The Midsummer Sampler: block 2
This is the second in my posts introducing the Midsummer Sampler blocks and today we are are walking off our cake by exploring the garden...
the Dovecote block
A dovecote strikes an impossibly romantic note in a garden, so it's difficult to remember that they were originally glorified farm buildings. Pigeons - and their glamorous cousins, the doves - were introduced into England by the Normans in the eleventh century as a food crop. As keeping doves was a privilege for the gentry, they built ostentatiously extravagant homes for them. But in the following centuries, as arable farming became more profitable, pigeons fell out of favour and their beautiful houses into disrepair.
By the turn of the twentieth century, the artists and architects of the Arts & Crafts movement looked back wistfully to the imagined rural idyll of England's medieval past. Decorative garden buildings became newly fashionable and dovecotes were championed by the doyenne of romantic garden design, Miss Jekyll, in her 1918 book Garden Ornament, along with sundials, summer houses and trellised arbours.
Next time we'll be leaving the garden to visit Orchard Cottage. Until then I hope the weather's kind and you enjoy a weekend stroll of your own,