A return to Haddon Hall, this time to see more of the gardens on one of the “Open Gardens” days.  Instead of gazing through the locked gates or over the walls at the lower terraces this was the chance to walk through them and to get closer to the infamous Dorothy Vernon’s bridge. Bizarrely only a few days before the sparkle had been diminished from the romantic elopement story when I found out that the star crossed lovers eloped to Friar Lane in Nottingham. Admittedly it wasn’t the same Friar Lane as it is today. A long demolished historical house looked a fair hideaway, certainly better than hanging out at the Indigo bus stop after a boozy night out at the Walkabout bar, which is how Friar Lane looks today.

Accompanied by one Brackenfield Bandit this time, we raced through the house to the Bowling Green Terrace. This has just been replanted. And with the recent good weather there has been an outbreak of purple pom-poms.

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And so to the first part of the usually out of bounds garden, Dorothy Vernon’s Walk, which gives another aspect of the Hall and surrounding countryside.

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At the end of the terrace the door was now unlocked and it leads to Lady Mary’s Garden. Here is my opportunity to post a quote from one of my favourite books. Not entirely the right quote but promise of passing through the door is universal I’m sure. I am sure Waugh would just have tweaked it if he had written about Haddon instead of Oxford.

But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city.

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Once through the door we passed the Iron Gate that would have led us back to the Fountain Terrace and made our way to the Riverside Terrace and a closer look at the bridge.

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The Brack Bandit suggested that in the few weeks since she had visited before the plants had burst into colour.  It really was a charming glimpse of springtime, a nice mix of formal planting and casual, especially allowing the daisies and rockery plants to grow through the lower terrace steps and the terrace walls.

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There was just time to have another cup of tea and a slice of cake before heading off home. I really enjoyed the visit and I hope the BB did too.
Sadly the sun didn’t shine, maybe next time?

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