Friday, September 3, 2021

Wake Me Up When September Ends

It's officially Autumn.  Although there is a great deal to look forward to at this time of year, I always feel a bit melancholy.  It's easy for me to explain why.  I have three valid reasons:  dark nights, the smell of decay and the clear and present danger of encountering a spider with more muscle tone than Popeye.  September is also the month we usually spend shivering in the evening gloom, piling on layers and refusing the put the heating on because we have been convinced by someone or other of the imminent arrival of an Indian summer.

Still, it's not all bad.   I'm not going to do a Billy Joe Armstrong and sleep right through.  We have the anticipation of a spectacular Autumn display, real ale by the fireside and blackberry and apple crumble to provide a warming layer of fat for winter.  Kicking off the Autumn/Winter season aesthetic, I've created this composite image from an ICM (intentional camera movement) photo of some twisted trees and a separate photo of a rookery.  What do you think? 

Another bonus for us is that the growing season is nearing an end; good news when you've spent many many hours this week chopping bamboo.  We've harvested enough canes to build a house worthy of a visit from Kevin McCloud and the Grand Designs team.

This hastily taken mobile shot was taken over halfway through.  In my eagerness to destroy the bamboo, I forgot to get a decent representative shot of before.  Suffice to say it was dense, encroaching on the lower part of the garden at an alarming rate and at least 12 feet high in places.

And now....let there be light.  

The fence will need a pop of colour methinks, but it's lovely to now open our back door and see more of the beautiful shapely oak tree (left in above image) and less of the Panda's paradise.

I thought this week I would share with you a very charming garden in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley, a picturesque Georgian town on the banks of the River Severn - around 25 minutes from us.  Bewdley, like many other places worldwide, has hit the news courtesy of flooding.  Huge flood barriers have been erected in recent years, but flood water breached the temporary barriers at Beales Corner on the southside of the town in 2020 and 2021.  

The garden I'm referring to is a stunning riverside garden belonging to this cottage, aptly named "Dunfloodin."  Can you see the little bird flying towards the doorway?  Just inside the porch, are some beautiful ceramic hanging pots full of bird seed to cater for the local winged population.

Before I show you more, you're going to need a little background information, which necessitates a riverside walk from Bewdley to Arley.

Heading out of Bewdley in the direction of Arley, we pass a fabulous fish and chip shop, a characterful pub, a few cafes and numerous pretty riverside cottages.  Here are the flood defences in action in 2019.

The River Severn carves through the landscape, offers many scenic walks and holds great appeal to paddle boarders and canoeists.  Spend a day on the banks of the Severn and your soundtrack will be paddles swooshing through water, birdsong and the soothing, nostalgia-steeped whistles of passing steam trains.

The banks of the river offer up numerous spots for old school picnicking.  


On arrival in Arley, you can feed the ducks...

...and mooch around the church and arboretum

There used to be a ferry from Arley.  Originally the old river ferry, it was the most northerly of the Severn ferries in Worcestershire and the last in the county to operate on the River Severn. The earliest references to the ferry are in the Close Rolls of 1323 and, in 1331, when it was referred to as ‘the Ferry within the bounds of the Chase of Edmund de Mortimer, Earl of Wyre’. In 1602 there is a reference to ‘a passage called the Ferry boate’ in the possession of the Lyttletons, who were Lords of the Manor of Arley at that time.

The ferry ran across the river until 1964 when it was replaced by the current footbridge, leading up the single track hill road, past the pub to Arley Station. 

There we like to hop on the Severn Valley Railway for the return journey if we're feeling lazy (and luxuriate in a first class carriage if the train isn't busy and the guard turns a blind eye).

So, back to the Bewdley garden.  Dunnfloodin on Dog Lane in Bewdley, is the last resting place of the Arley Ferry, the prow now established as a garden water feature.

I love everything about this garden.  The owners obviously have artistic leanings and have maximised what limited space they have.  Every corner and crevice is put to good use.  There's a mirror window to give the illusion of space.

A sunny aspect to allow for copious amounts of colour.

The sign says "It's not a shed, it's a summerhouse."

Naturally there are tomatoes.  I don't think there's a garden in Britain that didn't have a bash at growing tomatoes during the summer of 2020.

Access is by virtue of stone and gravel pathways.

The owners were nowhere to be seen.  Whilst I think they are well accustomed to people taking photographs of their garden, I wouldn't have lingered so long had they been around.  I would have at least struck up a conversation and asked for their permission.

An alternative route from the centre of town to the carpark on the outskirts is through Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Gardens; a small area of 8601 square metres just off the High Street (accessed through the Museum) within the conservation area.  

This sculpture serves as a reminder to dance like nobody's watching.  Actually I'm not sure I would impose that on anyone, but can appreciate the sentiment.

The wild flower area is divine...

...and an alleyway at the end passes yet more idyllic country cottage gardens packed full of David Austin roses

and, if conditions are favourable, real actual fairies.

Finally, the charity shop fairies were sprinkling their magic over me this week.  What does every wardrobe need?  An Indian made, sparkly, sequin-covered, beaded vintage statement evening jacket for the princely sum of £6.95 of course! I'm in love.

Not sure it's the best choice for a few days in Anglesey, but we may soon find out.  Have a wonderful week!


  1. Hello Claire, I love, love, LOVE your black and white rookery picture!!! I can imagine that scene in some darkly atmospheric animation. The riverside cottage garden is an absolute beaute too. Full of character. Well done on the bamboo conquest, though I do feel bad for the midland pandas ;) Now, I can just picture you wearing that lovely sparkly jacket on a wind and sand blasted Anglesey beach. Have a great weekend, Lulu xXx

    1. Hi Lulu, Yes, the rookery photo is a bit Tim Burton isn't it? The bamboo is still a work in progress. We need to get it lower and then dig it out I think, although a friend kindly chipped in with her opinion that it's not possible to kill bamboo, which was a bit soul destroying. It's a shame. It certainly did the job, but my goodness it's invasive. xxx

  2. September has always been bittersweet for me. I long for it and at the same time it makes me realize we're on the slippery slope to Autumn. Still, more, much more than January 1, September signifies new beginnings for me, something to do with the new school term - although I've left school a lifetime ago, and perhaps because September is my birthday month.
    Your photos as always are a delight, and I'm absolutely loving the twisted branches and rookery composition.
    Thank you for taking me along to Dunnfloodin cottage and its garden, and well done for tackling that bamboo! xxx

    1. If September is your birthday month, then you have a great excuse. That is how I get through January! Glad you enjoyed Dunnfloodin Cottage. xxx


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