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SW London
A semi-mature, hardy individual who tries to get away with doing as little as possible in gardening as in life, still expects the best results & wonders why she is frequently disappointed! She likes to keep a photographic record of everything, good & frequently bad!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Stuff & Nonsense


It is quite a while since I ventured to put finger to keyboard to recount to you, my dear reader, the further adventures of a Lazy Trollop. I can only put it down to sheer exhaustion after trying to get the most monthly visits on this blog. Now how ridiculous is that; I don’t really write this for other people but because it is inevitably flattering when people do visit it can sometimes go to your head. I apologise un-reservedly for my lapse. It is even better when visitors read the content & so exciting when they also comment, even if it is just to say ‘crap’**


Since I last wrote a glorious autumn has turned into an early & bloody cold winter; an enormous shock to the system particularly here in a normally balmy SW London. This has forced me into an early hibernation mode as far as gardening is concerned.


We are currently having a new path laid. So what is so interesting about that you may quite legitimately ask. On its own merits not a lot to others, but it has brought to mind the debate which  often simmers in & around organisations like the National Trust & in many discussions about historic houses & gardens; should we preserve them in aspic & restore every tiny detail as it was at a certain period in time or should we try to move forward whilst still reflecting & respecting what has gone on in the past.

Our house is part of an Edwardian terrace with some modest but attractive original features like a stained glass front door & nice detail on the windows. Part of this was the black & white tiled front path which had been patched by us many times but reached the end. It has been replaced by a modern version of the black & white tiles. Was this the right decision or should we have attempted something more contemporary?

DSCN1655 Image1081

This historical accuracy/contemporary conundrum is no doubt constantly in the minds of the custodians of 2 stately homes I visited over the summer; Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire & Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.

Blenheim163 ChatsworthPeak Ditrict holiday July 2010 097

Now I will not bore you even more by wittering on about them in any detail & there is lots of ‘stuff’ happening at each estate but what I found most interesting was some of the directions in which they were moving. Blenheim has a new(ish) exhibition in the house using lots of new-fangled technology to bring the past to life & give visitors a real taste of history. Chatsworth has taken a very different tack & is very keen to put the modern in with the historic particularly with works of art both indoors & out. Personally I found Chatsworth seemed to  have more dynamism  whilst keeping true to its historical roots.

Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 080Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 131 Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 153 Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 099         Modern sculpture in the grounds at Chatsworth.


*The winter photos were taken at a snow-covered Wisley gardens last week

**For an interesting discussion on the use of the word ‘crap’ to describe, in this case gardens, please look  here, here & here at some related articles on the Thinking gardens website.


  1. I think your new front path looks stunning and keeping the Edwardian theme absolutely right.
    Not 'crap' at all, in fact as @bulchey would never say, it's 'lovely'.

  2. Dear Ms B, Your path is absolutely perfect. Contemporary materials but the integrity of the spirit of the place has been maintained. This is just the right kind of preservation I feel since it is often the case that things are destroyed wholesale or replaced in a modern style which does not sit easily in the surroundings. You have accomplished a perfect compromise and certainly the path does draw one in to the hall door with style!!

  3. Is that really a new path or did you just finally get off your bone idle bottom and scrub the original tiles down properly?

    As someone who has a Victorian house with nasty concrete front path dominated by a drain cover I think you have made entirely the right choice. If it wasn't too much effort I would get ours retiled too.