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Barbara Simpson

Hi Vanessa I agree with you about Kate, poor girl every move photographed, family members vilified in the press no matter how distant, the stress of it all would do my head in. But she seems a very lovely young lady and I hope William supports her completely. The topiary is truly amazing, aren't some people talented and creative or perhaps I should say aren't the team of gardeners talented. I wonder how long the garden has had topiaries ?

Liz W in Missouri, USA

I just love it when you visit gardens. You seem to find these little fairie lands and they are always just beautiful. Although - for some reason this one reminds me more of Alice in Wonderland.
I'm with you - I wonder how Kate is doing. Think of waking up a commoner, and going to bed a Princess. I hope she is well, but I believe that she truely has William's love and that will make a big difference. I can't wait to watch the wedding!


Amazing pics - will put that on my 'to visit places' list - I am hopeless at even the simple cutting of hedges so think that is wonderful work.

Yes I hope Kate will be ok - I remember very clearly watching Diana and Charles get married and feeling quite sorry for her and not wanting to be in her position at all.I was the same age as her at the time and it all seemed very overwhelming for her.

But Kate and Will have been together a lot longer and she is a lot older and one would hope wiser - I think it helps that she knows the story as it were and must be very aware that being a princess is not all it it seems.

I also think that he really loves her and unlike his Dad she really seems to be his first love. She is a beautiful and confident woman and I really hope she will be happy. I will be watching as well - am having friends round for cupcakes and cava while we view!

Vintage Squirrel

Oh, no!!! We meant to go there last Easter on our trip to the Lakes and ran out of time.... how annoying when it is so amazing! Arghhhhh!

Frustrated of Scotland! xx
P.S Fab photos. Thanks for showing us round.


Wow, totally amazing! :-)


What a stunning garden - I too love topiary, such patience to wait for something to grow and clip into shape!
I have put ohotos of our dachshund on my blog post - Golden Cap - if you have a free moment do drop by. Have you noticed that there does seem to be more of them about these days than there were two or three years ago? I think that the breed is gaining in popularity!


I have wanted to visit Levens Hall since I first saw photos when I was a child.Got there a few years ago when on a trip up the West side to Glasgow.Got there on a Monday.It is closed on a Monday.........aargh!


What an amazing place!!
I agree with you on Kate, I do hope the press don't make the same mistakes they did with Diana!
Have a great Easter Vanessa. :)
Vivienne x

Alice and Raymond!!!

wow, how amazing are those gardens! i love how they're all at odd angles, it's so much fun! And the tulips, such beautiful colours, and lovely on our grey day here to get a colour injection!
And yes, what a big day coming, the wedding, we're quite annoyed that we don;t get the day off, considering we have the union jack on our flag and all! It seems that Kate is a lot more worldly and has had a lot of practice being in the public eye, it's quite interesting watching someone journey into being a queen after reading all the Phillipa Gregory books! A wee bit different these days though than back then! Shes more in danger of losing her sanity than her head....
OK Vanessa, wishing you a lovely weekend!

Helen Tzabar

What an amazing garden, we live in Carlisle and I hadn't even heard of it. Definitely one to visit.
Hopefully Kate is more prepared than Diana was. She has had more time and like you I think William and her have really thought about this and are together rather than being pushed as his parents were. I wouldn't be her for the world though!

Wow ,stunning gardens,Vanessa,isnt this the most fab time of the year,flowers springing up everywhere and all of the blossoming trees.have a lovely weekend,




Stunning! Thanks for sharing the great pictures.


Happy (belated) Birthday!! And Happy Easter! I love the topiary - and I love Box (what are called Boxwood here in Alabama). I have Box in front of my front porch, and several years ago my neighbor across the street pulled up all her Box and gave them to me. My dad and I planted them in the backyard, along the south wall of the garage and along the fence line. I love them, but you are right - they grow s-l-o-w-l-y. Seeing your pictures was a delight!


That's some garden isn't it! I'm always amazed by the precision of the shapes as they look good up close or from a distance. Box blight sounds awful and not a thing anyone wants, but especially not in such an amazing an old garden. I really love tulips (was in a beautiful tulip planted area the other day - all different kinds and varieties). These red ones are so beautiful and in their openness almost look like poppies. You do visit some lovely gardens and the pictures you bring back are so good to see.

I'm looking forward to the wedding, it's just something nice in the midst of the gloomy old recession. I'm looking forward to all the pomp and ceremony of it all. Hope the weather stays this good for it as it lovely at the moment. I think William and Kate are well suited, so I'm hoping for the happy ever after ending. It's not an easy way to live life, no matter how privileged they are. I think they are both rather nice too!


fab fab! i am in awe of that box cutting master. thanks for a lovely visit.


Hi, I love the photos of the gardens! Thanks for taking the time to share them with us!


This is a garden I know and am always impressed by, not necessarily liking it particularly but impressed with the ingenuity and skill, not to mention patience of the cutters and trimmers. I prefer the rather shambolic look myself!
Not interested in the wedding, I hear there are worries about the smog aspect of our recent hot spell now for the wedding, but the forecasts do say it will cool down, by as much as ten degrees here if they are to be believed, so maybe it won't be such a problem for those standing and watching.
Great photos as ever.


What a fantastic garden you have shown us, Vanessa! I wonder how many gardeners are around to keep everything in perfect trim and to look out for that awful box blight. Did you see or get to speak to any gardeners?

Best wishes to you and yours for a very Happy Easter. xo


Levens topiary is amazing.I have been a couple of tomes and was gobsmacked each time.A truly wonderful place.


Ha! And I though I was a garden control freak!

Jenni at Baa-me Kniits

Totally amazing!! A lesson in patience definitely :-) Happy Easter to you and Hugo too Vanessa.

I too think about Kate Middleton and wonder.....especially starting with her MIL's ring, lets hope she is happy xx

Magic Cochin

I've heard of Leven's Hall but not visted - the topiary is amazing- I think I'd like to draw it (it would be quite a challenge wouldn't it!)

Today I found a patchwork bedcover I made for my student flat - to cover an battered old sofa - and I remembered sewing it while I watched Charles and Di's wedding! Yes I remembered thinking 'I'd hate to be in your shoes!'; so I know what you mean - I hope Kate is OK and takes it all in her stride.

I hope we're all a little less interested in her - for her sake :-/



I love Topiary...its got such an Alice in Wonderland vibe to it...lovely..!


beautiful gardens Vanessa.. Topiary is so madcap and totally wonderful!

many moons ago i was proposed to by a prince and turned him down because i did not think i could live that kind of life and perhaps too because i did not love him enough, otherwise i might have considered it. it is amazing what measures we go to for love. i think Kate must love William very much indeed.

i hope you had a joyful Easter

wishing you a lovely week xxx



I have a bad reputation when it comes to shrubbery, [husband calls me shrub-killer] but I think that if my shrubs could look that interesting and other-worldly I could get really into them...

The royal wedding is being pushed here in Canada as well, but I think I'll sleep in. I was a bit younger than Diana when she was married and I remember feeling horrified for her, so I hope these two have a better life. I'm sure they will, though!

Chris Crowder

Thanks for the kind words about the garden here at Levens- I've been trimming it for the last twenty five years!

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Hello and welcome!

  • Hello, my name is Vanessa Cabban, and I'm so pleased you've dropped by! I'm an artist and illustrator, working from home. I have two Miniature wire-haired Dachshunds, Ellie and Douglas. I love being part of the blogosphere, reading your comments, and feeling like I'm part of a community. I hope you enjoy reading about my small world.

Books I have illustrated!

  • The Best Gift of All

  • Book and dvd,(narrated by Kevin Whateley), of Bringing Down the Moon

  • There's a House Inside My Mummy

  • The Magic Donkey Ride

  • Down in the Woods at Sleepytime

  • Dear Tooth Fairy

  • Dear Mermaid

  • No Place Like Home

  • Diamond in the Snow

  • Bringing Down the Moon