120. Hyde Hall

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To break the domestic and work routine, we like to drive out to the Royal Horticultural Society gardens of Hyde Hall, which sit about 4 miles south-east of Chelmsford.

 

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Lots of other old Essex gits have the same idea. So a visit gives a broad idea of how decrepitude may settle further upon us. Whatever your age, your eyes lap it all up.

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I used to deliver two pints of red top to Hyde Hall, three times a week, when working the South Woodham Ferrers milk round for the Coop. In those days, in the early 90s, it was not too much more than a private botanical centre, atop a windswept hill, surrounded by old farmlands.

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Now you see it a couple of times a year on Gardeners World, as it expands and innovates.

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At this time of year, the Cornus Midwinter Fire dotted around the estate are stunning.

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Also known as Dogwood.

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Perfect accompaniment to the wind and sunshine. I wanted to take a cutting, but sensed that this would lead to trouble of some kind.

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More than ever this year I have appreciated the beauty of the low January sun, and the shadows which it casts.

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The Midwinter Fire were the joint highlight yesterday, sharing the honours with the spicy basil and tomato soup lunch. And a decent hunk of walnut bread.

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So good to get out and feel the elements.

 

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