Bucket List of French Gardens

In my last post, I featured my bucket-list of gardens in the United Kingdom, a country which I have visited twice and could easily visit again! France falls into the same category. While I know there are many wonderful gardens to visit in other countries like Italy and Germany, I would still return to France to visit more gardens!

Please note that since I haven’t yet visited these gardens, I have used photographs of my own garden or other Australian gardens to illustrate this post. Below is my daughter Jen’s Spring photo of Giverny, one of the most famous French gardens. My feature photo for this post is the beautiful Guillot rose, Paul Bocuse.BlogFranceLoveAffair20%ReszdP1190241

We visited Monet’s beautiful and very popular garden at Giverny in 1994, but I would also love to visit Renoir’s garden, Les Collettes. We own the book Renoir’s Garden, written  by Derek Fell in 1991, in which it is described as ‘a vision of an earthly paradise’ and the photos certainly support that description! It looks like a lovely relaxed old garden and you can also explore the house and studio.

Musée Renoir
19 Chemin des Collettes
06800 Cagnes-sur-Mer

http://www.amb-cotedazur.com/renoir-museum-cagnes-sur-mer/

Originally a traditional working farm with ancient olive and orange groves and an old farmhouse, Renoir bought the 11 hectare estate in 1907, and commissioned architect, Jules Febvre, to design a new villa, which was finished in 1908. Here is a map of the garden and property from Page 100 – 101 of Derek Fell’s book:BlogBucketFranceReszd2517-09-18 18.50.02BlogBucketFranceReszd2517-09-18 18.50.19Despite his increasingly arthritic hands and a stroke in 1912, which left him bound to a wheelchair, Renoir still continued to work every day with assistance, spending each Winter at Les Collettes, and returning to Essoyes, the home town of his wife, Aline, in Burgundy each Summer.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1821Wide paths were constructed to accommodate a wheelchair and were lined with Nerium oleander, a Mediterranean native. Many  shade trees were planted like oaks, umbrella pines (Pinus pimea),  Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Canary Island Date Palms (Phoenix canariensis), Irish Strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo), a Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum), hawthorns (Crataegus species), Pepper trees (Schinus molle), Spindle trees (Euonymus species), loquat trees (photo above), Broad-leaved Lime or Linden trees (Tilia platyphyllos), flowering cherry and apricot trees, a golden bamboo grove (Phyllostachys aureosulcata), Pittosporum  tobira and Eucalyptus species, underplanted with blue bearded iris, red poppies, birds’ foot trefoil and ivy-leaved geraniums.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-21-11-21-08Shrubs include Shrub Verbena, Lantana camara; Philadelphus coronarius (photo above); Pyracantha coccinea, Indian hawthorne (Raphiolepsis indica) and lilacs, Syringa vulgaris (photo below). The walls of the farmhouse provided support for Tree Fuchsias, Oleander, Cape Plumbago, Solanum laciniatum, and Brugsmansia ( both white and salmon forms of Angel’s Trumpets).blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-10-11-44-53The formal gardens contain 4 rows of citrus trees, seven to each row – mainly oranges, tangerines and cumquats, interplanted with many beautiful scented pink roses, Renoir’s favourite flower. In fact, Henri Estable, a local rose breeder, named a shrub rose after Renoir in 1909, Painter Renoir, which is naturally growing in the garden! There are many climbing roses, growing over arches, including a massive Banksia rose (photo below).blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0289Other plants include succulents like aloes, variegated agave (Agave americana variegata) and Mexican yuccas (Beschorneria yuccoides); Bearded and Dutch Iris (photo below), cannas and agapanthus;  Ivy-leafed pelargoniums;  Lavender, rosemary, santolinas and dusty millar (Senecio bicolour cineraria); Echium fastuosum, cistus and hebes; White Margeurite daisies (Argyranthemum frutescens); Calendulas, gaillardia and nasturtiums; Dahlias and zinnias; Anchusa azurea and Bergenia cordifolia; and carnations and pink poppies.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0121 There are pots of arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica), cinerarias, papyrus and spider plants. There are also vegetable gardens, vineyards and orchards. Here is a photo of Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Green Goddess’ in our hydrangea bed.BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3039Renoir died in 1919, after which parts of  Les Collettes were sold off, so that by 1959, only 2½ hectares remained. In 1960, the house and the remaining estate were bought by the town of Cagnes-sur-Mer and turned  into a municipal museum, featuring the family’s furniture, fourteen original paintings and thirty sculptures by the master, including a version of Les Grandes Baigneuses.BlogFavNurseries50%Reszdjens visit jan 2010 051In July 2013, after 18 months of extensive renovation work, the Renoir Museum and the whole Collettes estate reopened their doors. For the first time, the museum also gave public access to the kitchen and hallway overlooking the gardens and added a set of seventeen plaster sculptures, donated by Renoir and Guion families, as well as two additional original canvasses.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.11.05Renoir’s final years at Les Collettes were depicted in a beautiful film simply titled Renoir (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2150332/), but the latter was in fact photographed in the gardens of Le Domaine du Rayol, my next bucket-list garden.

Le Domaine du Rayol

Avenue of the Belgians
83820 RAYOL-CANADEL-SUR-MER

http://www.domainedurayol.org/

A 20 ha botanical garden and arboretum in the Var, between Le Lavandou and Saint-Tropez.

It was bought in 1989 by the Conservatoire du Littoral, to protect the local maquis scrubland from the development of a housing estate, and the group then commissioned Gilles Clément and Philippe Deliau to redesign the old garden. It has since been listed as a Jardin Remarquable.

It is dedicated to Mediterranean and arid and subtropical biomes and is divided into a number of regional gardens, involving five continents:

The Canary Islands, off the NW coast of Africa: Three landscapes: the Malpaïs (coastal maquis) with its euphorbia (Euphorbia canariensis), echiums (photo below), convovulus and Aeonium; the Thermophilic Grove of dragon trees; and the high altitude Pinar, dominated by Canary Pine and Cistus;BlogFavNurseries30%ReszdIMG_9316California: The Chaparral (Californian maquis), growing tough Heteromeles, Leucophyllum frutescens, Prunus illicifolia , Romneya coulteri, Manzanitas; Carpentaria, Californian lilacs (Ceanothes), oaks, Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia), Coulter Pine and Monterey Cypress; Desert landscapes with Hesperaloe parviflora, the Yuccas, the cacti (photo below), cactus candles and Opuntias, and the Ocotillos; and Desert canyons with desert rose palm trees and the Washingtonia palm groves; as well as late Spring meadows of eschscholtzias and lupins;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.01.29South Africa: The Fynbos of the Cape Peninsula , characterized by shrubs of the families of  Proteaceae (including King Protea, P. cynaroides), Ericaceae (heather) and Restionaceae (which resemble the rushes of the Mediterranean regions), underplanted with bulbs and rhizomes, such as Irises, Watsonias, Lilies and Amaryllis and shrubs like Carissa, Leonotis, Pelargoniums, and Polygala; and the Karoo, dominated by thorny acacias, aloes and succulents;BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.27.36Australia: The Mallee, dominated by eucalyptus, acacias (50 varieties), banksias, grevilleas, callistemons and melaleucas, as well as Kangaroo Paws, Anigozanthus; and the Kwongan, dominated by Black Boys;BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-08 14.30.02BlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.45.35New Zealand: Wet humid subtropical forests of tree ferns, dwarf palms and phormiums;  and a dry grass prairie, surrounded by Manuka (teatree) and olearias;Blog PHGPT1 50%Reszdgrampians 4 122Subtropical Asia: the bamboo groves, Cycas revoluta, glycines and fig trees from China; The photo below is an Australian member of the cycad family, Macrozamia communis.BlogBush Harvest20%Reszd2015-03-08 12.49.32Arid America: Large rock garden of Mexican plants from arid regions: Agaves, yuccas and Pipi cactus;BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 601Subtropical America: Plants of Northern Argentina and subtropical Mexico, characterized by palms, nolines (elephant foot – photo below), beaucarneas and erythrines, lantanas, salvias, duras, velvetleons, and hibiscus;BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2258Chile: High Moor landscapes of Puyas, including the Puya, members of the Bromeliaceae family (pineapple), Zigzag Bamboos (Chusquea species), Monkey Puzzle trees Araucaria and  the 10 metre high thorny Cactus Quisco, Echinopsis chilensis, as well as meadows of alstroemerias and nasturtiums; Savannah Espinal, dominated by Acacia caven; and the cooler inland palm groves of honey palm, Jubaea chilensis. Here are my bromeliads:BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2983Mediterranean: Contains local plants: the Cistus; Arbutus, pistachio, filaria, heather and laurel. See Cistus in the right-hand bottom corner of the photo below.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 147Cist Collection of 35 species of Cistus, as well as hybrids;blogcottagegardenrosesreszd20img_9109Marine: Underwater plantings on the seabeds of the Baie du Figuier, including the seabed covered by sand or rock; the algal herbarium (posidonia); and deep water ; and

Local Marquis Scrub including cistus, brooms (photo below), terebinths and laurustinus.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1452Yvoire:  Labyrinthe of the Five Senses:  Jardin des Cinq Sens

Rue du Lac – 74 140 Yvoire
Haute-Savoie – France

https://www.jardin5sens.net/en/  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kq2JvXAhmI

I have always loved the notion of sensory gardens, so this famous garden, which has been cultivated the past 30 years and contains over 1300 types of plants, was definitely on my bucket list!

It was designed by Alain Richert and is situated in the former 0.25 ha walled potager of the 15th century Château d’Yvoire, one of France’s many beautiful villages, in the Haut-Savoie, overlooking Lake Geneva.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-25-09-54-55On the upper level near the entrance is an alpine meadow of fritillaries (photo above), violets, alpine tulips, jonquils, saxifrages, gentians and decorative grasses. Beyond the alpine rectangle is a geometric latticework (a tisage) composed of white rugosas Blanc Double de Coubert (photo below) and balls of silvery-blue wild oats.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0262On the upper side of the garden is an undergrowth garden, created to disguise ugly neighbouring walls and containing seven lime trees, Tilia x moltkei, underplanted with woodruff, soft ferns, Polystichum setiferum and Brunnera macrophylla.

On the other side of the tisage is a green cloister garden, with arches made of hornbeam columns and walls covered in honeysuckle. It is divided by low box hedges into 4 small gardens, containing medicinal and aromatic plants used in medieval times: Rue, santolina, thyme, rosemary, peppermint, chamomile, balm, salvia, savory, wild thyme and hyssop, all growing around a central granite bird pool. Here is a photo of Calendula, used in healing lotions for skin conditions and wounds.blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-28-13-45-45The Garden of the Five Senses is a few steps down from the Cloister Garden and is laid out like a labyrinth in the design of a medieval potager. It is composed of four rectangles (representing sight, taste, smell and touch) around a central aviary (representing sound). Each rectangle is surrounded by gravel paths and are divided by hedges of hornbeam, Carpinus betulus, interlaced with sweet peas and trellised apple trees.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-23-15-09-04The ‘Jardin du Goût’ is all edible plants: Strawberries, raspberries, black currants, blueberries, rhubarb, onions, lovage, angelica and celery, as well as orange trees with edible flowers and apple trees.blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-11-03-15The ‘Jardin de l’Odorat ou des Parfums’ includes alliums, honeysuckles, viburnums, lemon balm, tobacco plants, mahonias, a medlar, daphnes and roses, including Cardinal de Richelieu and Moss roses like William Lobb and Blanche Moreau.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0457The ‘Jardin des Textures’ contains fine and coarse leaved plants in tones of silver, gold and grey: Euphorbias, mahonias, inulas, bronze fennel, wormwood and meadow rue, Thalictrum aquilegifolium, acanthus, asphodels, salvias, hellebores, irises, lady’s mantle (photo below) and Aruncus sylvester.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-05-18-45-02In the ‘Jardin des Couleurs’ are variations of blue: Campanulas, primulas, Iris sibirica, violets, gentians, geraniums (Johnson’s Blue) and Meconopsis.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0048The sense of hearing is represented by a large bird aviary, built over a fountain and an ancient tank, and containing ducks, pheasants and turtle doves. There is also a smaller aviary, overgrown with Araujia sericofera, with doves, quails and other small birds.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0813Other plants in the garden include a Clematis montana grandiflora; a Rosa filipes Kiftsgate, Acanthus (photo below), a Syringa microphylla, Gaura lindheimeri, a persimmon and a Lagerstroemia indica.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0410Jardin des Herbes, La Garde Adhémar

Place de l’Église, 26700 La Garde-Adhémar, France

http://www.parcsetjardins.fr/rhone_alpes/drome/jardin_des_herbes-1234.html

I have also always loved herb gardens, so this garden, listed as a Jardin Remarquable in 2006, was very much on my radar! The Jardin des Herbes is a 3000 square metres terraced garden of a 12th century church at the foot of the ramparts of the village of La Garde-Adhémar.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 11.58.57Created by Danielle Arcucci in 1990, it has two levels, with 300 medicinal and aromatic herbs. On the upper level, 200 species of medicinal plants, which are still used in the pharmacopoeia of the 21st century, are arranged in a square and are identified and their uses and effects described with coloured labels. This is feverfew, used to treat headaches.BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-19 10.08.10The lower level contains a collection of aromatic plants including yarrows, lavenders, roses, salvias, geraniums, rosemary and thymes, arranged in a design of a sun (the centre filled with begonias and other annuals) and its rays, the beds delineated by box. It is a place of great tranquillity and beauty with lots of colours, tastes, textures and fragrance.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0425Herb gardens were also very much a part of monastery gardens, so I would also love to visit this next very inspiring venue, the medieval priory gardens at Orsan, 50 km south of Bourges :

Le Prieuré Notre Dame d’Orsan

18170 Butonnais, Berry, southern part of Loire Valley

http://janellemccullochlibraryofdesign.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/prieure-dorsan-garden-created-by.html

https://www.thegoodlifefrance.com/beautiful-gardens-of-france-prieure-dorsan/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzZ74BQ4HPw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_yqgZJHFMs

Begun in 1991 and opened to visitors in 1995, it was created by Patrick Taravella and Sonia Lesot, who bought the ruined monastery with 40 acres of land and stone and turreted buildings from the 12th and 17th centuries. With the help of Head Gardener, Gilles Guillot, they created a 5 ha garden , based on the art of gardening during pre-Renaissance times, and made up of a series of square and rectangular formal garden rooms, partially enclosed with hornbeam hedging with peepholes and doorways.

Gardens include:

Medicinal Herb Garden with four raised beds of 52 different medicinal plant varieties, labelled with both botanical Latin and French names;BlogAutumn colour20%ReszdIMG_0545Cloister Garden: Including four rectangular beds of Chenin blanc grapes surrounding a central square fountain; glazed urns containing clipped box bushes, and woven wooden seats, each sheltered by quince trees (photo below) trained into hood-shaped arbours;BlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2016-04-15 15.41.46Two Formal Parterres of early food crops, including 3 old varieties of wheat, rye and fava bean; chards; leeks and cabbages;BlogChinasReszd20%IMG_0207The Mary Garden, a rose garden dedicated to the Virgin and inspired by the Songs of the Songs (Hortus Conclusus of Secret Garden) with two cloister-like enclosures: a square of pink ramblers (including Cécile Brunner (photo above)and Mme Caroline Testout), and a square of white roses (Aimée Vibert and Reines des Belges). The pink square has an arch of white standard Iceberg and Gruss an Aachen, while the white square has an arch of pink Cornelia (photo below) and The Fairy.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-03-10-04-21 The roses climb over the arches, arbours and tunnels that are constructed of the typical wooden poles. Madonna lilies also grow here as roses and lilies were virtually inseparable in medieval illustrated manuscripts and paintings. Other roses in the garden include Pierre de Ronsard, Mme Alfred Carrière, Albertine and Marguerite Hilling;BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 08.43.39Kitchen Garden with 24 inch raised beds of alternating layers of manure and  soil; supporting teppes and trellises; and a modern drip irrigation system. Here, they grow organic heirloom tomato cultivars, aromatic herbs, sweet peppers, carrots, salad vegetables and aubergines;BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 18.54.58Maze Garden, lined by walls of plum cordons: Greengage, Nancy and Saint Catherine. On each side of the paths are beds of pears, quinces, grapes, herbs and flowers like sweet peas, nasturtiums, cosmos and giant sunflowers. Rhubarb is encouraged upwards in bottomless cylindrical baskets woven from thick lengths of vine and clematis;BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 19.57.50BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2486Berry Avenue with espaliered gooseberries, grown on espalier fans; raspberries trained on wooden poles in V-shaped rows; black, red and white currants trained on diamond lattices; and blueberries, blackberries and strawberries;BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0681blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-13-18-47-54Orchard of three ancient pear trees and over 20 varieties of apples, planted in a quincuncial pattern, including Querine Florina, Patte de Loup, Drap d’Or, Belle of Boskoop, Short Hung Gray, Yellow, Big Locard, Judor, Reine des Reinettes, Reinette clochard, Reinette de Caux, Reinette fom Holland, Golden Reinette, Gray Reinette from Canada, and Starking;BlogEndofSpring20%Reszd2015-11-19 08.14.34BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-23 17.43.51Three Orchard Cloister : Three orchards of pear (planted concentrically with lavender beds on each corner and including pears: Duchesse d’Angoulême, Belle du Berry, André Desportes; sorbus and cherry trees (Marmotte, Burlat and Cœur de Pigeon); and aBlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_7074Wildflower Meadow and a Woodland with an outdoor sculpture gallery;

All the beautiful garden structures and furniture are made in the medieval way from home-grown saplings and the garden produce is used in the hotel restaurant or preserved for later use. Wheat is ground into flour to be made into bread and a white wine produced from the grapes. The Table d’Orsan restaurant is open from March to November (book in advance). The medlars below were a popular medieval fruit.BlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2016-04-15 15.39.40You can also tour the gardens or attend workshops of one to three days focused on themes such as creating wooden structures like the ones in the gardens. There is also a small shop with a comprehensive range of traditionally-made products for sale, including jams, chutneys, and fruit juices, all made with Orsan Gardens produce, as well as baskets, natural soaps, and a range of books on cuisine, gardening or fine arts.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0004As keen organic gardeners and environmentalists, we would also have to visit the French version of the Centre for Alternative Energy (http://www.cat.org.uk), Machynlleth, Powys, Wales, which we visited in 1994:

Centre Terre Vivant

Domaine de Raud – 38710 MENS

http://www.terrevivante.org/

A wonderful ecological education centre with an organic garden, orchard, apiary and wilderness, 1 hour south of Grenoble and 2 hours from Lyon. It began in 1994 to trial and showcase everything to do with alternative farming and ecological living, reporting the results back to the readers of its founding magazine, Les Quatre Saisons du Jardinage. The 50 ha property lies in a broad river valley at an altitude of 750 m, surrounded by forest and high mountains.

The mudbrick Blue House contains the administrative centre, a shop and a library, specialising in alternative lifestyles. Nearby is a restaurant, Table de Raud, and an energy centre; a composting centre; a playground; a wildflower meadow; a garden shed showing four different methods of construction using earth; an aromatic spiral; a school garden; a handicapped garden; a plant nursery; two orchards; a poultry house; a marequarium to observe pond life, lots of other small pools and an artesian well; a solar beehive and numerous vegetable plots.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0175Gilles Clément was invited to help plan the gardens eg the Water Walk and the Garden of the Five Elements, as well as a series of woodland clearing gardens. There are lots of different irregularly shaped potagers: a special garden for curcubits; the 100-square-metre exploit, based on plant associations recommended by Gertrud Franck; a garden for the preservation of endangered heirloom vegetables; a garden for little-known varieties, which should be used more widely eg violet carrots; Jerusalem artichoke; Swedes, blue potatoes; Italian broccoli rab, parsnips, kale, hyacinth beans; amaranths and red and green orachs. The beds are delineated by split logs, paths covered with home-shredded bark and wood chip and flowers used as companion plants.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1255The 200 square metre Family Garden contains vegetables; a flowering hedge; a cutting garden; a small fish pond; a shade tree with bird houses; an orchard; a herb plot; a compost corner with bins of nettle and comfrey tea; a wild flower strip to encourage bees; and a lawn for children to play.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1563The centre holds many conferences and workshops eg Traditional Dyeing with Anne Rigier, who rediscovered ancient methods for dyeing cloth with plant juices using lactofermentation, rather than boiling; Creating living buildings with willows; Permaculture; Organic gardening and cooking; Solar ovens; Crop roatation, pests and diseases; Seed saving; Composting and mulching; Worm farming; Making casein paints and homemade natural shampoos; Basketry; and Bee keeping.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%ReszdIMG_1764There is also an Open Day (with talks on pallet gardening, biodiversity, and organic flowers; a conference on ecology and biomimcry; music and kids’ entertainment; a photographic exhibition; and tours of the centre); Children’s Wednesdays (first three Wednesdays of August, involving gardening with kids, fishing, making seed bombs and natural play with large wooden games, tunnels and willow huts) and an event called The Great Lizard, with yoga workshops, outdoor Qi-Gong sessions, massages, a caravan sauna, siestas, icecreams, and music. In short, everything to promote relaxation!BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 135At the base of the web page are lots of recommendations with respect to the garden, home building and ecological living. There are also recipes, a climatic map; organic gardening and moon calendars; and articles on crafts in the garden (making nest boxes, garden tables, garden benches, chassis, dry stone walls, willow hurdles, compost bins and planters); encouraging birds and wildlife (pools, hedges, insect hotels, feeders, nest boxes and companion planting); keeping animals (best chook breeds; natural medicine for cats and dogs); permaculture and garden forests; water saving (rainwater tanks, mulching, water conservation) and pests and diseases.BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.13.27And now for my final garden, the private home of Nicole Arboireau:

Le Jardin de la Pomme Ambre

64 Impasse de l’Ancienne Route d’Italie – La Tour de Mare – 83600 Fréjus

http://www.lapommedambre.com/  and  http://jardinlapommedambre.blogspot.com.au/

An imaginative, intimate and eclectic 2000 square metre garden, developed since 1985 by owner, Nicole Arboireau, at the foot of the Esterel Massif. The steep block has been remodelled into a labyrinth of narrow curving terraces, supported by drystone walls and weathered railway sleepers.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-11 09.56.33The garden is managed organically with no chemical use, plenty of compost and a strong emphasis on recycling and the encouragement of biodiversity. It is a refuge for the League of the Protection of Birds and is home for lots of local wildlife from toads and frogs and  lizards, snakes and geckoes to squirrels, hedgehogs, badgers and many birds (including tits and wrens, magpies and jays, and owls), as well as a dog and 7 cats.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-28 19.23.45I love her use of old earthenware pots and ancient sewing machines, repurposing china crockery, like darkened casserole dishes for bird baths and tea-sets for cactus. She also grows plants in bicycle baskets and old clogs and has made an experimental dry garden from broken bricks, shells and clippings. She also likes to play with colour eg her Brazilian Terrace, based on fuchsia and orange tones.Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0386The garden contains over 700 species. Nicole focuses on the conservation of the native flora of the Provence coast, as well as the heritage exotic plants of the old Belle Époque gardens of the Côte d’Azur. She also loves the cottage garden plants of her grandmother’s era, writing about them in her book: Jardins de Grand-mères, published in 2000.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-23-18-31-29Trees include: Cork oaks, a giant pepper tree, 13 types of acacia, eucalypts, Aleppo pines, tamarisks, oleanders, a persimmon, Arbutus unedo, palm trees and ficus, many of which support climbers like roses, bougainvillea, jasmines and wisteria.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 008Shrubs include Viburnum tinus; Erica arborea and Medicago arborea; lilacs and ceanothus; japonicas and kerrias; cassias; beauty bush and spireas; and the roses bred by Nabonnand. Other roses include: American Pillar, Albéric Barbier, Rosa laevigata and Mermaid and R. indica major, used extensively in the Grasse perfume industry.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.28.16Other plants include: the local Cistus of the nearby maquis scrub; Acanthus; Helleborus niger and H. argutifolius; Ayssum maritimum and Bellis perennis; Rosmarinus officinalis; Mahonias; Solanums; Flowering salvias (photo above); Euphorbia myrsinites; Echiums and Euryops; and salad vegetables and herbs.BlogAutumn colour25%Reszdaprilmay 128All her plants have a history, having been given to her or rescued from old decaying gardens. I was interested to read that Scilla, a bulb common to the old gardens of the Riviera, used to be made into omelettes to poison rats! Nicole is a well-known garden historian, an intervenor at the Mediterranean School of Gardening in Grasse, and the President and founder of Friends of Mediterranean Parks and Gardens, as well as being the organizer of many local plant festivals.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.22.05You can stay at her Bed-and-Breakfast or visit her garden for the day to learn all about the history of gardens of the Côte d’Azur, as well as the floral  and perfume industries and the history of herbs. She also runs workshops:

Botany, Ecology and History: Using native plants or subtropical plants from other Mediterranean climates in the garden; and the plants of the Belle Époque;

Using Native Flora in the Kitchen: Making tisanes (the photo below shows peppermint cut and tied into bunches for drying for future peppermint tea!), elixirs and wines;

The Scented Home: Making floral scents; herb cushions; scent collars; pot pourri and pomanders; and bouquets and tussie mussies;

Propagation: Taking Cuttings and Seed Saving.BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-26 12.06.26My final bucket-list garden post next week is focusing on roses and because of its size, it is divided into three sections, to be posted on consecutive days: United Kingdom (Tuesday); France (Wednesday); and Italy and Germany (Thursday)!

 

 

Bucket List of United Kingdom Gardens

There are so many wonderful places I would love to visit in the United Kingdom and I could easily visit Britain for its gardens alone! For anyone interested in British gardens, an excellent starting  point is to visit: https://www.greatbritishgardens.co.uk/.

This site features over 500 properties, which have been grouped into special interest categories: Arboretums and Woodland Plantings; Coastal and Wildlife Gardens; Family Gardens and Royal Gardens; Japanese or Prairie Gardens; Organic Gardens; Topiary, Walled and Water Gardens; and Seasonal Interest Gardens: Autumn Colour and Winter Gardens; and Specialty Gardens focusing on Snowdrops and Daffodils; Bluebells and Rhododendrons in the Spring and glorious Roses in Summer.

Other excellent sites to visit include: http://www.ngs.org.ukhttps://www.gardenvisit.com/  and  http://www.parksandgardens.org.

BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9673Given that we live so far away and holiday time is always limited, I had to be so strict with myself and only include my utmost favourites!

While I would adore to visit some of the rightfully popular gardens like Sissinghurst Castle (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle-garden and https://cadyluckleedy.com/2015/09/26/the-national-trust-sissinghurst-gardens-cranbrook-kent-uk/) and Hidcote Manor (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote), my aversion to crowds would outweigh my appreciation, though I realize it is probably impossible to avoid them these days! The 4 ha (9 acre) garden of Sissinghurst Castle has 200, 000 visitors each year, while the 10 acre Hidcote Manor Garden has 175 000 visitors each year, but fortunately, the latter’s website has a wonderful 3D virtual tour as well!

Nevertheless, it’s all a matter of degrees, so  I have not included them, nor have I listed gardens with very limited opening times like Charles Jencks’ Garden of Cosmic Speculation (http://www.scotlandsgardens.org/gardens/garden/6f8a52d7-f7b0-45c2-91fc-999e00d2ac95) or Prince Charles’ organic  garden at Highgrove (https://www.highgrovegardens.com/), described beautifully in his book: The Garden at Highgrove, which I reviewed in my post: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/05/16/inspirational-and-dreamy-garden-books-part-two-books-about-specific-gardens/; or gardens, which we have already visited on previous trips like: Muckross House, Killarney, in Ireland and Inverwewe in Scotland;  Overbecks, Devon and Trebah and the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall; and the Chelsea Physic Garden, Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens, though I never did see the Marianne North Gallery at the latter, so feel I would love another visit there!

I will be doing a separate post for my favourite rose gardens! Please note all the photos are from my own garden, not the bucket list gardens, which I am describing,  and are included to add interest and colour to the post. BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0726Here is my bucket list in the United Kingdom!!!

West Dean Gardens

West Dean, Nr Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0RX

https://www.westdean.org.uk/gardens/explore and https://www.westdean.org.uk/gardens/blog

West Dean Gardens has long been on my radar, not just for its beautifully restored historic gardens, but also for its wealth of courses in conservation (Books, Ceramics, Clocks, Furniture, Metalwork, or Collections Care) and creative arts offered by West Dean College, both at the degrees and diploma level (https://www.westdean.org.uk/study/school-of-creative-arts/degrees-and-diplomas) and a huge variety of short courses, including embroidery and flower arranging. See :   http://westdean.assets.d3r.com/pdfs/original/17984-short-course-brochure-2017.pdf; and http://westdean.assets.d3r.com/pdfs/original/21070-short-courses-winter-2017-2018.pdf.

blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-18-26-41How wonderful it would be to stay at West Dean and participate in one of their courses, as well as be able to wander around their gardens in your relaxation time! Here is a link to a map of the gardens: http://westdean.assets.d3r.com/pdfs/original/19218-gardens-leaflet-12pp-2017-low-res-2.pdf.

The highlights include:

A 100 metre (300 foot) long Edwardian pergola, designed by Harold Peto in 1911 and made of stone pillars, linked by wooden overthrows, and covered with rambling roses (Veilchenblau; Sanders White Rambler); clematis; wisteria; honeysuckle and magnolia. The interior herbaceous borders include hostas; pelargoniums; ferns; iris; Dicentra and Spring bulbs. On one end is a gazebo with a mosaic floor of knapped flints and horses’ molars, while on the other end is a sunken garden with low growing plants, bulbs and a small pond.

Walled Kitchen Garden: Originally built in 1804, its current layout was developed in the 1990s and includes 2 cross paths and a perimeter path following the walls, creating 4 central beds and a series of borders against the walls.

The central beds follow a four-crop rotation of annual crops: potatoes; brassicas; legumes; and salad and root crops. Perennial crops are grown against the walls: soft fruit on the western wall; asparagus; rhubarb; sea kale and globe artichokes on the eastern wall and auriculas; lily of the valley; cordonned currants and gooseberries on the southern wall, the latter border also  growing early Spring crops, Summer herbs and late Autumn vegetables.

There is also a hot central flower border (Crocosmia; orange dahlias and yellow Kniphofia); a pear tunnel and espaliered pears and apples at the back. West Dean is famous for its apple collection with over 100 types of apples and 45 types of pears, many of them heritage varieties.

Victorian Glasshouses: There are 13 working Foster and Pearson glasshouses, built between 1890 and 1900, and growing a wide range of fruit and vegetables (figs; grapes; peaches and nectarines; strawberries; 58 different varieties of tomatoes; 75 different chillies; aubergines; cucumbers; melons; ornamental gourds ) and exotics and tropical plants (fuchsias; begonias; bromeliads; ferns; and orchids).

St. Roche’s Arboretum: established in 1830, this 49 acre woodland has a 2.5 mile circuit walk and contains many beautiful old specimen trees (beeches; limes; planes; and cedars), the National Collections of Liriodendrons (Tulip trees) and Aesculus (Horse Chestnuts) and shrubs, including rhododendrons and azaleas, which are a picture in Spring, along with the wildflower meadows and naturalised bulbs (over 500 000).blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-18-17-25Wisley

RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, GU23 6QB

https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley

https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley/wisley-blogs/wisley

An important centre for horticultural research and education and the flagship garden and historic home of the Royal Horticultural Society (https://www.rhs.org.uk), since 1903, when it was donated to the RHS by Sir Thomas Hanbury, who established La Mortola on the Italian Riviera.

It is one of four RHS properties, the other three being Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire; Hyde Hall, Essex; and Rosemoor, Devon, though another new RHS property at Bridgewater, Greater Manchester, is opening in 2020.

Wisley is enough for me! Apparently, it is the second-most visited garden after Kew Gardens in the UK – over one million visitors each year! So much for crowds then, though I’m hoping the sheer scale of the gardens will dilute them all! This place is HUGE , as is the website, and full of interesting ideas and inspiration!

Covering over 240 acres, 135 acres of which is open to the public, it has one of the largest plant collections in the world. There are so many different areas and it is worth visiting every area, at least on the website!

Here are the main areas which I would like to see :

The Glasshouse, which covers an area of 10 tennis courts, is 12 metres high, and has 3 different climatic zones (tropical; moist temperate and dry temperate) with 5000 different tender plants. It is surrounded by free-flowing beds of herbaceous plants and 150 metre (500 foot) long borders made up of Piet Oudolf-inspired diagonal ‘rivers’ of flowering perennials (mainly North American prairie species) and ornamental grasses with spectacular seedheads, planted in 2001. Usually including 3 plants to each river, the borders exhibit different combinations of repetitive plantings of: Echinacea; Echinops ritro; Perovskia; Gaura; Helenium; and Eryngium giganteum.

The Vegetable, Fruit and Herb Gardens, including demonstration gardens; an ornamental potager and raised beds of 50 different types of vegetables (350 cultivars); as well as the National Rhubarb Collection;  and a Tea Garden containing Camellia sinesis, as well as chamomile; cornflower; parsley; mint; strawberry; licorice; lemon balm; jasmine; bergamot and rose petals.

The Orchard, which contains 1300 different fruit cultivars, including 100 different types of plums and damsons; 175 different pears and 700 different apples, as well as strawberries; the National Collections of Red and White Currants and Gooseberries; rhubarb; figs and even a vineyard of white wine grapes. Many of the apples and pears are on dwarf root stock and trees are also trained to espaliers and fans.

The Cottage Garden, designed by Penelope Hobhouse in 1990, with lilacs, roses, bulbs and herbaceous perennials in a formal layout; and the 128 metres (420 foot) long Mixed Borders, which bloom from late Spring to Autumn, with their peak being in July and August. They contain clematis; phlox; helenium; salvias; nepetas; dahlias; sedums; asters; monkshood; helichrysum; monarda; culvers’ root; geranium; globe artichoke; and ornamental grasses.

The Walled Garden displaying Alternatives to Box and Foliage Plants (yew topiary, canes and grasses and over 50 cultivars of hostas).

The Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden, planted in 2007 and containing disease- and pest-resistant, repeat-flowering David Austin and Harkness Shrub  Roses, climbers and scramblers, under-planted with camassias; alliums; agapanthus; and ornamental grasses.blogspeciesrosesreszd20%2014-10-27-13-10-57The Rock Garden, home to alpines; small weeping trees; dwarf conifers; and ferns; with a Japanese- style landscape; grotto and ponds; the Alpine Meadow, full of Spring crocus (National Collection); hoop petticoat daffodils; erythronium; snowdrops; and fritillaries, as well as primulas and hellebores; and Howard’s Field with the National Heather Collection.

The Exotic Garden, full of tropical looking plants with large leaves and vibrant flowers), which can be grown outdoors in the UK Summer, including dahlias; gingers; cannas; bananas and palms; and the Mediterranean Terraces, showcasing the plants of Chile; Australia; New Zealand and South Africa, including eucalypts; acacias; callistemons; pittosporum; abutilons; loquats; lavender, rosemary; cacti and succulents. I imagine I would feel right at home here!

Bowles Corner, dedicated to EA Bowles, a past president of the RHS and lover of ‘demented’ plants, those of unusual habit or appearance like  Corkscrew hazel, Corylus contorta, or plants with variegated leaves, as well as his beloved Galanthus; Crocus; Colchicum and hellebores; and the Bonsai Walk showcasing hardy, outdoor, miniature,  40 to 80 year old evergreen, deciduous and flowering bonsai trees.

There are a number of areas, showcasing trees including:

Seven Acres with its Winter Walk with trees chosen for their Winter colour, scent, shape and structure, including Snakebark Maples; Tibetan Cherry; Dogwoods and Willows, underplanted with witch hazel; daphnes; iris; and hellebores.

Oakwood, a wild area with moist soil and light shade and the first garden of the original property, containing hostas; primulas; foxgloves; Trillium; Gunnera; Giant Himalayan Lilies; kalmias; camellias; rhododendrons and magnolias.

Pinetum, the oldest tree collection at Wisley and the Jubilee Arboretum, where trees are grouped for easy comparison eg shade trees; narrow upright trees; weeping trees; blossom trees; fruit trees; and Autumn foliage trees, and the woodland garden of Battleston Hill, complete with stumpery!

Wisley also has an excellent garden library open to the public, as well as a research library; and holds a large number of garden-related courses from Garden Design; Botany for Gardeners: Photosynthesis; Social Media for Gardeners; Plant Identification; Seed Harvesting and Preparation ; Propagation; Tool Care; and Winter Pruning; to Plant Photography; Screen Printing and Painting; Bees in Watercolour; and Christmas Wreaths. They also hold a number of craft and design shows and a major flower show throughout the year.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.08.01Ryton Organic Garden

Wolston Lane, Coventry, Warwickshire, CV8 3LG

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/ryton

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/news

Given our interest in organic horticulture, this garden, the HQ of  Garden Organic, a charity organization promoting organic farming and gardening, is also a must-visit for us!  Garden Organic began in 1954 as the Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA).

The 10 acre garden is divided into 30 individually-themed display gardens,  including : the Vegetable Way, a Herb Garden, Pest and Disease Control, World’s Biggest Flowerpot, Soft Fruit Gardens, Biodynamic Garden, an Allotment Garden, a Bee Garden, All Muck and Magic TV Garden ; a Children’s Garden and the famous Vegetable Kingdom, a visitor centre, packed full of interactive displays describing the history of vegetables in the United Kingdom.

All gardens are managed organically and show all aspects of horticulture from composting, companion planting  and pest and disease control to fruit and vegetable production; herbs; herbaceous plantings; roses; shrubberies; and lawns, as well as large conservation areas: native trees; a wildflower meadow and cornfield; a lake; and peek-in RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)  urban wildlife garden. It sounds like a haven for birds and bees!blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-18-10-36They hold regular courses in growing orchard trees and organic or cutting-edge vegetables; seed saving; organic and biodynamic gardening; moon planting; composting; and conservation and sustainability, as well as a new Certificate in Organic Horticulture. At Ryton, they have a large organic research centre and a heritage seed library and are also involved in sustainable farming projects in Africa and India.

Their website is an excellent resource for organic growers, especially their section  on frequently asked questions, grouped under the following subject areas: Composting, Containers, Diseases, Disorders, Fruit, Ornamentals (Flowers), Pests, Propagation, Soil Management, Vegetables, Water use, Weeds, Wildlife and General.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0425Great Dixter

High Park Close, Northiam, Rye, East Sussex, TN 31 6 PH

https://www.greatdixter.co.uk

https://www.nowness.com/series/great-gardens/the-gardeners-garden-great-dixter

The family home of garden writer Christopher Lloyd (1921-2006), Great Dixter was bought by his father Nathaniel in 1912. The fifteenth-century medieval hall house was remodelled by Edwin Lutyens from 1912 to 1920. Originally, there was no garden, but Nathaniel and his wife, Daisy, developed an Arts and Crafts garden, designed by Lutyens, around the old buildings. Some of Lutyens’ hallmarks in the garden were: curving yew hedges; decorative tiling and the incorporation of farm buildings into his garden design.

Christopher, who was renowned for his originality and verve; his adventurous trials and experiments with new growing methods and plants; his  dramatic plant combinations; and his successional planting, died in 2006 and his work has been continued under the stewardship of Fergus Garrett, his gardener since the early 1990s and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust.

Fergus and his team have continued to experiment with colour, texture and scale, producing high-impact visual displays and creating an increasingly naturalistic look to the garden using blowsy self-sowers like cow parsley. The garden is in constant flux , the planting schemes different every year. Great Dixter is famous for its colour combinations like lime-green euphorbias and red tulips;and  its use of link plants like Thalictrum; forget-me-knots; Verbena bonariensis and bronze fennel.

It is a high maintenance garden, but has an informal feel. Most of the plants are propagated at Great Dixter and are watered with their own bore water and fed with organic compost, with minimal use of chemicals.

While still relatively popular, it gets nowhere near the numbers of neighbouring Sissinghurst, at just over 50, 000 visitors per year, thanks in part to Fergus’s insistence on no signage in the garden; keeping the shop size small; and the paths narrow.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-05-18-15-11The website has an excellent interactive map, which describes each part of the 24 hectare garden. I would particularly like to see:

The Wildflower Meadow at the entrance to the house, cut twice a year in August and late Autumn and containing many different British orchids, wild daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) ; snakeshead fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris) and North American bulb, Camassia quamash; and the Upper Moat, Daisy Lloyd’s ‘Botticelli Garden’, studded with primulas and Snake’s head fritillaries; meadowsweet and  Autumn flowering crocuses, Crocus nudiflorus and Crocus speciosus.

Nathaniel’s Yew Topiary Lawn, clipped once a year and the Peacock Garden with its parliament of 18 topiary peacocks and two-foot tall hedges of white and purple Aster lateriflorus ‘Horizontalis’ and a row of  indigo blue ‘English’ iris, I. latifolia.

The Exotic Garden, a tropical-looking late summer to autumn garden with large leaves and brightly coloured dahlias and cannas; a haze of purple from self-sown Verbena bonariensis, a Great Dixter signature plant; a white flowering Escallonia bifida, full of  butterflies; and four hardy Japanese banana plants, Musa basjoo.

The Orchard, a huge meadow stretching almost the whole south side of the garden, containing apples, pears, plums, hawthorns and crabs and  long grass with communities of crocuses, daffodils, erythroniums, wood anemones, four types of terrestrial orchid, and Adder’s Tongue ferns; and The Long Border, a very famous feature of Great Dixter, reached by Lutyens’ circular steps, and separated from the informality of the orchard meadow, by a broad flagstone path and a strip of mown grass.

This closely woven exuberant tapestry of  mixed  shrubs, climbers, perennials, annuals and grasses blooms from from April to October, with its peak in High Summer (Mid June to mid-August).

The Prairie, a meadow of long grass; Common Spotted and Twayblade orchids ; and  North American prairie plants,  Veronicastrum virginicum, Eryngium yuccifolium, and Helianthus grossaserratus.

The High Garden, an Edwardian kitchen design ,with paths flanked by fairly narrow flower borders of oriental poppies and lupins, backed by espalier fruit trees, hiding the Vegetable Garden.  See Aaron Bertelsen’s blog : https://dixtervegetablegarden.wordpress.com/.

Great Dixter holds Spring and Autumn Plant Fairs; a series of lectures and symposiums and is a centre for horticultural education and work experience.blogdecgarden20reszdimg_0127While in the same area, it would be worth visiting Perch Farm, if it coincided with either one of their open days or even better a course in flower arranging or cutting gardens! See: https://www.sarahraven.com and

https://www.gardenista.com/posts/garden-visit-sarah-raven-perch-hill-east-sussex-england/.

Interestingly, Christopher Lloyd is one of Sarah’s heroes! I have already discussed her wonderful garden in my post on Sarah Raven’s books in: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/03/21/books-on-specific-types-of-gardens-part-one-cutting-gardens-cottage-gardens-and-herb-gardens/.

blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-17-27-54Newby Hall and Gardens

Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 5AE

http://www.newbyhall.com/

A forty acre (16 hectares) garden designed and created by the present owner’s grandfather, Major Edward Compton, who inherited Newby in 1921 and gardened for over 50 years till his death in 1977. He designed a labour-intensive ‘garden for all seasons’ in compartmented formal rooms off a main axis, created with a broad grass walk, running from the south front of the house down to the River Ure and flanked by double herbaceous borders against double yew hedges.

His son, Robin Compton, and Robin’s wife, Jane, were also passionately interested in the garden, flowers and colour and design. They totally restored and replanted these lovely gardens over a ten year period, winning the BTA Heritage Award and the HHA/Christie’s Garden of the Year Award. The gardens are now run by Mrs Lucinda Compton with Head Gardener, Mark Jackson.

Like the other gardens featured, it has many fascinating garden areas, which are described in depth on the website, but the areas I would most like to see include the following:

Double Herbaceous Borders

172 metres long with a modern colour palette of soft pastels; vibrant lilacs; magenta pinks; lime green; claret and silver. Plants include architectural Cynara; Eryngium; Echinops; and Giant Scotch Thistle Onopordum acanthium ; Delphinium cultivars and Campanula lactiflora; Crambe cordifolia; Geranium and Origanum; asters; dahlias; sedums and  undulating drifts of colourful flowering perennials like Echinacea, Lythrum, Sanguisorba and Veronicastrum .

The Autumn Garden

A compartmental walled garden  containing Clerodendron trichotomum var. fargessii; Hydrangea quercifolia and  Hydrangea aspera Villosa Group and 40 late Summer flowering herbaceous Salvias; 800 dahlias in exotic purples, radiant reds, blousy pinks, moody maroons; Sedum; Echinacea; Phlox; and Verbena bonariensis.

The Rose Garden, mainly old-fashioned once-flowering hybrids and cultivars of Gallicas, Damasks, Albas, Centifolias and Mosses, the peak season being June into July, as well as some more modern repeat-flowering David Austin hybrids; underplanted with annuals like Salvia, Cleome, and Cosmos. The photographs on the website look so beautiful!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0323The Water Garden, created by a man-made stream following a slope down into a pool. Plantings include: the famous soft pastel Harlow Carr primulas; Iris; Gunnera manicata; ornamental rhubarb Rheum palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’; Lysichiton americanum (Bog Arum); Brunnera; Darmera peltata; and hostas; camellias; rhododendrons and bamboos.

The East Rock Garden, the brain-child of Miss Ellen Willmott in the early 1900s, containing Euonymus; Nicotiana; Osmanthus; Viburnum; Cistus ; foxgloves; Ceanothus; and an impressively-striped Acer tegmentosum ‘White Tigress’; Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’, Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’; and hundreds of dark ‘Havran’ Tulips, against a backdrop of Magnolia stellata and Camellia japonica magnoliaeflora..

The White Garden, containing a lily pond and two identical flower beds with variety of white herbaceous perennials, bulbs and annuals, providing harmony and contrast with different heights, flowering times, scents, foliages and textures.

The Woodland Garden, an informal relaxed garden with many plants collected by ‘Chinese’ Ernest Wilson, including the ‘Pocket Handkerchief Tree’, Davidia involucrata, underplanted with epimediums; Himalayan Birch, Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ; the Snowdrop Tree, Halesia carolina; and Snowbell Tree, Styrax hemsleyana.

The Tropical Garden, with its dense plantings of exotic-looking shrubs and plants with large lush foliage: Yuccas (Adam’s Needle), Eryngiums (Sea Holly), and Phormiums, backed by Eucalyptus gunnii, different Paulownias (the Foxglove Tree) and Sweet Viburnum (Viburnum awabuki). Perennials are interspersed with colourful tender exotics like Tithonia rotundifolia (Mexican Sunflower), Leonotis leonorus (Lion’s Tail), Phytolacca ‘Lakka Boom’ and the Castor Oil plant (Ricinus sp.). Whilst Summer is the best time to see the Tropical Garden, there is a wonderful show of flowering magnolias in Spring.

The Beacon Garden, planted to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, with a tall beacon in its centre, under-planted with hundreds of Narcissi, and surrounded by four beds planted with a central Weeping Pear Pyrus salicifolia and pale pink and deep red peonies (Paeonia officinalis and Paeonia lactiflora).

The Curving Pergola, covered with the golden racemes of  Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’ in late May/ June.

The Orchard Garden with a central circular bed and a geometric arrangement of Quince and Apple trees. Four Philadelphus hedges create a square-within-a-square, all softened by the late Spring blossoms of fruit trees, flowering Philadelphus hedges and Crab Apple (‘Red Sentinel’) espaliers. Long grass is interspersed with naturalised Tulipa sylvestris and Fritillaria meleagris. The top bed of the Orchard Garden contains magnolias; a large Wisteria and a Banksiae lutea rose, as well as smaller perennials and annuals, including veronicas and diascias. The East bed contains Rosa ‘Alfred Carrière’ and Rosa ‘Alchemist’.

The National Cornus Collection, which contains over 100 specimens with 30 species and 76 different hybrids and forms, including my Cornus ‘Norman Hadden’, photo below.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-06-18-28-38There are so many smaller gardens I would love to visit as well. Here are three of my favourites:

Virginia and Leonard Wolff’s Monks House (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/monks-house) for its bulbs, thousands planted by Leonard, old roses, colour, literary history and beautiful interiors, as described by Caroline Zoob in her beautiful book, Virginia Wolff’s Garden (see my post: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/05/16/inspirational-and-dreamy-garden-books-part-two-books-about-specific-gardens/);blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-12-09-48Snowshill Manor Garden (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/snowshill-manor-and-garden and https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1000781), an Arts and Crafts garden in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, designed and built from 1920 to 1923 by MH Baillie Scott and owned by Edwardian architect, Charles Wade, who collected a fascinating array of treasures (22 000 of them in fact, chosen for their colour, craftsmanship and design) from tiny toys to Samurai armour ; masks to spinning wheels; musical instruments to fine clocks; and model boats to bicycles, all of which he stored in the house, preferring to live in the smaller Priest’s House in the grounds.

Typical of the period and style, the garden is a series of outside with terraces and ponds, and formal beds, full of colour and scent. Many of the garden ornaments are painted ‘Wade Blue’, a soft powdery blue, which harmonises with the Cotswold stone and the blue/purple planting theme.

There is also an ancient dovecote, a pool, a model village, Wolf’s Cove, which was built by Charles Wade, a kitchen garden, orchards and some small fields with sheep. Apparently, he used to entertain up to 500 guests each year, including Edwin Lutyens, John Masefield, J B Priestly, Virginia Woolf and, in 1937, Queen Mary!  And finally….blognovgarden20reszdimg_0048Tintinhull Garden (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tintinhull-garden), started  in 1933 by Phyllis Reiss and developed further in the 1980s by internationally-acclaimed garden writer and designer, Penelope Hobhouse, who described it so beautifully in her books: On Gardening; Garden Style; and Colour in Your Garden (See my post : https://candeloblooms.com/2017/02/21/garden-guides-and-garden-design-books/).

The garden is broken up into intimate garden rooms, linked by axes and paths, and the great diversity of plantings can be investigated through the official website, which has illustrated lists of all the plants used in the different areas of her garden.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1083On Thursday, we will cross over to the continent to explore a few French gardens on my bucket list!

Travel Books: Part Three: Practicalities

These days, there is so much information online, that it is worth planning the practicalities of your travel by consulting the internet for the most up-to-date information on prices, opening times etc. I still like to travel with the odd hard copy though, so long as it’s not too heavy and bulky, but do try to get the most recent publication!

Lonely Planet Guides are the ultimate guides and are also available online: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/.  In fact, my daughter Jenny, who writes a travel blog: https://traveladventurediscover.com had three of her articles selected for the Lonely Planet Pathfinders monthly roundups (March, April and June, 2016), moving her to the next level of Lonely Planet Assignment Pathfinder. See: https://traveladventurediscover.com/2016/03/08/best-things-about-travelling-in-your-van/;  https://traveladventurediscover.com/2016/04/12/23-ways-to-travel-south-east-asia/ and https://traveladventurediscover.com/2016/06/14/favourite-feasts-of-south-east-asia/. Also, check out: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/pathfinders/signup.

Lonely Planet Guides generally all follow a similar format, so I will describe the Lonely Planet guide we used for France. It starts with:

Quick Reference Guide on the inside cover: Symbols and Price Ranges used; Exchange Rates; Rough Costs; Useful Phrases; Business Hours; Telephone Codes; Emergency Numbers; and Conversions.

Colour Map with key points of interest highlighted and a reference page number, followed by :

Glossy colour plates featuring Classic Destinations; Food and Wine; Festivals and Events; Activities; and Arts and Architecture;

Contents;

List of Contributors;

Getting Started :When to Go; Costs and Money; Travel Literature; Internet Resources; and the Top 10 (Adventures/ Culinary Experiences and Shopping Sprees);

Variety of Itineraries (Classic Routes/ Roads Less Travelled/ Tailored Trips);

Snapshot of Contemporary France;

French History;

French Culture: National Psyche; Lifestyle; Blogosphere; Economy; Averages; Do’s and Don’ts; Population; Sport: Football, Rugby, Cycling and Tennis; Multiculturalism; Media; Religion; Women in France; the Arts: Classic and Modern Literature, Top 10 Literary sights, Cinema, Music, Architecture and Painting;

Environment : the Land; Flora and fauna; National Parks; Environmental Issues and Conservation Organizations;

Food and Drink: Staples, Regional Specialties, Drinks, Celebrations, Where to Eat, Vegetarians and Vegans, Dining with Children, Habits and Customs, Cooking Courses and Vocabulary.

The majority of the book is devoted to a detailed description of each different area of France, including:

Introduction and Highlights;

Black-and-White Regional Map;

Geography and Climate;

Orientation;

Information Sources;

Sights and Activities;

Accommodation ;

Food and Drink;

Entertainment;

Getting There and Away: Air; Bus; Train; car and Motorcycle; Bicycle Hire; and

Feature Boxes on relevant history, festival, food, people, crafts etc

The directory at the back covers all the practical information required:

Accommodation; Activities; Business Hours; Children; Climate Charts; Courses; Customs; dangers and Annoyances; Discount Cards; Embassies and Consulates; Festivals and Events; Food; Gay and Lesbian Travellers; Holidays; Insurance; Internet Access; Legal Matters; Local Government; Maps; Money; Photography and Video; Post; Shopping; Solo Travellers; Telephone; Time; Tourist Information; Travellers with Disabilities; Visas; Volunteering; Women Travellers; and Work; as well as a detailed section on:

Transport:

Getting There and Away:

Air: Airports; Airlines; Tickets; Climate Change and Flying; Carbon Offset Schemes

Land:

Bus: Discount Passes; Eurolines; Intercars

Cars and Motorcycle: Eurotunnel;

Train: Rail Services; Train Passes; Eurostar

Sea: Ferry Travel

Getting Around: Air; Bicycle; Canal Boating; Bus; Car Hire and Distances; Autoroutes; Licences; Insurance; and Road Rules; Hitching; Taxis; Train; and Tours.

Health: Insurance; Vaccinations; Deep Vein Thrombosis; Jet Lag; Health Car; Environmental Hazards; Sexual Health; Womens’ Health and Travelling with Children.

Language: Pronunciation; Etiquette; Gender and Essential Vocabulary for: Accommodation; Conversation; Directions; Signs; Emergencies; Health; Numbers, Paperwork; Question Words; Shopping and Services; Time and Dates; Transport; and Travel with Children.

Finally, there is a Glossary; a few blank pages for notes; the Index; a Map of World Time Zones, and a Map Legend.

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Alastair Sawday’s Special Places to Stay: British Bed & Breakfast for Garden Lovers 2007

https://www.sawdays.co.uk/

Sawdays is another well-known travel company from Bristol, England, which searches out special places to stay in Britain, Ireland; France; Italy; Spain and Portugal. It was founded by Alistair Sawday, a keen environmentalist and sustainability advocate. He was a Green Party candidate, founded the Avon Friends of the Earth and was Vice-­Chair of the Soil Association. His company was honoured with a Queen’s Award for Sustainability, as well as being voted Independent Environmental Publisher of the Year twice.

This delightful book starts with an introduction explaining the Sawday philosophy and how to use the book and general and regional maps.

There are detailed descriptions of over 60 Bed-and-Breakfast establishments with beautiful gardens with contact details, addresses and websites; directions; number and type of rooms; price; meals; closed times and coded symbols (Wheelchair accessibility; Children, Dogs, Smoking, Credit cards; Vegetarian meals; Licensed; Working farm; Swimming pool, Bicycles; Tennis court; Local walks and Fine Breakfast Scheme).

In the back is a Bird Calendar; a list of Garden Organisations; a Brief History of Garden Styles; Lists of Garden Books and Gardens to Visit and a Map of the National Cycle Network.

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It is well worth reading their blog: http://journal.sawdays.co.uk/ and looking at their Collections: Garden Lovers; Ethical; Family Friendly; Good for Groups; Cosy Boltholes; Coastal; and New to Sawdays. See:  https://www.sawdays.co.uk/collections. I also like the look of Go Slow England: Special Local Places to Eat, Stay and Savor by Alastair Sawday. See: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5153994-go-slow-england.

Here are some more local guides.

Twenty Best Walks in Australia by Tyrone T Thomas 1989

Tyrone Thomas has written a number of guides to bushwalks throughout Australia and this particular book covers 20 hikes, which he considers to be the best in Australia, a number of which we have done, including Sydney Harbour; walks around Blackheath in the Blue Mountains; Mount Gower and Malabar Hill on Lord Howe Island; Mt Kootaloo circuit on Dunk Island; Green Island, near Cairns; Mt Warning on the NSW-Qld border; Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory; the Grampians; the High Country and Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria; Mt. Kosciusko; and Cradle Mountain, Lake St. Clair and Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania.

Each walk is graded as one day/ overnight and easy/medium and hard. The book contains comprehensive track notes; maps; and distance, time, weather, transport and access details, as well as points of interest, warnings and navigational advice. The walks selected give an excellent overall view of the huge  diversity of walks and environments in our vast continent and is particularly aimed at international visitors with limited time, though is still very useful for locals, and its light weight compact format makes it very portable for bushwalkers.

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Seventy Walks in Southern New South Wales and A.C.T by Tyrone Thomas 1998/ 2004

A recent addition to our library, now that we live in this area and are keen to explore this new area.

Produced in a similar format to all his books with introductory brief notes on distance; time required; best time to visit; grade; environment, map reference and last date reviewed; followed by comprehensive track notes, accompanied by maps, diagrams; ink sketches of native flora and a few colour plates.

There are also notes on safety precautions, first aid in the bush; and equipment and food suggestions for bushwalking. While we have already visited the National Botanic Garden in Canberra, Big Hole in Deua National Park; Mt Bushwalker; and local areas like North Head; Bournda National Park; Mt Imlay and Merrica River, we look forward to using this guide to plan walks like Mt Dromedary near Tilba Tilba; the Nadgee Wilderness; Bendethera Caves; Pigeon House Mountain; the Monolith Valley; the Castle and the Kosciusko region. It’s good to know we have so many wonderful spots to explore!

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Walking Round in Circles: Twenty-seven Circular Walks in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park by Jane Scott and Patricia Negus 2007

A beautiful book, which we bought after our trip to Western Australia, after visiting the home and art studio ‘Swallows Welcome’ of the artist Patricia Negus (https://www.mrros.com.au/member/patricia-negus/)  in Margaret River in April 2011. She and her husband Tim built a mud-brick Chapel of the Flowers to house all of her 102 beautiful wildflower paintings. Dawn Klok designed the leadlight windows and the porch mosaic was made by  local artist, Jenny Hunt.BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 503BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 501

Patricia teamed up with Jane Scott, the author of this book, and Ray Forma to form Cape to Cape Publishing and they have produced a number of books about the Margaret River region.

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I love this particular book as it has such beautiful illustrations and photos and holds fond memories of the walks we enjoyed in this beautiful national park, using this book as a guide. Below are some of her illustrated pages in this book.

The great thing about this area is that while you can do the entire walk from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin, it is also possible to walk small sections and this book is an excellent guide to the 27 walks available.The following photos are from our wonderful beach walk at Cosy Corner:

BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 413BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 423BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 433BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 245Accompanied by clear maps, each walk is described in great detail and is broken up into smaller sections with details on access, distance and time, warnings where necessary and interesting notes on points of interest like whale watching; bush tucker; plants of granite outcrops or the limestone coast; historic settlements; the timber industry; fungi and orchids; caves; butterflies and moths; and  creatures of the open ocean or intertidal zones.

There are also notes on bush safety; first aid; geology; springs and tufa deposits; tides and currents; weather and climate; and native vegetation in the front and a bird list and bibliography in the back.

It is such a beautiful area, especially when the wildflowers are in full bloom! We loved our walks at Cosy Corner (photos above) and Cape Clairault (photos below), where we saw 6 rock parrots amongst the boulders on the beach. The sand was pure white; the waters aqua; and the coastline so unspoilt and natural!  I could not recommend a visit to this incredible area nor this beautiful book highly enough!BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 675BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 601BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 580BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 666Random Thoughts on Travel

And for those of us, who may not be able to travel at the moment, some consoling thoughts! Often the experience may not necessarily match up with the expectations! The next two books which explore this theme.

 Slow Travel : Sell the House, Buy the Yacht and Sail Away..  by Mari Rhydwen 2004

For all those people, who dream of getting a yacht and sailing away, it is well worth reading this book for the realities of life on the open sea, especially if you are satisfying a spouse’s desire! I feel a bit guilty because I lent it to a friend, who was then totally put off the idea!!!

Despite the downsides of petty officialdom, bribery and corruption,the threat of piracy and rollercoasting from boredom and total exhaustion to moments of sheer terror, it’s also a journey of discovery about life on water, learning to sail, visiting isolated natural spots, diving in the world’s best reefs and letting go of notions of  personal identity like work, material possessions and personal space. A very amusing and interesting read!

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The Art of Travel by Alain de Bouton 2002

In this thoughtful collection of essays, Alain examines the reasons for this paradox, as well as the ‘how and why’ of travel.

He starts with a discussion of anticipation and why it may sometimes be better or certainly different to the real thing!  As he says on page 15:

‘Anticipatory and artistic imaginations omit and compress, they cut away periods of boredom and direct our attention to critical moments and, without either lying or embellishing, thus lend to life a vividness and a coherence that it may lack in the distracting woolliness of the present…. (as does) memory (which is) an instrument of simplification and selection’.

These comments about anticipation and memory rang very true for me.

He supports his observations with the thoughts of well-known writers: J.-K. Huysmans on the anticipation and rejection of travel, as well as Baudelaire on ambivalence toward places, Flaubert on the attractions of the Orient, Wordsworth on the benevolent moral effects of nature, Burke on the sublime, and Ruskin on the importance of careful observation.

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Other essays look at the reasons for travel: a mode of escape from current circumstances; a chance to make a fresh start and see things with fresh eyes; a time to contemplate (‘Journeys are the midwives of thought’ p57); the appeal and allure of the different or exotic; or just pure curiosity.

All these reasons ensure the success of this final book on a very different type of travel.

The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel by Rachael Antony and Joël Henry 2005

I loved this book! It’s quirky and fun and enables a fulfilment of all the above reasons for travel with a series of unusual challenges without the expense of conventional travel! Some of the suggestions include:

Alternating Travel: Discover your own home town by alternating your direction- first road on the right, then next on the left, ad infinitum!

Anachronistic Adventure: Travelling by an outmoded form of transport or explore your city with a vintage guidebook.

Fly By Night: Explore a destination by night until the sun rises.

Voyage to the End of the Line: the end of the railway line; bus route or ferry trip and

Ariadne’s Thread or any other name for that matter! Get a friend to make a list of their 10 favourite or personally meaningful places in the city  (eg the first time …), plot these places on a map and draw a line (the thread) between them and follow it.

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And of course, for we armchair travellers, the internet is a wonderful source for information, dreaming and inspiration. Now that our appetite for travel has been stimulated, I am exploring some of my favourite bucket-list gardens overseas for the next fortnight!

 

Travel Books: Part Two: Dreamy Travel Books

Here are some of our favourite travel books to inspire your next adventure! The world certainly is a wonderful place!!!

The Traveller’s Atlas: A Global Guide to the Places You Must See in Your Lifetime by John Man and Chris Schüler 2004

This is a lovely book and a comprehensive  guide to some of the wonderful places our world has to offer. They are organized into different geographical areas:

North America: Banff National Park; Grand Canyon; Cliffs of Yosemite; San Francisco and the West Coast; the Adirondack wilderness; and Florida;

Central and South America: Mexico; La Ruta Maya; Costa Rican wildlife; an Amazon riverboat; and the Inca Trail;

Africa: Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, Morocco; a Steamer trip to Timbuktoo; Egypt and the Nile; the East African Rift Valley, the birthplace of mankind; and Zambesi and the Okavango, both rich in wildlife;

Mediterranean and Near East: Moorish Spain; Provence; Chamonix and the Alps; Renaissance Italy; Venice; the Meteora, Greece; Crusader castles in Syria, probably since obliterated by the Syrian War, and Istanbul, where East meets West;

Northern Europe: Western Isles of Scotland; West Coast of Ireland, which we have already visited; the Norwegian coastline; and the elegant cities of the Middle European countries of Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland;

Northern Asia: The Trans-Siberian railway; the Great Wall of China; and the cliffs of the Gobi Desert;

Central Asia: the Karakoram Highway and the Silk Road; the Roof of the World at Kathmandu in the Himalayas; the Gorges of the Yangtze River; and Kyoto, the cultural centre of Japan;

India and South-East Asia: the Princely States of Rajasthan and  the Sacred City of Varanasi in India; the jungle temples of Cambodia at Angkor Wat; and the tropical island of Bali;

Australia: Dreamtime in the Northern Territory; the Great Barrier Reef; Cradle Mountain, Tasmania;

New Zealand: Rotorua, the geothermal hotspot; and Queenstown, the Adventure Capital;

And the Pacific: Hawaii; Tahiti; Easter Island and Cruising the Galapagos.

Each entry has a Fact File with details, which vary from access/ transport; the best time to visit; dimensions/ population; climate; currency; food and drink; and language; to  information centres (addresses also listed in the back of the book); permits/ equipment required; and warnings and health precautions; with comprehensive maps, beautiful photographs and lots of information about each area, including inset boxes of historical interest. This book definitely gives you itchy feet!!BlogTravelBooksReszd25%Image (632)

The Marshall Travel Atlas of Dream Places: A Guide to the World’s Most Romantic Locations 1995

This lovely book provides a grand tour of the world’s best loved romantic destinations and trips, which are divided into the following chapters:

Cities of Romance and Creation: St Petersburg; Venice; the Orient Express; Damascus; Vieux Carré; Montmatre; Paris by the Seine; Seville; and Prague;

Entangled in History: Gripsholm; Charleston; Dürnstein; the Romantic Road; Holyrood House; Wawel Cathedral; and Versailles;

Paradise Found: Grasmere; Victoria Falls; Livingstone’s Travels; Mount Kailas; Bay of Naples; the Grand Tour; and Fingal’s Cave;

From the Mists of the Past: Petra; Soúnion; Cuzco; the Inca Trail; Borobodur; Luxor; the Nile; and Chichén Itzá;

and Outposts of the Beyond: Kathmandu; Samarkand; the Silk Road; Bangkok; Kyoto; the Trans-Siberian Railway; Shanghai; and Havana, Cuba.

The book discusses the history and special features of each area, supported by maps and beautiful photographs and a more extensive gazetteer including further sights in the back. The book itself is a wonderful trip into the romantic past!BlogTravelBooksReszd25%Image (633)

Silk, Scents and Spice: Retracing the World’s Great Trade Routes: The Silk Road, the Spice Route and the Incense Trail  by John Lawton 2004

I have always been fascinated and entranced by the Silk Road, a network of overland trade routes  12 000 km long over the mountains, deserts and steppes of Central Asia between the Orient and the markets of Europe and the Middle East 2000 years ago.

Originating in Xian, the ancient capital of China, one route was 6 400 km long and followed the Great Wall of China westward, skirting the Taklamakan Desert and passing through the Fergana Valley to the caravan cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, then across the Caspian Sea to Constantinople in Turkey, while other routes climbed the Pamir Mountains and crossed Afghanistan and Iran to the ports of the Eastern Mediterranean,  or crossed the Great Wall to Mongolia, crossing the steppes of Kazakstan and Southern Russia to Europe.

Camel caravans carried Chinese silk, tea, porcelain and lacquerware west, in exchange for European amber, silk and gold, travelling eastward. Other trade goods included indigo dyes, glassware and frankincense from the Middle East; pepper, cotton and sandalwood from India; furs from Siberia and war horses from Central Asia. It was also the conduit for the dissemination of ideas and cultural traditions in all directions, including the spread of religions, as well as the latest science and technology like papermaking, printing and gunpowder from China; and mathematics, medicine and astronomy from the West.

The authors follow the different sections of the Silk Road and their fascinating historical background and current political situation (post Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union) are discussed in detail:

The Royal Road: This route is 2 500 Km long and runs from Susa, Iran, across Mesopotamia and Anatolia, to the Ankara, Turkey and Aegean Sea;

The Golden Road: Linking Central Asia with the metropolises of Mesopotamia: Samarkand and Bukhara;

The Mountain Passage: Traversing the roof of the world and some of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges: the Pamir, Tien Shan, Karakorum, Himalaya and Hindu Kush and providing lines of communication between Central Asia, China and India since ancient times;

The Steppe Route: Followed by the nomadic horsemen, the Scythians, Huns, Turks and Mongols from Mongolia across China, Southern Russia and Central Asia, through the Ukraine to Hungary; and

The Imperial Highway: from Xian to Lanzhou and Anxi, across the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts, to the oasis of Turpan and the ancient jade market of Khotan and thence, the magical city of Kashgar.

I learnt so much about the different peoples, rulers and empires: the Assyrians and Hittites; the Scythians; Alexander the Great and the Ancient Greeks, the Parthians, Kushans and Sassanians; the Ancient Romans; the Seljuk Turks and the Ottomans; the Ghaznavids and  Ghurid conquests; Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde; Tamerlane (Timur) and the Mongols; the Huns; the Khorezmshahs; Babur, the first of the Moghul emperors; Kublai Khan and the centenarian Hunzacuts (Ismaili Muslims), as well as the  history of Constantinople (also called Byzantium and now Istanbul); the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, which hold 200 early Christian churches; the Arab conquest of Central Asia; the beautiful architecture of Bukhara and Samarkand; the formation of the six Central Asian republics in 1927: Azerbaijan and the five ‘stans’: Kazakstan; Kyrgystan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan and the Persian-speaking Tajikstan; the celestial horses of the Fergana valley, stolen by the 60 000 strong Han army; the origins of Buddhism; the petroglyphs of Gandhara; the kurgans and grave goods of the Pazyryk nomads in the Altai region of Siberia; and finally, the secret of sericulture (silk).BlogTravelBooksReszd25%Image (631)

The section on the Spice Route, a network of sea lanes plied by Arab dhows, Chinese junks and Spanish galleons between the Mediterranean and the Far East, including India, China and the Spice Islands of Indonesia and the history of spices is equally fascinating!

Apparently, the Ancient Mesopotamians used 3 to 10 condiments in their recipes, as recorded on Akkadian cuneiform clay tablets from 1700 BC. I also learnt that cinnamon was the most prized spice in antiquity and was used in embalming by the Ancient Egyptians; in a sacred anointing oil by Hebrew priests and as a flavouring oil by Ancient Greeks, Herodotus writing in 5BC that cinnamon came from remote swamps guarded by huge bat-like creatures.

The authors describe the different parts of the route: the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean; the ports of Muscat, Suhar (the legendary home of Sinbad the Sailor and the source of copper, the backbone of the Sumerians’ wealth), Malacca, Goa and Galle; Cochin (the present-day centre of the spice trade), the Maldives and Sri Lanka; the Spice Islands of Indonesia; and the history and source of the different spices involved: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and pepper.

Finally, the Incense Trail, the oldest caravan route in the world delivering frankincense and myrrh from the aromatic growing regions of Arabia to the incense-hungry empires of the Ancient World, including Egypt, Babylon and Rome.

This is a beautiful book with stunning photographs of the landscapes, peoples, architecture and artefacts and an excellent map showing all these important trading routes and cities at the front. It is also supported by a DVD based on the book and co-produced by UNESCO and Arté in 2008, with interactive menus, animated maps and related UNESCO projects. I would love to get a copy one day! See: http://www.unesco.org/archives/multimedia/?pg=33&s=films_details&id=603.

Discovering the Wonders of Our World: A Guide to Nature’s Scenic Marvels Reader’s Digest 1993

Readers’ Digest always produce excellent guides and this one is no exception. While discussing some of the places already mentioned, it also covers so much more, particularly those places with amazing natural features and attributes, like Tassili N’Ajjer in the Sahara Desert with its ancient rock art and pinnacles, carved out by the old, now non-existent, rivers; the Ruwenzori Mountains between Uganda and Zaire; East Africa’s Soda Lakes, frequented by millions of pink flamingos each year; the Ngorongoro Crater, Northern Tanzania, home to one of the highest concentration of wildlife in Africa; the stunning Blyde River Canyon of South Africa and the limestone razors of the Ankarana Plateau at the northern tip of Madagascar, with its amazing biodiversity and unusual animals. And that’s just a sample of the African entries!

There are so many other places described in this book, which  I would love to visit like the Ritten Earth Pillars of South Tyrol; the Cappadocian Cones with their troglodyte cities in Turkey; the Heavenly Mountains of the Tien Shan in Central Asia; the Lunan Stone Forest in China’s Yunnan Province and the Guilan Hills in South China; and The Olgas and Lake Eyre in full flood here in Australia.  In fact, in this book, there are 138 natural wonders described, accompanied by lovely photos, clear maps and diagrams and pages featuring early explorers, geologists and geographers; farming practices; early mountaineers; landscape in film and art; and monuments of lost empires.

In the back of the book is a 38 page section explaining how natural forces (heat from the Earth’s interior; heat from the sun; and gravity) have shaped our world, along with the mechanisms of continental drift; volcanoes and earthquakes; the birth of mountains; limestone formations; the coastal fringe; river erosion and the brief life of lakes; the sculpting glaciers; and sandblasted deserts, including inset boxes of key facts like the world’s deepest caves or ocean trenches; the worst eruptions or earthquakes; the longest rivers; highest waterfalls; the longest glaciers and the highest mountains.BlogTravelBooksReszd25%Image (634)

Try this quiz WITHOUT looking at a map!:

1.Which is the world’s biggest lake?

2.Which is the largest hot desert in the world and how large is it?

3.Where is the lowest land point on earth?

4.What is a doline?

5.How long and wide is the world’s longest glacier and what is it’s name?

This wonderful book holds all the answers (though I will take pity on you and provide the answers at the end of the post to save you time googling!! Though having said that, I did check Google in the interests of accuracy, given this book was published almost 25 years ago and landscapes (and knowledge!) do evolve and change over time!

501 Must-Visit Natural Wonders Bounty Books 2007

A more recent guide and a lovely book to dip into at random, this enticing book is a great taster to some of the world’s amazing natural wonders, listing 501 places, plants and animals, each with its own page (with the occasional double page spread) and an inset box of quick details: What It Is; How to Get There; When to Go; Nearest Town; Don’t Miss; and You Should Know!

While many are well-known, for obvious reasons, there are many many places, of which I had never even heard like: the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec, with their incredible Autumn colour; the stunningly beautiful Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland; and the Cerrado, Central Brazil, one of the oldest and most diverse tropical ecosystems in the world, as well as the richest savanna area on earth, with over 10 000 plant species (half of which is endemic), 900 bird species and 300 mammals. And that’s just the Americas!

The pages on American flora and fauna include : the ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest and the Giant Redwoods (Sequoias) , the largest trees in the world, both in California; in Canada, the Caribou Migration, Orcas and the Polar Bears of Churchill, under dire threat by global warming; the Penguins of South Georgia and the Hummingbirds of Trinidad; the Horseshoe Crabs of Delaware Bay; and the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries in Mexico.

The section on Australasia and Oceania is very comprehensive with 65 entries, 27 of which are in Australia and 16 of which we have visited! It’s good to know there are still many more places to explore and even if we never get to visit all of these beautiful places (and really in the interests of preservation, its better that we don’t!), this book is a great record of the amazing natural wonders and biodiversity of our very special planet!BlogTravelBooksReszd25%Image (628)

Paradise on Earth: The Natural World Heritage List: A Journey Through the World’s Most Outstanding Natural Places IUCN 1995

Given the huge environmental pressures, due to increasing human population and development, it is fortunate that many of these places are protected by World Heritage listing and the next book describes 113 of the 100 natural and 300 cultural areas mentioned in the 1995 book, though now there are 1052 sites listed by UNESCO. See: http://www.worldheritagesite.org/worldheritagelist.html and  http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/stat. IUCN stands for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (https://www.iucn.org), the scientific advisor to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which identifies areas worthy of nomination to the World Heritage List.

Areas are chosen following a rigorous assessment process, which compares them to other similar sites to determine their uniqueness and evaluates five factors (distinctiveness; integrity; naturalness; dependency and diversity) to ascertain their conservation importance.

The guidelines are very strict and all must be adhered to for inclusion in the list. For example, the Burrup Peninsula on the Dampier Peninsula, which has the world’s largest and most important collection of petroglyphs (ancient rock art engravings 30 000 years old) has not been given World Heritage Status because of the risk of polluting emissions from current and proposed heavy industry nearby. See: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/australias-most-significant-site-kept-off-unescos-world-heritage-list-20170209-gu9sr9.html.

The following sites give some idea of the criteria used to select sites: http://whc.unesco.org/en/criteria/;

http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/about/world/world-heritage-criteria and

https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/70d3290e-be32-4efa-93da-594948f5df9e/files/outstanding-values-factsheet.pdf.

Unfortunately, as pointed out in the book, their inclusion on the list does not necessarily protect them (see the current furore over the Adani Coal mine in the Galilee Basin in North Queensland, posing enormous risks to the Great Barrier Reef, which obtained World Heritage Listing in 1981), and it is only through political commitment, pushed by widespread public support, that ensures their survival. This book was produced to increase public awareness and appreciation to achieve this aim.

It certainly is an incredibly beautiful and very important book! Divided into continents, each entry is 2 to 4 pages long with side inset panels, detailing its location; area; features; flora and fauna; and facilities. The main text describes these special areas, along with risks and pressures they face. As can be expected, the photographs of the landscapes and flora and fauna are superb!

There are also individual essays on Trees and Global Warming; Rainforest Riches;  Biodiversity; Climate Change and How World Heritage Can Help; the World Heritage Convention; the Oceans: Our Lifeblood Threatened; and the Importance of Environmental Protection.

This book is essential for every natural history library, in fact I believe everyone should read it! We certainly have a stunningly beautiful and fragile planet!BlogTravelBooksReszd20%Image (636)

A Journey Through Ancient Kingdoms and Natural Wonders: The World Heritage Sites of Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia by Leonard Cronin 1995

Produced in the same year, this book is more specific to our part of the world, focusing on 11 World Heritage sites in Australia, two in New Zealand; and nine in South-east Asia. There are now 19 sites in Australia (See: http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/world-heritage-list and http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/travel/destinations/2015/05/world-heritage-sites-of-australia), three in New Zealand and 37 in South-East Asia. See: https://aseanup.com/world-heritage-sites-in-southeast-asia/.

In this book, each site has an entire chapter devoted to it, with an in-depth discussion of its landscapes and habitats; characteristics; formation; history; diversity of species; their importance to the world community; and threats and preservation.

The Australian sites discussed include: Great Barrier Reef; the Wet Tropics of Queensland; Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (Ayers Rock and the Olgas); Kakadu National Park; Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh, Queensland and Naracoorte, South Australia); the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves; Fraser Island; Shark Bay; Willandra Lakes; the Tasmanian Wilderness; and Lord Howe Island.

The New Zealand entries include Tongariro National Park and Te Wahipounamu (South-West New Zealand). The latest inclusion is the Subantarctic Islands (the Snares, Bounty Islands, Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands and Campbell Island). See: http://www.fourcorners.co.nz/new-zealand/world-heritage-areas/.

Having visited many of the Australian and New Zealand sites personally, I can confirm the book does an excellent job of portraying them!

The South East Asian entries include:

Indonesia: Komodo National Park; Ujung Kulon National Park, Java, refuge of the last Javan Rhinoceri and the Prambanan and Borobodur Temple Compounds;

Thailand: the Ancient Kingdom of Ayutthaya; the Old City of Sukhothai; the Bronze Age settlement of Ban Chiang; and the Thung yai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, the last true wilderness area left in Thailand;

And Angkor in Cambodia, the largest complex of temples and monuments in the world, covering almost 200 square kilometres.

This is an excellent book, which I can highly recommend!BlogTravelBooksReszd25%Image (629)

World Travel: A Guide to International Ecojourneys  Edited by Dwight Holing 1996

Ecotravel is a growing branch of tourism and essential for the continued survival of our fragile ecosystems. Not only is it important that we have as small an impact on these areas as possible, but the tourist dollar is often the reason these areas are able to survive the threats of over-exploitation and habitat destruction.

In the first chapter, this book defines ecotourism and discusses early nature travellers, modern ecotourism and conservation organizations and management.

In Chapter Two: Planning an Ecotour, the authors discuss trip research, timing according to the Wildlife Calendar (see photo below), choosing a tour operator, health, money and security issues, packing essentials and ecotravel equipment.BlogTravelBooksReszd30%Image (642)Chapter Three: Responsible Travelling covers: Ethical considerations and culturally sensitive travel; Means of ecotravel: Hiking, camping, cycling, kayaking and rafting, scuba diving and animal-supported travel; and Different Types of Ecotravel: Naturalist-Led Tours and Volunteer Vacations (research surveys and habitat restoration).

The main bulk of the book features 68 ecojourneys, arranged under six geographical headings: North America; Central and South America; Europe; Africa; Asia; and Oceania and Antarctica.

Each section begins with an introduction to the overall area; a map and a list of the featured destinations. Each individual entry has a coloured background identifying the location of the region; beautiful photographs of the scenery, habitats and flora and fauna; colour illustrations of the latter; maps showing location and major roads and towns; an inset box with keyed symbols and traveller’s notes on access; visiting time; information centres and accommodation; and precautions; and feature boxes on specific information like local environmental issues; signification conservation projects; indigenous lifestyles and flora and fauna.

The Resources Directory in the back contains suggestions for further reading (books, magazines and internet sites); organizations (ecotravel; conservation; medical and security; and volunteer vacations); an index and glossary and a list of contributors to the book.

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Ecotouring: The Ultimate Guide by Magnus Elander and Staffan Widstrand 1993

Another book on ecotourism, describing 30 key nature destinations in detail, as well as brief descriptions of a further 130 nearby locations.  We have visited some of the sites described:

The steep bird cliffs of the North Atlantic (The Puffins of the Fair Isles; the Bonxies of Hermaness and the Bird City of Noss in the Shetlands);

The pink flamingos and white horses of the Camargue, France;

The crocodiles and birds of Kakadu National Park and the koalas and kangaroos (not to mention the odd wombat and seal!) at Wilson’s Promontary National Park, but that’s only four of the entries!

In each entry, the main text and stunning photographs are followed by a detailed description of the area and notes on access and transport; accommodation; climate and seasons; and flora and fauna of interest, as well as a brief description of nearby areas. It includes many areas, not covered in the previous books, and finishes with a list of key whale watching sites and coral reefs around the world.BlogTravelBooksReszd25%Image (630)

Classic Treks: The Most Spectacular Treks of a Lifetime: The 30 Most Spectacular Walks in the World Edited by Bill Birkett 2000

A beautiful book with stunning photographs of thirty  spectacular walks through incredibly beautiful natural areas in North America (7); South America (3); Europe (7); Asia (5); Africa (4) and Australasia (4).

It describes the unique qualities of each route, as well as providing essential facts and figures to help with trip planning, though obviously, you will need to check these on the internet for more up-to-date information.

There is a short introductory section on preparation and planning; safety; photography; and environmental awareness and responsibilities, followed by a guide to using the book and understanding the symbols like the degree of difficulty logo.

Each walk has a detailed itinerary, divided into days of set distances; detailed keyed maps and walk profiles; a monthly diagram of temperature and precipitation; photos and illustrations and a fact file containing an overview with start and finish points; walk difficulty and altitude; and details on access ( airports; transport; passports and visas; and permits and restrictions); local information sources (maps; guidebooks; background reading; accommodation and supplies; currency and language; photography; and area information); timing and seasonality (best months to visit; and climate); health and safety (vaccinations; general health risks; special considerations; politics and religion; crime risks; and food and drink); and highlights (scenic and wildlife and flora).

A list of contributors and travel information sites are listed in the back of the book.BlogTravelBooksReszd20%Image (637)

We bought this book after our trip to England and France with the kids in 1994, where we unknowingly walked parts of the  Pyreneean High Route on the French/ Spanish border, described in this book. We walked up to the snowline at Lescun (Day 1 and the start of the walk), where 6 year old Jenny fell in the icy melt-water stream and we saw giant snails and had a brief glimpse of an isard.

The next day, we walked the 11 km Tour des Lacs to the Refuge d’Ayous (Day 4) at 5 pm, 4 year old Caroline managing the whole walk on her own unassisted, discovering that the back of Pic Midi d’Ossau increasingly resembled a map of Australia the higher we went.

And on the final day, we called in briefly to the Cirque de Gavarnie (Day 12), the endpoint of the walk and an enormous shock to the system, given its total capitulation to the ravages of mass tourism with lots of highly madeup elderly ladies, riding staggering donkeys up to the cirque with its masses of postcard stands!

While I would love to explore some of the other overseas walks described, the probability is low, but the Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair (with a detour to the Walls of Jerusalem) in Tasmania and the Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island off the North Queensland coast are still possibilities!

Top Treks of the World Edited by Steve Razzetti 2001

While the Pyrennean Haute Route and Overland Track also described in this book, most of the entries are about different walks to those described in the previous walk, as is the approach and format.

There is a general introduction to each continent with a general map of the area showing the walk locations, followed by a description of each walk, a more detailed map and an inset box of information including: Location; When to Go; Start; Finish; Duration; Maximum Altitude; Technical Considerations; Equipment; Trekking style; and Permits and Restrictions.

Again, the photos are superb! The Eden to Mallacoota Walk (Nadgee Wilderness) is on our immediate radar, being so close, but I still hanker after the Alta Via II Walk through the Dolomites in Northern Italy ; the Lycian way in Turkey; the Tsitsikamma Otter Trail Circuit in South Africa; and the Himalayan treks on the Roof of the World, seven of which are described in this truly beautiful book!BlogTravelBooksReszd20%Image (638)

Lonely Planet’s 1000 Ultimate Adventures 2013

We have always enjoyed bushwalking and kayaking in the great outdoors, but there is also a huge market in adventure tourism these days, especially for the young and active, as well as adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers!

This book is for them, though there is still plenty of relevant information for us like: the Best Birding Sites or Marine Encounters; the Most Stellar Star-lit Adventures; Famous Footsteps and Legendary Odysseys; and Rousing Reads for Armchair Travellers!

We might give the Wildest Flights; the Most Dangerous Places to Travel; the Most Dangerous Adventures; the Most Hair-Raising Road Trips;  the Scariest Animal Encounters; the Hottest Volcano Ventures; the Most Vertiginous ventures; and the Best Adventures in the Buff  a miss, but they are fun to read about!!!!BlogTravelBooksReszd30%Image (626)

Tomorrow, I will post the third and final selection of  travel books in our library. These books cover the practicalities of travel! Here are the answers to the quiz:

Quiz Answers

1.According to the book, the world’s biggest lake is the Caspian Sea, SW Asia 393 900 sq km (152 000 sq miles), though Google says 370 886 square kilometers (143 200 square miles), but it still is the lake with the largest surface area in the world!

2. The Sahara Desert, North Africa is 9.1 sq km (3.5 Million sq miles).

3. The lowest land point on Earth is the Dead Sea at 396 metres (Google says 414 metres) below sea level. The lowest natural point underwater is Challenger Deep at the bottom of the Mariana Trench 11 034 metres below sea level.

4. A doline is a hole on the surface, after a limestone cave roof has collapsed or dissolved.

5. According to this book, the Lambert Glacier in the Australian Antarctic Territory is the largest glacier in the world at 402 km (250 miles) and up to 64 km (40 miles) wide. Given climate change, I was expecting very different dimensions on Googling, but happily, it is still the largest glacier in the world and the Google figures were actually larger: 435 km (270 miles) long and more than 96 km wide (60 miles).

The World’s Your Oyster: Travel Books Part One: Travellers

Having just had a feast of time travel through the history and prehistory books of our library, it is now time to explore our own world in the physical sense with some of our lovely travel books! In these days of cheap mass-travel, organised tours and party tourism, it is easy to forget that travel was once much more difficult and at times quite dangerous. The early plant hunters endured many perils, diseases and discomforts, as did early visitors to Australia, as discussed in some of the books in my previous post. So, I thought I would start this post with personal travel accounts and writers (Tuesday), followed by a slew of travel books for dreamy contemplation and inspiration (Wednesday), and finally, travel books about the practicalities (Thursday)!

Travellers

Wayward Women: A Guide to Women Travellers by Jane Robinson 1990

I loved this book. If you love history and travel like me, this is the perfect book for you! It’s a fascinating account of 400 remarkable women travellers and writers over 16 centuries. Jane has organized the women into broad groups: those who travelled voluntarily : the pioneers; explorers and adventurers; the financially independent sportswomen; the escapees and wanderers; the sight-seeing tourists; the travel writers; the missionaries; and those to whom travel was a means to an end (scientists; artists; and governesses); and those travelling by default: the wives of diplomats, explorers, military men and those dragged kicking and screaming; as well as the stories of emigrants and life in the bush, though many of the resourceful women described could fit into a number of categories.

Each section is organized alphabetically by surname, while a geographical index in the back lists the women by area. The literary achievements of each woman are listed at the beginning of each entry, followed by fascinating details of their life histories. These short passages make you want to know more about these amazing women, so there is a useful bibliography in the back, as well as contemporary and historical maps of the areas they visited. The stories are so interesting, inspiring, amusing, harrowing and very addictive. It’s hard to put this book down!

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Dervla Murphy is one of the women described and we own a number of her books. These are two of them:

Wheels Within Wheels by Dervla Murphy 1979

Essential reading for Dervla Murphy fans, who want to know more about her childhood and formative influences. Dervla was born in 1931 in County Waterford, Ireland, the only child of a country librarian and an invalid mother, who was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis.

While growing up in poverty, Dervla was surrounded by books. I loved the description of her paternal grand-parents’ home, where every flat surface, including the floors, was covered in tottering piles of seemingly disordered books from a wide eclectic range of subject areas from the Birds of Patagonia, the History of Printing in North Africa or the Bogotrid Sect of Tenth Century Bulgaria!

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The gift of a second-hand bicycle and a secondhand atlas for her 10th birthday whetted her ambition for a lifetime of travel after her parents died in 1960 and 1962. She cycled to India in 1962, the subject of her first book:

Full Tilt: Ireland to India With a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy 1986

While she was cycling through France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, and over the Himalayas to  Pakistan and India in 1963, Dervla kept a detailed diary of all her experiences, which formed the basis of this wonderful account of her travels.

She writes so well and has a keen eye for detail and appreciation of the countries through which she cycled and the locals, who befriended this solo woman traveller. It was such an amazing trip, followed by a stint working with Tibetan refugee children, which she writes about in her second book: Tibetan Foothold.

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Her next trip was to Nepal, followed by trekking with a mule through the Ethiopian Highlands. Dervla gave birth to her daughter Rachel in 1968, and as a single mother, introduced her to India, Baltistan, Peru and Madagascar during her childhood. When Rachel was 18 years old, they travelled together to Cameroon and in 2005, the pair took Rachel’s three daughters with them to Cuba. For more on this truly amazing traveller, see: https://www.travelbooks.co.uk/dervla-murphy/ and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKFO597-bdw, as well as a link to the trailer for the 2016 documentary on Dervla Murphy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4HiIpyQHdM.

Another wonderful and entertaining travel writer is William Dalrymple and while I have yet to read more of his books about India, I do own this next one:

In Xanadu: A Quest by William Dalrymple 1989/ 2010

Born in 1965 and studying history at Cambridge, William set off during his studies, aged 22 years old, to retrace the steps (literally!) of Marco Polo from Jerusalem to Xanadu, the Summer palace of Kubla Khan in Mongolia.

He travelled over 12,000 miles on land (road/train) through Israel, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and China at a time of great conflict. The Iran-Iraq War had just finished the previous year, but the Palestine-Israel conflict was still raging, Afghanistan was under Soviet occupation and China still very much closed to outside world and foreign travellers.

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He wrote about this amazing journey in his first book, which was received with much acclaim, winning the 1990 Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award and a Scottish Arts Council Spring Book Award and shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize. His other books have also won numerous awards and in  2002, he was awarded the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for his ‘outstanding contribution to travel literature.’ For more information about this interesting author and his books, see: http://www.williamdalrymple.uk.com/.

Another historian traveller, who bases his travels on historical journeys is Tim Severin, about whom I have already written in my post of our prehistory library, but his books fit equally well into the travel category.

Tim has had such an amazing and interesting life and holds the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society and the Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. You can read more about him on : http://www.timseverin.net/. Here is an example of one of his books:

The Spice Islands Voyage: In Search of Wallace by Tim Severin 1997

We have always been fascinated by Alfred Wallace, the Victorian naturalist, who simultaneously proposed the theory of natural selection and evolution, for which Darwin received most of the credit. Wallace is also known as the father of biogeography, his name commemorated in the Wallace Line, which is the boundary between the Australasian and Asian ecozones, occurring in the 25 km wide straits between Bali and Lombok. For more on Wallace and the Wallace Line, see: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/11/07/3885420.htm and http://discovermagazine.com/1997/aug/mrwallacesline1198.

In 1996, Tim Severin retraced Wallace’s explorations of these East Indonesian islands, using Wallace’s famous book, The Malay Archipelago, and a replica traditional Moluccan square-rigger sailboat, the prahu. He visited the harbors, the nature reserves and the rainforests that Wallace visited, photographing the many wonderful butterflies and birds, checking out the environmental record and interviewing local officials.

In this book, Tim writes about destructive environmental practices, including rainforest clearing and the smuggling of rare species, as well as the importance of the survival of ancient ways of life and the preservation of environmental diversity.

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We would love to visit this area one day to see all the amazing flora and fauna: the turtles, gibbons and orangutangs, Komodo dragons, birds-of-paradise and tropical butterflies, and may well use this website in the future: http://ecosafariindonesia.com/tours/on-either-side-of-the-wallace-line/.

But, in the mean time, we dream and browse our beautiful travel books, the subject of my next post tomorrow…!!!

The Romance of Hybrid Musks

Hybrid Musks were developed in the first quarter of the 20th Century, so well after 1867. Consequently, they are not considered to be Old Roses, but rather Classic Roses with so many advantages that they are still very popular today.

The Hybrid Musk story starts with a German rose hybridizer, Peter Lambert, who bred a Multiflora Rambler, Aglaia, also called Yellow Rambler, in 1896 from a cross between R. multiflora and a Noisette, Rêve d’Or. Aglaia has vigorous, upright growth, 2.5 metres up to 5 metres tall and 1.8 metres wide; almost thornless stems; rich light green foliage with bronze tints when young; and small, semi-double, strongly fragrant, pale primrose yellow blooms, fading white, in Summer. Aglaia was one of the three daughters of Greek God, Zeus, and Eurynome and represented beauty. You can see a photo of this rose at: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/eu/aglaia.

In 1904, Lambert released a self-seedling of Aglaia, Trier, a Hybrid Multiflora and the very first Hybrid Musk rose. Trier is a repeat-flowering, upright shrub or small climber, 2.5 metres tall and 1.8 metres wide, with small foliage and small sprays of small, nearly single, fragrant white flowers, tinged with cream and pink. See: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/eu/trier.

The story then transfers to Reverend Joseph Pemberton (1852-1926) of Essex, England, who was an Anglican clergyman, but also a keen lifelong rosarian. He had an early interest in growing and showing roses, especially the then-popular Hybrid Perpetuals, and was an early member of the National Rose Society, of which he was President in 1911. On his retirement, he started to breed roses, crossing Noisettes, Polyanthas and especially Trier with Hybrid Teas, Teas and Noisettes to produce a new type of rose, the Hybrid Musks.

These new roses were long flowering, highly floriferous shrubs with clusters of fragrant flowers. His first Hybrid Musks were Daphne 1912 and  Danaë and Moonlight, both released in 1913. He established the Pemberton Nursery at Romford, where he grew 35 000 to 40 000 roses for sale annually. He released 25 new roses between 1912 and 1926, with a further ten selected from his seedlings and released by his sister, Florence, after his death.

During the 1930s, his assistants, John (Jack) and Ann Bentall, continued his work, releasing several new Hybrid Musks, including Autumn Delight 1933, Ballerina 1937 and Buff Beauty 1939, released after John’s death by his widow. For more about Reverend Pemberton,  see: http://www.pembertonroses.org.uk/pemberton-family-history and http://www.pembertonroses.org.uk/historical-events.

BlogHybridMusksReszd2016-11-06 13.08.16Description

Graceful spreading shrubs, which can be trained as low climbers, pillars and cascading feature roses. BlogHybridMusksReszd20%IMG_9277They are quite large shrubs, most at least 1.5 metres to 1.8 metres tall and wide, so they require room.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-27 13.15.17Very vigorous and tough, they can withstand a wide range of soil conditions, temperature and sun. They tolerate partial shade better than most roses and can be grown on south-facing walls (Australia). They have excellent disease-resistance. The photo above is Buff Beauty at the Mt Lofty Botanical Garden, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, while the photo below is Autumn Delight.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-19 13.35.00They have long graceful canes, some of which are almost thornless, with large, smooth, shiny, dark green , healthy foliage. Cornelia is the rose in the photo below.BlogHybridMusksReszd2016-10-29 12.06.39Very floriferous, they bloom abundantly and rapidly in Summer and Autumn and are reliable repeat-bloomers, some producing flowers continuously. Because so many flowers are often open at the same time, their pleasing fragrance fills the air for some distance. The scent from Cornelia is superb!BlogHybridMusksReszd2016-11-05 18.47.34They have huge clusters of small to medium, soft pastel flowers in white, yellow, pink, peach and apricot, though there are a few medium reds like Will Scarlet and Robin Hood. The photo below is Kathleen.BlogHybridMusksReszd2016-11-06 13.08.54Requirements

Hybrid Musks need plenty of space and good cultivation and adequate manuring to reach their full potential. Because they repeat-flower, pruning is important to encourage new growth, prevent the shrub from becoming leggy and unkempt, and to extend its life. Prune the strong main shoots back by one third in Winter, as well as old weak wood, especially in the centre of the bush. Deadhead during the Summer to encourage new flowers. The photo below is of Penelope.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-27 13.17.05Varieties

Prosperity Pemberton UK 1919

A cross between a Polyantha, Marie-Jeanne, and a Tea rose, Perle des Jardins, I grew this rose in my old Armidale garden as part of a hedge.

Tall bushy upright growth like its Tea parent and can be grown as a climber.  Up to 2 metres tall and 1.5 metres wide.

Strong arching shoots, which bend due to the weight of the blooms.

Shiny dark green foliage.

Large even clusters of small double fragrant creamy white blooms, flushed with blush pink at first, then fading to an ivory white, with a lemon tinge in the centre with age.BlogHybridMusksReszd50%Image (181)Kathleen Pemberton UK 1922

A cross between Hybrid Musk Daphne and Perle des Jeannes, I tried growing this rose as part of my Hybrid Musk hedge, but it wasn’t a healthy specimen, so I replaced it. It is still alive, but sickly, so I will wait to see if it recovers next Spring before deciding its fate!BlogHybridMusksReszd2016-11-06 13.09.01Very vigorous (2.4 metres tall and 1.2 metres wide) with greyish green stems; Sparse dark green foliage;BlogHybridMusksReszd20%IMG_9318 And small to medium, fragrant, single, pale pink blooms with deeper shadings like apple blossom.BlogHybridMusksReszd2514-11-26 15.25.03Bloomfield Dainty Thomas USA 1924

A cross between Hybrid Musk, Danaë, and Bloomfield Abundance. The photo below was taken at Werribee Park and features Bloomfield Dainty in the foreground.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-19 13.33.19

Spreading arching shrub 2.5 metres tall and 1.2 metres wide.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-19 13.33.24Long pointed orange buds open to single yellow saucers with 5 petals, a large central boss of gold stamens and a sweet musky fragrance. The main Spring flush is followed by a lesser display in Summer and Autumn.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-19 13.33.29Penelope Pemberton UK 1924

One of the most reliable and popular Hybrid Musks, this rose is a cross between Trier and Hybrid Tea, Ophelia.bloghxroses20reszd2016-11-06-13-09-14 This would have to almost be my favourite Hybrid Musk and it thrived both in my old Armidale garden and my new Candelo hedge.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0813Fully branching and spreading habit, 1.8 metres tall and 1.5 metres across, it can be grown as a climber or a low spreading shrub.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-27 13.16.20 The long canes bear large trusses of highly fragrant, semi-double, medium, frilly edged blush pink to peach blossoms, which open from coppery, salmon tinted buds, then fade to a creamy-white.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-27 13.16.56 The flowers reveal centres of gold stamens as they open.BlogHybridMusksReszd50%Image (192) Continuously blooming, they set coral pink hips, which should be deadheaded to encourage more blooms.BlogHybridMusksReszd2017-05-12 11.54.34Cornelia Pemberton UK 1925 Unknown parentage

Vigorous shrub, 1.5 metres high and 1.8 metres wide, with dark brown shoots;BlogHybridMusksReszd2016-11-03 10.04.21 Small bronze foliage when young;BlogHybridMusksReszd20%IMG_1982 And large clusters of small , highly fragrant, pink and peach, fully double, rosette blooms with 3 to 4 layers of petals and a central boss of gold stamens.BlogHybridMusksReszd2016-11-03 10.03.16 Continuously blooming, the Autumn flush is particularly good, with large sprays of deeper pink flowers produced on strong new stems from the base of the plant.BlogHybridMusksReszd20%IMG_1979 I am growing this rose on one side of the chook arch opposite Tea rose, Sombreuil.BlogHybridMusksReszd2016-11-10 09.19.26

Felicia Pemberton UK 1928

Released by his sister Florence after his death, this rose is another cross between Trier and Hybrid Tea, Ophelia.BlogHybridMusksReszd50%Image (179)A strong reliable broad shapely branching shrub, 1.5 metres tall and 2.7 metres wide, which makes a good hedge. The large, crisp, dark green leaves have crinkled edges and are more like those of Hybrid Teas than many Hybrid Musks.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-19 13.35.46 I am growing this rose under the apple tree, but it has much competition both from the latter, as well as the roots and shade of the White Mulberry and Cottonwood Poplar!BlogHybridMusksReszd50%Image (231)Large sprays of small, informal, muddled, strongly fragrant, rich pink flowers with salmon shadings open from pointed apricot pink buds and fade to blush pink. Very floriferous, it blooms freely from Summer to Autumn.BlogHybridMusksReszd20%IMG_9316

Francesca Pemberton UK 1928

Another seedling released after his death, this rose is a cross between Hybrid Musk, Danaë, and Sunburst.

Large graceful shrub, 1.8 metres tall and wide, it has broad arching growth; Smooth dark stems and is well-foliated with long dark green glossy leaves with pointed ends.BlogHybridMusksReszd2514-11-26 15.24.19Well spaced sprays of large semi-double apricot yellow blooms, with a strong Tea scent, open from long, slim, pointed, elegant buds and fade to a pale yellow. The Autumn blooms are a deeper yellow.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-19 13.34.08Autumn Delight Bentall UK 1933 Unknown parentage

Upright bushy shrub, 1.2 metres tall and wide, with almost thornless stems; Dark green leathery foliage;BlogHybridMusksReszd2514-11-26 15.24.34 And large trusses of semi-double, soft buff yellow, continuous blooms, opening from shapely deep yellow buds.BlogHybridMusksReszd20%IMG_9649 This rose graces the far end of the white Hybrid Musk hedge behind the raspberry patch.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-19 13.34.44Buff Beauty Bentall UK 1939

The last of the Pemberton-Bentall Hybrid Musks, this rose is a cross between a Noisette, William Allen Richardson, and an unknown rose.

A vigorous, well-balanced, arching shrub, 1.8 metres tall and 1.5 metres wide, it can be grown as a small climber in warm climates. It was a very large shrub in my Armidale garden.BlogHybridMusksReszd2014-10-27 13.17.27Smooth stems tinted brown and large thick dark green leaves.BlogHybridMusksReszd50%Image (170)A reliable continuous flowerer, it has small to large clusters of medium, semi-double to double, rich apricot-yellow blooms with a strong Tea fragrance. The colour varies with the weather and the soil from apricot to buff yellow and even primrose.BlogHybridMusksReszd50%Image (167)For a full list of Hybrid Musks available commercially today, with photos, see:

http://www.davidaustinroses.com/eu/type/shrub-roses/hybrid-musk-roses.

In my research, I also discovered that the Pemberton Rose Garden at the St. Francis Hospice in Romford, Essex, has the largest collection of Pemberton Roses in the world. See: http://www.pembertonroses.org.uk/the-garden. What a wonderful place for the terminally ill patients and their families!

Next week, there are three posts on travel books in our library, as a lead up to my Bucket-List of Overseas Gardens, which I would love to visit one day, but for this month at least will be exploring digitally!

Oldhouseintheshires

 

History Books: Part Three: History

Following on from last week’s posts about our ancient past, I am starting this post with a few crossover books about ancient civilisations to give a baseline for future developments.

Prehistory is defined as the time before written records and given that the first writing was developed in 3 600 BCE, the following books can easily be included in a post on the early history of mankind.

The Atlas of World Archaeology  Edited by Paul G Bahn 2006 (Earlier editions 2000 and 2003)

While Part One focuses on Prehistoric Man: the earliest hominids and first modern humans; tool making and use of fire; African genesis and the spread of archaic and modern humans; the Neanderthals; the Ice Age and prehistoric art, the rest of the book examines the development of the early civilisations.

Part Two discusses the major advances in the next 10 000 years: the emergence of farming (animal and plant domestication; dairying; animals for traction power and wealth; and use of wool); pyrotechnology ( pottery and metallurgy: copper; bronze; iron and gold); and writing and early settlements, while Part Three is devoted to a more detailed look at the rise of civilisations in the different regions of the world:

Europe and Western Asia: Uruk (Warka) in Southern Mesopotamia; Varna in the Balkans; Sumerians and Akkadians, Mesopotamia; Minoans of Crete and the Mycenean on the Greek Mainland; the Hittites and the Assyrians; the Philistines and the Israelites; the Phoenicians; the Assyrian Empire; Saba, Southern Arabia; the Etruscans; Classical Greece and Ancient Rome .

Central, South and East Asia: the Harappans of the Indus Valley, India; the ancient dynasties of China (Xia; Shang; Zhou; Qin; Han); Early states in Korea (Paekche, Koguryo and Shilla) and Japan (Yayoi period); the Maruyas, Kushans and Guptas of India; the Scythians and Steppe Nomads; the Persian Empire; the Greeks in Asia; and the Empires along the Silk Road.

Africa: Ancient Egypt (Predynastic; Old, Middle and New Kingdoms); Ancient Nubia (Kerma and the Kingdom of Kush) on the Upper Nile and Axum on the Red Sea; the Nok in Central Nigeria; the Kingdom of Ghana; and the Empire of Mali.

The Americas: the Bison Hunters and Mound Builders (Adena and Hopewell cultures; the Mississippian tradition) of North America; the Pueblo Dwellers of the South-West; the Olmecs and Classical Highland civilisations of Mesoamerica; the Mayan States of Central America; the Aztecs of Central Mexico;  Andean States and Empires (Chavan; Moche; Paracas; Nasca; Tiwanaku; Wari and Chimor); and the Inca Empire of Peru.

Australia and the Pacific: Ice Age peoples and Lake Mungo; Later hunter-gatherers; Early Melanesia; Colonizing the Pacific (the Lapita people; and Polynesian voyagers); Easter Island; and the Maoris of New Zealand.BlogHxBooksReszd20%Image (585)

History is such a fascinating, complex and enormous subject with so much happening in all the different parts of the world simultaneously, so I found this book really useful for getting a handle on the different regional developments. This understanding is reinforced by timelines and excellent maps indicating key archaeological sites, as well as feature boxes and photographs of specific finds. By no means exhaustive, this book is a good general guide, with a clear simple presentation, but for a more in-depth discussion of the early civilisations, it is worth reading the following book:

The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations Edited by Arthur Cotterell 1980

Written by over 30 international  experts, this interesting book provides a good overview of the prehistoric world and a detailed analysis of separate ancient civilizations. It discusses the art, architecture, language, mythology , religion and chronology of early societies, as well as  their emergence, development, interaction and decline. In the back are suggestions for further reading.

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Ancient History: From the First Civilizations to the Renaissance  by JM Roberts 2002

This would have to be one of my thickest books! This door-stopper of a book tells the story of more than 10 000 years of history and includes sidebars and feature boxes, which focus on major turning-points of history, as well as major figures and background information to the main text.

While the first half of the book recaps on the prehistory of mankind; the early civilisations; and Classical Greece and Ancient Rome, it then progresses to examine Islam and the Arab Empires; Byzantium; the Turks and the Ottomans; the consolidation of Medieval Europe; the Vikings, Angles and Saxons; Christianity; the Far East (India; Imperial China; and Japan); Africa and the Americas; and further historical developments in Europe (The Crusades; Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch explorations; and the Renaissance). Another very interesting and readable book!BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (581)

The Cassell Atlas of World History Forewood by Barry Cunliffe 1998

This excellent atlas also covers a larger time period than the first book I discussed.

It is divided into 6 parts:

The Ancient World (4 000 000 to 500 BC);

The Classical World (500 BC to 600 AD);

The Medieval World (600 AD to 1492 AD);

From Columbus to American Independence ( 1492 AD to 1783 AD);

The 19th Century World (1783 AD to 1914 AD); and

From World War One to the Present (1914 AD to 1997 AD).

Each part is again divided into different regional areas (Europe; the Middle East; Africa; South and East Asia; the Americas; and Australasia), with an overall global outline of each time period at the beginning and detailed insights into all the periods of dramatic change and major events shaping history.

The text is supported by comprehensive world and regional maps, which are colour-coded to show the major civilizations in each area and lines with arrowheads indicating journeys, migrations and trade routes, as well as timelines, arranged in geographical or thematic sections, also colour-coded for major extended events and historical periods with pointers to particular to particular events.

This is an excellent book for showing comparative histories at a glance. For example, in the section on the rise of agriculture (1.03), the world map is colour-coded to show the transition periods to agriculture throughout the world and details the different animals and plants domesticated in each area; as well as textile and pottery finds; the earliest centres of metallurgy and the early spread of wheeled vehicles; while the next map (1.04) gives a very clear picture of the different modes of life throughout the world in 2000 BC (hunter-gatherers; nomadic pastoralists; simple and complex farming societies; and chiefdoms and  state societies) with the names of the separate groups in each area.

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The Times Compact Atlas of World History Edited by Geoffrey Parker 4th Edition 1995 is a similar book, but is much smaller and more compact.

It is divided into four parts:

 The Ancient World : Human Origins; the development of agriculture and the rise of civilizations to the collapse of Ancient Rome;

The World Fragmented : The spread of Christianity; the Byzantine and Islamic worlds; the Franks and Anglo-Saxons; the Vikings; the Mongol Empire; the Muslim Empires of India and Persia; Africa; Medieval Europe; South East Asia to 1511; China and Japan to 1644; the Ottoman Empire and Precolumbian America;

The Rise of the West: Voyages of discovery; European overseas expansion; the expansion of France and Russia; Colonial America; the Reformation; Habsburg ascendancy in Europe; China to 1911, India to 1947 and Japan to 1830; The Age of Revolution (America; and the Napoleonic Empire); the Industrial Revolution in Europe; the emerging Global Economy 1775; the United States to 1865 and Australia and New Zealand from 1788; the Decline of the Ottoman Empire; Nationalism in Europe; Imperialism; the European Powers and the World on the eve of the First World War;

The Modern World: The Chinese Republic (1911-1949); the First World War; Russian Revolution; Political problems in Europe 1919-1939; The Great Depression; the Second World War in Europe, Asia and the Pacific; the United States since 1945; Europe 1945 to 1973; Soviet Union to 1991; East Asia since 1945 and Decolonization after 1947; Middle East since 1917; Latin America since 1930; Africa and Asia since 1945; the Cold War 1947 to 1989; Europe since 1973; the Collapse of Communism in Europe since 1989 and the World in the 1990s (world population; infant mortality and life expectancy; gross national product and foreign investment; and ozone depletion).

And now here we are, 20 years later with major problems like climate change and environmental degradation, over-population, resource depletion , terrorism and political instability throughout the world! History never stands still and is constantly being made or rewritten, but this small volume with its condensed maps, graphs and diagrams gives a brief overall picture of world history at the time.

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I often find children’s books are often a good way to get an overall basic view of complex subjects like space, archaeology and time and the next two books are good examples.

The Junior Wall Chart of History: From Earliest Times to the Present by Christos Kondeatis 1990

This wall chart covers the last 6 000 years (4 000 BC on) and is divided into illustrated coloured bands, representing the different areas of the world (the Americas; Europe- Western Europe/ Eastern Europe and Middle East; India; Asia; China; Africa and Australasia) and different themes (Explorers and Traders; Scientists and Inventors; The Arts and Religion; and ‘First’ Dates).BlogHxBooksReszd2517-09-24 22.34.02Designed to pull out in one continuous wall chart, marked at the top by the date, it is an excellent way of displaying comparative history in a simple uncomplicated style. For example, a quick glance at the year 1200 BC (photo above) reveals that the Sea Peoples from Greece and the Mediterranean were raiding and resettling neighbouring countries; the wandering Urnfield people, who were ancestors of the Celts, started to settle and farm in villages; Stonehenge had already been built;  the Trojan Wars started between rival Greek city states; the Assyrian Empire, the New Kingdom of Egypt  and Shang Dynasty in China were in full swing; the Phoenician seafarers and merchants were starting to establish trading posts in the Mediterranean, Atlantic Ocean and West Africa’s coast; the Akkadian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh was written and the Jews began their worship of only one god, Jahweh.BlogHxBooksReszd2017-09-24 22.34.33In the Beginning: The Nearly Complete History of Almost Everything by Brian Delf and Richard Plat 1995

Another excellent book for children about the major world historical events, presented in a slightly different format.

After a brief look at the origins of our planet and geographical features and life on Earth, our past is examined through our achievements and developments and everyday life: our homes, buildings and bridges; clothing, medicine and weapons; writing and communication; inventions; and energy, work and methods of transport.

Each entry is illustrated with images of the subject at different time periods and in different countries, accompanied by brief explanatory text, a wonderful way of showing the diversity of each subject through time and space, as well as the development of each subject and man’s ingenuity. In the back is a biographical index of the key historical figures mentioned in the book.

An excellent book for inspiring a curiosity and interest in history, which can so often be presented in a dry or dusty way, which has the exactly opposite effect!BlogHxBooksReszd20%Image (582)

There are so many different ways of presenting history. The previous books have either been factual accounts, atlases with maps and timelines or wall charts. Another very successful way is in the form of story-telling his-story, the next two books being excellent examples.

A Very Short History of the World by Geoffrey Blainey 2004

Tracing the story of mankind over the last 4 Million years, this book examines the influences of geography, religion and technology in shaping the world.

Part One starts with the prehistory of mankind, the implications of agriculture, the specialisation of skills and the development of the early civilisations and their achievements from Mesopotamia through to the Ancient Romans.

Part Two progresses from the Mongol hordes to Medieval Europe; the Ottoman conquests; the Renaissance Period; advances in science and exploration; and the colonization of new lands.

Part Three covers American Independence and the French Revolution; the settlement of Australia; the African Slave Trade; the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Steam; the American Civil War and the Taiping Rebellion; Darwin and Evolution; the two World Wars; Liberation of the colonies; the Peoples’ Republic of China and all the technological advances of the last century.

I really enjoyed this book. It is very easy to read and I learnt so much! See if you can match a country to each of these imports: Potato; Indigo (blue dye); Turkeys; Porcelain; Cochineal (scarlet dye); Cloves; Quinine; and Logwood (red dye). The answers are at the bottom of the post!!!

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The Human Race: 10 Centuries of Change on Earth by Ian Mortimer 2014

An interesting read, examining the major changes, which impacted Western culture, defined as a product of Medieval European Christendom, between 1001 and 2000 AD. Some of the subjects the author covers include:  Religion and the church; Work and lifestyles; Population growth; Science, medicine and disease; Law and commerce; Education; Printing and books; TraveI and discovery; Weapons; The rise of the middle class; Transport and communication; the Industrial Revolution; Photography; the Media; and Electronics.

Mortimer writes so well and really makes history come alive. He summarises each century and the principal agents of change at the end of each chapter in order to address the initial question, which promoted the writing of the book: ‘Which Century Saw the Most Change?’, as well as explore the potential of the future.  You will have to read his book to discover his viewpoints!

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Now for some books on more specific areas:

Ancient England by Nigel Blundell and Kate Farrington 1996

I love the age of England – its old buildings and ruins; mysterious barrows, henges, hill forts and stone rings; its huge white figures carved into chalk hills; the remnants of ancient Roman walls and roads; and the wealth of statues and intricately carved Gaelic headstones.

We bought this lovely book after our trip to England in 1994 and it explains the history of this beautiful country so well! It describes the monoliths and tombs of Neolithic man (eg Stonehenge and Avebury); the fertility symbols of the Bronze Age Britons; the Iron Age forts of the Celts; the towns, road networks, villas, communal baths, theatres, temples and forums of Roman Britain; the Legend of King Arthur and Camelot; the Dark Ages; the Vikings and Danelaw; the Norman Conquest; the Plantagenets; the Medieval Period; Rebellion and the Wars of the Roses (1455 to 1487); the Tudors; Queen Elizabeth, the First; and finally, Oliver Cromwell and the subsequent restoration of the monarchy with Charles II (1660 to 1685).

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The Celts by John Davies 2000

Based upon the television series of the same name and accompanied by beautiful photos, this book explores the origins and development of the Celtic peoples and their migration from Central Europe to Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Cornwall, Brittany and Galicia. It describes their culture and festivals, their religion and sacred groves; their grave goods, weapons and treasures; their language, legends and fairytales; their stylised art and music; and finally, the future prospects of modern-day Celts. I’d love to see the six-part TV series for the sound effects, as well as the visuals!BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (600)

Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of South East Asia by Stephen Oppenheimer 2001

And then, there is this book by Stephen Oppenheimer, an expert in archaeological DNA (http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/stephenoppenheimer/stephen_oppenheimer.php), who challenges the conventional view of prehistory, using evidence from archaeology, oceanography, ethnography, geology, linguistics, genetics and folklore.

He argues that the cradle of civilisation was not in the Middle East, but in South-East Asia, and that the biblical flood of Noah’s Ark did occur with the melting of the ice 8000 years ago, causing rapid rises in sea level and drowning Sundaland, the landmass containing Indo-China, Malaysia and Indonesia during the last Ice Age, resulting in a huge population dispersal north and west to China, India, Mesopotamia, Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean, taking their mythology and technology with them and creating the first civilisations 6000 years ago.

He also states that Polynesians did not come from China, but the islands of South-East Asia, and that rice was domesticated in the Malay Peninsula 9000 years ago, rather than in China, the official view. It is a fascinating book with so much information and while I am not certainly sufficiently expert to make any further comments, you can read more detailed reviews at: http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/reviews/atlantis.html and https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/10125/17129/1/AP-v38n2-book-reviews.pdf.

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History can also be appreciated through the study of the history of specific subject areas like language, mathematics and botany. Along with archaeology and our origins, the development and diversity of languages has always fascinated me, especially the origins of the English language, which reflects its history of successive invasions over time by the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Normans and now Americanization and the influence of other cultures and technologies.

It is an enormous subject area, if the following website: https://www.ethnologue.com is anything to go by. Apparently, there are 7099 living languages, divided into 141 different language families, of which one third are endangered with less than 1000 speakers, and just 23 languages account for more than half the world’s population. The next two books are an excellent introduction to this broad field.

The Origins and Development of the English Language 3rd Edition by Thomas Pyles and John Algeo 1982

This comprehensive book was a first year academic text for students of Linguistics, so probably provides a more in-depth study than the lay person requires, but it is all still fascinating! There is so much information about grammar and word order and the mechanics behind speech, but it is the history of Writing (Chapter 3) and Language (Chapters 4 to 7), which really caught my attention.

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After a brief discussion of the most common language families, it focuses in on the Proto-Indo-European language family, of which English is a member (see the photo from the next book).

It traces the history of our language from Old English 449 to 1100 AD to Middle English 1100 to 1500 AD and Modern English to 1800, before examining the background mechanisms behind the formation of new words. I was particularly fascinated by the large section on the foreign elements of our vocabulary.

Here is another challenge! See if you know the origins of the 20 following words (and that’s only the first half of the alphabet!):

Albino; Anaemic; Bazaar; Budgerigar; Crochet; Cartoon; Delicatessen; Dinghy; Eisteddfod; Etiquette; Flamingo; Giraffe; Gingham; Hinterland; Influenza; Jubilee; Karma; Lieutenant; Medium; and Menu.

The answers are at the bottom of the post!

The Atlas of Languages: The Origin and Development of Languages Throughout  the World  Edited by Bernard Comrie, Stephen Matthews and Maria Polinsky  1996

Covering over 200 languages, this lovely coffee-table book gives a global survey of the different language families: their history, distribution, spread and decline, then focuses in on the different regions of the world : Europe and Eurasia; South and South-East Asia; Africa and the Middle East; Pacific; Australia and the Americas.

There are over 30 colour maps, as well as feature boxes, detailing points of linguistic, cultural and historical interest; many photographs of present-day people and places and ancient artefacts, manuscripts, monuments and statues from the last 5000 years; and tables like the example below (Page 40), showing all  the major language groups in the Indo-European Family.BlogHxBooksReszd50%Image (620)The book also discusses Pidgin and Creole languages; the extinction of languages; and the evolution and diversity in writing systems throughout the world, another fascinating area of study.BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (579)

The development of numbers and mathematical  thought is equally absorbing and even though the following paperback is now over 42 years old, it is an excellent introduction to the basics!

Man and Number : An Account of the Development of Man’s Use of Number Through the Ages by Donald Smeltzer 1975

Here is a summary of the chapter contents:

Chapter One : Early man’s sense of number; Number words in different languages; the concept of Tallying; and the use of Number Bases:

Binary (base two), as used by computers;

Quinary (base five), used by the Joloffs of Africa; and

Decimal (base 10), used by most advanced societies today, though base three, four, twelve (eg: Imperial measurement of inches and feet/a dozen eggs) and twenty (vigesimal), as evidenced by: the English word, score, derived from tallying by making notches in wood with every 20th, a deeper notch or score; in French (the word for 80 is quatre-vingts ie four twenties); Scots Gaelic and Danish counting in the past; as well as ancient Mayan and Aztec societies.

Chapter Two: Number Recording: Egyptian hieroglyphics; Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform numerals, using base 10, base 60 (sexagesimal); Mayan Aztec symbols; Peruvian quipu (knotted cord); Chinese number symbols; Indian numbers; Ancient Greece (Attic/ Alexandrian) and Roman numerals.

Chapter Three: Early Calculating Devices: Abacus (used as long ago as the Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians); Chinese Counting Rods; and the Basics of Multiplication and Division.

Chapter Four:  The Modern Number System: Origins (Hindu-Arabic numerals); Early methods of Written Calculation (Hindu, Arabic and European);  Multiplication and Division methods; the development of Decimal Fractions; and the invention of Logarithms.

This is an interesting little book, which can be appreciated by lay people and non-mathematicians!

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For the gardeners amongst us, these next 3 books describe the history of plant collecting.

The Plant Hunters: Two Hundred Years of Adventure and Discovery Around the World by Toby Musgrave, Chris Gardner and Will Musgrave 2000

A wonderful tale of adventure, danger and derring-do, this book looks at two hundred years of plant discovery and collecting from Sir Joseph Banks’ three year journey around the world with Captain Cook on the Endeavour from 1768 to 1771 and Francis Masson’s investigations into the flora of South Africa, the Canary Islands, Portugal and North America to David Douglas’s explorations of North America; Joseph Hooker’s travels in Sikkim; the oriental botanical discoveries of Robert Fortune, Ernest Wilson, George Forrest and Frank Kingdon-Ward ; and the importance of the Veitch Nurseries, sending out William and Thomas Lobb to bring back new exotic plants for the Victorian nursery trade.

It contains beautiful colour photographs of the plants and locations throughout and inset boxes featuring specific plant discoveries at the end of each chapter, with details on the origin of each plant name; a description; size and distribution.BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (540)

The Flower Chain: The Early Discovery of Australian Plants by Jill Duchess of Hamilton and Julia Bruce 1998

This small book traces the discovery and journey of appreciation of our unique Australian flora through the analogy of the ‘flower chain’ from Dampier’s picking of Sturt’s Desert Pea Swainsona formosa back in 1699; Sir Joseph Banks’ extensive collection in 1770; and Labillardière’s botanical collection for Empress Josephine and subsequent publication of Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen in 1804; and finally, George Bentham’s Flora Australiensis in the late 1870s. BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (541)

Along the way, it examines Australia’s unique flora: its dominant plant groups and adaptations to fire and drought and the cultivation of Australian plants, as well as the early plant collectors; classification and scientific nomenclature; and the Dutch, French and British explorers and early botanists. One such man was Ferdinand Von Müeller (1825 to 1896), the subject of the next book:

Collecting Ladies: Ferdinand Von Müeller and Women Botanical Artists by Penny Olsen 2013

Ferdinand Müller arrived in Australia in 1847 and during his pharmaceutical studies, developed a keen interest in botany, becoming the first Government Botanist of Victoria in 1853 and the first Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne in 1857.

He enlisted over 3000 collectors to gather plant specimens and extend the knowledge of their distribution and  habits, including a number of women, including Louisa Anne Meredith; Euphemia Henderson;  Fanny Anne Charsley; Anna Frances Walker; Harriet and Helena Scott; Louisa Atkinson; Fanny de Mole; Margaret Forrest; Ellis Rowan; Rosa Fiveash; Gertrude Lovegrove; Flora Martin and Marie Wehl.

Many of these ladies were also highly accomplished botanical artists, as attested by their beautiful colour plates in the book. I also loved the old black-and-white photographic portraits and reading all the finer details about the lives of these talented women.BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (538)

While history can be viewed as a record of key events and developments, it is also the life journey of individual men and women and first-hand accounts are an invaluable source of information about the everyday lives of individuals within these historical periods. The final five books are excellent examples.

Local Australian History

A Fortunate Life by AB Facey 1981

AB Facey was born in 1894 and grew up on the Kalgoorlie goldfields and a farm in the wheat-belt of Western Australia. He received little formal education, starting his adult working life at the age of 8 years old, toiling on a farm and droving, before building railway lines and boxing in a travelling troupe. He fought at Gallipoli in the First World War, where he was injured, then returned to marriage and farming under the Soldier Settlement Scheme, before being forced off the land with the Great Depression and finally ending up working on the trams.

He taught himself to read and write at a young age and always kept notes about his life, publishing them originally for 20 family members, but suddenly achieving huge fame. Over 800 000 copies have been sold since its publication and it is now considered an Australian classic and is essential reading for courses in Australian history.

He writes simply and well with a no-nonsense approach and a great appreciation of his ‘fortunate life’, despite the extreme poverty, struggles for survival and just sheer hard work! But it is the story of our nation and our forebears, the ordinary individuals who created its history and national character, which is the reason it resonates so strongly with its readers.

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The Letters of Rachel Henning 1988

Written from a totally different perspective and an earlier period of Australian history, these letters written to and from Australia from 1853 to 1882 and published in the Bulletin in 1951 and 1952, 37 years after her death in 1914,  are equally fascinating!

Rachel Henning was born in 1826 and visited siblings in Australia in 1854, returning to England in 1856, but settling in Australia in 1861.

She had a keen eye for detail and was an excellent story-teller, so her accounts are a terrific record of the minutiae of daily life and her personal observations of these two very different countries, Victorian England and pioneering Australia, as well as life in the outback. It is so interesting reading about such a different time period, when transportation, communication, technology, entertainment and time scales were so different to our contemporary world.

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Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland by Constance Campbell Petrie 1904/ 1975

This book goes even further back in history to the early European settlement of Australia. Tom Petrie’s family settled in Brisbane in 1837, when there were only ten houses and a large population of indigenous Australians.

Tom Petrie was born in 1831 and grew up playing with the local aboriginal children, absorbing their language, customs and mythology and observing many of their ceremonies and festivals. He recounted his memories to his daughter Constance, who published them in 1904.

It’s a wonderful ethnographic record of the original Australians and their way of life before European settlement.

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The final two books are very valuable to us personally as they are based in South-East Queensland, my husband’s childhood home, and cover the history of the famous O’Reilly family and their guesthouse, now known as O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat (https://oreillys.com.au/), as well as that of their Albert Valley neighbours, the pioneering Stephens family, my husband’s grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles.

Green Mountains and Cullenbenbong by Bernard O’Reilly 1940 is a collection of memories from the O’Reilly family roots in the Kanimbla Valley, Blue Mountains, and their reestablishment on a rainforest block on the Macpherson Plateau in South-East Queensland, four years before the declaration of Lamington National Park.

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They were tough men and hard workers, so typical of those early years, and they forged a new life from scratch, clearing rainforest, making tracks, building a home, planting crops and establishing a highly successful tourism venture.  And while it was certainly hard work, they enjoyed full lives and appreciated all they had. Bernard had a deep love of his rainforest environment and all it inhabitants, as well as his family and friends and the Australian way of life, particularly in the country, now a ‘lost world’ to today’s generations!

Bernard actually named the crag above our valley (the right-hand branch of the Albert River) ‘Lost World’ and the development of his own tourism venture, ‘the Valley of the Lost World’, on the top paddock of our family farm in 1954, despite the twin setbacks of flooding and Cyclone Bertha, is recounted in the next book, while another shared family experience, the Stinson Disaster 1937, in which Bernard and the Stephens men played a pivotal role, is described at the start of this book. The text is supported by old black-and-white photographs from 1912 on, as well as quaint pen-and-ink illustrations and beautiful romantic poetry written by Bernard.

Over the Hills  by Bernard O’Reilly 1974 is a delightful book, again showing Bernard’s deep love of natural history and environment. His descriptions are so beautiful and it’s wonderful reading about an area you know and love so well! Again, there are lovely old black-and-white photographs and quotations. Both his books are wonderful tributes to the Old Australia of his youth, which he describes in the final sentence of ‘Green Mountains and Cullenbenbong’ as a time of adventure, after which ‘the world was never so big, so beautiful or so wonderful again’!BlogHxBooksReszd30%Image (589)

It’s still a pretty special world, though very different to Bernard’s day, and my next book post will be visiting some of the wonderful travel books we have in our library! Next week though, it’s back to some more favourite roses, the Hybrid Musks!

Answers:

Origin of Imports: South America; India; North America; China; Mexico; Indonesia; Peru; and Brazil.

Origins of Borrowed Words: Portuguese; Greek; Persian; Australian; French; Italian; High German; Hindustani; Welsh Gaelic; French; Portugal; Arabic ; Pacific Islands; High German; Italy; Hebrew; Sanskrit; French (Norman) ; Latin; and French.