The Thursday morning walking group who last visited Treowen in October came back on May 7th. They were very lucky with the weather and after a beautiful walk through Treowen wood and down to the meadows by the Trothy, returned to the house for coffee and a chance to admire the garden in the spring sunshine.
Shortly after the Wheelock family moved to Treowen in 1954, Richard and Hilary’s brother-in-law gave them two beautiful pairs of curtains, specially designed and made in his factory in Birkenhead. Where the curtains meet in the centre of each window, there are embroidered figures in Jacobean costumes, representing the Wheelock family at that time.
Over time however, the light has damaged the fabric of the curtains, particularly the pair facing west. So we have taken them down to preserve them and new curtains have been made for the room. This is quite an undertaking as the windows are very wide and the curtains very long – 3.3 and 2.9 metre drops. Twenty metres of material and the same of lining were needed. They are a similar colour to the previous pair with a traditional brocade design and we are very pleased at how they look in the Oak room.
Since Christmas, the knot garden on the back lawn at Treowen has really taken shape
Although there is plenty of parking by the house for those staying at Treowen, extra parking for wedding and party guests has been provided on the verges of the drive or in the orchard at Treowen with guests making their way across the back lawn to the house.
Unfortunately, the changing pattern of rainfall over the past few years, with increasingly intense downpours both in summer and winter, has meant that parking on grass is no longer a viable option and that more hard standing parking is required.
After much consideration, extra hard parking for 25 cars has been created by taking a piece off the field just past the turning to the house off the drive. Visitors can be dropped off by this turning for an easy walk to the house and cars will be parked with no visible impact on the house and its setting or on the tenants in the conversions by the house.
These photos taken at a wedding just before Christmas – see previous post of today,
“Treowen from the air” – give a great idea of how the finished knot garden will look.
Elizabethan and Jacobean gardeners used brightly coloured stones in their borders, surrounded by low hedges and we are doing the same. The coloured stones – plum coloured slate and white gravel – have been ordered and will be delivered this week for laying as soon as the weather allows.
In this post we have some truly spectacular shots of Treowen taken at a wedding just before Christmas 2014 by a drone. They give a great bird’s eye view of Treowen and its wonderful setting.
After a lot of thought, Dick and John have decided to use yew rather than box to make the hedge for the parterres. Box blight is a big problem and if it were to get to Treowen the whole thing would have to be dug up and replanted.
Before the planting can begin, the bare ground was covered by WeedGuard to stop weed growth.
A few days later, 1,300 small yew trees were delivered and planted over three days by John, Dick and Emma.
Treowen is a great place for walking and even on a blustery November day provided a memorable morning walk.
Eight members of the Thursday morning walking club from Monmouth braved the muddy conditions to walk up the back drive and then tour the garden, seeing the progress made on the knot garden to the back.
Coffee and biscuits was followed by a tour of the house and we were glad to be warm indoors as the rain came down. The long drawing room was very much admired, as were the different styles of the bedrooms on the first and second floors as well as the cosy attics, especially the one with the shower room reached by a ladder!
Everyone is now looking forward to our next visit in the Spring and some are even hoping to organise a stay in the house for a family celebration or party.
The Treowen estate has taken the decision to promote the use of renewable energy. Since summer 2013, the house and the surrounding farm building conversions are no longer heated by oil but by an advanced biomass wood chip heating system. Installing this was a major undertaking and will be the subject of upcoming blogs.
The new farm buildings up the drive from the house were built to replace the barn which now stores chips for the biomass boiler. We are currently investigating the viability of installing solar panels on one of these buildings. The south west facing roof slope is ideal for solar panel installation and because it is surrounded by trees is not visible from Treowen or the other houses on the estate. It will have the capacity to feed up to 30kws of energy into the National Grid as well as providing electricty for the farm buildings themselves.
The back garden at Treowen is Jacobean in origin but for many years was used as a farmyard so only the basic structure now remains. John and Dick have had plans to return the garden closer to its original form for some years and their plans are now nearing completion. Over the last two years, they have built a raised walkway within the yew hedge to complement the walkway outside the hedge with its fine views down to the lakes and across to the Welsh mountains. Retaining walls have been built all round the lawn and the ground levels raised. In the centre of the lawn is a mulberry tree, planted by their sister Emma in the 1990s.
The new layout of the garden will have a circular lawn around the tree with borders at each corner laid out as knot gardens. This is the next phase of the garden design.
On Tuesdsy this week turf was laid on the final section to complete the inner walkway around the lawn.
Over the years visitors to Treowen have enjoyed playing games on the back lawn. Croquet will still be possible and a new football pitch has been made in the field on the other side of the haha in front of the house.