From Gardens Where We Feel Secure

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From Gardens Where We Feel Secure
Studio album by
Released29 July 1983 (1983-07-29)
RecordedApril – June 1982
Virginia Astley chronology
From Gardens Where We Feel Secure
Promise Nothing

From Gardens Where We Feel Secure is the debut album by English musician Virginia Astley, issued on 29 July 1983 on her own label Happy Valley Records and distributed by Rough Trade Records.[2]

The album is an instrumental collection of tone poems that describe the cycle and mirror the moods of an "indolent" summer day.[3] It is notable for its structure, moving from dawn to dusk, and its use of natural sound effects, over which co-producer Russell Webb recorded Astley's improvised playing.

From Gardens Where We Feel Secure peaked at number four on the UK Independent Albums chart. Prior to the album's release, two of its tracks, "A Summer Long Since Past" and "It's Too Hot to Sleep", were issued on the 12" edition of Astley's single "Love's a Lonely Place to Be".[4]

Astley later re-recorded "A Summer Long Since Past" for her 1986 album Hope in a Darkened Heart.[5] From Gardens Where We Feel Secure was remastered and reissued by Happy Valley and Rough Trade as a CD in 2003.[6]

An alternate cover shows a photograph of Cowleaze Wood covered in bluebells, a 70-acre woodland in the Chiltern Hills, England.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores

Stewart Mason, writing for AllMusic, stated:

Almost entirely instrumental, save for a few wordless vocals on "A Summer Long Since Past," and featuring little instrumentation besides Astley's piano and some subtle woodwinds, the album is a lovely 35-minute meditation built around field recordings Astley made of the ambient sounds of the rural English countryside. This description makes the album sound much more twee and insubstantial than it actually is; however, Astley is no mere ambient noodler. These nine songs are melodically rich and varied; mood pieces in the truest sense of the term.[3]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Virginia Astley.

Side one ("Morning")

  1. "With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming" – 5:43
  2. "A Summer Long Since Past" – 4:36
  3. "From Gardens Where We Feel Secure" – 3:59
  4. "Hiding in the Ha-Ha" – 3:55

Side two ("Afternoon")

  1. "Out on the Lawn I Lie in Bed" – 5:09
  2. "Too Bright for Peacocks" – 2:29
  3. "Summer of Their Dreams" – 3:21
  4. "When the Fields Were on Fire" – 3:25
  5. "It's Too Hot to Sleep" – 5:18


Chart (1983) Peak
UK Independent Albums (MRIB)[9] 4


  1. ^ Pitchfork Staff (10 September 2018). "The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. Retrieved 24 April 2023. ...Virginia Astley's deeply beautiful In the Gardens Where We Feel Secure, an inimitable album of ambient music.
  2. ^ "From Gardens Where We Feel Secure". Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Mason, Stewart. "From Gardens Where We Feel Secure – Virginia Astley". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Love's A Lonely Place To Be". Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Hope In A Darkened Heart". Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  6. ^ "From Gardens Where We Feel Secure". Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  7. ^ Reynolds, Simon (10 January 2021). "Virginia Astley: From Gardens Where We Feel Secure". Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Virginia Astley – From Gardens Where We Feel Secure". Uncut. No. 79. December 2003. Archived from the original on 28 October 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  9. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). "Virginia Astley". Indie Hits 1980–1989: The Complete U.K. Independent Charts (Singles & Albums). Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-95172-069-4. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2014.