Like last year when I went to Mottistone, I do like to treat myself to a garden visit for Mothers’ Day, and this year it was Osborne House. Osborne House is situated in East Cowes near the central northern tip of the Isle of Wight. The property was built in the 1840s for Queen Victoria, her husband Prince Albert and their children. According to English Heritage, who now own the property “It was built in the Italianate style in order to fit its setting on an island whose temperate climate and panoramic views over the Solent reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples”.
It’s hard to spot in such murky weather, but you can just see the sea in the two photos above. This is the Solent, the strip of water which separates the Isle of Wight from the south coast of England.
My favourite area of the gardens, however, is the walled garden. There are many references to Victoria and Albert here. Not only the V and A intertwined in the ogee arch in the first picture, but also V and A pots
and many plants named for them, like these two rhubarbs.
In the glasshouse are wonderfully exotic Datura
Back outside I found this lemon, growing against a south facing wall and just protected by fleece. I’m starting to see the Bay of Naples connection!
And to finish, something to tempt me back! Clearly the gardeners have been marking out large areas of the beds in the walled garden for direct sowing of annuals. They’re really big areas so it will be intriguing to see what they plant.
Hopefully when I return I can also visit the Swiss Cottage (near the coast) where Victoria’s children used to play. They each had their own garden plot where they “tended fruit, vegetables and flowers using miniature tools and their own monogrammed wheelbarrows. The produce was assessed by the under-gardener, Mr Warne, and if good enough, Albert would pay market rate to the child who had grown it.” Aaah!