U is for… Urns

U is for… Urns

Italianate Garden, Ashton Court Mansion, Bristol

When we visited the Rose Garden at Ashton Court recently we noticed that the border walls to the adjacent Italianate Garden at the back of the Mansion had been restored with these elaborate urns and sculpted heads and stopped to take some photos. If you were reading my blog last year you might remember the ha-ha and the cows, this is all in the same place.

Italianate Garden Ashton Court Mansion, Bristol

I did a little research later (I didn’t have to dig very hard) and discovered that Ashton Court has benefitted from a huge grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. I was a bit puzzled how the City Council who run this Estate could afford to do these works when they are so busy cutting back on so many other things, but that is the remit of this Fund. So next time you buy a lottery ticket you might like to think of the projects that your money funds.

I also looked up the term Italianate wall, and see that they come in a variety of styles and seems to be a loose term to describe a decorative wall. I wondered if these were modelled on one somewhere in Italy but I haven’t come across a source so far. Do let me know if you have seen something similar elsewhere as I am quite curious!

These ones are just a little bit creepy, there’s something of the tombstone about the curves of the walls and the herbaceous borders that they delineate depending on how you look at them. What do you think?

acanthus mollisechinops

The borders themselves are charming, being stuffed with a modern selection of perennials some of which I recognise, astrantia, bears britches (acanthus mollis), and echinops amongst others.

Brandon Hill, Bristol

There is a fantastic view over one wall over the city right up to Brandon Hill Tower and you realise just how hilly this city is when you go somewhere like this where you have an open vista or two to admire.

U is also for Umbrellas which I hate. They either blow inside out, drip secretly down your back, or attempt to poke someone’s eye out. On the other hand they are good for getting Zeb’s ball out from under the sofa when he has nudged it under there for the five hundredth time.

Other U’s that I thought of when I was writing this are, Udders, Umpteen, Usury, Underwear, and Umbilliferous and none of these words really cried out, “Oh yes write a post about me!’ so I didn’t. I then wondered if I were being just a little unimaginative here,  so I cheated and googled Food words that begin with ‘U’ and of course there are loads;  Udon Noodles, Umeboshi plums, Upsidedown Cake, and of course Unleavened Bread, but it is too late and Urns it is!

Other Alphabet in August bloggers you might like to visit are:

Nipitinthebud be inspired by her Quotes

Plot 52 wish you could draw like this

Sincerely, Emily enjoy her unique take on life

Misk Cooks follow the adventures of Seddrick the Starter

13 thoughts on “U is for… Urns

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Celia! The gent of Kent had a field day, I have loads more of his photos but can only inflict so many on you patient readers. Yes, what is it about umbrellas? Can’t stand them ;)

  1. sallybr

    I tell you one thing, you caught me completely by surprise with this one, not in a million years I expected this word, so…. yeah, I loved it! I like to be surprised, and read the whole article with a smile on my face, which I did not notice until a grad student saw me through the window (that faces the lab) and asked what was making me so happy! ;-)

  2. sallybr

    Cannot help but add that I love the creepy one… the colors, the intriguing smile… should I go see a shrink, you think? ;-)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks for your lovely comments Sally! It’s a bit like doing one of those free association exercises this Alphabet project, so it caught me by surprise too. A voice in my head said Urns….

      The heads themselves aren’t creepy, they are like gargoyles on churches and I am very fond of those too. No, it’s more the shapes of the walls rising up like tombstones…. brrrr-rrrr

  3. Misk Cooks

    Such lovely views across the hills toward that tower! Stunning. And my goodness what a big camera lens he has! I won’t show that to Peder because he’s been wishing for something like that since he bought his Canon.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Misk! Second hand lenses can be quite affordable, Brian likes nothing better than scouring the small ads in the back of the camera magazines. I can’t lift the camera and hold it steady with those lenses on so stick to the small ones.

  4. teawithhazel

    the urns are cool but the thingies they’re on are, as you say, funereal and not so cool..one would expect inscriptions from loved ones to the dear departed..love the view over the wall to the city..what are the rows of coloured buildings..houses? they look quaint..

    1. Joanna Post author

      Exactly, it’s the thingies, I have no idea what the architectural term is for them either.

      The coloured buildings are a Bristol tradition, they are domestic homes. There are rows of houses, like these ones in Cliftonwood, in other parts of the city also. Totterdown is another example. Each house is painted a different colour, they really brighten up the view on a grey day :D

  5. heidi

    There is a softness to the photos- did you use a filter? I rather like it- it is otherworldly and so are the urns. I like them- all of them- they make me want to wander after a fashion in a misty garden and then find a quiet cafe to drink coffee and eat bread and cheese.
    My life has been a bit dash here and there- running from project to project and this post slowed me down for a moment. No plans- just urns. :D

    1. Joanna Post author

      Heidi, If they were taken with Brian’s camera it might have been a filter on there (I’d have to ask him) but it could just be the shallow depth of field. The ones taken with mine are as they are. It wasn’t the brightest of days, and pollution is always a natural filter sadly. It is a lovely park/estate and there is a cafe too behind the big house waiting for you :D

  6. emilysincerely

    Urns – nice! the faces look like carnival masked gargoyles – from mardis gras or Venice carnival. They are intersting. The flowers are beautiful. Looks like a nice place for a walk. I like the first photo with all the pitting on the urn and masked face.

    as for umbrellas. I just want enough rain where I could use an umbrella. Umbrellas aren’t so much fun where there are 10’s of 100’s of you on the same sidewalk trying to walk (and not poke each others eyes out too) I do like the big umbrellas over an outside patio table that shade me from the hot sun….but not when it is windy and those blow inside out.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I don’t count the big umbrellas, like you it’s the ones you hold as you walk that drive me mad, when I worked in London on a rainy morning going to work you spent the whole way guarding your eyes from people’s points…..

      I like the old weathered ones too, but even the new ones will go that way over time…. :)

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