By Thea Babington-Stitt published
Escape to the Chateau, the mesmerizing documentary series, has been drawing viewers into the lives of Angel and Dick Strawbridge for seven seasons now. In spite of this, there's still so much to discover about life in the Château. Angel spoke to us about her experience discovering the property, the areas not to miss if you ever visit and sweet secrets about her marriage to Dick...
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'We have a beautiful south-facing suite in the old servants’ quarters, which we’ve named the Potagerie Suite because of the most fantastic view it presents of the walled garden below. There’s nowhere else like it in the house. I love the dappled light it gets in the afternoon sun and my husband, Dick, well… he would have bought the château for this view of the walled garden alone!
'We bought the property from the de Baglion family, and they showed us the walled garden when we went for our first viewing. At the time it was so massively overgrown with brambles and weeds that it stood far taller than any of us – some 10 or 15 feet high.'
'The property itself didn’t have heating, electrics, or a sewage system, so the garden wasn’t top of our priority list when we first moved in. But we eventually turned our attention to it and restored its hidden pathways.
'Last summer we were even able to start growing fruits and vegetables in there. Now, there’s a whole row of raspberry and blackberry bushes, and the kids love to sit, straddling the trees, eating the fruit straight from the bush.
'One of my favorite things is when we get a bit of downtime and can just walk around and see how everything is doing. The kids love playing in the mud and watering everything and anything – including us!
'It’s getting back to nature and enjoying old-fashioned ways with the family that make it so special.
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'I love flowers and, for me, having lived in London for many years, flower buying had always been done at Colombia Road Flower Market as late in the day as possible so I could get a bargain!
'Dick never bought me flowers as such, but he has turned a quarter of the walled garden into a cutting garden for me. I have my very own plot of lavender, a big row of wildflowers, loads of eucalyptus, perennials, rose beds and hydrangea beds, and that was Dick’s present to me! So much better than a bunch of flowers.
'Last year I even pressed a load of blossoms from the garden, turning them into a kind of indoor cutting table in the Potagerie Suite.'
Angel’s soft furnishings and wallpaper collection – The Chateau by Angel Strawbridge – is available at Next.
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