The First Chelsea Stadium

Apologies if you’ve had difficulties accessing the last couple of posts. There seems to have been a glitch in the scheduling/publishing software., so please bear with me if it happens again. Everything should be back to normal early Saturday mornings soon! Say Chelsea Stadium to most people and they’ll think of football but Stamford Bridge wasn’t the first stadium in Chelsea. The earlier one had beautiful gardens and was a  venue for sports of all kinds [apart from football]. Sadly all that’s left of it  is a small patch of public park  sandwiched in between a busy road and the Thames. Chelsea’s first  stadium later became what Illustrated London News  in 1851  called the “pleasure resort” of Cremorne Gardens.  It soon gained a reputation for being  rather racy where “students and shop girls, soldiers and civilians, dissipated young bloods, paterfamilias with their better halves, schoolboys and children’s nurses” all mixed.    “It is not an edifying place” instead it’s one where  “Londoners leave their prudery at home.” So what’s the story of this unedifying place where prudery was not much in evidence?

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Are there Fairies at the Bottom of Your Garden?

I thought we should start off the year with something to make us smile and I recalled a line from Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy : “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

Where did that notion of fairies at the bottom of the garden come from?  I suppose I’d always imagined that to be an idea based on mediaeval folk tales, or at the very least something that derived from Shakespeares Midsummer Nights Dream.  But far from it.   Although the idea of garden fairies might go back a long way I think  the phrase  “There are Fairies at the Bottom of Our Garden” really only dates from 1917… a year which has other fairy and garden significance too as well as having strong connections to Sherlock Holmes.

Intrigued? Read on to find out more

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2021 on the blog…and the Annual Quiz


Welcome to the 9th year of the blog.  The numbers reading it  have continued to grow apace with about 129,000 hits over the course of the year, an almost 30% rise on last year’s already record number.  The average daily viewing have been about 350 over the whole year and during the height of the pandemic even passed 400.  There were even 530 views on Christmas Day itself.   There have been about  75,000 visitors, up from 56,000 in 2020 and almost 3 times the number for 2019.

Thanks to the statistics provided by WordPress I’m also able to tell you that this is the 414th post which in total contain 927,657 words, and this year I’ve been a bit more verbose than usual with posts averaging about 2660 words.

As always, thank you  for your loyal support and the nice comments. Please keep  telling your friends about the blog and get them to join the mailing list.  Just  go to the very bottom of any post and  enter an email address and each new post  will appear, as if by magic, early on Saturday morning in good time for breakfast.

And now read on to test your memory with the  annual quiz based on this year’s posts.

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Happy Christmas!

This is the first time in the 8 years  I’ve been writing the blog that Christmas has fallen on a Saturday, but I didn’t want to break my unbroken record of  posting every week!

So I thought I’d just say…

A very Happy Christmas to you all… and if you really do want something garden history related to fill the odd moment between crackers, carols and carousing then read on …. Continue reading

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Mr. Saul of Lancaster

One of things that I’ve always found fascinating about the history of gardens is the inventiveness of gardeners, and I don’t think there’s a period in horticultural history quite as inventive as the early 19thc.  That doesn’t mean that their inventions always work, or even if they did  that they stood the test of time.

Sometimes these horticultural innovators are well known but mostly, like Robert Gauen who I’ve written about before they’re not. Sometimes  they’re well recorded but mostly they’re not and even when they are there’s usually a bit of serendipity involved in their survival.  

That’s the case with today’s subject.  I discovered him when I was researching  a post about the  transplantation of trees because he’d  invented a new variation of the machinery involved.   In the process I discovered that he’d invented a whole range of other garden-related contraptions and gadgets.  So if you’re still looking for Christmas presents for your gardening friends see if you can find something devised by Mr Saul of Lancaster.

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