'Stop here whenever you are weary, / And rest as in a sanctuary!'

Lines from 'To a Butterfly' by William Wordsworth

Wordsworth Grasmere

View of the back of Dove Cottage (2018-09-26) by Wordsworth GrasmereWordsworth Grasmere

The Garden-Orchard at Dove Cottage

For William and Dorothy Wordsworth, the Garden-Orchard at Dove Cottage offered a place to rest and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. 

We sowed the Scarlet Beans', extract from Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere Journal (19th Century) by Dorothy WordsworthWordsworth Grasmere

Dorothy's Grasmere journal

Dorothy often wrote of peaceful time spent in the Garden-Orchard, as seen in the journal extract pictured here. 

On Saturday 8 May 1802, she wrote: 'We sowed the Scarlet Beans in the orchard I read Henry 5th there—William lay on his back on the seat.'

Grasmere was very solemn', extract from Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere Journal (19th Century) by Dorothy WordsworthWordsworth Grasmere

Dorothy's Grasmere journal, Saturday 17 May 1800

'Incessant rain from morning till night. T. Ashburner brought us coals. Worked hard & Read Midsummer night's dream, Ballads - sauntered a little in the garden. The Skobby sate quietly in its nest rocked by the winds & beaten by the rain.'

A sunshiny but coldish morning', extract from Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere Journal (19th Century) by Dorothy WordsworthWordsworth Grasmere

Dorothy's Grasmere journal, Wednesday 12 May 1802

'I pulled a branch of the taller celandine. Butterflies of all colours - I often see some small ones of a pale purple lilac or Emperor's eye colour something of the colour of that large geranium which grows by the lake side. Wm observed the beauty of Geordy Green's house. We see it from our orchard. Wm pulled ivy with beautiful berries - I put it over the chimney piece - sate in the orchard the hour before dinner, coldish . . .'

I sate out of doors', extract from Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere Journal (19th Century) by Dorothy WordsworthWordsworth Grasmere

Dorothy's Grasmere journal, Thursday 5 June 1800

'the little birds busy making love & pecking the blossoms & bits of moss off the trees, they flutter about & about & thrid the trees as I lie under them.'  

View from the top of Dove Cottage Garden (2017-12-21) by Wordsworth GrasmereWordsworth Grasmere

View from the top of the Garden-Orchard

A modern view of the Grasmere landscape from the top of the Garden-Orchard. In the Wordsworths' time, there were fewer buildings and trees so more of the valley could be seen (Geordy Green's house is no longer visible).

View towards Easedale Valley, from Dove Cottage Garden (2018-09-26) by Wordsworth GrasmereWordsworth Grasmere

In a letter to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written just a few days after moving to Dove Cottage in December 1799, William wrote: 'The spot commands a view over the roof of our house, of the lake, the church, helm cragg, and two thirds of the vale.'

Bluebells in Dove Cottage Garden (2018-05-15) by Wordsworth GrasmereWordsworth Grasmere

In the same letter, William wrote: 'in imagination [Dorothy] has already built a seat with a summer shed on the highest platform in this our little domestic slip of mountain.'  

A couple of years later, they did just that (the seat shown here is a 20th century reconstruction). 

Dove Cottage Garden (2018-05-31) by Wordsworth GrasmereWordsworth Grasmere

'We have put the finishing stroke to our Bower', extract from Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere journal
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Dorothy's Grasmere journal, Thursday 6 May 1802

‘A sweet morning we have put the finishing stroke to our Bower & here we are sitting in the orchard. It is one o clock. We are sitting upon a seat under the wall which I found my Brother Building up when I came to him with his apple—he had intended that it should have been done before I came. It is a nice cool shady spot. The small Birds are singing—Lambs bleating, Cuckow calling—The Thrush sings by Fits, Thomas Ashburner's axe is going quietly (without passion) in the orchard—’

Wild roses at Dove Cottage by Wordsworth GrasmereWordsworth Grasmere

'Hens are cackling', Extract from Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere Journal
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6 May 1802 Continued...

—Hens are cackling, Flies humming, the women talking together at their doors—Plumb & pear trees are in Blossom, apple trees greenish—the opposite woods green, the crows are cawing. We have heard Ravens. The Ash Trees are in blossom, Birds flying all about us. The stitchwort is coming out, there is one budding Lychnis. The primroses are passing their prime. Celandine violets & wood sorrel for ever more—little geranium & pansies on the wall.’

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