Don't worry dear reader! Matron does not do flowers. I went on a pilgrimage of sorts yesterday to the home of W.S.Gilbert - (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame) Grims Dyke
in North London.
This beautiful Victorian building was the home of Sir William and Lady Gilbert from 1890 until his untimely death in the boating lake here in 1911. The house was used during World War 2 for military intelligence projects which were associated with Bletchley Park.
Whilst Sir William Gilbert modernised and rebuilt much of the house (and wrote just a few light Operas with his friend Sir Arthur Sullivan) Lady Gilbert set her mind on renovating the 40 acres of grounds and gardens which had been overlooked and overgrown for many years. She planted many flowers that bloom in the Spring!
I was filled to the brim with Girlish glee to see Lady Gilbert's orchard which still stands today, many of the original trees are here, some rare Victorian species of apple such as Ribston Pippin, and apple varieties local to Middlesex and Hertfordshire. Today the orchard is maintained by volunteers from the London Orchard Project
So with cat like tread I made my way through the old apple trees and the dear little buttercups underfoot.
So I made my way to the very model of a modern vegetable garden... but was frankly, a bit disappointed. This beautiful kitchen garden was full of FLOWERS!! Pah! You can see the huge leylandii tree in the background which is completely shading out the beautiful South facing greenhouses where, in former years were planted peaches, melons and vines. On this tree by a river a little Tom tit sang willow, tit willow, tit willow.......
Still fairly well maintained, there were the remains of a fine veggie garden about this location, I wish I could get my hands on it and bring it back to it's former glory! In my mind there is little more exciting than a productive, walled vegetable garden - but sad to say this was full of tulips today.... more to follow in Part 2