Saturday, June 13, 2009

At Morville - Part One

"I came here to make a garden. In the red earth I find fragments of blue-and-white willow-pattern china, white marble floor- tiles, rusted iron nails. A litter of broken clay pipes in the flower-beds, their air holes stopped with soil. Opaque slivers of medieval glass, blue as snowmelt. Flat wedges of earthenware dishes with notched rims and looping patterns of cream and brown. Who drank from that cup, who smoked that pipe, who looked through that window? Did they stand as I stand now, watching the clouds on the hillside?"

It was this sentence from Katherine Swift's book 'The Morville Hours' that made me want to read it; once I'd read it I wanted, of course, to visit the garden. It isn't that far away from where we live, it wasn't out of reach - a visit would be possible, easy in fact, and so it turned out to be.

A sharp turn from the main road and an avenue of trees brings you to the grounds of the hall and the church with the wonderful rolling, wooded hills behind. It was hard to take a photo that captured the atmosphere of the vastness of the skies and the beauty of the hills. The one below shows a little of it behind one of the two lodges either side of the main hall.

You are guided to park in the churchyard and I'll return to this lovely church later

We walked towards the hall, but of course, the place we were headed to was The Dower House, the small building behind the wall immediately right of the main hall in the photo below.

The Dower House at Morville - just as I'd imagined it. The entrance hall, where tickets were available, as well as other goodies, was lined with books from floor to ceiling. We bought our tickets from a gentleman who informed us that scones and tea would be available from 3p.m. onwards in the little courtyard at the side of the house and that the author of the book, Katherine Swift, was at present in the kitchen baking them; he also asked where we had heard about the garden and told us about the BBC's book at bedtime recording the transmissions in the garden. We felt very welcome.

The garden at The Dower House was designed to tell the history of the Hall and the people who have lived on the site over the years.

Here are a selection of photos of the garden...

The Cloister Garden which reflects the fact that Benedictine monks came from Shrewsbury Abbey in the 12th century and built the church here.

The Tudor Knot Garden

The Canal Garden

The Victorian Rose Border

We sat for a while on these chairs at the end of the Pear Tunnel just listening to the birds singing, the bees humming and the happy voices of visitors discovering new things at each corner they turned. Nearby a water colour artist was painting the Alium flowers in the Fruit and Vegetable Garden.

The Turf Maze is the symbol of the past meeting the present and the central hub of all the other gardens

In the Ivy garden visitors were gathering for the promised scones at 3p.m.

First in line was this elderly chap in his favourite place outside the kitchen door - the last, we were told, of the three cats often mentioned in the book.


  1. Lovely photos! Thank you for such an articulate tour!

  2. It looks like a beautiful setting to enjoy tea and scones!

  3. I love all the different gardens..a gorgeous mixture!

  4. Thank you for the photos. I think it maybe time for me to visit again. I missed the scones last time!


  5. Beautiful Garden! Thanks for posting the photo's.
    big hugs, bethxxx

  6. Hello Rosie
    Its so good to be back and I am going to take some time with tea and cookies to read your wonderfull always very interesting and lovely!
    Have a happy Sunday.:))

  7. It might not be far from where you live, but it took ages to get here!! but I have enjoyed every minute of the detour and arriving was so worth it!! You have shown me places I didnt even know existed!!! And my "places to visit" list is as long as my arm now. You made me really want to explore that wonderful garden. xxx

  8. Oh, I love the canal garden, the ivy garden, the kitchen door. LOL. Thanks you for the beautiful post. :)

  9. I am just catching up with your posts, what a lot of beautiful photographs you have taken. Bridgenorth is familiar to me but I have not heard about Morville, it is definitely on my wish list.

  10. This looks such a lovely garden, just the sort of place I'd love to visit, Shropshire isn't that far but would need to be an overnight stay I think - must look at a map!

  11. the corner of one of the gardens with the white whimsical chairs are my favorite, as well as the last pic - it all looks so restful and romantic - thanks so much for sharing!

  12. O..I discovered your playlist...silly the music:))

  13. I always enjoy the 'Corners of your Mind', Rosie... Your photos and narration are always such a delight. Thanks for the wonderful journey, I enjoyed it :D
    Have a wonderful day...

  14. Katherine Swift's book The Morville Hours is one of my favourite books on gardening through the year (and much, much more). I never tire of dipping into it. I had no idea that you could visit the house so I've enjoyed your account of your 2009 time there.
    Happy weekend, Rosie, and I hope the snow has melted where you are. The birds will be happier when the weather improves.