No, I haven't been to Holland (though it's on my list). This particular "Dutch" water garden is tucked away in rural Gloucestershire.
Apparently, before the Capability Brown trend for 'natural' landscaping, this style of garden was very popular in English country houses. But most were destroyed, replaced with whatever the new fashions dictated. Now, Westbury Court Garden is the only surviving example in England.
In the past, the canals were stocked with fish for fishing, and there was a huge warren to provide a ready supply of rabbit meat:
There are apple and pear trees everywhere, and a small vegetable plot.
Of course, it isn't all about the food. There are also some beautifully laid out, and stunningly colourful, flower gardens:
And some rather unseasonal holly:
As you can see in the background of a lot of the photos, there's a little viewing pavilion to give a different perspective across the gardens.
Inside, something else quite extraordinary. Look at this panel:
The wood panelling has been painted to give it a bolder grain. (This, too, was apparently a fashion in the past.) The marble effect between the panels is also hand-painted.
Westbury Court Garden is only a small property on the scale of the National Trust, but definitely worth a visit if you're in the area on a sunny day.
Now for a serious moment. Today, as you're probably aware, is Blog Action Day 2009; this year's theme is Climate Change, and sadly it's not hard to tie that into today's post.
While we were visiting Westbury we learnt that they're having huge problems due to the increased levels of flooding in Gloucestershire in recent years - there was a display of impressive, and alarming, photos in which the beautiful gardens are submerged.
This creates a problem as the National Trust is trying to preserve 'heritage' species of plants, which haven't evolved to cope with the floods, and they're currently debating the relative merits of building flood barriers versus replacing the traditional plantings with less authentic but more resilient species. It makes me a bit sad that they find themselves forced to consider this kind of drastic replanting, but it's easy to see why, when some of the current hedges are slowly dying away.
I don't have a 'point', really... I just wanted to show you a beautiful place, and draw your attention to some of the little things that are under threat at the moment.