here you will do well to linger; here our highest good is pleasure”

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October 14, 2020

Wander beyond the dewy lawn and swaying apple trees at Shandy Hall and you’ll stumble across the Wild Garden.

Its entrance is guarded by the skeletal figure of an ancient sweet chestnut tree, long deceased having been struck by lightning over a hundred years ago and now swathed with creeping vines.

Pass through the old gate and descend down the lichen covered stone steps and you may explore the Wild Garden’s winding pathways and abundant meadows – it is a secret, tranquil place and a welcome spot to sit for unhurried contemplation.
121590029_985220825295911_7855185623629151023_n.jpg During its history this sunken space has been a stone quarry and then a long disused Victorian rubbish dump, which yielded many curious treasures when it was cleared and the Wild Garden was established.

Shandy Hall was once the Yorkshire home of 18th century writer Laurence Sterne, who was a keen gardener himself and wrote to a friend ‘if you honour me with a letter it will find me either pruning or digging or trenching or weeding or hacking up old roots or wheeling away rubbish.’

And it is Sterne’s books and this idyllic English country garden – where time seems to stand still – which influenced the Broken Clock story and if one lingers here he can truly experience this timeless connection.

Indeed it is thought the gnarled sweet chestnut at the Wild Garden’s entrance was standing during Sterne’s lifetime – and gazing across at it as we gather the windfall apples for our recipe from under the orchard trees, we can almost picture him busily tending to the flowerbeds below its branches.