Welcome to A Writer’s Garden where writers who are gardeners or just love gardens will be sharing their garden and flower stories, as well as a bit about their writing. Today’s writer/gardener guest is author is Linda Shenton Matchett. Linda will be taking us across the pond to England to visit one of her favorite English Gardens. Welcome, Linda!
Six years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit England. We scrimped and saved for this journey of a lifetime and spent ten glorious days split between London and Hastings. We went during the month of March and took plenty of foul-weather gear that we never used. The temperatures were unseasonably warm, and the sun shone every day we were there.
The reason for the trip (other than the fact I’m a huge anglophile) was research for my books, so we had quite a few sites to visit, two of which were Hyde Park and The Regent’s Park, part of the Royal Parks system. As much as I enjoyed Hyde Park, Queen Mary’s Garden in The Regent’s Park was my favorite.
Named for King George V’s wife, the garden opened to the public in 1932. However, the land’s history stretches back almost 850 years! From 1086 (20 years after the Norman conquest) until 1538, the site was home to a medieval manor. It became a royal deer park in 1538, but by 1649 had been converted to a source of timber for warships. The next one hundred and fifty years saw the area used as farms to produce dairy products and hay. In 1811, it became the intended site of a royal palace, but the plans didn’t materialize, and in 1824 was turned into a horticultural nursery. Fifteen years later, The Royal Botanic Society, a membership only society, took over until 1932.
During World War II, the park was the site of numerous bombings, and rubble from buildings destroyed in the blitz was dumped onto the lawns. Fortunately, the damage was repaired, and gardens brought back to their original beauty.
The rounded park, surrounded by terraces, a lake, a canal, and villas, was designed by John Nash, one of the foremost architects of the Regency and Georgian eras. His original plan included fifty-six villas and a second home for the Prince that were never constructed. In 1835, under the reign of King William IV, the public was allowed into sections of the park two days per week.
Local societies leased the space left by the unbuilt villas, and one of the first to move in was the Zoological Society. The Royal Botanic Society laid out the Inner Circle with lawns and a lake, and the Royal Toxophilite Society introduced archery. Between them, these societies created the mix of gardens and buildings that remain today.
With over 12,000 roses in eighty-five single variety beds, the rose garden is breathtaking. In addition, the Begonia Garden holds 9,000 begonias, and is planted twice a year with seasonal bedding. The Mediterranean Borders are a gorgeous highlight, and the Delphinium Border has been granted National Collection status. Shrubberies are strategically placed to add privacy to the gardens, creating a tranquil setting, and shutting out the noise and chaos of surrounding London.
A treasure to behold.
About the Writer/Gardener:
Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who have done extraordinary things in days gone by. Despite being the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of farmers, her gardening skills are limited, instead she finds joy in the beauty created by others. Linda is the author of more than two dozen Christian historical novels. To learn more, visit her website. . Receive a free short story when you sign up for her newsletter. Follow her on Facebook or check out her YouTube channel Moments in History for intriguing tidbits and little known facts from our past at her YouTube Channel
Gold Rush Bride Hannah
(Christian Historical Romance)
By Linda Shenton Matchett
A brand-new widow, she doesn’t need another man in her life. He’s not looking for a wife. But
when danger thrusts them together, will they change their minds…and hearts?
Hannah Lauman’s husband has been murdered, but rather than grief, she feels…relief. She decides to remain in Georgia to work their gold claim, but a series of incidents makes it clear someone wants her gone…dead or alive. Is a chance at being a woman of means and independence worth risking her life?
Jess Vogel never breaks a promise, so when he receives a letter from a former platoon mate about being in danger, he drops everything to help his old friend. Unfortunately, he arrives just in time for the funeral. Can he convince the man’s widow he’s there for her protection not for her money?
Gold Rush Bride: Hannah is the first book in the exciting new series Gold Rush Brides. Steeped in romance, intrigue, and history, the story will keep you turning pages long into the night.