Garden Visits – Mothers Day, Red House Garden, William Morris

william morris, red house, garden well, arts and crafts, bexley, london

 

Garden Visits – Mothers Day was indeed a Mothering Sunday visit to William Morris’s Red House and garden, in Bexley, London.

 

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”

 

William Morris’s famous saying is taken from a lecture he gave in 1880. The man himself was a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and a founding member of the English Arts and Crafts Movement. He was a textile designer, artist and writer.

The Red House in Bexley was built for Morris and his wife Jane by the neo-Gothic architect Philip Webb in the 1850s.

tunnel arbour, spring, garden, red house, william morris, arts and crafts

Morris’s quote is one of the principles I bring to my garden designs. ‘Useful’ in the garden sense can mean edible plants, vegetables, fruit and herbs. These plants may be beautiful as well, of course.

blue flowered comfrey, herb garden, kitchen garden, spring, gooseberry bushes, grow your own, red house, william morris

Useful items which are not plants would include benches, raised beds, greenhouses, water butts, compost bins, bee hives.

beehives,bees, red house, william morris, garden livestock, pollinating insects, arts and crafts

Many of these garden sundries can also be ‘beautiful’, attractive to look at. ‘Beautiful’ encompasses the look of a plant, its colour, shape, form and, where appropriate, its scented flowers or aromatic foliage.

hellebore seed head

Garden Visits – Mothers Day is a predominantly pictorial garden blog. It can be enjoyed as a look at a kitchen garden in mid spring. I’ve picked out certain items to show how a second glance is always worthwhile.

vegetable garden, kitchen garden, spring, greenhouse, grow your own, red house, william morris

A vegetable garden in spring may look empty and desolate.

vegetable garden, kitchen garden, spring, g grow your own, red house, william morris, arts and crafts

But when you look more closely it has beauty as well as practicality.

fruit bushes, beanpole frame, vegetable garden, kitchen garden, spring, gooseberry bushes, grow your own, red house, william morris, arts and crafts

 

blossom, espalier apple, red house, william morris, arts and crafts

And the most mundane items of garden equipment can take on the role of a garden statue if placed with an artistic eye.

vintage garden roller, brick path, hedge, garden, red house, william morris

 

tunnel arbour, euphorbia, garden, red house, william morris, arts and crafts

 

espalier apple, kitchen garden, spring, red house, william morris, arts and crafts

I love Arts and Crafts style, for furniture, architecture, garden landscaping and garden design. Gertrude Jekyll is one of the garden designers who have inspired me. It’s not a harking back to a Golden Age of Gardening. Its acknowledging the clever juxtaposition of garden elements and tweaking it to fit with the demands of twenty-first century life.

porch, red house, william morris, arts and crafts, bexley, london

 

hollow tree, daffodils, red house, william morris, arts and crafts

 

The Red House garden is an oasis of productivity and scent hidden behind a red brick wall in what is now a London suburb. Once inside those walls, you do feel as if you’re back in the leafy Kent village that William Morris knew.

 

Related gardening blogs you may enjoy

Easy Maintenance Edible Gardens
Dream Gardens 1926 Style – Celebrating 90 Years of Life
6 Plants Named after Women Gardeners
Garden Visits – Eltham Palace early spring

spring flowers in the garden, red house, william morris, arts and crafts

 

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