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Abbey Gardens

“All is Calm,” is one of Maria Antonia’s photo challenges for this year.  Here is a photo I took at the Japanese Garden in Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds.  It was a peaceful day out with my wife, and we were able to enjoy the tranquility of the place.  All was indeed calm, in fact it was near perfection.

Sunshine drenched fountain
A day of tranquility
Peaceful and calming
Light playing upon the pool
Flowers fill the world with scent




Garden of Love and the Woman of Faith

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My garden is a special place.  It is a three-fold manifestation of love.  Its development began as a butterfly sanctuary and memorial to our late daughter, Ana.  Lavender and buddleia were planted to draw the little creatures she so loved.  Dianne next, as an act of love to me and being concerned for my heart condition, wanted it further transformed to be low maintenance so I would not be strained.  The idea was then struck upon to make it Moroccan themed and the third act of love that washed over the place was our best friends organising a team to make it a beautiful sanctuary for Dianne in her last days.  A summer house was erected for her to maximise the portion of the year she could spend in it, and it became a place of peace for her.  She spent as much time in it as she could.

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Back in April with her strength ebbing, and symptoms becoming more manifest, she posted:

“Got my most recent blood tests back today, for the first time they are markedly worse. It comes as no real surprise as i have acquired a lot of new symptoms recently, showing i am affected by the liver cancer now.
My liver is now struggling to function, so the initial ‘honeymoon’ is over, and we realise we are counting months.
Still, everything is done which needs to be, so i will just appreciate this lovely weather to come, sitting in my garden.

This quotation sums up my feelings on the situation.

‘We should praise God regardless of good or bad news. If we are His children, it’s always good news because we have eternal life.’ Bill Williams”

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The promise of eternal life, a paradise which Jesus has gone ahead to prepare, is the ultimate garden of peace.  Far greater than Eden from which we fell.  It too like my garden is a place flowing with love.   I rejoice in Dianne’s entry to it.


Garden Enclosed




Path, Tropical, Jungle, Trail, Pathway

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

It had been years since we had flown the parental nest, after our departure mum had moved into aided accommodation.  Not a care home mind you, as she was far too independent for that.  What she had done was to rent out our childhood home, converting the large house into flats.  But now that she had passed, the will passed the property onto my sister and myself.

Three of the five flats were now unoccupied, and we decided to make an inspection tour, something her management firm seemed remiss at.  We found that not only had they failed to let the vacant flats, but the communal area was in desperate need of refurbishment, and the grounds were over grown and in need of a safari firm much less a gardener.

Mum had been a fabulous gardener and maintained five distinct sub-gardens at the property.  There was a Japanese garden, a Mediterranean garden, a vegetable garden, and an English country garden – all of which surrounded the central statue garden.  Now as we looked we saw only overgrowth and weeds.

My sister and I struck out down the jungle-like path in search of our mother’s gardens.




Garden, Wild, Overgrown

Image by moeller from Pixabay 



FOWC with Fandango — Nest

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens

Anglesey Abbey

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Down the Garden Path

Anglesey Abbey is a  former priory about five miles outside of Cambridge. With the closure of the monasteries, the house was robbed of stone and roofing, but was later bought and restored.  and it became the estate of the Fairhaven Family.  The house and its grounds are now owned by the National Trust.

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Approaching House

We have made a few trips to the gardens over the years and usually they provide a variety of beautiful blooms.   Some trails in the right season are covered with bluebells and early spring has daffodils.   Our most resent visit was a little disappointing as it was post daffodil (mostly wilting heads) and pre-bluebell.

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Bluebells from previous visit

The gardens also have a large number of statues which make for some interesting explorations in their own right.  So, despite the seasonal variations on the blooms, the statuary is a constant to enjoy.

The shop and snack bar are in a modern annex near the entrance hall, and most all of the usual National Trust fare and gifts can be found there.


Tippy Toe

Lakshmi Bhat

Photo Courtesy of Lakshmi Bhat

The garden path lay before him  – full of wonders and discoveries to be made.

“Be careful, Darling,” Mummy said, as he took his first hesitant steps down the path.

Little Sam, however, was lost in his own world of experiences.  The damp paving beneath his feet was cool, and the fallen flowers and petals were not just pretty, but felt soft and tickly.

Though still not able to express it in words, Sam’s mind called out, beckoning his mother.  “Mummy, take your shoes off, and come tippy toe in the flowers with me.”

(93 words)




Story prompted by Sunday Photo Fiction – March 3, 2019



A Visit of Gooderstone Water Gardens


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Peaceful Lake

Back in the spring, we had the opportunity to visit the water gardens at Gooderstone in Norfolk.  It is a peaceful place to visit and we found the staff welcoming and friendly.

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Bridges and Paths

The entire site is well maintained, peaceful and relaxing. The different ponds and features each have their own charm from the Monet inspired pond to swans gliding by on the connecting channels.

The gardens were established in 1970 when the farm land and meadows on the site became too a damp for cattle to graze.  The resulting water features and bridges are almost unrecognizable as a farm, and it seems as if nature had meant for it to be this way from the beginning.

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The Gardens have a tea room where we found the staff especially friendly.  In fact the manger of the tea rooms treated us as if we were neighbours or long lost friends.  The tea was good, and the cake was extremely wonderful.

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Tea room

This is a wonderful place just to laze away an afternoon.  I highly recommend a visit if in the King’s Lynn area.




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Monet themed pond

Gooderstone Water Gardens

Wimpole Hall

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It was a pretty early Autumn afternoon, and we had errands to run near Stansted, so decided to make a visit to National Trust’s Wimpole Estate. We have visited before (back in 2013) and while some of what we took in this weekend was “re-visited” much of what we saw this time were portions we had missed before.

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Entrance to Stable Block

The Hall is the largest house in Cambridgeshire and is the former residence of the Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and later of Elise, the daughter of Rudyard Kipling.

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Clock Tower Detail

There are hundreds of acres to the estate and paths, fields, and follies are all part of the experience.  Parking is near the old stable block where the national Trust has its ticket office, a small takeaway cafe, and shop.  A restaurant is a short distance away towards the formal gardens.

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Garden Shop

On the recent visit there was a vendor selling locally produced honey and bees’ wax products in the stable block area.  There was also a small garden centre, and a woman using a spinning wheel and selling woolen knit products.

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The gardens include areas by Capability Brown and other noted landscape artists and gardeners. I found the formal beds absolutely beautiful.imageedit_33_2660688225 (1).jpg


The house itself is huge, and extremely grand. At first glance I assumed it was Georgian, but it is cited as being 17th Century in its construction.

It has libraries, a lovely chapel, and many other “must see” features inside.

As is our custom we had a couple cups of tea and a scone at the cafe. In this case it was takeaway in paper cups, and a cheese scone which we had in the stables courtyard.  Later we went to the restaurant where we had a Stilton soup  which was thick and tasty and some very nice granary bread with butter.

This is a splendid place to visit, and well worth making a day of.



National Trust Site

A Garden Enclosed


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The Hebrew word gan means enclosure or garden. Eden was described as such, a place set apart from the wild and untamed: a paradise. Ever since the fall and the expulsion from Eden, people have tried to return. There is something about tamed nature that is relaxing and reassuring. The wild and chaotic frighten us, but there is a security in enclosure.

Notice that shortly after the flood account, Noah plants a vineyard. We like our enclosures, and being “men of the soil” (within reason). There are those of us today who would be totally lost in the world of agriculture, but in our gardens and lawns we find the taste of Eden, as Noah sought to do.

The idea of a cultivated enclosure has a place in the Christian story as well. Jesus uses the imagery of a sheep pen to describe His relationship with the church.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers (John 10:1-5).”

Jesus’ sheep have haven in the enclosure, it is only in His presence do they go out into the wild.  This is an interesting reflection, as Jesus said that we were to “go into all the world . . . .” But remember He also said, . . .  make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).” He is with us, leading us outwards.

This metaphor of the church being a “garden enclosed,” a special place of nurture has a long history.  It was particularly popular with Puritan writers such as Milton, and Paul Hobson, where the special fruit of God (His people) will grow and flourish.

We seek a return to the “Paradise Lost,” and we find brief snippets of it in our gans.  But, let us seek it as well, and more actively in His enclosure, the church.  Where will you find your secure nurture this week?