Myddleton House. 25.01.14.

We find ourselves in London for the start of the snowdrop season. It would be foolish not to extend our stay and visit Myddleton House.
Gustav is away in Portugal with the winter surfers and so his little London flat is free. We settled in for the night and spent some pleasant time enjoying his unique sense of decor. Gloria takes great delight in teasing him and Gustav pretends to get sulky, but he enjoys being the centre of attention. He will be in the middle of a beach somewhere surrounded by surfers and making sure he is noticed. That is his way.
Gloria describes this flat as his butchelor pad and he hasn't come up with a suitable riposte yet!

I am in awe of the garden team at Myddleton House. I was convinced that the old garden would slowly slip from consciousness over time but it is awakened and every time we visit it is a new delight. Some large evergreen trees have been removed from the side of the house opening the view and connecting the front of the house and the garden. It is a bold and masterful change. I'm sure the old trees were special in some way. I have seen them there for years, but I don't recall what they were. The dreariness of their presence only noticeable in absentia.

The garden has an robust individuality about it that has survived the changes of the decades. This mistletoe is an unusual plant to find in a garden, but almost unheard of growing on Genista aetnensis. The Genista has a relatively short life and couldn't possibly have survived the decades since Bowles' death so this is a new formulation of the old.

Once again the new stands to represent the old. The new greenhouse is modelled on the original, stands on the original site and replaces an eccentric cluster of houses that had charm but belonged on an allotment. The greenhouse is currently filled with the succulents that decorate the garden through the summer.

The lead ostriches that once stood by the side of the bridge (that spans the lawn that was once the New River) are now kept safely inside the museum. Modern replacements have been made from wire netting. They remind us of the originals without trying to copy them. Spawned from the same roll comes this small domestic touch. We were uncertain what is was (other than charming) so we called it the lamb-dog-fence.

Clearance of the undergrowth reveals views that have been lost for decades. Once the large and lowering have been removed the small and precious are revealed. The hidden plantsmanship of the garden is uncovered.
These wonders are not the only reason for our visit. We have come to see snowdrops. Particularly we have come to buy snowdrops or, to be completely accurate, Gloria has promised me a snowdrop! We have come to collect.

Today is the annual snowdrop sale at Myddleton House. A handful of specialist nurseries have assembled with their wares on the rear car park. Snowdrop lovers of the world have arrived and there is a frenzy that would make a bath full of sharks look restful.
The event raises money for the restoration of the rock garden which has been 'sleeping' for half a century.

And this is the dream of a sleeping rock garden. It has been invaded by a carpet of the most wonderful seedling snowdrops. An astonishing variety of hybrids that will hopefully be replanted around the garden while the rocks are cleaned and replanted.
We are lucky to visit a wide variety of gardens and yet there is a great satisfaction to be found in our frequent visits to Myddleton House.

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