you leaving comments here on my blog. Having recently had a dramatic increase in spam comments (around 250 only on my last post!), with various links to unsavoury websites, I have had to install the word verification to try to filter these unwanted spam comments as much as possible. I would rather not have this time-consuming filter there, but I am not sure what else to do. Thank you for your understanding.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!