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The Dream Garden

In 1918 Dorothy Burnett (sister to Arthur, the 8th Laird of Kemnay) wrote a poem describing the perfect country garden that many city dwellers would have dreamed of at the end of the 1st World War.

The garden at Kemnay still has much in common with this description (including the rather haphazard planting scheme) so the verse continually comes to mind when pruning the roses, collecting the gooseberries or seeing the delphiniums bloom:

We shall have a garden with cherry trees in May;

The path shall be of flagstones and alternate all the way

A gooseberry and rose bush; there must be Bergamot

And all the sweet old-fashioned flowers not one must be forgot.

There will be a grey wall, six feet high or so,

Every rose that rambles we'll plant and watch it grow,

All the little rock things will creep along the top,

Silvery clumps of saxifrage and yellow golden crop.

We shall have a border close against the wall,

Blue delphiniums at the back and annuals through it all;

but we won't be so modern as to have a colour scheme,

We'd rather have all the colours in this garden of our dream,

Then just beneath the window, where the night wind can blow,

We'll have a bed of all the very sweetest things that grow.

Scented stock and mignonette with every kind of thyme,

'Tis the very perfect paradise, this garden dream of mine.

I can see my garden now, just turn towards the west,

Half close your eyes, remember, and I think God does the rest.

"Houses and smoke", you only see a dirty London Square,

My friend, it's plain you don't possess a garden in the air.

Country Garden

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