Posted by: marymarthatours | February 18, 2013

Garden Dreaming

The Abbey House Gardens in Malmsbury, England

The first signs of spring have arrived in the Pacific Northwest.  The sun is shining today, some spring bulbs are appearing and my garden is telling me that it’s time for the spring clean-up to begin.  Mary arrived for her annual visit to Olympia this week.  She likes to come in February or March and enjoys working in my garden while hers in Minnesota is still frozen under its blanket of snow.  She calls this yearly visit her “mid-winter dirt fix”.  And for me, the spring clean-up is far more fun when she is working by my side.

  2010 Feb 25 Blog Yards 003  DSCN0270

February in my yard and in Mary’s

As I dream of my garden in bloom, my thoughts focus on the Abbey House Gardens in Malmsbury, England.  We will spend a couple of delightful hours in this creative garden next September on the Quilt and Textiles of England and Wales Tour.   We had hoped to visit there several years ago with a tour focusing on herb gardens in Southern England, but that tour never materialized.


Abbey House Gardens, Malmsbury, England

I wrote a posting about the garden in March of 2010, titled, The Naked Truth about the Abbey House Gardens in Malmsbury.  What fun it was to pun about the Naked Gardeners, the owners, Barbara and Ian Pollard.  Do check out that posting and video of this modern age Adam and Eve.  And if you are traveling with us this year, you don’t need to go on a crash diet or have plastic surgery in preparation for our visit to the garden.  I have checked, and we will NOT be visiting on a “clothing optional” day.

ahg3, website      ahg5, website

The house and garden in 1994 and today

In 1994, the Pollards purchased the property consisting of a 16th century manor house built above a 13th century former abbot’s house along with the surrounding acreage.  They have transformed the derelict land into 5 acres of cultivated gardens.  There are formal gardens, a Celtic cross knot garden, herbaceous borders, medieval herb gardens, foliage garden, and laburnum tunnel as well as many sculpture and art pieces throughout.  Add to that the woodland and riverside areas, and you can see why we will be in a bit of Eden that afternoon.

ahg4, website   AbbeyHouseGardens flickr jmenard    ahg6, website

Celtic knot garden, flower borders, laburnum tunnel at the Abbey House Gardens

Why a garden visit on a quilt and textile tour?  Because it will offer our travelers a spot for inspiration, repose, and Mother Nature’s refreshment.  Heck, maybe going au-naturel here would be perfect.

Abbey House Gardens, beautiful and serene

(by Martha)

Photo credits:  All photos of Abbey House Gardens by permission of Barbara Pollard, owner.




  1. Staff. Financing. It would be so lovely to makeover a barren spot into an Eden as was done at Abbey House. If I could only get around the nuts of staffing and financing . . .
    Enjoy that others have done so!
    Ellen R

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