Staying put

2 April 2017
Ben Pentreath

Spring is springing. We were sitting in the garden this evening, in warm sunshine, at half past six, thinking how strange it is that only a month ago it would have been cold and dark and we’d have been inside. The valley is filled with birdsong morning and night. I’ve even managed to get up and take Mavis for a walk in the mornings, it’s been so beautiful…  But other than that, we’ve been staying put.


Down at the bottom of the meadow, cowslips are really getting settled in. 

And pheasants eye, my favourite daffodil. We have one snakeshead and one white fritillary.  Both are in severe danger of being squashed in the relentless Mavis ball and stick games, but they’ve survived so far.
Have you noticed a couple of days now of clear, intense sunsets?

The light at the end of the guest bedroom corridor on Saturday evening was like being a Barragan house in Mexico.  Radiant.

This morning the light was particularly soft up on the hills.

I would say that the oak is out before the ash, again.  Another early, warm spring already?

We went for lunch today with Jasper and Oisin. Charlie had picked a modest bucket of flowers:

Their new house is more beautiful than anything you could imagine.  I’m afraid in a weekend of pottering around the Parsonage and garden, and just generally catching up, this magical, magical place was the only actually new thing that we saw and did. Which was pretty much perfect, but you will understand if I don’t post too many photographs.

Heavenly. Lunch turned in to tea.  We got back home around six, just as the sun came bursting through clouds again.

Tulip time has arrived in the vegetable garden this week.  

First of the parrots:

And as the sun went down, and the garden was filled with the sound of evening birdsong, and the church bell striking seven, then eight o clock – at that moment, London felt a very long way away, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad not to be on a train back up to the city tonight.

33 comments on this post

lillian sharpsays:

In my lifetime i have never seen such an exquisite perfect garden and exquisite photographs of exquisite landscapes .Thank you


Beautiful photographs and beautiful Mavis!

Peter Brownsays:

Your home and all you post couldnt be more lovable . It is all the essence of England, and a marvelous melange of well chosen and well loved things indoors, and an absolutely charming garden so well laid out and informal and nothing contrived ! Ill be back requently for more of this love. Thank you so much.

Victoria Firthsays:

A little late in seeing this post but glad I got to it. Gorgeous photos of Dorset; you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery. Such a great place to go for long walks. But, if I got to spend a week at your house and it poured with rain the whole time, I’d be just as happy looking through all of those World of Interior magazines stacked in your upstairs corridor. A house after my own heart!


Hello Ben,
Thank you for taking the time to write your lovely and inspirational blog. I do enjoy it. Could you tell me what varieties of tulips Charlie has grown? Especially the pink ones – did I see China Pink?

Kind regards Helen


Lovely, darlings x


The scenery shots of the English countryside are so gorgeous. Thank you for sharing.


Imagine my surprise when I walked into my library here in Massachusetts this morning and was immediately greeted by “English Houses” front row center in the New Book section!!!! Having followed you for a long time it was as though ‘oh, this is my good friend’s book and yes, I have already been a special guest at many of these homes already!’ Thank you for allowing us in the front door.


same! love your hallway! often wonder why i save me mags, good to see you and charlie do, also. everything/your photos so ancient, yet still a gentle foot print on the land….the delightful rock paved curved driveway dancing on the lawn. charlie’s garden is picturesque and evidence of a lotta’ hard work. thank you for sharing your rural england, dear ben.

a prosperous week to you both.



The scenery shots are so alluring. Thank you for sharing.

Penny Armstrongsays:

Your wonderful blog has gotten me through ‘the bleak mid-wiinter’ here in Ottawa, Canada where we have had ‘snow on snow on snow,’
we are weeks away from the sight of any lovely shoots coming up.
thank you for the dreamy pictures , portals to a beautiful place on the planet.


Simply heaven. (and Jasper C’s house looks wonderful too), thank you again for showing the very best of England at its loveliest.

Anne Guionsays:

Thanks for sharing such beautiful pictures! Makes me want to come to England, tomorrow!
Your gardens are breathtaking!!!
Have a great week!
Anne Guion

Alison Lewissays:

Just heavenly and quite rightly you stayed put. With a garden as yours in such a lovely setting why wouldn’t you do so. What a lovely playground for Mavis too!


Spring is always about new things – so you completed your brief. Absolutely beautiful. Best, Nicola

Dorothy Lindsaysays:

That’s not a modest bucket of flowers, Ben -it’s magnificent!


Your blog is my favorite all around. Love the way you capture natural beauty. And your dog, Mavis! I read and enjoy your photos here in Pacific Northwest, USA while sipping my morning tea or coffee with my beloved pets.


Always so beautiful. It makes me want to move to England. We still have snow with more snow on the way tomorrow. 🙁


Delightful Mavis looks as though she is having fun. So many tulips spring is no doubt much warmer in Dorset we are abundant with daffodils and blossom on the trees but that is about it up in the Midlands. We have just returned from a weekend in Malvern we were treated to wild primroses gorgeous yellow rapeseed in the fields and camellias and magnolias in full bloom. It was a cold frosty morning but the sun rose early and the mist swirled down below us from our view from the hills very atmospheric and beautiful. I agree with Annas comment spring gladdens the heart as if it was our first meeting. Glad you had a lovely weekend Ben once again thank you for sharing.

Randy Coxsays:

Thanks for sharing! Beautiful way to start the week.
Randy Cox in North Carolina

Dee Bowkersays:

How beautiful it all looks Ben. I agree, it comes as such a surprise and contrast when instead of being huddled by the log fire, there are longer evenings and burgeoning gardens to tend. How do you keep Mavis so slim, as I know how voracious the appetites of Labradors can be? She looks such a beautiful dog.


Breathtaking! I remember the photos of the packages of tulips you posted last fall. It’s grand to see the result of a lot of hard work. Thank you for sharing.


Oh, your garden! A true labour of love.

Isn’t it wonderful how everything about spring – the changing light, the green veil of new leaves, the lambs, the dazzling green of new grass – is so familiar yet is always so heart-stoppingly surprising?

Teresa Personsays:

Such a peaceful read….a beautiful calm in a hectic world……thank you for sharing your little piece of heaven on earth… Love Mavis❤️❤️ She is so sweet…. Teresa

Sarah Burgesssays:

Also just noticed your wonderful idea of how to store magazines – lined up on the floor. Wonderful, will try this myself ! Have them going back to the 1960s when my parents collected House & Garden.

deby(in Canada)says:

Oh Ben …. how do you ever drag yourself away? I guess for the joy in returning!
What a perfect weekend…it is such a tender image of you and Charlie sitting late in the garden hearing the church bells…
I also really loved what you shared about the visit to Chatsworth- it was Fanny’s birthday yesterday and I was inspired to gift her an outing to the exhibit (naturally to include afternoon tea)
Thanks for sharing and getting the week off to such a great start…
xo Deby

Sarah Burgesssays:

I love receiving your emails every week Ben, they really cheer me up. Is that the house featured in Broadchurch that I see?


How lovely, spectacular spring – have you considered opening the garden under the NGS scheme, you’d be a roaring success. We’d all bring cake! The abundance of tulips, absolutely stunning – we visited RHS Wisley plant centre at the weekend, felt like a child in a sweetshop and had to restrain myself., they have such a broad and interesting selection of everything/! Many thanks for lovely post, looking forward to being in Dorset next w.e.


just lovely, all your post; photos and texts. As usual!

Judith Haxtonsays:

Oh Ben. Beautiful flowers….. and light ….. Mavis ….. and all those magazines waiting to be read. Don’t have me as a guest I’d never leave !!!


I’m always enamoured of your photos but the sheer simplicity of these is breathtaking. Hard to pick a favourite- Mavis?(always adorable) the flower power? Perhaps that hallway shot with the transcendent light? No matter,a lovely way to end/start the week.

Victoria albertsays:

Your photographs were so beautiful. I agree, London seems a long way away.
Thank you for posting.

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