Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 18 April 2014

Garden of Remembrance

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray you love, remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.”  Shakespeare, Hamlet

This sequence of photos show my talented and creative late sister-in-law, Gillian, in the process of designing and making from scratch, her herb garden. We have only recently seen them as they came from her own albums, which have been  scanned by the family following her death at the end of 2012.

In the 1980 she and her husband took over an hotel in the Cotswolds and turned it into holiday apartments. They then set about converting the old skittle alley, attached to the building, into a cottage which would be their home. Not content with this achievement, Gill went on to carve a lovely garden from the grounds and single-handedly made dry-stone walls and seats as well as the above herb bed.

I don’t know what it looks like today, as when they retired they sold the business and cottage and moved to a new house. However, the garden does feature in the occasional snap from my own album.

 "Here’s flowers for you; hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram........” Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale

In the snap on the right, where my son is jumping from the patio, Gill and I can be seen admiring the herbs garden’s progress. I appear momentarily distracted by something and my daughter is probably talking to her grandmother (hidden by the tree) who is seated on the stone steps, judging by other shots taken on the day.

"For you there’s rosemary and rue; these keep 
 Seeming and savor all the winter long.” Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale

Gill also grew vegetables and flowers and here she is with her brother (my husband) as they show off the runner beans. It looks as if it would be a good harvest that year.

And on the same day Gill and I sit on one of the smaller patio areas.
I can see roses, dahlias, spiraea and what looks like lavender and even more herbs. In the foreground there is a contrasting silver-foliage. This little area almost looks like a secret garden; what a wonderful place to escape to with a book.

I’ve shown the picture of Gill and my husband before, but it’s my favourite so here it is again. They’re seated on the stone wall seat near the house and the Cotswold stone is shown at its best in the warm Summer sun.

It’s Shakespeare’s 450th birthday on the 23rd of this month, so I chose some of his words to enhance the post. It’s also St George’s Day on that date. St George is England’s patron saint.

For more garden memories visit this week’s Sepia Saturday, where contributors are inspired by the prompt below.


  1. I love that circle in a square design. I had wanted to do that myself but ended up not. Your mention of a secret garden brought to mind a book I used to read every summer: The Secret Garden. I'm still enchanted by gardens hidden behind walls.

  2. What a wonderful progression of pictures and a lovely tribute. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Wonderful photos to have to prompt those memories. I'm very fond of these purpose designed herb gardens, and even created quite a large one of my own in the 1990s. Sadly, that one probably disappeared long ago, after our move to NZ in 1999.

  4. That's a very cute herb garden - so tidy. it's best not to dwell on what happens to our gardens when we leave them. I know the one I left behind 10 years ago is now a wilderness. It's best just to enjoy the pleasure of creating and sharing at the time it happens.

  5. Hello!

    Gosh what an amazing person Gill was. Clearly she was a woman with a highly creative mind but also the stamina to carry out such demanding projects. One can well imagine the lively energy that she contributed to family events and you must miss her.

    Gardens, we believe, belong to the people who made them at the time and only rarely do they survive well beyond that point. But, that does not matter for it is the pleasure and satisfaction that they give at the time which matters and it is best not to dwell too much on what happens to them later on. Gardens are ephemeral beauties!

  6. Lovely photos to remember your sister by, and I really like the design of the herb garden amongst the paving.

  7. That was just beautiful, Love the design of the herb garden.

  8. I would love to have a secret garden for escape.

  9. Certainly a nice place to read a book, and from what I have understand the Cotswolds isn't the worst place to be in England as well. I hope she enjoyed it while living over there. My old English neighbour loved roses, my garden still has plenty of them, although I'm not a fan of thorny things.

  10. A fine post. Sepia Saturday themes seem to inspire wonderful tributes like this.
    As to gardening, I find it amusing that peat moss is identified as Irish. Here in America it is Canadian but never advertised as such.

  11. I really enjoy reading about Gillian, she obviously meant a lot to you. Lovely to see the garden she created and hear about memories made there.

  12. What a beautiful garden...I love the Cotswolds...so very pretty. You must miss Gillian heaps. This is a great tribute to her.

  13. What a lovely lady she was. Her lovely spirit sure shines through these photos. Your memories are a never ending gift!

  14. How nice to have such memorable photos of someone. Not the usual pose for grandma shots. These show her personality, what interested her. So much better to pass along to family instead of those old cold stiff shots from the 19th century.