The real “Garden of Rooms”

I have already posted about the amazing ‘garden of rooms’ in Herefordshire that inspired The Secret of the Tirthas here. Now there are two more books out, I thought I’d share a few more photos of the garden, including some of the rooms that feature in those books.

22_DSC0010ABOVE: The Wedding Cake Tree in the real Miss Day’s Garden. I’ve no idea who the real Miss Day was though – there’s no clues on the Garden’s original map, so she remains a mystery. In The Book of Life this garden is overgrown, abandoned by Evelyn Hartley when her cowardly brother fled the World War One draft through the tirtha to Louisiana.

P1010172ABOVE: The view that inspired the scene when Lizzie looks out of her bedroom window on her first night in Rowan Cottage and sees the criss-crossing hedges in the moonlight. The garden right below her is the Sun Garden.

P1010078ABOVE: Two South American gods who haven’t (as yet) featured in the stories. And BELOW a photo of them as they are now in a different garden – always pretty glum, but now somehow glummer!


BELOW: The Rill looking up towards The Tower – this place is going to get a lot more important later on.


BELOW: Excerpt from the original list of the Garden Rooms. The Edwardian Path features at the start of the forthcoming book, The Lady in the Moon Moth Mask. The Gothic Garden will come into its own soon, too.


BELOW: The plan of the whole garden is on the first post I mentioned above, but here’s a detail of the Sun Garden and area beyond. It includes the Gothic Garden, and the site where I imagined the Indian Garden.


BELOW: As I wrote in my previous post, the garden has sadly now been mostly grubbed up. Here’s one of the rescued Easter Island heads (the middle one, I think, that Lizzie jumped on to on her way to activating the tirtha…)


BELOW: Some of the garden’s lovely flowers and trees





P1010060And finally me, working on the first draft of The City of Light in the garden.



8 thoughts on “The real “Garden of Rooms”

  1. Pauline Reid

    Wow, I am just intrigued by it all, Steve. No wonder it gave you inspiration to write a book. Thank you for leading me to this link, it was a pleasure looking at all the photos and “behind the scenes” of books I’m yet to read.

    1. Steve Griffin Post author

      Yes, that garden was one of the most magical places I’ve ever known. All those fantastic statues and sculptures – it didn’t take long before I started thinking about how they could be hidden portals connecting sacred places all over the planet. Thanks for reading, Pauline!

  2. Lance Hattatt

    I am so glad that you found the garden of interest. It was, in fact, designed and made by me over a period of some twenty years before selling the property in 2004. The new owners made a number of alterations, understandably so but perhaps detrimental to the original concept, before selling it on to purchasers who destroyed it in its entirety. Miss Day was, and is, a gardening friend who visited often.

    1. Steve Griffin Post author

      Thank you for solving the long-term mystery of Miss Day for me! I loved your garden design and found the names of the rooms evocative – so much so, they inspired a children’s book series (and a very different interpretation of Miss Day!) My wife’s parents were owners for a while so we went to stay there a few times. We did visit the area again last year, so saw the devastation wreaked by the last owner. Terribly sad.

  3. Lance Hattatt

    It is rather good that the garden lives on through the medium of a children’s book and that the character and nature of Miss Day may have been changed to fit the story matters not at all.

    It is perhaps a salutary lesson that the garden as we knew it, in my time and that of your parents-in-law, is no more. I have never been back.

    Warmest wishes from an exceedingly hot Budapest.

    1. Steve Griffin Post author

      Yes, revisiting was sad enough for my wife and I, so I imagine it would be very hard for you. As you imply, it’s best to move on and keep good memories intact. Hopefully, my books will preserve something of that magical place in people’s imaginations. Similarly warm wishes, from a cooler and stormier Surrey Hills.

  4. Lance Hattatt

    Yes, the past is indeed “another country” but both my wife and I will always look back on the years spent in Herefordshire with fondness.

    I wonder if you would be kind enough to let me have details of your book(s), based upon the garden, in the way of title(s), ISBN, publisher, etc. I should then be able to order them through an English bookshop we use here in Budapest.

    Am I right in assuming that your parents-in-law are the Martins to whom we sold? If I recall correctly, David(?) worked as an air traffic controller at Heathrow.

    The intense heat here continues unabated. I envy you the cooler, stormy Surrey hills!!


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