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I love England

fell in love with the English countryside on a 2-months-long trip we took in 2004 that would definitely go under the heading of Dreams Come True. We sailed over on the QEII, came home, into New York harbor and past the Statue of Liberty, on the new (at that time) Queen Mary II.

e felt we needed a "quest" and were inspired to follow our hearts through twenty-six English gardens, all of which came with a castle or country house open for tours. No, it did not get boring, because everyday we had to intake a hard breath as we came around a corner in a garden, gasping at the extreme outrageous beauty, history, and artistry of what we were seeing. Here's the first page of the diary I wrote and watercolored on that trip; will love to tell you more about it and show you my photo album in future updates to this part of my blog. Until then, enjoy these websites for views of the England I adore:

The National Trust, trustees for many homes and gardens in England:
Photos of the garden that first inspired our trip; Sissinghurst
English gardens (just keep hitting 'next' for a quick and wonderful garden tour)
Another fun site, with photos of the English countryside
Photos of one of our favorite little towns, Lacock Village in Wiltshire
Organic Gardening; his care for the planet is why I love Prince Charles
Amazing Bibury, where we stayed in the Cotswolds.
And then, there is the adorable Englishman Colin Firth, as seen in Bridget Jones Diary. Any discussion of England without an inclusion of this kiss in the snow, just isn't in the national interest. Rated X-ish. (He is a very bad man.)

issinghurst was the home of Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson. You can read about their unconventional marriage in a book written by their son Nigel Nicolson, with chapters from Vita's diary, called Portrait of a Marriage. Harold and Vita built this garden themselves and it is a little bit of heaven. We went in May and we were there almost alone, although not much in the famous White Garden was in bloom. It didn't matter to us; the stroll through the blooming apple orchard more than made up for it. Two video views:

Snowshill Manor Garden

nowshill is one of the twenty-six gardens we visited. I was sitting on a stone bench in the garden waiting for Joe to find his way back to me, noticing how great the texture of the small leaves/large leaves in the plantings looked. I was admiring this darling little "house" in the garden, thinking about who might have lived there; whoever it was must have been very short -- I would have had to bend over to get through the wooden door. There was a stone on the wall, engraved with one of my favorite quotes:

Hours Fly ~ Flowers Die ~ New Days New Ways Pass By ~ Love Stays.

wrote the quote in my English Diary, and took pictures. I admired the pink roses climbing on the side of the house, and then I noticed there were white doves sitting on the stone-shingled roof. Suddenly one of them flew into an opening in the roof; then another and another. That got me up, I went over and peeked through the holes in the little door -- it wasn't a house (no, I wouldn't be moving in after all); it wasn't for garden storage, it was entirely open inside, the whole thing, two stories, handmade from Cotswold stone, was a dovecote. A house for doves.

From the tea room at Snowshill you can look out on all of England. Did I tell you that every garden we visited had a tea room? Yes, they do. And a gift shop too! Want to see more of Snowshill and other gardens near by?


ritish Country Living is a wonderful magazine. I save all my issues. A subscription is expensive because it comes all the way from England, but it's like Christmas every month, waiting for it to arrive; it's so full of inspiration! I take it to lunch. Just me and my Country Living. You can sometimes find it in large bookstores or magazine stands. To get a subscription go to




he Cotswolds painted with exactly the same kind of charm we found when we were there... by G.E. Nicolls in the book published in 1908.


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