I was intrigued to see reports, in the last few days, regarding the latest exhibition to be mounted at Buckingham Palace, which will go on display later this year; following closely on the new TV production of Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall', the exhibition will contain what is named as 'the world's oldest Gardening Manual' - previously personally owned by King Henry the Eighth.
Full of woodcut engravings, it is described as 'well thumbed' and it is suggested that it was very likely put to very practical use when the gardens of Whitehall Palace were being laid out in the 1530's. You can see, in the image above, dated 1545, Henry with his wife, Jane Seymour (who had actually died in 1537) and son Edward; but the most interesting part of the painting in relation to the topic of this post lies in the background, seen through the arches, of a Tudor garden laid out following just such advice as is given in the venerable tome. You can read more here about the book and the exhibition.
Old gardening books can become very absorbing; though I have none which hail back to Tudor times I do have a few which were published in the 19th century. I'll dig them out and share them with you here in a future post. But for now, here are a few photographs of the garden here at Autumn Cottage in this fourth week of January.
All looks a bit unkempt - but the weather has been 'gardening sunny' on several days already, allowing us, garbed in thick jumpers and jeans, to get out and start the maintenance work which will hopefully result in a 'realm of loveliness' later on :-)
Today that meant work in the vegetable/herb garden - which will see many more herbs grown this year in the grid of 'veg boxes', along with other edible produce, particularly the runner beans which seem to grow particularly abundantly in the soil here. We'll also be working on the restoration of the much loved small wildlife pond also situated in the herb garden, which sprung a leak last year and now looks very forlorn.
But help is on the way - a new liner has arrived, which will be used to re-line the rigid shell in the next few weeks. And already other signs of Spring are most definitely peeping through - it's all upwards from now on. I look forward to sharing the return of abundance, but for now, I am also enjoying the quiet time, both indoors and out. That is - time to read gardening books - and plan - the plot!
Evergreen leaves of the Trachelospermum, turned red-gold in the frost.