Sunset at Wardington

8 June 2015
Ben Pentreath

Charlie and I were staying in Oxfordshire this weekend – at Wardington, which I’ve written about before… the beautiful house owned by his friends the Elworthys and which has become a quietly regular feature, from time to time, on the blog.

Rolling out of sunny London to Banbury on Friday evening was bliss…. I love journeys from Marylebone Station, in any event, which always seems as if it is a toy station.  Charlie had driven up from Dorset and we were both immediately enveloped in the warm glow of Wardington… Bridget’s delicious, fresh cooking; soft four-poster beds, low leaded-light windows with long views over the garden.

The house has beautiful interiors, and some very unusual plasterwork, installed during the Arts & Crafts re-building programme. This is the stair to our bedroom:
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On Saturday evening, just before supper, I went for a walk around the garden, camera in hand.
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Bridget’s garden is completely inspirational. Together with the flower meadow that I’ve written about before, it forms the background to the business she runs with Henrietta Courtauld, the Land Gardeners.  Bridget holds courses here and it is from the tall library at Wardington that she and Henrietta design gardens and planting schemes.

One of my favourite areas is the meadow and orchard.P1070611 P1070615 P1070616 P1070618 P1070619 P1070620 P1070621 P1070622

After supper, at dusk, Charlie and I went for a walk down to the lake – past Bridget’s newly-planted dahlia beds. They ran out of room in the flower meadow for dahlias.  P1070625

Right at the bottom of the garden is a lake that is surrounded by classic Edwardian planting of rhododendron and azaleas, and where a boat house is tucked into the bank.
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We returned to the house and the long iris borders glowed in that particular moment when the sun has gone but everything seems brighter than before. The evening air was heavy with the scent of these beautiful flowers.P1070650 P1070651

It was a quiet, still, perfect end to an amazing day – when we had earlier visited the remarkable Pavilions at Stoke Park, up towards Towcester… but that is going to be another story.


I can’t believe, I am sure that you can’t believe, how quickly we are rushing towards high summer. In the shop, Bridie and I (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT) are designing our range of Christmas Cards, which are going to be letterpress printed for us soon. ‘What are you doing for New Year?’, I jokingly asked someone yesterday. But only half-jokingly, perhaps.

18 comments on this post

flowers are always beautiful, those pictures of flowers says SUMMER! 🙂
My little gilr says ‘mummy, flower light, 🙂
She add light end of star, flower and butterfly 🙂
Thanks x x


I so enjoyed your garden photos and the iris were amazing. We are in a severe drought here in California and just thinking about the amount of water that garden requires makes me envious.


Oh I dunno – why stop at newel posts (which, admittedly, are newel posts to stump all newel posts)? I also have slanting-sunlight envy, lichened stone wall envy, summer meadow envy… a host of golden envies. Though not so much envy, really, as a delicious yearning; the sort one has for a dream which still feels fresh and tangible on waking, but which is quickly overlain by the demands of that other world, where there is washing to be done, stairs to be hoovered and dog hair everywhere…

Ben, Thank you for helping me start the day with such beautiful inspiration. I agree with Deborah, those newel posts are real stunners.
xo, lissy

Deby (in Canada)says:

Oh Ben Looks like summer has truly arrived… what bliss Wardington is!
We are blessed to share in the bounty…

xo Deby

Those newel posts are like Marilyn Monroe: showstoppers, and curvy in all the right places.

Our West Highland terrier is named Iris, so I see her lovely face in every one. What a garden! (And what a hell of a lot of work it must take to keep it looking like that—and yours too, Ben.)

Oh, to be in England…and I will be! We are attending our nephew’s nuptials in Victoria Park, Bath, on June 20, followed by a couple of days somewhere in the depths of Belgravia. We plan to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden, so it will be a gardeny vacation.

Thanks, as always.




Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse… I now have NEWEL POST envy!! Thank goodness for the washing. And, yes, I have four blue iris. I counted. Best, Nicola


I am choking with envy–how do they get their irises and lupins to THRIVE like that.

Bearded irises – what nostalgia for my grandmother’s garden back home in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was like an English garden transported and transplanted on the hills above Christchurch and bearded irises were her favourite.

Ben, thanks for this lovely post! I recall a previous Wardington post, which included one of my all-time favorite Ben photos, of the boat house. Today I really enjoyed the photo of the meadow and orchard, where, it appears, they grow pristine shirts and stripey dresses in addition to fruit!

Please, let’s not hear about Christmas–! (Much as I love it!) I spent the weekend building the footer and first two courses of a low rock wall that will form another little terrace on a small hill off my patio. Above the wall is a row of skyrocket junipers, doing their finest impression of Tuscan cypresses, and the veg beds behind them are in full swing! So no winter, please 🙂

Hugs to you and Charlie,



Peace and bliss!

Gosh, I had to laugh at your description of Marylebone station – it is so true! I used to commute to Marylebone every day for six years while working in London and never tired of the place or its little businesses tucked into little corners – the old barber shop, the florist.

The garden borders of Wardington look spectacular and it appears you’ve arrived at the perfect time of year to enjoy them. Heaven!

Your post was truly inspirational. Thank you for sharing such wonderful photographs of such a beautiful house and garden. It really looks like a picture postcard of a perfect English country home and garden. Lucky you!

Oh to be in England, now that summer’s here, (April being a bit of a moveable feast). Actually the meadow reminds me very much of the garden in Scotland, to which I hope we shall return before it all falls apart, (the weather, not the country).

Good morning, thank you for my Monday morning fix of your delicious photos, even if I lurked at dusk in my garden I cannot believe I would take photos with a light as lovely as the one you always seem to capture. I am going to join the chorus – book please!

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