The Cotswolds-Everyone’s Dream

WELCOME to the 2014 #AtoZ Blog Challenge

Inspired By My Pinterest Boards:  This Year’s Category is GARDENING


There is something about the Cotswolds in England that call to us. Addicted to English mysteries, I have lost count of those I’ve read set in an English village where the suspects come and go on their bicycles, entertain the Vicar, open Village Fetes, and murder people. In 2000, on a garden tour, I visited a number of famous English gardens in the area and met gardeners whose names will forever be linked with English Gardening. In many ways the experience changed my life.

Burford is a ‘poster child’ for the Cotswold region. I fell in love with this place on that garden tour. Later, I created a fictional world set in a renovated Vicarage garden in Burford. The research and garden references based on Cotswold village life fueled my imagination.  Thatched roofs, the yellow hue of Cotswold stone, and cottage gardening fill our imaginations; we long to inherit a cottage from some lost relative, shop along the high street, grow roses, and have tea each day at four. If you do inherit, try not to be found in the garden, face down, in the herbaceous border.

c6d8b6527ecee6b1fdc4df682319d146Novel – Greening of a Heart is set in the Cotswold Village of Burford. Come and Visit

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
This entry was posted in AtoZ Blog Challenge -April 2014 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to The Cotswolds-Everyone’s Dream

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    The Cotswolds are a wonderful area, and I can recommend Stepheny’s book to fellow readers. My Aunt used to live in one such gorgeous Cotswold stone house with it’s very own walled garden, an adventure playground for a child. She’s moved now to a fantastic renovated old Brewery in a village with a church clock that chimes by the hour day and night, a great place we always look forward to our visits.

    • See, that’s just what I’m talking about. Just reading about your Aunt’s home, and now the renovated Brewery, turned me green. How blessed you are to LIVE these places, not just read about them.

  2. Don’t forget Joanna Trollope, some of her novels are set there I think.

  3. tara tyler says:

    your garden theme is so inviting! loving your pictures, wish i could stroll through them!
    i’m jealous of gardners with gorgeous green thumbs!
    happy c day!

    • Come back to visit when you have time. The posts are garden related with hopefully things you’d like to know. You can be a gardener too. Buy a few pots, fill them with potting soil, plunk some flowers you like in them, remember to water. That’s it.

  4. melissajanda says:

    I’m enjoying these posts. Although I don’t have a green thumb, a garden was an integral setting in my first novel (unpublished). I’m also working on a scene in my current WIP. I was envisioning a a labyrinthian garden setting, but after seeing your post on boxwood knot gardens yesterday it might morph into that. 🙂

    • Oh no, don’t give up on the labyrinthian. The spiritual significance of them has been renewed in these last years. Take a look at (Secrets of the Maze) and (The Art of the Maze) both by Adrian Fisher for an alternative because you still walk them. Small garden labyrinths are popping up all over. You’ll love the research.

      • melissajanda says:

        I think you’ve convinced me to stick with the labyrinth. I like the imagery and symbolism of it (the difficult road the hero must take, but one that will lead to something better). Thanks for the recommendations. I’ll definitely check them out!

  5. English gardens are so beautiful! I loved walking through them when I visited the British Isles many years ago. I’ll be back to look through more photos!

    • Do come back, arm and arm we will stroll through other garden related posts and have a chance to become blogging friends. Besides, if you visit, I won’t have to sit down and get the next chapter of my book written.

  6. I always found it funny that in the film, The Holiday when Cameron Diaz Los Angeles based character is looking for a place in England to do a home exchange, she first finds a house in Cotswold. (that looks like a rambler/ranch house from “the valley”) and rejects it. I think the writers are trying to dissuade more people from moving there!

    Thanks for the great “C”. 🙂

    • Fun movie. I’ve watched it a lot. Hard to resist the romantic notion of it all with the house swap.Couldn’t we all do with a bit of both things. Come back and visit when you can. More garden related ‘stuff.’

      • I have traded homes numerous ties. It is the best way to live in a neighbourhood and really get the feel of a place. Have yet to have Jude Law knock on my door though 😉

  7. jackiewellington21 says:

    Thanks for visiting my page. I am participating in the challenge. I forgot to tag my post and categorize it under the challenge. Sorry for the inconvenience. It is tagged correctly now. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I enjoyed your post. As I read, I could not help being transported back in time when I visited family in England. I have a lot of family who emigrated there from the Caribbean islands. I love the foliage. Also, it put me in mind of the Miss Marple, Poirot, and Lark & Candleford, and Canford shows on PBS. Thanks. for writing this. Great read 😀

    • We could be watching all the same programs together while sipping tea, exchanging stories, and visiting more gardening related posts. I am working my my through Miss Marple again on Roku. Come back, I’ll meet you at the garden gate.

      • jackiewellington21 says:

        Thanks Stepheny 😀 I have seen all of them including the two that they remade with different actresses playing Ms. Marple. The two shows they played in was one plot line but two shows. It was the girl who married and moved to a house in England. The walls were covered with paint but under it was flowered wallpaper. She was living in the house as a child and found out that her father did not kill her mother. That episode was intense. But I check out the series twice a year from the library and have a mystery week…love it. 😀

      • jackiewellington21 says:

        Is Roku a free site?

      • Roku is the devise you buy to plug into your TV for streaming. It seems one of the better priced ones. I pay a fee to Netflick to stream and that’s where I watch both series of Miss Marple.

  8. Oh, the Cotswolds. My family and I visited last June and had such a lovely time. We stayed a bit farther south, at a self-catering holiday cottage on a sheep farm in Newnham-on-Severn. I’d studied abroad in Cheltenham as an undergrad and had so much fun showing the family around my old haunts. It’s the more commercial of the Cotswolds towns–shopping galore.

    Your lovely pictures do this Anglophile good! Thanks again for visiting me during the A-Z. I’ll be back!

    • Come back and visit if you can…. for further England related stuff. Your experience in and around Cheltenham, wish I could hear more about it. Maybe I could fur it into another novel, not in Burford, but this time in YOUR village.

  9. In my few jaunts to UK I have never gotten there. Oh the name breathes old and mysterious. Such fun to meet interesting folks on the A to Z challenge.
    Happy gardening

  10. LadyJai says:

    I miss England so much. Their thatched cottages, their locks and canals, and their beautiful gardens….such history! I love the place. Thanks for sharing!

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z Challenge
    Caring for My Veteran

  11. jny_jeanpretty says:

    I have a dear friend who lives in the Cotswolds and I really love her. She is a writer! What a stunning place to live! jean

    • Hope you can save your pennies and go and VISIT. If, by any chance, she lives in Burford, wish you would tell her about the novel I’ve written that is set there. Come back when you can to see some other England related topics during the month.

  12. Donna says:

    I’ve lived in quite a few countries, each with their own beauty but I will forever maintain there’s nowhere quite as lovely as (some parts of ) Britain on a summers day. Bit’s of the Cotswolds are like little parts of England that time forgot.

    • Having visited the Cotswolds on a garden tour, I too fell in love with the villages. That’s why I set my novel in BUrford. Wonder if you were there? The charm and nostalgia of the region is powerful. Reading English mysteries, mostly cozy, helps fill my cup. If you have time, come back and visit with me other posts this month on English places and people.

  13. Kristen says:

    That is so beautiful, and you chose the best photos. Just gorgeous!

    Random Musings from the KristenHead — C is for ‘Copper’ and Cats (and More Cats)

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