Charles Hawes

as i’ve already mentioned quite a bit, it was an exhausting day of hiking, and i wasn’t entirely on board with driving to tintern abbey, but i couldn’t be happier that we did.

we were meeting charles at a place called the Abbey Mill Cafe, right next to the Abbey, and as we drove past the abbey i was thunderstruck at how beautiful it was. and this is just the view from the car!


first, we stopped for tea cakes with Charles, and were delighted that Anne decided to join us.  we had a wonderful time chatting with them.  it’s funny that we got these tea cakes because they were both dying for them.  i can’t believe i didn’t even take a picture, but they were these gigantic round white bread loaves sprinkled with a few raisins, sliced open and spread with butter and jam – they were a little like dry toast.  not very good, which i thought was really funny.  Charles and Anne were very apologetic about the quality of the cakes, but it really didn’t matter, and so funny to me – i bet they were much better the last time they had them. but next time we’ll order something else!  it didn’t matter at all, and i’ll certainly never forget those tea cakes.

also, why didn’t we get a photo of the four of us together?  maybe kevin did?  someday he’ll keep posting his photos, i know.

we finally bid anne and charles farewell and drove back to the abbey, which was going to close in 25 minutes.  uh oh.

i have no memory of taking this picture of the spot where brass was first made.


the good thing about the fact that the abbey was going to close in 25 minutes is that the place was utterly deserted.  there were just a few people walking around when we arrived, but then they left. because there was so much parking, i’m sure it must be jam-packed with tour buses all the time.

even though we were only to linger such a short time, it was serene and majestic and i hope to go back there someday.


of course i couldn’t stop taking photos.






it was also neat that it was cloudy, which made it feel more mystical.  it’d be good to see it on a sunny day, too.  we must go back.




Anne told us that it’s lovely at night, because it’s all lit up.  i’d like to stay close by and be able to walk over and see it at night, and in the morning before the crowds showed up.  there were at least a few hotels nearby, so it’s totally do-able.  plus we’d be really close to Veddw.  Ideal.  i’m going to start looking on trip advisor right now.

not really.  we have other places to go before returning.  but it’d be ideal to stay next to the abbey, and then walk all around.

this is what i just found out about a short walk nearby:

This is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. William Wordsworth first visited Tintern in 1793 and returned five years later, when he wrote the (rather literally entitled) poem “Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey”, saying that “no poem of mine was composed under circumstances more pleasant for me to remember than this”.

when we got back to the car i had to take a picture of kevin next to his stellar parking job.  clearly, he was more fatigued that he was letting on.


and then back to Parsons Grove, as it started to rain yet again.


aaaah!  but we didn’t want to go to bed yet because it wasn’t even eight o’clock.


we walked around outside to look at the beautiful sunset.  next time we go to parsons grove, we’ll have to book far ahead so we can get a cabin with this view, so we won’t even have to leave our room to see it.







this was our very last night in lovely wales.  tomorrow i’ll post the shortest video of the whole trip.

ok then,

mrs. travelling hughes.



if you’re reading this before all the other postings for today, you must click here:

Veddw House Garden: a modern romantic garden

to read all about Anne Wareham and Charles Hawes’ splendid garden tucked off in a corner of Wales.

at this point in the day, we’d been at Veddw for only about 45 minutes, going kind of crazy looking at all the beauty everywhere.

here’s a close-up of crocosmia, my new favorite flower.




i love this picture of kevin; it’s one of the few photos of our trip that i’ve managed to print out and hang on the wall so far.


here’s what anne writes on her site about this spot in the garden.

This seat and the surrounding hedge are on a slope – and it is not comfortable to sit on a sloping seat. Or, indeed, to look at one. We contemplated this problem when Chris Young, a friend and the editor of The Garden, visited. Between us we came up with this dramatic disguise of the slope. We levelled the seat by cutting its legs.

If you go to the site, there’s a nifty map of the garden, and you can click on the links to see photos of the different sections.  or you can just keep looking at my pictures…



and this is what she writes about this lovely area.

The meadow has probably not been ploughed for over 200 years. Apart from a generous addition of bulbs for the spring we have left it as meadow, taking the grass off every year. The anemones, wild orchids, cowslips, ox eye daisies and wild grasses have multiplied and reassure us we are doing a good thing here.




there’s a giant arched shrub right behind this fountain, but i was so intent in getting a close-up of the fountain that i have no photo of the arch.


it’s called the hornbeam arch, and anne wrote about it on her blog here:

Superman at Veddw – cutting the Hornbeam Arch



i must have been standing under the arch when i took this!


we walked all around and then back up to where we’d started.


if i lived there, i’d walk up and sit on that bench every day.



i finally had to stop taking pictures because it started to rain.  i did get a little bit of video in the rain, though.


we’d been at the garden for about an hour, and then we sat in the greenhouse  with anne and charles and had tea, which included some delicious chocolate sandwich cookies.  i managed to remember the cookies even though i didn’t write it down, because of course i almost always remember food.

anne and charles are interesting and fun and kind, and it seemed too bad that we only had the chance to meet them and then dash away.  we did buy multiple copies of anne’s book “the bad-tempered gardener,” and i gave one to my friend wanda, who is an avid gardener herself.

i took one last picture as we walked back up the hill to our car.


charles and kevin!  a jolly good time was had by all.  and now kevin has started writing on his own blog, and there’s a photo of me with charles!  it’s funny to see photos that kevin has posted of our trip, because i haven’t seen any of them yet!  it’s reassuring to know that i was actually there…


i’m pretty sure this is an old train car?  on the back of their property.  my plan is to renovate it and turn it into a little tea room, and kevin and i can run it for them.


whew, that’s most of sunday…but believe it or not, i still have a few more photos from our misadventures after leaving Veddw.

the end of the trip is so near!

ok then,

mrs. g. h.



i keep thinking about how  fortunate anne and charles are to wake up to this breathtaking garden every morning.

but on the other hand i bet sometimes anne wakes up and looks at it and thinks WHAT ONE MILLION THINGS DO I HAVE TO DO TODAY?

and sometimes charles is hiking around in other parts of the country or maybe in spain or something.

we arrived at Veddw at a little before four o’clock, and just kept running all around looking at all the beauty everywhere.


not to mention that it’s sitting on such a perfect piece of land, with the rolling hills in the background.  we can’t move to wales, because kevin can’t get good care for his diabetes there.  plus i wouldn’t want to be that far from my family.  but they could move with us!  but not enough diabetes doctors…


this is called Charles’ wood.  Charles bought it from the Forestry Commission a few years after they arrived at Veddw.

I realize that there is a lot more detail about the garden in one of Anne’s books.  “the Bad Tempered Gardener” is a delightful book, about her garden and gardening and life in general.  i highly recommend it.  you can buy it on amazon, but i was lucky to buy a signed copy from the author.

The Bad Tempered Gardener






here’s the interesting bit that anne wrote on her site about this sign.

I want to include the people who worked this land in the past in the garden, to remember them and to try to imagine a little of what their world was like.

This gate displays some quotations about the people who lived here in the 19th century, written in the first half of the nineteenth century on one side.

On the other is an extract from the Survey of the Manor of Chepstow August 15th 1687, identifying the Veddw at that time as ‘Waste’, which was similar to a Common.




she has so much crocosmia, the beautiful flower that i saw for the first time in ireland at Powerscourt Gardens.  I just looked it up, and crocosmia are deer-resistant.  i actually found a listing of a bunch of lovely flowers that theoretically the deer won’t eat, and i’m printing it out now.  so next spring, lots more new flowers!  but our yard could never look spectacular like this one.






this is a delightful little covered bench, which we sat on because it started to rain a bit.








sheep in the field just beyond the garden.






i love all the giant thistles.






so much loving care goes into this garden!  i have just a few more photos…

ok then,

mrs. 4th of july hughes, on what should be a day of celebrating but it’s cold and dreary and i have a wretched cold.


i told you there would be a lot of postings about this one day.  and there will be a couple of postings of veddw alone, because i couldn’t stop taking pictures.

as i mentioned in a previous post, before our trip kevin searched the web for information about hiking in wales.  he came across Charles Hawes’ blog, which is full of fabulous photos and writing about the many hikes he takes all over the place.  as i mentioned in my very last post, Charles hiked the entirety of the Wales Coast Path, all 870 miles of it.  kevin wrote to charles, who replied, and charles told him about the garden that he and his wife, Anne Wareham, created outside of Chepstow 25 years ago.

it is the Veddw House Garden, and Anne writes a blog on the garden website, plus she’s written a couple of books, and charles invited us to stop by the garden while we were in wales, and they’d have us over for tea.

i read all about both of them, and was excited to plan our trip so  we could visit their garden.  they recommend that we stop in at wyndcliffe court on sunday, and then we’d be at Veddw later in the day, so we’d be there when their garden closed and could visit with them.

so after our rainy slog around wyndcliffe, and then buying all the souvenirs we could get our hands on at the tourist info place in chepstow, we finally made our way to veddw.

this is the beautiful drive down the path to their house.


at the top of the hill was this view of Veddw spread out below, a glorious sight. it was bright and sunny by now, which was how it was supposed to be for our first-ever look at this garden. i certainly hope it won’t be our last.

even though i took a  million pictures, i couldn’t capture the beauty of these sculptured shrubs.

here’s what Anne wrote about this section of garden:

I used the local Tithe Map of 1841 as the basis for a pattern of hedges in box on one slope of this valley. This created miniature fields which we’ve filled with ornamental grasses – in tribute to both the history of the landscape and to the present views of farmland beyond the garden.




i remember reading about this bench somewhere on their website, but now i can’t find it anywhere.







the reflecting pool – isn’t it amazing?  they created this whole space!


i’ve been thinking a lot about anne and charles and veddw now that i’ve finally manged to write about their garden, almost a year later.  i spend a lot of time in our yard, planting things and transplanting and hacking away at the weeds, and it all takes a lot of time…i can’t even imagine how they must have created so much beauty.

i took all of the above photos except for the reflecting pool in the first 10 minutes we were there, as we walked down to their greenhouse.  we briefly met anne and charles, who told us to take our time and look around.

here’s just a little bit about anne, from her website.  you should definitely check it out, and of course you should visit their garden if you’re in Wales.

or better yet, you should go to Wales to see their garden.  when can we go back?

Anne Wareham

Anne Wareham, garden writer, Veddw, the Bad Tempered Gardener, editor of thinkingardens, South Wales gardens, Welsh gardensI am a garden writer for newspapers and garden magazines,  and editor of the website thinkinGardens.

I appeared on television as a judge in the series ‘Britain’s Best Home and Garden’ on Channel 5 and Tim Richardson included me in his list ofmost influential British gardeners in the Telegraph, January 2012.

I have been campaigning for the past fifteen years for a renaissance in British gardens, focusing on encouraging serious reviews of gardens and on returning gardens to their place amongst the fine arts in British culture.

My first book, The Bad Tempered Gardener  was published in May 2011 by Frances Lincoln and has been described by the Daily Mail as a ‘best seller’. I’m looking forward to the royalties which convince me of that…

My second came out in April 2015: Outwitting Squirrels, and IS a best seller.

I have a garden blog .

And I am generally a thorn in the flesh of the garden world.

more soon.

ok then,

mrs. lucky to have at least seen it the one time hughes.