The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Visiting the North Country

I have just returned from a weekend tour of gardens in Northumberland.

For those of you reading this who don't know where that it, it is in the very far north of England just below the border with Scotland. I have passed through it on route to Edinburgh a few times but have never visited this county before and was especially keen to visit Alnwick Castle and Garden.

Alnwick is the home territory of the Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland who have played a significant role in British history. For example, it was a Percy who first romanced Anne Boleyn before it all went pear shaped.  However, they managed to survive that episode and many others and are still one of the wealthiest titled families in the UK, owning large estates in the North as well as Syon House in London.  

Ten years ago, the new Duchess imagined creating a beautiful public garden for families to enjoy, and from her bold vision, The Alnwick Garden project began. She made a very good job of it as this is a top class visitor attraction and has certainly put Alnwick on the map.  The Queen is visiting later this month so everything was looking wonderful, not quite in full bloom for us, but by next week all will be perfect.

This is the sight that greets you as you pass through the beautifully designed entrance complex into the garden proper -

This photo of the new cascade was taken as I sat having a coffee in the spacious eating area -

The sun shone for us and the water in the fountains sparkled as we walked to the top of the cascade and entered the walled garden.  It was magical,  filled with exclusively European flowers -

This is beginning to sound a bit like an advertising promotion, but it really is worth a visit.  I couldn't fault it and I don't say that very often!


regan said...

Mary.....this sounds wonderful! I love public gardens, and would make an entire vacation of touring them. Thanks so much for the beautiful pics.

And I love that phrase, 'before it all went pear shaped!' I'll be sure to use that in the future! Love it!

Amanda said...

Hi Mary,

It was recommended to me yesterday by Jen Jones that I arrange to speak with you. I am currently writing my MA dissertation on Welsh quilts. I can not find an email for you - but I would love to give you more information about the project and meet with you if you have any chance.
My email is
I look forward to hearing from you.

Vivienne at Vivebooks said...

Aaaah you took me there with your description and photos Mary. Thank you!
Vivienne x