Trentham Gardens.

Some summer flowers and a little sunshine to bring cheer to a winter’s day.

In August 2016 we visited Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire with the Black Pear Gardening Club.

Trentham is an award winning garden which has won numerous awards including BBC Countryfile’s Garden of the Year 2015.

There is a large Garden Centre and Shopping Village, restaurants and a 119 bedroom Premier Inn Hotel.

There is a separate entrance to the Monkey Forest, which our coach first took us to, here you can walk amongst 140 free roaming Barbary macaques, in a natural woodland setting for this endangered species.
For added excitement there is ‘Aerial Extreme’, a treetop high rope adventure course.


In 1786 the 2nd Earl Gower, owner of Trentham was created Marquess of Stafford.

He commissioned, Lancelot ’Capability’ Brown, between 1759 – 1780 to enlarge the lake, create parkland, a Ha-Ha and build two lodges at the end of the lake.

The flying Geese came later!

In 1803 the 2nd marquess of Stafford married Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland, one of the wealthiest heiresses in the country. Their son George Granville, 2nd Duke of Sutherland along with his architect Charles Barry were responsible for much of what you see today at Trentham. His statue sits on the top of high land at the southern end of the lake.
Barry created the famous Italian Gardens, dividing it into three terraces.


By the late 1800’s the pollution of the River Trent from the pottery industries was so severe the lake and the fountains were ruined.

In 1905 The Duke and Duchess of Sutherland abandoned the house. It was eventually sold and demolished for building materials.

The property has passed through several different owners with The Department of Environment listing several of the remaining buildings. Eventually, in1996, it came into the ownership of St Modwen Properties PLC.
Their plan was to create a tourist and leisure destination and to restore the estate and gardens. They were finally granted permission in 2003 to start on their £100m development of Trentham.

You enter the gardens through the shopping village via this bridge over the river Trent.


Titania points the way to her 14 fairy friends from the shopping village. Each fairy is different, they are placed all around the garden for children (and adults ) to find. They were created by Robin Wight.


At the centre of Trentham Gardens is the mile long, Capability Brown designed, Trentham Lake.  Along some of the walks around the lake are new meadows by Nigel Dunnett and the team who were responsible for the wildflower plantings at the Olympic Park. These were planted to celebrate the centenary of Capability Brown.

The contemporary revival of the famous Italian Gardens was led by renowned designer and multi-Chelsea gold-medal winner Tom Stuart-Smith.



Some of the plants in the Italian Garden.
Some of the plants in the Italian Garden.

Along one side of the Italian garden is a 90 metre Rose Garden, planted with David Austin roses and a trellis walk.

To the east of the Italian Gardens are the Rivers of Grass and the adjacent Floral Labyrinth.


Both these schemes were designed by the Dutch plantsman, and Chelsea gold-medal winner, Piet Oudolf.

The fairy “Anahi” was living on the Giant Dandelions.


The Giant Dandelions were created by Robin Wight’s daughter Amy, and are situated alongside the lake.

“They look wonderful with the Wildflower Meadow as a backdrop.
‘Spring’ the naughty nymph, appears as though she’s pole-vaulting from a delicate dandelion into the landscape beyond.

There were even snowdrops in August!


If you are looking for a garden to visit in 2017, this is one I would highly recommend.

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Canon EOS 1100D. Canon,18-200mm lens. Canon wide-angle lens, 10-18mm.

New Year – New Blog.

Welcome to, thank you for visiting.

This is my new blog covering two interests in The Life of Brian, photography and gardening.100_2008

I recently started to develop a blog about my photography alongside my other blog Our Garden@19, which I first published two years ago. These two have now been merged into

The pages, Photography and Gardening, explain more about these interests and my level of “Expertise”.

Photography has always interested me (I think it was the lifestyle of Patrick Lichfield that appealed to me!) I begVersion 2an to develop my interest in visiting gardens as a member of the Black Pear Gardening Club and privately. These visits provide pictures I can use on the club website, my original blog Our Garden@19 and in my gardening presentations.
In this I have received great encouragement from the gardening club’s Webmaster, Douglas Gregor, who is an excellent wildlife photograph. Please visit his website Here


This is one of my favourite photographs, posted in Raindrops under Plant life.



I have always gardened to some extent. When growing up, my parents and Grandparents, who lived next door, both had a large traditional garden with vegetables, flowers, orchard, chickens and bees. From an early age my brother and I were given a small plot to look after and I still remember my pleasure when my nasturtiums, covered with flowers, spread every where.


My family are the most important feature in The Life of Brian. Irene and I have two daughters and two granddaughters. You can read more about them in the Garden page under The Garden Team.

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.

The birds that visit our garden provide an extra source of pleasure and if you are lucky a photographic opportunity. This is my favourite wildlife picture so far, posted in feeding time under wildlife.


I hope you enjoy reading please leave comments, one of the joys of blogging is the communication with fellow bloggers. I will reply as soon as I can.

2016 In Close Up.

This is the time of year when we think about the new year and reflect on the old one.

The pictures below are some of the close up photographs from Our garden@19 taken during 2016.

Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’
Iris foetidissima
Dicentra ‘Stuart Boothman’.
Geranium samobor and a Bumble Bee.
Aquilegia Alba.
Iris pallida subsp. pallida
Polygonatum x Hybridum Striatum
Epimedium x Rubrum
Asplenium scolopendrium Cristatum Group
Athyrium Niponicum Pictum
Paeonia ‘White Wings’ x 2
Cirsium rivulare ‘Trevor’s Blue Wonder’.
Hydrangea quercifolia Burgundy.
Acer griseum.
Frost patterns on glass.
A frosty spiky metal lily.

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “The Year” (1910)