Parterring leading to the lake.
Some of the terraces.
The presiding Bishop of ECUSA.
A small palazzo. I could live in one of these!
Sweetenham Parish Church.
With the characteristic heraldic device of the Sweetenham Family over the door.
Today saw a day free for a trip so I went to Biddulph Grange Gardens in Cheshire, the next county down from Manchester. The gardens here are famous for their architectural prowess rather than planting and are well worth a look. The house is still privately owned so there is no admittance, but the gardens are in the hands of the National Trust. They are set around a lake and terracing coming from the house, the vistas from the terracing and parterres are very pleasing but nothing which is not out of a Victorian Garden manual. Where it really excels is in revealing hidden surprises. Imagine, for a moment, that you are a Victorian man or a Victorian lady, if you will, sauntering around the gardens of your wealthy and well travelled friend, having heard some of his anecdotes about places he has visited but knowing that you will never go abroad yourself. Imagine then walking into a small house set in the gardens, expecting a tea house, but being confronted with a huge statue of a frog, carved into the wall, then turn around and walk down a suddenly and unexpectedly long hallway before emerging into an Egyptian garden, with Sphinx and pyramids. Then enter another house which become an Italian Palazzo in miniature, then becomes a rocky cave which winds around in darkness before coming out by a replica of the great wall of China, turning to see a Chinese bridge and terrace, then walking into a Japanese waterside tea hut and promenading around it, then that opens into a cave, which leads you, again through darkness, into a murky land with primeval plants. The whole effect must have been exhilarating and thoroughly magical. It still has the capacity to shock and delight at every turn.