Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Typical country scene with not-so-typical history


Last Monday bank hols we had intended to visit the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum north of Chichester but when we got there eventually (having entered the wrong coordinates and unfairly blamed our bossy new SatNav lady), we discovered the rest of the world was visiting too because there was some sort of an event with tractors and steam rollers.  So wimpishly I backed out from the packed car park and visited the famous West Dean gardens instead next door.  So glad we did so as it was fantastic, a beautiful and relatively peaceful park with amazing restored Victorian greenhouses just full of gorgeous plants (see pic of specimen).  The series of walled gardens are a veg growers dream and the apple trees were shaped into globes and hoops which made me all the more conscious of my unkempt trees here which, incidentally, are blossoming wildly at the mo, so it will be apple crumble for lunch next winter as usual. 

Where was I?  Oh yes, in order to avoid death duties Edward James, the former owner of the house, left much of his fortune to the West Dean Foundation which was to be an educational foundation for the creative crafts and you can, for instance, do a course in metal work or painting there. The house itself looks conventional enough but its owner was far from conventional as you'll see if you click on the links. Amazingly, in complete contrast to this charmingly typical large English estate, he created a Surrealist sculpture park in the Mexican jungle, Las Pozas.  For more history of West Dean click here

More photos to follow eventually. Stuck on camera at present. Photo credits West Dean.

6 comments:

Dan said...

Love your photos and writing! What type of camera do you use?

Susie Vereker said...

I just use an ordinary automatic Olympus, am a complete amateur. Glad you like the writing!

ramblingfancy said...

How lovely it looks! Glad the event at the Open Air Museum didn't in fact spoil your day at all! I've recently joined the HHA as I hope to be visiting lots on upcoming holiday, but see this is one that's on the "Free to Members" list so will have to try to go myself one weekend!

Talli Roland said...

Beautiful photos. I wish I could transport myself there.

LindyLouMac said...

Although the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum used to be well worth a visit (this was many years ago though) I somehow think you made the right choice in West Dean. I do not know you in real life but you come across as a great lover of gardens. I certainly enjoy your posts that keep me in touch with English country gardens.

JJ Beattie said...

Susie, it's gorgeous. It's not terribly far from my parents' house but I've never been. Perhaps this summer...