Waterperry gardens

My mother made precisely one trip out of the westernmost coast of the United States.  In the summer of 1984, I took her to England for three weeks: all her lifetime’s travel in less than a month.  We were mostly in Oxford, where she reveled in the sound of the bells, the boats on the river, trips into the covered market for dinner.  And the gardens.photo 1

Her favorite, and mine, was Waterperry gardens near Oxford.  photo 2

Waterperry has elements of Tudor and Domesday and Roman at its roots (although, what doesn’t, in England?) but its present form is due to an extraordinary woman named Beatrix Havergal, who moved in with her Horticultural School for Ladies in 1932, and stayed until she died in 1971.

National Portrait Gallery, by Valerie Finnis (later Lady Montagu Douglas Scott), cibachrome print, 1960s

National Portrait Gallery, by Valerie Finnis (later Lady Montagu Douglas Scott), cibachrome print, 1960s

Ms Havergal’s story is an amazing one, and typical of the kind of woman who just doesn’t hear the world saying No.  And Waterperry is a glory, from its stream to its apple orchard to its spectacular herbaceous border.  And–the wisteria!photo 4

(Read about her and her work here.)

photo 3

Comments

  1. Merrily Taylor says:

    How lovely, and the more so in that you were there with your mother!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for sharing this lovely story of a life well lived.

  3. Lisa Montano says:

    So beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  4. Laraine says:

    Perhaps it is just because I find sunshine to be at something of a premium in the U.K., but I always found gardens there to be especially beautiful. If in a garden and the sun shining all at once, even more remarkable! What a lovely memory for you of a special time for your mom and you, Laurie.

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