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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Compton Verney and Dan Pearson's 'William Morris Wild Flower Meadow'

Compton Verney was originally built in the early 1700's by Richard Verney ( 11th Baron Willoughby de Broke) but it was George Verney (12th Baron) who had the house greatly extended to what you see today. The estate stayed in the family until 1921 when it had to be sold. Compton Verney was requisitioned for the war by the army and was the base for the 'Royal Pioneer's Smoke School' where they experimented with smoke-screen camouflage.

After the war, like many grand houses and estates, Compton Verney lay empty for some time but unlike the nearby Morton Paddox where the Czechoslovakian army was based (demolished 1959) Compton Verney was lucky not to have been pulled down.

So many beautiful houses were lost to us for ever in the 50's and 60's which wouldn't be allowed to happen today thanks to the many charities who help restore and preserve places like this for future generations to enjoy. I for one, am so grateful to all the historical charities for what they do. I am a lover of history and I like nothing more than walking around these grand old houses, wondering what it would have been like to live there in times gone by and enjoying walks around the gardens, wondering who had walked these paths before me. Yes I am a dreamer too :)
Here is a link to show you just how much of our heritage was lost.....

Even though much of Compton Verney estate had been sold off over the years, the house and park you visit today was saved from ruin in 1993 when the 'Peter Moores Foundation' bought it and then gifted it to a charity created to save Compton Verney called 'Compton Verney House Trust'. It cost a grand total of £45 million to restore this mansion to it's former glory and to add an extra wing which is where the visitors facilities are now, including exhibition rooms, a shop and a lovely cafe.

Compton Verney is now a well known Art Gallery which sits in a majestic Capability Brown Landscape, created in the 1760's.... which brings us up to date and follows on to what we see today. Dan Pearson, an English designer of gardens and landscapes was given the challenge of turning the West Meadow into a piece of art itself and this is exactly what he did. He created with the help of the staff and volunteers from Compton Verney, the 'William Morris Wild Flower Meadow'. This Meadow has been designed around the 'Arts and Craft' 'Here and now' exhibition with mowed areas to look like a Parterre but a Parterre with a difference and a little wildness to it.  The design is better seen from the air which this video from Compton Verney's you-tube channel will show you.

At the moment you will notice small areas of different wild flowers amongst the elegant long grasses around the meadow but as time passes, these flowers will re-seed themselves giving you a meadow full of the most amazing mixed wildflower collection which will look just totally stunning. The flowers look beautiful already but I can just imagine it in a year or two. I absolutely adore wild flowers. I don't think you can beat a meadow full of them so I was very happy to see this one develop and I will be back to watch how it changes. Here are just some of the photos I took on Sunday.

I really do love poppies, aren't they beautiful? 

There is such a variety of plants in this meadow, enough to keep a lot of wildlife happy never mind us! 

The elegant long grasses, golden in the sunlight.

The view on Sunday was just perfect against the deep blue sky. When taking photos of flowers, you have to weigh up the pros and cons, bright days are not the best for close up flower pictures as they can make the picture look a little harsh......but stand back and take a photo from a distance with a lovely sky like this and it makes a perfect picture.

Poppies and cosmos flowers in all colours adorn this meadow.

 Delicate flowers are always the most beautiful.

I only spent an hour or two at Compton Verney this day as it was a quick visit on my way to Charlecote Park just five minutes down the road but I will be back very soon, especially now I have bought myself a Season Pass :) For more on Compton Verney, here is the link to their Website..

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my blog.

Photos copyright Jana Eastwood