Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fritham Lodge Takes Guests Back To The 17th Century

How fortunate for my husband, Tony and me to have a sister that loves, breeds, and judges championship Gordon Setters. During our recent trip to Scotland and England, we had the opportunity through an established friendship between dog lovers, my sister Jean, to visit Rosie and Chris Powell's 17th century beautiful estate, Fritham Lodge and Farm in the New Forest.

The Powells, now owners of Sky, a gorgeous Gordon setter from Jean Collins' champion Amscot line, reside in the tranquil countryside of their beautifully 17th century home next to incredible gardens, glistening fields, free-roaming donkeys, horses, and cows. Nearby hunting grounds used even today by the British royalty evoke the pasttime of King Henry the VIII and King Charles the I.

Covering 145 square miles the New Forest is a place of ancient history, fascinating wildlife and stunning beauty. Originally a royal hunting preserve, the thriving working forest that you see today has survived for nearly 1000 years.

The New Forest is 90,000 acres of pristine woodland - home to its famous ponies, five varieties of deer and many other wild animals and birds. Almost two thirds of the New Forest is open to visitors, who can either amble through the heathland and streams, follow mapped-out walks or enjoy horse riding and pony treks. Tucked away throughout the forest are picturesque villages with traditional churches, pubs and quaint shops.

Enroute to Fritham Lodge, Jean was explaining that the New Forest commoners' stock can graze freely anywhere on the property - and they do. We had to wait for the cows to move out of the way before heading on to the farm.

Fritham Lodge in the New Forest has a beautiful flower garden, packed with old fashioned English roses. It was opened to the public through the National Gardens Scheme on the afternoon of Sunday, June 27, 2006. The house, which is not open to the public, was originally built in 1635 for Charles I as an old hunting lodge, although it has been centuries,

Hampshire Society and the Hampshire Chronicle, the local paper describes Fritham Lodge:

Fritham Lodge is now home to keen gardeners Chris and Rosie Powell, who have gone to great trouble to create a garden to suit the house. A formal design marked out with neat box hedges is filled with old fashioned roses and many other country garden plants, to create a period effect. There is a croquet lawn at the side of the house, with a luxuriant herbaceous border, an avenue of pleached limes underplanted with hebes and a wonderful old-style potager, with trained fruit trees, vegetables and herbs, plus two symmetrical rows of white-flowered Iceberg standard roses.

Visitors are also welcome to venture out through the gate at the bottom of the garden into the 17 acres of open land beyond. There is a mowed walk through the hay meadows, leading down to a copse and a small New Forest stream – a real taste of the countryside, with wild flowers and bird song.

Ambling through the garden, every view or angle presented a different perspective of the Powell's hard work and genuine passion for their garden estate.

Rosie and Jean along with Sky, Shannon, and Arnie, walked our legs off through a delightful tour of their property through and into the New Forest and Eyeworth Pond.

After the walk, our generous hosts treated us to a delicious lunch at the Royal Oak, a local pub with inside and outside dining for dog-lovers and their pets.

Except for Shannon and Arnie, who are used to settling to just sniffing culinary scents from the garden gate or the Rover crates.

Downtown Titchfield is a pretty little village with quaint hotels, shoppes, and leaning houses.

The streets are so narrow that the two laned roads can only accomodate one car going in one direction at a time. The city council hasn't heard of eminent domain yet, I think.

British drivers have no fear and park anywhere, even on the sidewalk. The next two pictures were taking within 30 seconds of each other.

What a wonderful day we had with my sister and Rosie and Chris Powell. You can view all 200 + photographs of Fritham Farm here. I came away inspired and in awe of another gardeners' vision and design. I even came to the exciting realization that I still have plenty of room in my own Florida cottage garden border to stick more flowers and plants.
Magic - just magic.
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1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful trip you had. I have been to England many times and always love it. I hope that I'll be able to go to Scotland oneday.