Fraggle Report ~ The Swiss Gardens at Shuttleworth ~ July 2017

Still down in Bedfordshire, dog sitting for Ben, and the visit to the Swiss Gardens was my second day out shooting with Helen.  There will be a few parts to this report as the Garden is huge, staggeringly beautiful, and I took a lot of photo’s of it. 🙂

The History Bit

Back in the 1820’s, holidaying in the Swiss Alps was a bit of a thing, and inspired a fascination for all things Swiss.  A rather well-to-do young man who happened to be the 3rd Baron of Old Warden, Lord Ongley, whose family had owned the estate since the 1960’s, was thus motivated to create the Swiss Alps in his back yard bog.  Bedfordshire is flat as a pancake, so this involved a fair amount of excavations to make ponds etc, and the building up of embankments from the excavated soil, to make high points. He had the nearby river dammed to make a few ponds and a lake. As you walk around there are all sorts of follies, little buildings, beautiful shrubs and trees, none of which look very Swiss, some even look oriental, but at the those days it didn’t matter. One young visitor, Cecilia Ridley, writing to her Aunt Fanny from nearby Ampthill in September 1839, described it as “the most extraordinary garden in the world made out of a bog; full of little old summer houses on little round hills, china vases, busts, coloured lamps – in short quite a fairyland but more of a Chinese fairy than a European one”.

In 1850, Lord Ongley departed, and 20 years later Industrialist Joseph Shuttleworth bought the estate, by which time the garden had fallen into disrepair. Shuttleworth resurrected and added to it, but then along came WW2, and again the garden suffered, and by the 1970’s it was in dire need of resuscitation. Over the next 30 years bit by bit the garden has been restored and allowed to settle in and opened once more in 2014 after an 18-month restoration process funded to the tune of £2.8 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

So lets begin…

there were many  invitations to rest a while,

in a loveseat perhaps

or have a tea party

or sit with dogs

or the dearly departed

or chat with a peacock

 

 

or hide away

you might want to sit and watch the ducks float by

 

or rather sit under a shady tree

or be watched over by an eagle

but enough with the resting, there are flowers and creatures, bridges and follies to look at, so stay tooned for the next part of the tour.

 

46 Comments

  1. A great array of benches indeed. You had some nice Bedfordshire weather too.
    All lovely shots.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers Pete, yes we were happy with the weather considering how miserable it had been for our day out at Jordan’s Mill.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful place, Fraggle!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is, if you get the chance to go there take it in a heartbeat.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Near the Shuttleworth Collection?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, the hangars are on the other side.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh, OK….I do want to go there again, must be a shade over 15 years since I was there….

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Evidently no lack of benches in the Swiss garden… Looks like a lovely place to just relax – and take photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Otto, it is a fab place for photography.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d have to stay for a while and sit in many places, or so it appears!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’ve left a few out! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I got an especially tranquil and serene vibe from these shots.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good, it’s how it felt to me too! 🙂 Cheers V~man x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would love to visit there.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Not sure whereabouts you are, but if it’s within travelling distance it is such a restorative place.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I reckon it would be a fine getaway and sightseeing journey.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Bedfordshire is very scenic, like American’s think of England from the movies. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          3. I can definitely see that. It has that period drama aura to it.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. And they have a collection of old airplanes at Shuttleworth too, spitfires and stuff.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. Ooh, how intriguing. I must say, you really travel and photographic some marvellous places.

            Liked by 1 person

          6. I think it’s important to see as much of the world as you can afford or have time for, even if it’s in your own county, or country. Well it is for me anyway 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          7. Oh I totally agree, Fraggle. Life is short as they say.

            Liked by 1 person

          8. Indeed V~man, and getting shorter every day!

            Liked by 1 person

  6. It looks so peaceful… so deliciously quiet. Thanks for sharing an idyllic moment. I see your comment with the word “restorative” — that is a perfect description. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I had a lovely time there, glad you like the pictures.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Timothy Price

    Beautiful area, and so green compared to the high desert southwest, USA.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thats the pay off for having so much rain! 🙂 I’d love to photograph a desert though!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Timothy Price

        Yes. You would really love the desert. There is so many different types of landscapes to photograph.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I loved my time in USA, need a re-visit at some point, but convincing my hubby to go to a desert might be a dead end!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Timothy Price

            We’re fairly civilized out here. We have lots of craft beer, art, music, theater, even world class opera besides the great outdoors. I believe your hubby could have high times in the high desert.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. So long as there’s scotch whisky there’s always a chance! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Timothy Price

            Oh yes! We even have ice if he likes in on the rocks. He can even have it with green chile to add local flavor to the Scotch.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. ice de rigour, green Chile, not so much 😀

            Liked by 1 person

      2. I wasn’t acquainted with Tim at the time, but I lived in the same area. Albuquerque is, as he says “high desert”. The elevation is a mile high (even though it is not in the mountains), hence “high” desert. That lets them get all four seasons of temperature changes, even though it is still desert. With a bit of rain and snow run-off from the mountains, there is a bit of greenery. But nothing like your lovely visit in this post.
        I apologize for butting in, especially if you were familiar already with the area. I just miss it a lot. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Butt away, Albuquerque is the fabbest name, I’ve been singing it for years to a song by Prefab Sprout called The King of Rock & Roll, the refrain of which is “Hot dog, hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque”, but I’ve never been there so don’t know a thing about it. Have just followed Tim though so will no doubt know more soon!

          Liked by 1 person

  8. […] Part 1                   Part 2 […]

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  9. You can never have enough benches – great for sitting down and inspecting your photos and cleaning your lens(es) 🙂 Nice shots.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. […] Fragglerockin: WiPW Alumni and annoyingly talented creative person, Fragglerockin has numerous blogs you can peruse (though I’m linking to her main). Example Post: Swiss Gardens […]

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The seats alone tell a story without words. Enjoyable post!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What amazing history and such a beautiful environment! I love that peacock! They are such beautiful creatures besides this damn peacock at a class field trip when I was young. That damn peacock chased me down trying to get me. Scared the shit out of me. I’ve always been so fascinated by peacocks and tgeir so beautiful besides that peacock he was an asshole😡 atleast he had his looks going for him! Sigh.

    Like

    1. I think most peacocks are assholes, unless you have a packet of cheesy biscuits with you, then they’re just fighting mean!

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      1. I thought it was just me! Lol!🤣

        Liked by 1 person

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