We have visited the Piet Oudolf gardens at the Hauser and Wirth Galleries in Bruton, Somerset twice already. We wanted to visit once more to see how these amazing new perennial style gardens had matured.
We had to pass between the gallery buildings to reach the gardens but were drawn to these gently planted containers and gardens in the courtyards.
A sculpture piece by Richard Long graced one area of grass, but after a quick look and photo, we hurried through the gallery buildings and out into the main gardens. We were to find another Richard Long piece at the far end of the main garden, one of his circular works.
To give a true picture of the gardens here at the gallery I need to share a gallery with you showing views across board, plant compinations and a few individual plants too. Enjoy by clicking on the right arrow and navigate as usual using the arrows.
I love Salix (willows) – they are one of my favourite trees almost on a par with Betulas (Birches). I always have liked them, our own native species and the garden varieties we can grow. We have several at home in our garden and use them on our allotment communal gardens where we have a Withy Bed with 17 different varieties with different coloured stems and leaves. From these we have made a Fedge, which is a living hedge and a Willow Dome and Willow Tunnel for the children.
I used to like seeing them as a child when I fished a local stream. We moved from one ancient gnarled willow to another. Many were hollow pollarded specimens completely open on one side. We explored the hollow ones as we could often get inside them and look up at the sky. They were great shelters when rain showers stopped us fishing.
When we found ourselves in Somerset we realised that we were close to the Wetland and Willows Centre, so we just had to drop by and have a wander.
We followed a sign taking us for a tour around the productive land around the centre. We passed over a bridge with sides constructed from willow with decorative willow features within.
The path took us to an area full of willow structures mainly places for children to explore, even including a willow snail!
As we moved on we came across a willow drying fence where the harvested willows were hung out to dry. A little further on as we made our way through a wooded area we found this willow spider in its web, a beautiful hedgehog and a buzzard flying through the branches.
Leaving the wood we found ourselves walking through the wetlands, the drainage of which was controlled by windmills, sluices and a series of ditches. Large areas were willow plantations, the productive heart of the wetlands.
As we were reaching the end of our tour of the wetlands we discovered the drying racks where the harvested willow wands were left to dry.
Before leaving we just had to look at the centre’s museum. We were amazed at how many things are made from willow and all the other items from the past. My first museum photo gives a taster of the delights in the museum. To find out more look through the gallery below. To enjoy my gallery just click on the first picture and use the arrows to negotiate your way through.
We enjoyed our visit to find out more about willows and came away simply amazed! We came away with this unusual willow bird table.
Welcome back to Wells Cathedral. In part two we will be looking at an amazing staircase and some recent features.
The staircase is wide and gently rising and even more gently curving. They have a design that has elements of modern ideas.
Truly modern design exists in the wooden furniture used by the Bishop and his cohorts. Clean lines and pale wood create beautiful sculptural pieces. Fine examples of beauty working with function.
Another modern item is this fabric hanging in delicate shades of blue and purple. Every breeze adds movement and each fold catches the light.
In contrast let us look at a few of examples of work wrought by ancient craftsmen, in stone, metal and glass.
At the top of the stairwell we looked at earlier we discovered the Chapter House, a place of quiet and peace. Whenever visitors such as us entered this room they sat and talked quietly to their companions or else just sat alone looking around them. They looked upwards at its complex vaulted ceiling and the striped columns rising to meet it, or read the scripts found on the brass plaques around the walls.
We shall finish off this look at the cathedral at Wells with a few shots of its famous archway shaped like a number 8, which is called the Scissors Arch. It is beautiful and as far as I know unique, but there is such a simple reason for being there. It is to prevent the collapse of the central tower.
Whilst at Wells we wandered around the Bishops Garden which we enjoyed immensely. Look out for a post about it coming soon.
Welcome to the next cathedral in my Three Cathedral series of posts.
We visited Wells Cathedral decades ago and we remembered very little of it apart from a wide sweeping stone stairway. So when we returned in the autumn we looked forward to reacquainting ourselves with its architecture. We guessed where the Cathedral would be in the little city of Wells by following the wide street with its market right to its very end. The market stalls almost funneled us towards the cathedral gates.
Just before entering the cathedral grounds we came across this beautifully colourful National Trust shop.
An open green with specimen trees showed us the way to go.
Wells Cathedral is a tall imposing structure designed to dominate the city and its inhabitants.
A modern entrance had been added in recent years to give visitors a comfortable way in and to preserve the main doorway in. The use of green oak and matching stone ensured that the modern extension fitted beautifully and most sympathetically. the new entrance also carefully led us to a new cafe again designed to match. From every one of its windows we got views to entice us onward to explore.
The vaulted ceiling of the cloister walk has been sensitively restored to show its intricate complex web of wooden beams.
As well as architecture it is the craftsmanship displayed in our old ecclesiastical buildings that impresses us most. It is good to see them well preserved and carefully, lovingly looked after.
Often when exploring church buildings it is possible by looking up, to discover carvings of characters. like this “impish” character below left. He looks like he is plotting his next trick. The wooden carving on the left was high up and hard to see in detail and he was part of an ancient complex clock.
Let us finish this first part of two posts about Wells Cathedral by looking at other characters we managed to find hidden here and there throughout the great building.
In part two we carry on with our tour and discover an amazing curved staricase and some modern additions.