We have just returned from a little jolly to the West Country. The focus of our visit was Glastonbury, to help a friend celebrate his 50th birthday, and I hope I’m as positive about it when it’s my turn. We travelled down on Friday and stopped for lunch at Lacock, in Wiltshire, a delightful little village, plus abbey owned by the National Trust and used as a location for a good deal of film and television. The cloisters are particularly stunning and have been used for Harry Potter films, as well as more recently for the BBC’s Hollow Crown series. In the Great Hall of the abbey were a few of the costumes from the Hollow Crown, which were every bit as sumptuous in real life as they appeared on the screen.
Lacock Abbey is also associated with Henry Fox Talbot, instrumental in the invention of photography, and his daughters who were all extremely talented artists. Talbot also loved plants and kept a Botanic Garden, which is tended now by Trust staff. It was looking a little end-of-season but all the best gardens are at the moment, aren’t they?
Some general views of borders and glasshouse:
I was particularly impressed with the way this blue-flowered giant managed to get through the glasshouse roof (possible something to do with why the door was roped off!):
Lots of lovely flowers still in bloom after the hot weather of last week – some very pretty cosmos varieties:
This, which I thought looked like alien heads:
And more than enough to keep everyone happy whatever your favourites:
Next to the botanic garden are the allotments used by the villagers which we could peek inside, to be greeted by a lovely display of dahlias:
Though I was most impressed by the sunflower popping its head over the allotment wall!
Yesterday we had a wander round Glastonbury and of course we visited the Abbey, which has extensive grounds with ponds and an orchard. The tree which everyone comes to see, though is the Thorn:
The original Thorn grew on Wearyall (or Wirral) Hill, just south of the town, and is said to have sprouted from Joseph of Arimathea’s staff. It is a variety of hawthorn which flowers twice a year, in spring and midwinter. The original was cut down and burned in the 17th century by the Puritans in an attempt to suppress the superstitions about it, but grafts had already been taken. The one in the Abbey grounds apparently died in the early 1990s so presumably the one which we saw has been grown from a graft since then. A grafted thorn was replanted on Wearyall Hill in 1951 but had its branches cut off in 2010; other saplings have been planted there but for some reason the vandalism continues. Perhaps someone disapproves of the superstitions and is still trying to stamp them out.