Thursday, May 20, 2010


Today we went to Nyman Gardens, a National Trust property about 13 miles (an hour by bus) from Brighton. The house is a fake 15th century manor house, built in the early part of the 1900s. Most of it burned in 1947, leaving a beautiful, romantic ruin covered by the most amazing wisteria, which smelled of green tea. We did go in the remaing house - used as a second home by the Messel family until it was acquired by the NHS 20 years ago or so. It was not very interesting to us - except to remind us of Baddesley Clinton, a much better and REAL 15th century house also run thethe National Trust.

It's the garden that's the real attraction. And, for us today, the Bluebell woods, which were amazing. There were not that many Spring flowers out - the daffs are long past it and the roses aren't out yet, but the air was fragrant in all the woods around the house, bluebells, wisteria, and a bunch of other flowering bushes that I couldn't identify.

The most amazing, peculiar one is called the handkerchief tree and that is exactly what the blossom looks like - dainty white handkerchiefs drooping from the branches. I hope this picture gives you an idea of what it looks like. There were many of them all over the estate. Delightful.

One thing the National Trust does really well is lunches. All the foods are local and kind of traditional and it's fun to eat there. I had English Pea and Mint soup with locally made bread. The COG had a venison burger on a locally made bun. We shared an apple and elderflower crumble with custard for dessert. We drank tea, but we could have had beer made on National Trust properties, or elderflower or ginger or apple carbonated drinks made locally. Really a pleasant menu.


peaceable_tate said...

It looks marvelous! The bluebells are magical, aren't they?

The Bride said...

The bluebells are magical and in order to get a bluebell wood like this, the wood has to be intensively managed. It has to be cleaned of brush and other plants so the bluebells, when they come up, aren't mixed into a bramble of other greenery.

But they look completely wild and untouched by man. It's a very English kind of gardening - the wild/cultivated mixture.