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19 June 2016
Ben Pentreath

I arrived in Dorset late-ish on Friday night, at the end of a very long week. There is nothing in the world more happy than being met by Charlie at Dorchester Station at eight in the evening and driving home through summer haze to find the garden looking like a glowing jewel.P1010532 P1010533 P1010534

Crazy stuff had been happening – which is of course what happens when you go away for ten days in the month of June.
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Great shafts of sunshine struck across the garden and the facade of the house.P1010543 P1010544 P1010546 P1010547 P1010548

The meadow and the beech tree glowed.P1010551 P1010553 P1010558

Mavis gave a quick demonstration of why she won the naughtiest dog in the Dog Show. Although normally she is very good, it must be said.P1010561 P1010567 P1010568 P1010570 P1010572 P1010578 P1010582 P1010585 P1010591 P1010594 P1010595 P1010600

Charlie has been planting hundreds of foxgloves. This is their first year. I’m wondering what it will be like next?P1010609 P1010610 P1010611 P1010616

Mum and Dad were staying and they arrived on Saturday morning. We decided to potter over to Powerstock for lunch in the pub, The Three Horseshoes, which was excellent, as usual. Although the place was curiously deserted – maybe everyone was in the Food and Beer Festival in Bridport?

I’ve always loved this little thatched house opposite the pub. Perfect.

After lunch we explored a little, and popped into the church, which I don’t think I’ve been in since the christening of my godson Gabriel some 8 or 9 years ago now?P1010643 P1010646

It’s an incredibly beautiful building, serene, full of treasures.P1010651 P1010654 P1010660

Charlie and I loved this windowsill filled with flower jugs.
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It is always lovely driving back across Eggardon Hill. P1010675

Back home, the mist and rain was settling in – that has been with us for the rest of the weekend. But the garden has looked extraordinarily beautiful in this soft grey light.P1010738 P1010739 P1010740 P1010745 P1010749 P1010750 P1010760 P1010777 P1010780

We’ve done very little today. I took Mum & Dad for a little tour of recent projects, in Poundbury and down to Weymouth, where we pottered around the harbour looking as beautiful as ever (in the rain).  We got home to a classic English summer’s afternoon.P1010713 P1010715 P1010716 While we were in Scotland our painter Andy very kindly repainted the kitchen – as I think I may have mentioned might be happening in an earlier blog…. do you remember? Goodbye orange. Hello GLOSS yellow. It is really spectacular – I don’t think I’ve been in such a happy room for a very long time. I’m not sure photographs can quite convey the sense of having floated into the middle of a shiny egg yolk.
P1010723 P1010725 P1010727 You see what I mean?   The paint, incidentally, was one of those ones off the Dulux colour chart (with about 5000 colours). We picked one of the brightest yellows, can’t quite remember the code number I’m afraid, but you get the point. Basic is best.

This afternoon, for tea, we met a couple of blog readers, Chris and Mike, who had come all the way from Christchurch NZ to Dorset. I’d spied a comment they had written on the blog that they might be coming, and we got in touch (so you never know! I do read the comments!!)  A lovely afternoon chatting and wandering around the village in the pouring rain and realising that it is a very small world indeed.

It’s good to get home when you’ve been away, which I sometimes wonder is the purpose of going away at all. Travel energises the mind and lets you experience wonderful new things; but then you get home and realise that your tiny little corner of this big wide earth is the one you love most of all, and are happiest in. I’ve always felt that, and never more so than tonight, in the Parsonage, with Charlie sitting doing a bit of writing on his laptop and my sitting doing this bit of writing on mine, by the embers of a slowly dying fire, while an autumnal storm rages outside the windows, and Mum and Dad are asleep upstairs, and Mavis is chewing her bone in the kitchen. Home. It’s a powerful, resonating word and it’s never felt better.

40 comments on this post


I’m struggling with colours for our own house, and would love to know which colour is on your drawing room/sitting room walls, please?

susan herbstersays:

So glad to have stumbled upon your site thanks to Kristin Nicholas. Photos of your garden are breathtaking. Absolutely love the yellow kitchen. Waiting to see more.


A complete treat. Thank you for sharing your family and your home, Ben.
Love the yellow kitchen and Mavis, of course,whether solo portrait or sighting. But this time, my favorite? The swing! Slow sweeps feet dragging through grasses before pump and pump and pump to catch the breezes. Ahhh.

Clay McCleerysays:

You’re such an inspiration. Have owned your book, “English Decoration”, for a few years, now. And, yes, your parsonage is my favorite place. It gives me many ideas for my own cottage, circa 1861.
Continued success!

sue costellosays:

ben, love, love the pale pink roses in the big, white ironstone vase. what type? a david austin? … and more garden pics never get tired of seeing more. thx u!!!! s.

Pierre B.says:

Beside the picture of Charlie and Ben’s parents, my favorite this time the one showing the house opposite the pub. I could live there… if there is a garden and if people coming out of the pub at night dont’t make too much noise.


I do think the insides of digitalis petticoats are one of my very most favourite things. Your photograph is beautiful.

You sound so happy, Ben, in your last paragraph. Happy and contented. It was so nice to read. (Though if you don’t mind me saying, I did have nostalgic wafts of The Woodentops…”and there we must leave them, playing quietly in the warm sunshine. Mr and Mrs Woodentop and Spotty Dog, saying goodbye, goodbye, goodbye…”. Which for some reason is a very lovely memory from childhood).


Charlie’s arrangement of the most delightful palest pink roses in that stunning vintage white vase took my breath away. So pretty.


Oh the push/pull of the old country is extra strong this week, even though I’m lucky enough to have been able to decamp to a peaceful cabin overlooking beautiful Okanagan Lake for a few weeks. Your blog, especially your closing paragraph made me think of windy, rainy evenings in the hilltop cottage I lived in in deepest Somerset, wood fire burning, Fairport Convention on the turntable, dog snoring, my ex reading and me feeling content.


Nothing like home, and yours is looking particularly lovely in the summer light. As per Anne’s comment above, your London home fills the cover of Conde Nast H&G South Africa July issue


Where to start? Perhaps with the fab foxgloves (most are biennial); Mavis’s range of expressions; your Ma and her recently acquired son; and the sheer abundance reflecting the hard graft that’s gone before. I also use pots on canes to prevent putting my eye out and deter unwanted fauna guests. Best, Nicola


Didn’t think any photo could be better than Mavis and Carl, but the one of Charlie and your parents might be. You are indeed a very lucky man to have found your home, in all senses.

And thank you for sharing it with us.

From my home, now bursting with peonies, in Maine……


Looks like you had a perfectly idyllic weekend. The garden looks superb & Charlie’s new herbaceous borders are an absolute triumph!


Ooh, Mavis! I recognise that look – I have two dogs who can perfect that guilty yet innocent aura.

I love your posts, always such a lovely Monday treat. Looking forward to your new book.

Nicola Lawrenceesays:

Dear Ben – I too loved that photo of your parents and Charlie – heartwarming – happiness emanating from all. The sitting room looks so beautiful – and the sunny ‘new’ kitchen – but your final words about Home and the image you evoked, are perfect xx

beautiful post as always. love, love the kitchen.


That was gorgeous. I am totally in agreement with whoever said your posts have restorative properties! As a mother of three young children it is so nice to have time-out and to sit and look at your beautiful photos. Great to see you in ‘NZ House and Garden’ too.
My brother is in London, near Rugby St. so he will be dispatched to your store…when it’s close to my birthday time! Take care.


Brenda and AnnK, my dad used to put little clay pots on canes above his dahlias in order to catch earwigs!
Always a pleasure to receive the email notification of a new post and look forward to the delights therein. Gorgeous!

Will use this post, slowly scrolling thru your garden pics, mown meadow, taller meadow, clipped low hedges. Repeat. Love this style, been doing it decades. Until.

Beloved. We’ve bought a ca. 1900 American farmhouse, 4.5 acres.

American male wanting his mono-turf, zoysia, mowed weekly, fertilized heavily, oh my.

Beloved is taking over my precious meadow, for his zoysia. Until then, he clips the gorgeous pink & white clover to nubbins. All the other good things in the clover, Queen Ann’s lace, etc. nubbins too.

Any suggestions about a garden for a pair like us? Aside from buying the farm next store if it ever goes for sale?

Monet’s yellow dining room, love your kitchen.

Garden & Be Well, XOT


Your blog has magical restorative properties for the world weary soul, after a relentlessly sad and depressing week your writing and photos are as reassuring as a hug. You should be on the NHS!

Louise Summerssays:

Yes – “holy ground” is good. Always a delight to see what you notice and record and share, whether buildings, paint, flowers or flower-eating dog. Thank you.


WOWEE on the yellow paint in the kitchen. That will wake you up in the morning. Really, really like it.
As always, thanks again for sharing.


Another Rebecca, and while I’ve commented before, I don’t comment often. But this post has brought me out — so many lovely pictures conveying such a strong sense of love, comfort, and home. You and Charlie each have that gift, and combined it’s remarkable.

I particularly enjoyed the photo with your parents and Charlie and the new yellow kitchen (I’ve had a yellow kitchen, and bedroom, for years because in my northern climate I have to make my own sunshine). The foxgloves are magnificent! Happy summer to you both…


Your blog is my Monday Morning Inspiration in Chicago. My MOST favorite picture today was the brilliant loving smiling gaze your mom mom is shining on Charlie in the porch picture. It went straight to my “mother-in-law” heart. I will smile all week just because of the sheer joy in that shot. Thanks for sharing your talents and the beauty of England.

Sharon Chansays:

Really love the WOW yellow. Have been contemplating painting our family room yellow, and wondering what on earth goes with it? I see the black frames, dark wood, and white trim ground it very well. I think I have the courage now to proceed. Maybe some navy? I bet one of your lamp shades would go well….

Coming to Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset in the coming weeks from Texas. Looking forward to visiting Lanhydrock, Antony, Saltram, Athelhampton, Mapperton, and Forde Abbey. National Trust and HHA cards in hand!

Thank you for these lovely posts. Seeing them each week is so calming and makes my heart ache for the soft weathered stone and rolling happy greenness that is England.



I second Brenda’s question about the use of those little clay pots on sticks in the garden. I’m in the US Southwestern high desert and have never seen such a thing. And I, too, look forward to your lovely posts each week.


Your photos illustrate beautuifully in all their gorgeousness what we adore about England even if we are looking at them on a horrifically soaking Monday morning in JUNE!


Wonderful to see your lovely parents here again!


Can you please tell what it means to have clay pots turned upside down on sticks in the garden? I often see this in British gardens and find it most attractive. Thank you.

Gisela Barringtonsays:

Love your new kitchen in yellow. It looks very familiar, you must have pinched the idea from me……. it’s the most uplifting stress relieving colour for rainy summer and dark winter days, and I had it for more than a decade now. Can be wiped clean, yours looks glossy too!
Was pleased to read that your foxgloves were planted in the hundreds……just started to get jealous, but as we did not plant any and left the job to the birds I cannot really expect to have a stunning show like you have…..
Your garden is magical and every monday i search for your blog! Thank you so much for sharing.

Jane Nicholsonsays:

Beautiful photos of lovely places as usual; very cheering on a grey London Monday.


Ben- I love coming for a visit to your corner of the world, for all the same reasons mentioned by my country woman, Rebecca-and every once in a while I have a serious heart pang when I think that you might ever get tired of sharing the beauty, kindliness, and sheer joy of life& love that is so evident here..


aha! gloss paint in the kitchen. Reminds me of something…. x

Mary Jenkinssays:

I have visited Powerstock for many years and, like you, love the house opposite! We were in the Three Horseshoes a few weeks ago and again it was very quiet! We asked the publicans if they had heard of you and read your blog, but they hadn’t! I do hope they do now? It’s a magical place, but the road out climbing to Eggerton Hill is really scary?


Don’t let it go to your head-but I have to agree with the post from Rebecca. Please keep posting.


Ben just want you and Charlie to know how much I enjoyed the article in the New Zealand House and Garden mag. Have been following you for ages so really exciting to see your London house in the magazine. Hope they are planning an article on you country house and garden.


ben, I am just back from the Cotswolds and the Lakes. It was my first trip to that part of England and to have been there during rose and foxglove season was just the best. Our trip was planned around literary women with gardens and so we went to sissinghurst, monks house, charleston, and hill top. We were in Hawkshead for the Queen’s birthday weekend and there was little happening as the village had put all energy and enthusiasm into the Rose Queen celebration (a middle school event). We saw a maypole dance, the 11 year old queen parading through the village accompanied by a decorated jeep and a small marching band. with each stop I thought of your home and the others that you’ve shared with us.


We are in a hotel in Singapore about to fly the last leg of our journey HOME to Australia. We have been away, mostly in Britain, for eight weeks. We visited your marvellous shop on our first day in London and bought a treasure to take home. We have the same narcissis yellow and love it. It is warmth and joy. We love your blog and your rich positive love of life. Thank you for all the goodness you pour into your writing. Your homes, garden and lives are a true inspiration.

Ben–I live in a tiny village in rural northwest Montana, not far from the Canadian border. I don’t know when I discovered your blog–perhaps, after I purchased your lovely first book. I’ve never commented on any blog before. But, tonight I feel compelled to tell you how much you have enriched my life with your wholeheartedness in how you live in beauty and love. You seem to know you are on holy ground. I am so happy on Sunday evenings to find your post. I pour myself a glass of wine and slowly, slowly look at your photos and treasure your report of another week. This week in America has been crushingly difficult–to find you full of love tonight is such a balm for my sadness. Thank you.


Lovely post, as always. I was a little sad about the kitchen because the original color always reminded me of the entrance hall of Hicks’ Grove, but the yellow is pretty fab.
Looking forward to a post on the new doings in your apartment in London, which I’ve seen bits & pieces of on Instagram.

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