Posted by: marymarthatours | November 8, 2012

Poetry in the Garden

The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem

For that sweet odour which doth in it live.

                                                               William Shakespeare, Sonnet 54


Roses at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Sept. 2012

 Every visit to the garden at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is a delight. When our England in Miniature Tour stopped there this September, I skipped the house tour in order to spend all of my time in the garden.

This is the garden you have in your mind when you hear the phrase “English cottage garden”. It is a jumble of flowers, shrubs, herbs, and meandering paths. It seems very unplanned, although I’m sure that the garden staff at the Cottage know just where everything is planted.

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 Each time I visit, I look for what is new in the garden. In 2007, I saw the beginnings of the Willow Arbor, a bower made with living willow branches.


Willow Arbor, 2007

This year the Willow Arbor has been joined by other willow garden art. Throughout the garden are willow sculptures created by a team from the Birmingham City Council garden department, award-winners at the Chelsea Flower Show.

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My favorite area of the 2012 garden at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was the Poetry Corner, created with trellises filled with sweet peas. Attached to the trellises were copies of William Shakespeare’ sonnets, each carefully laminated to withstand the elements. I stood among the sweet peas reading sonnets — out loud, of course, as poetry should be read. I did get some odd looks from other garden visitors, but hopefully they thought I was a part of the show.

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Here is my favorite of the sonnets I found in the Poetry corner of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage garden. I hope that William wrote it for Anne who lives not only “in these lines”, but in the beautiful garden at her home.


(by Mary)

All photos by Mary

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