Springtime Rambles

Springtime Rambles

I hope you have enjoyed the country house tour in my earlier posts. Now, how about a little virtual walk through some country gardens in full bloom?

Spring is the best time of year for it because the colours are absolutely astounding! Even better than in the summer. Can you imagine anything more romantic than our favourite couple strolling among the bluebells?


Or under cherry trees in bloom?

Cherry trees

Or in a glade overgrown with daffodils?


GC gate



Or perhaps wandering into a mysterious garden…







… to be blissfully alone and steal a kiss or two beneath a towering magnolia or under garlands of wisteria?

GC magnolia_wisteria

You must have recognised the Pemberley paths in the daffodils photos. The last three images are from the lesser-known Greys Court, a beautiful place near Henley-on-Thames. Downton fans might remember it as the place where, in an early episode, the family were supposed to retire when faced with downsizing from their grand abode and relinquishing it to Mr Crawley. The Dowager Countess had tea on the lawn, looking extremely sour at the prospect. And well she might because, compared to Highclere Castle (a.k.a Downton Abbey), Greys Court is not grand at all.

But in real life it was a home full of love. The last owners, Lord and Lady Brunner, who donated it to the National Trust, seem to have been one of those extremely fortunate couples who were not only deeply attached, but also blessed with the good fortune of growing old together. There is a portrait in the house showing them in their old age, sitting together in the garden. Their faces are heavily lined, but they glow with almost tangible love. It’s in their beautiful home that I saw this quote set in a frame – a few deeply moving lines which, to me, are the perfect embodiment of the Darcys’ marriage:

“There is nothing better than this: when a man and a woman, sharing the same ideas about life, keep house together. It pains their enemies and delights their friends, but only they themselves know what it truly means.” (Homer – Odyssey)

On this lovely note, let me finish with some more lovely pictures. Imagine our favourite couple strolling through the vast grounds of Pemberley, only to turn a corner and come across this:


How Elizabeth’s eyes would light up in wonder and absolute delight! How irresistible she would be to a besotted Mr Darcy! And how sweet to imagine them kissing among azaleas, then walking hand in hand towards their ‘happily ever after’!


Hope you enjoyed the stroll. If you haven’t already, look up my facebook page, All Roads Lead to Pemberley, for more images from the places that have inspired my stories. Hope you’ll come walking with me again, and with any luck, in real life too 🙂

(Photos Joana Starnes at Chatsworth, Greys Court, Lyme Park, Virginia Waters)

32 Responses to Springtime Rambles

  1. Thank you for this! There is nothing so lovely and enjoyable as a garden in full bloom. I particularly enjoyed the azalea photos. My mother had a wonderfully green thumb and the yards of my childhood home sported probably 100 azaleas–mostly white, light pink, magenta, lavender, and one especially beautiful peach one that my grandfather created. His farm had several greenhouses on it and he one prizes for a dahlia he created and named after the family farm.

    • Your childhood home sounds so wonderful, Lizzybel! You actually grew up in a garden like the ones in my photos, what a dreamland it must have been! Thanks for the lovely comment and for sharing such beautiful memories with us 🙂

    • So glad you liked the pics, Debbie, and WOW, riding through scenes like these must have been right out of a JAFF wonderland! Thanks for the wonderful mental picture and YES, I hope you get to see Virginia Waters in springtime, I know exactly who’d be ever so glad to offer taxi service 😉

    • An absolute pleasure, Sharon, so glad you liked them! No chance of such beauty in my garden, it gives new meaning to lady Catherine’s ‘little wilderness’ 😀

  2. These pics are gorgeous! I am terribly terribly allergic to flowers so beautiful shots are my way in. I adore that quote from the Odyssey.

    • Thanks, Stephanie! Such a shame about your allergy 🙁
      That quote is so beautiful, isn’t it? I felt it was the Darcys to a T and it was even more poignant given that it was chosen by a deeply attached couple to be displayed in their home.

  3. As always, you delight my senses with your post, Joanna. I could truly imagine our dear couple in these beautiful places. Can you tell me if azaleas are native to England and would have been there in the 1800s? I never imagined azaleas when I tried to picture Pemberley’s gardens but the pictures you made are amazing. I do hope anyone in the 1800s would have seen them in this manner. Fascainating post!

    • You’re so kind, Brenda!!! Hugs, I’m so happy you liked them!
      Not sure but I don’t think azaleas are native to UK. Neither are rhododendrons, which feature in the last photo (the purple flowers), but I think rhododendrons spread later, thanks to the Victorians. I’ll have to check when azaleas were introduced. I’ll google it and get back to you (or ask my neighbour who has an earthly paradise for a garden and knows everything 😀 ) I do hope they had gardens like these in 1800 but hey, what’s a bit of poetic licence? 😉

    • So glad you liked them, Jen! Oh yes, they have to stroll after they fell in love unreservedly and completely, otherwise what a waste of beautiful gardens 😉

  4. Joana, you have such an eye for detail and it shows in your writing and in the photos you choose to share with us. I love this post and I have loved and enjoyed touring with you. I doubt I will ever be able to do so in person so I have appreciated you sharing your tours for those of us locked at home. Have a great summer. JWG

  5. Oh, how I wish I could really walk through those beautiful, beautiful gardens!!! But your walking tours are the next best thing, Joana. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  6. Beautiful! Utterly and absolutely! I particularly loved magnolia and wisteria, but I think that Mr.Darcy would probably prefer azalias as the walking paths there are more narrow and thus providing more opportunities:) I wonder whether any of these springtime images might inspired any scenes from your next book. Thank you for this wonderful stroll! And I heartily applaude your idea to share images which find their rightful places in your books!

    • Excellent point about the narrow paths, Oloore, I agree, I think he would 😉
      yES, THey have inspired some scenes, I just need to get the calendar right and not expect azaleas to bloom in September 😀
      So glad you like the photos I share, it means so much to me. Thanks for stopping by to say so!

  7. Joana,
    Thank you for sharing. These pictures are like a breath of fresh air. A perfect setting for falling in love.

  8. Just beautiful Joana. Yes I can imagine Darcy and Elizabeth loving these walks and each other. Thank you for sharing ?

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