Ramblings of a "New American" Gardener

Off to England … working with carexTours

April 29, 2015

Hidcote_Manor_Garden_02

Hidcote Manor Garden

Is good fortune a kind of grace, a gift of an inherently generous universe? I’d like to think so. But it may just be the luck of the draw.

On Facebook a few weeks back I saw a post from garden designer Carolyn Mullet about a series of garden tours she’s leading in Europe in 2015. Phillip and I had already planned a month in England in July and August, and I couldn’t imagine going on a tour too, so I jokingly remarked to Carolyn that, though I’d already planned a long English vacation later in the summer, I’d certainly like to tag along to help out with her spring tour. Luckily for me, she contacted me privately and asked if I was serious. I immediately decided I was.

So I’m now going to England two times this summer. I originally conceived our long trip to England as a kind of remedial education, having traveled to many other parts of the world, but only once to England long ago. While I feel I know many English gardens, and have visited Great Dixter and Sissinghurst, I really mostly know them through reading and the media. I want to experience English garden culture first hand, and visit as many gardens as possible, not just see them in books. I’m particularly happy to be going to the Chelsea Flower Show for the first time, attending in the year Dan Pearson returns to make his first new garden there in a decade.

Carolyn is offering the tours through her new company, carexTours. You can see our itinerary at this link. It takes us to RHS Wisley, Great Dixter, Sissinghurst, Vann, Goddards, Folly Farm, High Beeches, Gravetye Manor, Munstead Wood, Hidcote, Kiftsgate, Rousham, and on our return to London, Chelsea. I hope to post about our garden visits each day–if I can manage it–after all, I will be working.

I think there are still a couple of openings if you know someone who might be interested.

 

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Wareham April 30, 2015 at 4:23 am

AND – you’ll be at the thinkingardens supper – (even if only half awake and totally jetlagged…) Hurray!

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James Golden April 30, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Looking forward to it. Anne.

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Pat Webster April 30, 2015 at 3:28 pm

At the Thinkingardens supper: I am now totally green with envy. James, have a wonderful trip. So many of the gardens you’ll visit are rich with history and jammed packed with horticultural delights. I know you will enjoy every day. I am eager to hear how you respond to Rousham, knowing Anne Wareham’s opinion, and my own. (I’m a fan.) And what you make of Chelsea. For me the crowds are too big an impediment and I doubt I will return — unless I can swing a non-public day. (Where are my press credentials when I need them?) As you leave for England, I leave for Italy. I definitely won’t be posting daily, although the odd photo or two may make its way onto facebook. Happy looking!

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James Golden April 30, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Thanks, Pat. I am wary of the crowds at Chelsea to be sure. Wish we were going on a limited entrance day, but I think not. I’m primed to like Rousham and I expect a kind of eighteenth century minimalism, though that may be completely imaginary. I’ll find out. There’s a chapter on it in Dan Pearson’s Garden Inspiration, and John Dixon Hunt presents it in an interesting historical context in Of Gardens.

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Michael B. Gordon April 30, 2015 at 9:31 pm

James,
You will have a grand time. I will be right behind you. I wish we were going to be able to cross paths. Maybe next year.

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James Golden May 2, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Michael,
Sorry we won’t run into each other. Let’s hope for some good weather.

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Ruth Hopper May 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm

So, you are coming over here twice this year?! I too am going to Chelsea soon (I have a friend who works for the RHS and got us tickets for the Saturday) I will try and take lots of photos but it isn’t easy with the crowds. I have only been once before. I am also going to Hampton Court Flower Show (been loads of times) – in some ways easier to view as there is more space. I took last year off from the shows so I am looking forward to going back! You are going to see so many gardens aren’t you? We aren’t going far on holiday this year (I live in Surrey) We are going to Sussex – planning to visit Great Dixter again and also Derek Jarman’s garden at Dungerness. I have started a blog too – if you have the time do take a look. Making a small suburban garden 20 miles from London http://www.herburbia.co.uk

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James Golden May 9, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Ruth, I’ll be at Chelsea Saturday too. So we may run into each other without knowing it. When we return to England later in the summer, I certainly want to see Derek Jarman’s garden, though I hear it’s lived in, so you can only drive by on the road. I’d like to know if it’s possible to actually stop and visit the garden. We’ll definitely be seeing Great Dixter again too, and many other gardens. I’ll check out your new blog.

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Ruth Hopper May 20, 2015 at 5:25 am

James, I spoke to a friend yesterday who visited Derek Jarman’s garden about a month ago – she said you are able to park the car and get out. They are happy for you to take photos and have a wander (just not peep in the windows, as if!) So that’s good! Went to GI talk last night in London – Penelope Hobhouse, Jinny Blom and Sarah Price – they were fantastic, I could have listened to them talk all night!

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Michael McCoy May 26, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Seems like you’re finding tour leading a little more demanding than you thought, James. We’re dying to read about what you’re seeing!!

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James Golden June 1, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Not leading, Michael, just following, and taking lots of photos. I found that my ambition to post while seeing gardens was just not possible.

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Lynda Harris May 28, 2015 at 9:35 am

Hi James,
I’m looking forward to hearing about your trip, especially what you thought of Chelsea. I was working on James Basson’s Perfumer’s garden and was responsible for painting fake lichen made of lime onto the walls! Have a great time!

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James Golden June 1, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Fascinating work, Lynda. That was actually one of my favorite Chelsea gardens. What was the stone used for the water runnels? It looks artificial, but in a good way. I loved its color and sensuous texture.

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