The Collector Earl's Gardens
We had time to fill after a very early lunch and before the Second Battle between the Rebels and Duke Some-one-or-other (for the King). We had already missed the First Battle - the dead were just being cheered back to life as we walked past.
It was properly sunny, and warmer now, and we meandered along to this part of the grounds, which were new since we had last come.
What a lovely, lovely place this is. Witty, and charming, with "stone" buildings and urns and fountains which all turned out to be made of green oak. The overall colour scheme throughout the gardens was this purple colour. Apart from this beautiful cloud of sky blue ceanothus.
It was when I took a closer look at this folly that I realised that everything was made of oak, not stone.
This is the interior.
The decorations are all made of mosses, and dried flower heads, and pine cones.
It would be the perfect place for a Summer party, with canapés and cocktails and champagne and Pimms, with hog roasts and entertainment and outdoor opera, with Punch and Judy and croquet and fancy dress, with music and dancing and ... a perfect place.
There was room for everyone; the atmosphere was light-hearted and informal, the flowers so pretty, the fountains entrancing, the gazebos amusing. Just delightful.
There was a maze mown into the lawn. Several families were walking the maze, or else picnicking in the centre.
That's the Catholic Cathedral. To the left is a grotto with a fountain inside.....
.... decorated with sea shells, and a golden crown is perched on top of the water jet, turning and turning and turning...
Beyond the maze lawn is an extraodinary collection of uprooted trees, like some bizarre South American landscape...
Another purple border, with aliums this time, not tulips, leading to
leads to the organic kitchen gardens.
I would have been happy to have just seen the gardens.
Oh, and we missed the Second Battle, but luckily there was a Third Battle so that was alright.