for the love of... beatrix potter

Author & philanthropist, Beatrix Potter, often visited her Uncle Fred and Aunt Harriet’s rambling Welsh estate at Gwaenynog Hall.  I had the privilege of visiting this idyllic property a few years ago on a shoot for Canadian Gardeningmagazine. Gwaenynog Hall is a 2000 acre estate located near Denbigh whose beautiful walled gardens inspired Beatrix to write her charming Flopsy Bunny books.

Janie Smith, Beatrix’s great grand niece, showed around the gardens – she and her daughter Frances have worked tirelessly to restore the gardens back to what they might have looked like when Beatrix visited.  The garden’s were was so lovely even though we visited in the fall – ivy was still crawling on the walls, ruby red apples ripe on the trees, purple thistles blowing in the wind, iron gates opening up to secret gardens and horses peacefully grazed in the fields –  I really could imagine Flopsy & Mopsy, Cottontail & Peter hopping through the flower beds looking for a nibble, can’t you?

On a visit in May 1895, Beatrix Potter wrote in her diary . . .

“The garden is very large, two-thirds surrounded by a red brick wall with many apricots, and an inner circle of old grey apple trees on wooden espaliers.  It is very productive but not tidy, the prettiest kind of garden, where bright old fashioned flowers grow amongst the currant bushes.”

for the love of... fox hunting

I can’t even really describe the feeling that still wells up in me so many years after photographing the Blessing of the Hounds Thanksgiving hunt in Southern Pines, NC.  I still get shivers thinking about the beauty of this spectacle that has it’s roots in mediaeval times.  I can still hear rhythmic beat of horses galloping off in the distance and remember seeing horses & riders emerge from the thick mist.  There were a thousand cinematic moments.  Truth be told, I cried as I ran through the wet fields with photo gear in tow.  The beauty of the moment overwhelmed me. . .

Please understand that I am not a lover of hunting per se – but I am a fan of the equestrian sport where a scent is dragged through the fields for the hounds to follow.  Remember my undergrad degree is in 19th Century British History & literature so it just make sense that I  love the idea of galloping through fields dressed in a tweedy coat & jodpurs.!

As you look at these photos, I hope you can hear the call of the bugle and the pounding of hooves!