Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a very talented man named Lawrence Johnston, and he built a garden.
Not so long ago there was a very talented knitting designer named Miriam Felton, and she designed a shawl.
And very recently, yesterday in fact, it was time to reunite the two.
My Hidcote shawl, blocked and beautiful, went to meet Mr Johnston's garden. Or should we say gardens? Hidcote is set out as almost 30 separate mini gardens, from the very formal to the wilderness with a theatre lawn, a rose garden and an alpine rockery in between.
It would be the perfect place to knit-blog any finished piece, but being the right side of the pond and only a few miles from Hidcote, it seemed only fitting.
The pattern is divided for the fields of flowers:
the geometric formal beds (you can see the White Garden as the centre picture of the mosaic above and Mrs Winthrop's garden - a vision of lime and purple - in the bottom left hand corner)
and last but not least, the famous Hidcote Lavender.
I mentioned in my last post that this shawl is wonderfully huge - I'm 6' tall, and although my wingspan is a little shorter, this as you can see falls off my fingertips.
It's size is part of the charm, this is a shawl to wrap up in,
to swirl around in, letting the points float away in the breeze.
The yarn is Jaggerspun Zephyr and the colour is Basil, the dark rich green of the inside of a forest or a bamboo grove, and the 50% silk gives it the soft sheen of a waxy leaf.
Gossamer thread, rippling and floating through the air.
It's safe to say that I cannot begin to describe how much I love this shawl, and how much I enjoyed knitting it. Suffice to say that I have cast on another shawl - it seems the addiction may have kicked in.
And is the shawl is pretty special, the garden is something else:
I took well over 200 photos yesterday and had to spend serious quality time today sorting through them, and then mosaic-ing them, just to show you a tiny flavour of the garden. Every time you turn a corner there is something new, or something to see close up that you otherwise might miss.
The yellow flowers in the bottom left hand corner look to be just yellow until you look closely and see the fuzzy puce stamen with bright orange tips; the petals had dropped from the flower at the top right, but the leftovers were structurally stunning; to say nothing of the blue green ocean of hostas and the silver blue grey tree bark.
The pergolas had hidden treasures - a croquet set and a wall of sepia tiles;
these two are mirror images of each other, set at the bottom of pillars drawn through tile pictures - a quirky combination of ducks and boats, clearly very relevant in Gloucestershire, which although slightly closer to the sea than Warwickshire, is not abundant in coastline.
And more, and more, and more
a never-ending parade of floral abundance. We spent all day wandering around the gardens, making sure we'd been down every path and through every gap in the hedges to make sure we didn't miss a thing, and finished up on a bench by the lily pond, three pairs of long legs stretched out in the afternoon sunshine - you just can't beat that for food for the soul.
I leave you with the moment that I wish I'd captured on video; H, deciding that some alternative modelling shots were needed and that really, it wasn't so much a delicate lace shawl, as Superman's cape:
Three... Lift Off