On the Doorstep: The Secret Garden

We really had no excuse…we have visited this particular village a number of times. We have eaten in its pub and sheltered in its shade… we even made it inside the usually-locked church in a strange and rather spectacular fashion. To make matters worse, we havelooked down into the watery dell from the churchyard, without realising what we had found.

The Lyde Garden was created in 1988, from disused watercress beds, by the late Lord Carrington, a British peer and politician who lived at Bledlow Manor. The Manor is set in beautifully manicured formal gardens, laid out with geometrical precision and populated with sculptures from artists across the globe.  In complete contrast, the Lyde garden appears to grow wild. In fact, it is carefully planted, following a style set by William Robinson and Gertrude Jekyll for using a mixture of indigenous and exotic plants to create a lush, naturalistic garden.

Tiny mosses carpet the ground while the huge leaves of gunnera shelter the fragile blooms of geraniums and tenacious hydrangea. Ferns and fronds of all descriptions compete with evergreens to be the glossiest, while the willow weeps leaves of gold onto the water. You can imagine the place ablaze with colour in the summer, alive with darting damselflies. Even in winter it is a refuge for birds… we were greeted by a robin on our arrival and after that,  the leafless branches were never still.

It was an unexpected find, and while it appealed to the gardener in me, it was most exciting for the fact that this is where a river arises, born from eight springs flowing together to make the Lyde Brook, then the River Lyde, before eventually joining the River Thame.

Now, ‘eight’  has been making itself felt as a significant number for the past few years, ever since we ran into the geometries of the church at Bakewell during one of our workshop weekends. And streams under churches had been on the scene since our visit to Kilpeck, the little church covered in extraordinary carvings… including those representing the four sacred streams meeting beneath the apse of the church…

We are yet to solve all the mysteries implied by those numbers and the presence of running water beneath a church… something we have come across several times now. But as sacred springs seem also to be making their presence felt on our journey, all we can do is watch, listen and try to make sense of the ideas as they present themselves.

Of one thing though we felt quite certain…  the presence of these springs had something to do with the high weirdness we had experienced when we had been able to visit the church.

For, not only had we been granted access in a most unexpected manner, but time and vision had parted the curtains of normality giving a glimpse way beyond its bounds…

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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25 Responses to On the Doorstep: The Secret Garden

  1. jenanita01 says:

    I have often wondered why churches are built on top of springs and rivers. Winchester Cathedral sits on four converging rivers I believe, and the magic you speak of can be clearly felt inside…

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  2. How interesting. And such gorgeous photos toi bring it to life. I could feel myself there. Lovely writing, as always x

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  3. What an enchanting place.

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  4. Jules says:

    We have an old home in our neighborhood build over a spring, but it was for logical and practical reasons. The room allowed the original owners (over 250 years ago) to access water without having to go outside the building as well as that room was at a constant low temperature where root vegetables or meat could be hung and stored.

    Why there is water under a church… one thing I found was this: Throughout history, Christians have visited these holy springs to pray for health, marriage and even pregnancy. It is believed that drinking the water will heal the sick and help prayers to come true. During the Byzantines era, churches were commonly built over or beside them.

    The question remains though is how did the builders know where to build and why was that particular water considered special.

    Thank you for sharing the lovely photos.

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  5. Eight springs in one spot does seem unique. And I love the natural-appearing gardens so much more than formal gardens. This looks like a beautiful spot. Sue.

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  6. Fabulous place Sue.

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  7. CarolCooks2 says:

    Gardens like this always hold a fascination for me…so beautiful

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  8. Pingback: On the Doorstep: The Secret Garden – Ed;s Site.

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