From Up On High

Scaffolding has gone up at the Priory.

DSM_7479Though I don’t have a head for heights, I couldn’t wait to get up there and see the gardens from a new perspective.


At the first (gutter height) level I could look down on to the tropical border.

DSM_7421And, after a deep breath, I white-knuckle-climbed the second ladder to the chimney.  Here, I was much higher above the same outbuilding with the tropical border down one side, clipped cotoneaster along the other and the wisteria covered arbour at the far end.   The fine, stone roofed structure directly below is the woodstore.  The greenhouses can be seen through the trees.

Here are some more views from the chimney:

DSM_7505Looking southwards over the path bed, the rock border, another outbuilding with shaped ivy and across some of Margaret’s fields.

DSM_7509The east lawn with the kidney beds up against new post and rail fencing.

DSM_7507South-west over the beech hedging, more outbuildings and the drive which follows the line of mixed hedging up to the left.

DSM_7519You can see how wide the beech hedge is – too wide for easy trimming.  I hesitate to cut it back very hard as I’m rather fond of its fatness.


The west pond holds a little water – a couple of weeks ago it was practically dry.

DSM_7440The tulip tree (within a few short weeks it will be golden-leafed) and bottom right, an arrangements of pots by the front door.


Sadly, more roofs block the view north to the long borders, veg beds and meadow.  However, you can just see the duckweed-y east pond on the right and a glimpse of the meadow.


I knew that the roof had a lead-lined valley and were I of a childish and irresponsible nature, (and had the valley been wider) I would have taken a pot of paint up there with me.  Why?  Well, a few years ago a very naughty boy indeed painted an inappropriate image on a roof such as this.  I hesitate to reproduce the young man’s ‘art’ but you can see what he painted by clicking HERE.

Childish, irresponsible and not in the slightest bit funny.  I would never, ever have drawn anything similar (nor SO big) on the Priory roof.  Though I did wonder if I had, how long it would have been before anyone noticed.  It was a whole year before the boy’s parents found out.

No.  Not in the slightest bit funny.

35 thoughts on “From Up On High

  1. A great opportunity for a change of perspective indeed. I do love the rich combination of purple and red amid all that lush foliage in your tropical border.
    Our garden was a rubble-strewn building site while we had scaffolding up, so it didn’t give us much of a view of our plot alas – and I only made it onto the top level once, very gingerly, with a lot of pushing.:)
    Heh, amazed at your restraint on the artwork…


  2. Super views from up on high, rather you than me! A whole new perspective is opened up before you, we just have to make do with a balcony, there is no way I will ever get onto the roof! Your tropical border is seriously stunning!


  3. Fantastic views – it has given me a better idea of the lay of the land – very impressed with the neatness of it all – you’re doing a grand job. I often stand on the shed roof to cut the top out of my damson tree and even in my small garden it looks very different from on high.


    • Even when I’m up a step ladder pruning fruit trees Elaine, I have to stop and just spend some time gazing about me. There is a lot of pausing in gardening, I find. But perhaps that is just me. D


  4. Wasn’t there TIME, Dave, to paint a slogan, or did you just forget your brush and paint? A missed opportunity, I reckon, what with the scaffolding begging for a bit of interference. They’d never know it was you mate, they’d just think it was some crazy hoon teenager with social issues…


    • Time a’plenty, my Dear Bed-Ridden Faisal. But I couldn’t possibly defile such a beautiful roof; the thought of doing so brings on the fits something rotten. I’ve become amazingly (to me) adept at scrambling up the scaffold – so please don’t introduce the thought that it may have been interfered with. I like the term “crazy hoon teenager” – but whatever does hoon mean? D


  5. You must be thrilled! Glad you braved the scaffolding and posted pictures for us from this perspective. It helps as a reader to get an idea of the layout of this storybook-perfect place, which always looks immaculate. I have a second-story view of my own tiny garden and I find looking down on it is one of the most pleasant ways to enjoy it.


    • Blimey, thanks for the ‘immaculate’ comment. I’m always taken aback when someone says something like that – I just tend to see all that still needs doing and the planting that hasn’t worked and the jobs which I haven’t got round to tackling. But I should draw and post a map of the gardens – it might help readers orientate themselves as I witter on and on and on about this and that bed/border/area. Dave


    • Thanks you, Christine. I’m surprised that the lawns haven’t been browner this year – we’ve had a pretty good summer (for Sussex). I’ve been experimenting with mowing heights (there’s interesting!) and have found that mowing a little higher makes quite a difference in keeping the grass greener. (Gosh, but I’m boring myself now). Dave


  6. What a wonderful opportunity for you to see the gardens from a different prospectus (and for us too). I planted a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) some years ago and it is doing very well but I am a bit concerned when I saw how big yours is.


    • Don’t worry, Amelia. I don’t suppose your tulip tree will get so very, very big in our lifetime. There is a country house just outside Harpenden, Herts that I used to jog and dog-walk past when I was in my teens. And to its left was/is an enormous tulip tree. I’ve been in love with that house and that tree ever since. Imagine how thrilled I was when I started at the Priory and I saw the tell-tale leaves of the big tree growing next to it. (Having said that I wish whoever planted it had done so a little further away from the house. We’ve just discovered its roots have grown into and completely blocked an underground drainage pipe. Big job to sort out). Dave


  7. Yikes, I hope you don’t have to trim the mixed hedging too!?
    Things always look so different from on high. Do you mind a quick climb up for some more shots to the south?
    Boys are boys all over- A couple years ago a nice aerial shot showed up on google maps of a similar prank done with weedkiller on a local High School football stadium’s turf. Not funny of course.


    • Erm, yep. All the hedges are trimmed by me and a couple of stalwart, worth-their-weight-in-gold hedge-helpers. The chap doing the roof work will be putting a ladder up to that roof-valley soon and with my new found head for heights, I’m itching to get up there now for a view over the north end of the garden. I’ll do a quick post if I get up there. D


  8. So glad you managed to climb up there. The shots are brilliant. I love the photo looking down on your very lovely hot border. I don’t like heights either but only discovered the fact when climbing down a very narrow path at the top of Snowdon. I got the full jelly legs and OH nearly had to carry me down. It was all rather embarrassing.

    A whole year not knowing you have a giant willy on your roof. Oh that did make me chuckle. I suppose when you live in a house that size a whole other avenue of possible teenage pranks opens up. 😉


    • Ah, the old “I’m a bit tired really so if I pretend I’m a little scared of heights, I might get carried all the way back to the car” trick, eh? It hasn’t worked yet for me, WW, but do persevere. (Took me a while to work out OH = Other Half, btw). I was disappointed the roof-valley wasn’t the broad and wide canvas I thought it might be. My artistic expression has been most certainly thwarted. Dave


  9. I love all your hedges, the fat beech one especially. What a wonderful place to work; but you’re braaver than I would have been – heights are not my thing at all!


  10. Fantastic views Dave, but just looking at the photos made my knees turn to jelly, I doubt I could have made it up there. Unless, perhaps, I had a pot of paint. After all it was good enough for the good folks who created that giant chalk giant… On a more serious note, the hedges and tress form a wonderful architecture, and the tropical border rocks.


    • Hullo Janet, funny how I’m better with heights than I used to be. Since the scaffolding has been up, I’ve climbed it daily and barely been aware that I HAVE BEEN WITHIN INCHES OF TUMBLING TO MY DEATH!!!!! Yep, remarkably calm really. Considering that I’VE BEEN WITHIN INCHES OF TUMBLING TO MY DEATH!!!!! Hardly registers anymore, that I’VE BEEN WITHIN INCHES OF TUMBLING TO MY DEATH!!!!! You’re not convinced are you? Dave


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