High Summer in Oxfordshire

2 August 2015
Ben Pentreath

It’s been a perfect weekend in Oxfordshire, of high summer gardens and the blue moon.  We were staying at Wardington, but on the way, leaving London lazily on Saturday morning (after Arthur’s leaving party from the office the night before), we decided to stop briefly at Rousham – which has to be one of the most heavenly gardens in England.


I realise that every time I visit Rousham I pretty much take exactly the same photographs. I am sure you won’t mind.P1090585

The walled garden was sublime and full to bursting.P1090592 P1090593 P1090594 P1090598

…even if Charlie’s sweet peas are a bit better this year! But the hollyhocks were a dream.P1090601

And the gladioli were something else. Incredible.P1090603

In the dovecot garden, the foxgloves that we saw when we visited from the office a year ago (which you can see here) were over…P1090606

But the cherries were out.P1090608

And the dahlia border was about to burst into life.P1090611 P1090615

I love the glimpses back to Kent’s superb stable block.P1090616

Santa Claus:P1090617 P1090621

I adore Rousham, and so does Charlie. It’s the first time he and I had been together. Short, but wonderful. P1090623 P1090625 P1090637

We day dreamed of getting some chickens with strange socks.P1090643 P1090644 And of visiting Gifford’s circus, which I think we have missed this year…. not enough weekends.

And then we left, and drove to Wardington, where we found another slice of high summer heaven.P1090651 P1090652

Tea on the terrace:P1090663

Violence on the croquet lawn:P1090665

Followed by victory…. P1090670 P1090671 P1090678 P1090679 P1090683

I popped over the lane to enjoy Bridgie’s flower field, which we are all familiar with now, I suspect, from blogs past.  She kept on saying it looked dreadful, but I am afraid I was not able to agree.P1090689 P1090690 P1090694 P1090695 P1090698 P1090700 P1090708 P1090709

The new Dahlia borders, which only back in June looked like this:


Now look like this:
P1090712 P1090714 P1090717

Bonkers. I’ve never known anyone with quite so much energy as Bridget.  And I’m not quite sure how she manages to make her plants grow with quite so much enthusiasm, but then that’s the land gardeners for you.

The meadow was looking soft and hazy….P1090721 P1090723

Hydrangeas and white buddleja abundant.P1090742

I had my little walk around the garden, but soon settled back into the banter and laughter of the happy Sunday evening, and we realised that time had flown so fast today it was unreal, as if we were in a dream.  We are staying here tonight too, as we have an early meeting tomorrow up this way, and I’m writing now in the beautiful oak panelled library that you saw earlier. This gentle, rambling house is completely silent and still, and soon it is time for bed.

In a week or two, Charlie and I will be in Italy. We sat lazing in the August heat this afternoon wondering why on earth we want to leave the drowsy magic of England in high summer – although secretly I will admit I almost cannot wait for the different perspective that a real change of scenery brings.

9 comments on this post


The flowers you show us–especially the dahlias and RIDICULOUS hollyhocks make me wonder if there isn’t something different about the air in England. I don’t see the like here in Massachusetts and certainly not in my garden.

Christine Hærrasays:

Much inspiration to be found in these pictures!!! Cosmos inside and good chairs outside – thank you.. C

I’m a little jealous of your weekend! It looks beautiful there and I can only hope to make the trip there one day.


So nice and relaxing. And nostalgic, as we left Oxford(shire)a few years ago. Sea versus country. What do you think? Best, Nicola

Absolutely fabulous Ben, I am leaving Bermuda tonight for UK, now I just can’t wait !

Glorious. I’m itching to share similar vistas on my trip to Scotland towards the end of the month. Will you be back in Blighty by the 4th September? I want to come and see the shop.

I have been intending to visited Rousham and now it has become a must.
Today I saw Giffords setting up their tents on Minchinhampton Common where they will be until 17th August before moving on to Marlborough Common.

Deby (in Canada)says:

What a weekend Ben… as always thanks for sharing! Cheers


Thank you Ben for restoring my equilibrium. Beautiful way to start the week.
Many thanks
Karen NZ

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