Friday, February 27, 2015

The James Bond Garden Tour

My garden is frozen solid under a lumpy blanket of ice and snow. With the exception of a single overachieving hellebore, there are no signs of spring. To cheer myself up, I'm reposting one of my favorites. This was originally published 8/26/2012.

Several years ago I decided to treat myself to a garden tour of England. As with most things I do, my tour was a bit unconventional. I could have chosen as my guide a famed landscape designer or horticulturalist but I wanted a different perspective. By hiring James Bond I never had to wait in line for anything and was able to travel by jet pack and Aston Martin. Since Bond is an expert on almost everything, it came as no surprise that he is an excellent gardener, too.


Are there any plants in this picture? I hadn't noticed.

Our first stop was at Barnsley House Gardens in the Cotswolds. Created to be a personal garden by a world renowned horticulturalist, this lush garden covers three acres and includes a knot garden and potager. I swooned over the fullness of the plantings and lounged around the beautiful pond.




As it neared time to leave, I noticed Bond was nowhere to be seen. I snuck quietly around corners and looked behind bushes to see if I could find him. Worried how I was going to get a martini and a ride to the next garden, I finally found him standing by the cabbages. His sleeves rolled up and dirt smudging his handmade Italian suit, a small razor edged cultivator poked from the tips of his expensive shoes. Digging the cultivator into the weeds surrounding the vegetables, he ripped the roots from the soil, retracted the cultivator, and walked coolly by. 


Cerney House Garden


Our next stop was the Cerney House gardens, also in the Cotswolds. Described by an English gardening magazine as "not for those who like everything tickety-boo", I worried that James might not love the garden as much as I did. "James, " I ventured, "Aren't you coming or do you like everything tickety-boo? Is the garden a bit too exuberant for you?" He stared off into the distance while slowly unscrewing the headlight from his Aston Martin. A long narrow headed spade emerged from behind the light, a pair of gardening gloves tied tightly around the handle. Slipping the headlight back into place, he walked slowly toward me, and whispered in my ear, "I love it when you say tickety-boo."



A large organic garden, Cerney House features a meadow, orchard, and a walled garden surrounded by mature trees. Richly layered elongated plantings tumble over each other to create a relaxed garden paradise.




Our last stop before I jetted back to the States, was a stop at Beatrix Potters Lake district home. Long an admirer of her brilliant children's stories, I'd wanted to visit her home and garden for years. Tempted to cozy up to Bond whispering "tickety-boo", I restrained myself and wandered her vegetable patch. Once again he disappeared as I watched for naughty rabbits and talkative mice. Alone in the garden, I took photos and hummed to myself. As I bent to take a closer shot, a grizzled hand thrust suddenly into view, a small rabbit dangling from its grip.



"Drop the rabbit, McGregor". James stood behind the old man, a saber protruding from the handle of a metal rake. "He's been eating my garden! I want rabbit stew for dinner tonight.", the man complained as he loosened his fingers. "I wouldn't recommend it", James responded, his voice detached and icy. "Why?" McGregor asked. "How do you like your rabbits?" "Shaken but not stirred," replied James. "No one eats Peter."  

He lowered the saber as the rabbit ran under the melons, the old man cursing and kicking, clay pottery in chunks at his feet. I stood to the side, in shock. Where had he been hiding the saber rake and where could I get one? Doubtful I be able to sneak a shoe cultivator, headlight shovel or saber rake past airport security, I made a mental to note to ask him if the British government could ship them to the States.

The visit over, I headed back to the car. Pausing by the hedge that ran along the side of the garden, I noticed James up to his elbows in an overgrown shrub. Grasping the severed limbs, he thrust his pruners up his sleeve, and threw the branches to the ground. He tucked in his shirt and sighed deeply, "Gardening is so therapeutic."



Pruned by James Bond



The Ultimate Master Gardener

60 comments:

  1. I loved this the first time around and it is still as good on second reading. My pulse is racing. I wonder if he really does garden.

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    1. If he was the poster face for gardening, every woman on the planet might become a gardener!

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  2. Ohh James! Sigh, big sigh, bigger sigh! And Tammy! You have me laughing so hard but truly those are some amazing gardens. ( now I am humming Bond music) No one eats Peter! That's the best! I just wonder what was going on off camera , in those bushes :) I am really sorry to hear about your weather, ick. I won't even whisper about what's going on up here. I don't want any retaliation from you and Mr Bond! Hmmm

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    1. What happens on the garden tour, stays on the garden tour. ;o)

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  3. Should I ask what your husband thought about you going on holiday with James? Now that you're well-acquainted, maybe you should write him (James, not your husband) to see if he'll fly you off to some sunny climate for a few weeks until the snow melts...

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    1. Considering my husband would be out the door and in the car in a nanosecond if Scarlett Johanssen showed up at the door, he finds it all very funny. As for a rendezvous somewhere warm with James, let me pack my bags!!

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  4. What a fun tour! Really? No one eats Peter? Where to go with that - Oh honey, it's my life's work. Perhaps- Rabbit sure leaves behind a lot of clothes for somebunny who's not getting any. Sometimes the classic is called for - Tastes just like chicken. Anyhow, sorry your current blanket of white and hope that spring is busting out all over very soon for you!

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    1. You crack me up, Peter!! You would have made a very naughty rabbit, indeed. ;o) I think the chickens tell everyone everything tastes just like rabbit.

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  5. Poor James, all scratched up from the pruning—it suits his virility. God, one gorgeous man. You've made my evening Tammy. I don't normally like the type, preferring the fuzzy, short and dark Italians, but this guy really does it for me. I was watching the Bourne Identity the other evening, the latest one with Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz, and there is one moment at the very end when the two of them are on some junket off the grid off the coast of Manila, when Weisz says: "I was hoping we were lost." and Renner flashes her with those same baby blues, the music goes sexy, and it is reminiscent of a Bond moment. But I digress. Great post Tammy! Is this your dream? A garden tour with the latest gritty Bond?

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    1. A garden tour with Daniel Craig as Bond is definitely a dream! Bond is the prototypical supermale - men want to be him and women want to be with him. He's practically mythical in his exaggerated masculinity. But he's also hot hot hot!!!

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  6. Replies
    1. If he ever calls, my schedule is completely empty. ;o)

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  7. You brilliant writer, you! Great gardens too. I'm still giggling.

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    1. Thanks! The waiting list for this tour would be years long if he actually led it. Those tools would sell faster than they could make them. ;o)

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  8. I enjoyed this post the first time, and I must say that I enjoyed it even more this time around!!!

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  9. Where do I sign up for this tour??

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    1. Just follow the sounds of the sighing/drooling women....

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  10. Hahahaha....what on earth can I say???? Brilliant, all of it, I had to read it twice didn't I? How creative you are.....I loved the gardens, especially Barnsley house, and of course I loved Bond....sighs, and how he came to the aid of Peter!
    I shall be smiling all night now....I hope this has warmed you up a little, here's to you seeing a little spring!xxx

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    1. James is a softie. He just hides it well. :o)

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  11. This was fun to read again Tammy! Great gardens....

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    1. I would love to tour each of those in person! Some day.....

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  12. Yep! Thanks for reposting this one friend as I have not read it before and could use a garden tour from James Bond who definitely knows what he is doing! Such a spot on post and such beautiful gardens friend! We are expecting 6 inches of snow tonight so spring is a ways off for us up here in Chicago. You take care friend!!! Nicole xo

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    1. More snow? Ugh! I was hoping for warmer temps here, too, but we're covered in ice. So I thought a little goofiness was the perfect antidote. :o)

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  13. I think I have not read this one before. You are such a talented writer and I this James Bond is the most handsome one for me, haha. Great gardens, great story. When are you publishing a book with all your funny garden articles? I will certainly be one of the first to buy it.

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    1. Thanks! I have no plans to write a book but, who knows? Maybe that will change one day. For now, you can read everything for free. :o)

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  14. Ha, love it! Where can I get information about this tour?! Sign me up!

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    1. I do wish this tour was real! What a tour it would be!

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  15. Lots of fun in some gorgeous gardens. From the last photo, I would say James Bond got a little exuberant ( or is it tickety-boo? ) when pruning the roses!

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  16. I discovered the English phrase 'tickety-boo' when I was researching the gardens featured and thought it was such a funny phrase. It means "in order/okay" according to Google. One garden described itself as "not for those who like everything tickety-boo". The garden is more free-form and less formal, which sounds perfect to me. James does love his pruners. He just had to have that tree tickety-boo. ;o)

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  17. Oh yes, I remember this post. And I chuckled again this time. Poor James. He is an over-achiever, isn't he? Lucky you to visit such beautiful gardens!

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    1. I wish I were so lucky! Maybe some day... :o)

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  18. Replies
    1. What lucky gardeners to be able to tend them!

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  19. I've toured Cotswold gardens but my tour was nothing like this! Yours was a heck of a lot more fun....

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    1. I think it would be a best seller! ;o)

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  20. When it comes to rabbits, I'm in the McGregor camp. I would like some of those James Bond gardening tools, though.

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    1. When the rabbits are devouring my garden, I'm siding with MacGregor, too. But I like the unexpectedness of James Bond having a soft side.

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  21. What a wonderful tour of great gardens, specially with James Bond as your guide. I used to organise garden tours but clearly I got it all wrong. I would have done so much better and become rich, if only I could have persuaded James to come along and do some of these amazing tricks and charm all the ladies.

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  22. Wait, I still don't see any plants! James Bond might be all tickety-boo but he undid mine. (Seriously, what a great read and delightful photos of man, fauna and flora. Thanks!

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    1. Are there plants in this post? All I saw was Bond and more Bond. ;o)

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  23. LOL-you are a whitty writer + loved your post. Thank you for sharing it again,so I could enjoy it. Well, eye candy is in the garden of the human form-tee hee!
    I could live in that garden-wow- that is paradise!!!
    Perfect for today since I was slipping all over my ice covered driveway and frozen snow! This post gave me hope:-)Please spring come soon!!!

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    1. It's been icy here, too and more snow is on the way. But we have all those wonderful seedlings to keep us going. I'd lose my marbles if I couldn't start my seeds to get me through the dregs of winter.

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  24. This was truly masterful garden blogging! Thanks for re-posting, as I hadn't read it the first time around. You've cheered up my winter blahs. -Beth

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    1. Yay! I thought we could all use a smile. :o)

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  25. You had me at tickety-boo.
    Never read this one the first time around so I am super pleased to have found it today. I think everyone should have a James Bond. Even a hybrid or a clone will satisfy. Thanks for the smiles.

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    1. That is such a funny phrase. :o) I do wish James would clone himself!

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  26. Whooooeee is it hot in here, or is it just me. That's enough fantasy to keep my house warm all winter...LOL. Great post, and yes, you had me at tickety-boo also...no 50 shades of gardening needed around here.

    Jen

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    1. 50 Shades of Yuck! I only made it through half that book before I was ready to throw it across the room. I'd much rather have fun with James in a garden.... ;o)

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  27. I'm going to start saying "tickety- boo" whenever I can drop it into the conversation, and just see what happens ...
    Loved the post, very funny ... where do I sign to join the Tour ?

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  28. I'd love to hear the results of your experiment! I have no idea how common of a phrase that is in the UK. I read it on one of the gardens' websites and thought it was funny. As soon as I have a sign up sheet, I'll let you know! ;o)

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  29. I'd love to visit English gardens too, Tammy. Especially with Mr Bond, the specialist gardener:)))
    I'd read some books by Beatrix Potter, although they were translated not much time ago. I love her drawings, very pretty. You gave me good idea to see her home and garden when I come to England next time.

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    1. I would really love to visit the Lake region where she lived. She is one of my favorite children's authors.

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  30. Hi Tammy, I bet you had to book some years in advance to get on a garden tour with Mr Bond. It's somehow strange you went to the Lakes to see gardens, as they're more known for their dramatic scenery of fells and well, lakes. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour though, I guess the only difficulty is that with so many gardens and so little time, what do you see and what do you miss out?

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    1. I found all these gardens through Google, with the exception of the Beatrix Potter garden. I'd read about that one. I would love to tour gardens for real in England some day, with or without James Bond. :o)

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  31. If you dream it, it will happen! :)

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  32. What a fantastic break from the acres of white we are currently seeing. Your trip to England sounds heavenly. But what happened to poor James' face? That little bit of pruning looks more like a rose bush attacked him full on.

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    1. He's a very intense pruner. Apparently, the tree fought back but was messing with the wrong guy. ;o)

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