Posted by: marymarthatours | January 28, 2012

The Gardens of Beatrix Potter


One delightful thing about adulthood is the fun of again enjoying childhood pleasures, be they a favorite author like Beatrix Potter or “playing” with dolls, dollhouses, and miniatures. Our fall 2012 tour, England in Miniature, will provide great opportunity for childlike bliss.

We will spend the major part of a day visiting Beatrix Potter locations in the Lake District. She was a remarkable lady, for she was not only an accomplished artist, writer, and illustrator of children’s stories, but she was also a naturalist and preservationist.


Beatrix grew up in London with overbearing, Victorian, socialite parents. Her best friends were her various pets – rabbits, mice, a hedgehog, cats, lizards. She began drawing her animal friends as a child, and this love of animals and her delicate art grew into an authorship. The family holidayed in the Lake District and there Beatrix found an escape from the limits of city life.


In her late 30’s, she purchased Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey in the Lake District. It was a place of retreat and healing for her. Later at age 47, she married William Heelis from the nearby town of Hawkshead. His former office is now a major museum site of Beatrix Potter’s paintings. We will be visiting both locations early in our Miniature Tour. The towns will be charming, and the flowers in the cottage garden at Hill Top will be shining in late summer glory.


The garden at Hill Top is beautifully described and pictured in an article by Marta McDowell in the Early Spring 2012 issue of Country Gardens magazine. Entitled “Beatrix Potter, A Gardener at Heart”, the article tells how Beatrix started creating the garden immediately after buying the cottage and farm. She used old-fashioned garden favorites in the long borders, and planted a small walled garden with vegetables. Soon the house and garden at Hill Top began appearing in the illustrations in Beatrix’s books. 

clip_image010tom kitten, PD 

I love this Beatrix Potter quote from the above-mentioned article:

“I have lots of flowers, I am very fond of my garden, it is a regular old-fashioned farm garden, with a box hedge round the flower bed, and moss roses and pansies and black currants and strawberries and peas — and big sage bushes for Jemima, but onions always do badly. I have tall white bell flowers I am fond of, they are just going over, next there will be phlox; and last come the michaelmas daisies and chrysanthemums.”

Our 2012 England in Miniature tour group will be there in time to see her daisies and mums and all the other late summer/early fall blooms. We will learn more about this surprising lady and the legacy she has left the world.

(text by Martha and Mary)

All photos, public domain, except photo of Hill Top Cottage, copyright Marion Dutcher and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license.


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