End of Month View – August 2017

I started doing an End of Month View in August 2016 having seen Helen Johnstone’s blog,  The Patient Gardener, on my reader. In August 2009 she invited bloggers to join her End of the Month View by adding a comment and link to their End of Month View.

This simple idea has certainly caught on with many bloggers contributing to a global End of Month View community each month. Recently demands on Helen’s time have meant she is reluctantly giving up her hosting of the End of Month View.

The idea is too good to let it disappear and I have offered to pick up the mantle of hosting the End of Month View. I am sure you will all join me in thanking Helen for hosting this over the last 8 years and wish her the very best for the future.

In the meantime please add your comments to my blog together with a link to your End of Month View. Also please add a link back to here at the end of your blog so that other readers can find their way to all the contributors to the End of Month View.
Thank you.

Glebe House Garden – End of the Month View – August 2017

The weather this August has very variable with lots of rain and grey overcast skies. Temperatures have ranged from very cool, cool enough to actually switch on the heating in our house, to record breaking temperatures at the end of the month. As always the best growing plants have been the weeds and the borders need to be patrolled frequently for specimen weeds which can suddenly appear!17_08_25_6898This is the view I often centre on in my EoMV, looking across our main lawn to the old kitchen garden wall.17_08_25_6899The same walls and border looking diagonally across the lawn. 17_08_27_6913 And looking along the other diagonal. Originally the kitchen garden wall extended across the lawn to form a kitchen garden enclosed on three sides and open on the fourth where there was probably a hedge. 17_08_25_6889The late summer border is starting to look very full with many of the herbaceous plants growing very tall and needing plenty of staking to prevent them falling across other smaller plants.17_08_25_6906At the corner of this bed is one of those lucky combinations of colour with the soft pink of Geranium sanguineum striatum, the dark red of Osteospermum ‘Tresco Purple’ and the red of Salvia ‘Cerro Potosi’. The white/pink osteospermum is a very hardy osteospermum my mother gave me but as we do not know the variety and so we call it Nancy’s osteospermum after my mother!17_08_27_6917The tall plant is Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’. This was only planted in April this year and has certainly grown well. However, “the jury is still out” on whether it stays. Yes the flowers are there but many are covered with the green leaves. Maybe the flowers will be more prominent later in September. We will have to wait to see.17_08_27_6918The star of the border continues to be Ricinus communis ‘Impala’ 17_08_27_6920The leaves of which are absolutely fantastic. These are grown from seed and as such are only a few pence each.

To the right of this corner before the pond are a couple of blue flowered plants. Clematis ‘Wyevale’ at the back and Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ towards the front and in the detail picture (with a red salvia photo bombing!). Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ has been relatively hardy although I do take cuttings each year.17_08_25_6904Coreopsis ‘Redshift’ a new plant this year at the front of the corner bed. Lots of flowers but seems to flop very easily.17_08_28_6923I found this caterpillar making great speed across the lawn. It was about 3 inches long with two pairs of false eyes and a small horn on its tail. At first I was fooled and thought it was a snake! A bit of research identified it as probably an elephant hawk moth caterpillar.17_08_27_6921The other corner of the wall has a green oak pergola to provide a seating area and some shade. The rose growing up the pergola is Rosa ‘Blush Noisette’

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Rosa ‘Blush Noisette’ 

The pergola has a number of grape vines that grow across the top to provide the shade. Grape vines grow at a rapid rate and in the summer some pruning of the new growth is require to achieve a dappled shade and also to encourage bunches of grapes to form.17_08_25_6895This year I could only prune half the vines back as a pigeon had decided to make a nest in the vine. 17_08_28_6925This week two chicks hatched out and are doing well but the vine remains un-pruned.

At this time of year the border to the left of the pergola contains mostly dahlias; Bishop of Llandaff and Bishop of Auckland. Although our dahlias started slowly the weather through August has given them all a real spurt of growth with Bishop of Llandaff  up to five feet high.17_08_25_6896Looking back from the pergola to the corner bed.17_08_25_6893

You can just see a rose on either side of the pond. These were planted this year and are Rosa Pink Gruss an Aachen, a small rose plant that seems to like the location.

To the right of the pergola the outstanding plant is Salvia involocruta bethellii. This has proved to be very hardy. We cut it down to the ground each year but it produces huge plants with many flowers.17_08_25_6900The end of the wall on the right has a very sad looking Cotinus ‘Nottcutts Variety’. Normally it has very attractive dark coloured foliage but this year it seems to be dying! The foliage has gone dry and brown and is spreading through the shrub. Looks like this will be coming out soon.

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning
August 19th
Total 2017 to-date Average per week
32 703 21

A busy week in the garden, cutting out some of the “autumn” in the border, a lot of hedging and of course weeding.

All are welcome to join in with the End of Month View community. You can use it how you like all I ask is that you add a link to your post in the comment box below and if possible it would be great if you could link to this post from your post.

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Some stars in the August border

It is mid August already and the garden and weather is beginning to feel more like Autumn. July gave us some really nice summer weather but this August has been poor so far. We have had more than half the normal rainfall in the first two weeks and it seems that the jet stream is in the wrong place such that even when high pressure is in control the air is very humid and the sky is overcast. Never the less most plants are performing and here is a selection from the garden in August.17_08_19_6842Rudbeckia ‘Herbstone’ grows to almost two metres at the back of the border but does need staking to stop it falling on other plants.

Butterflies have been plentiful in the garden this year.  Here on a variety of plants. We do have a Butterfly bush Buddleja davidii which of course gets covered with butterflies too.17_08_06_6815This circular bed (stone edged bed on the garden map) was newly planted in 2016 and one of the things I was trying to achieve was a succession of plants forming a snake through the centre. Here Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ is achieving the snake with the leaves of Brunnera ‘Mr. Morse’ also snaking through.17_08_10_6823Rudbeckia fulgida sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ should always have a place in the August border.17_08_19_6839At first this looked like a new plant formed when a Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ decided to climb up a Foeniculum vulgare ‘purpureum’17_08_10_6824I always grow some Ricinus communis ‘Impala’ from seed each year starting them off in the greenhouse and planting out when the dahlias go in. The leaves are fantastic architectural additions to any border but note that they  donot overwinter here. 17_08_19_6837There are many different Dahlias in our garden This is one of my favorites, Dahlia ‘Bishop of Aukland’.17_08_10_6826This is Phlox paniculata Uspekh a plant I saw on a garden visit and just had to have for its strong colours.17_08_10_6830Colour combinations are important in the garden. Often it is the plants themselves which seem to combine in good ways. Here we have Achillea ‘Credo’ with Salvia greggii ‘Emperor’, as close to complementary colours as you can get.17_08_19_6836Here Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ is absolutely stunning but look closely a Cerastostigma willmottianum ‘Forest Blue’ has got into the picture. Complementary colours again!

Hemerocallis ‘Lemon Bells’ has been a real success this year and has been flowering now for around 10 weeks.17_08_10_6832And other day lilies have also done well, here is Hemerocallis ‘Stafford’.17_08_19_6841A shrubby clematis, Clematis ‘Wyevale’, comes back every year and has a long flowering period.17_08_10_6831Cone flowers, Echinacea purpurea,  are loved by insects and look fantastic in the garden.

There is a huge range of salvias on the market. Recently I have been adding a couple each year. Here is Salvia x jamensis ‘Sierra san Antonio’ and Salvia microphylla ‘Icing Sugar’17_08_19_6848 Osteospermums have a long flowing period and look great. This is Osteospermum ‘Tresco Purple’ which is hardy in some places but so far not here so I take cuttings every year.17_08_19_6844Sowed a bit late but this Rudbeckia came from a packet of seed described as Rustic Dwarfs Mixed and has produced some stars. I will try getting Rudbeckia plants from seed every year now.17_08_19_6847Another plant from seed is Cosmos, this is Cosmos versailles tera and produces some very strongly coloured flowers.17_08_19_6851This is new to me, Maurandya ‘Magic Dragon’. Sue Turner at “from sewing room to potting shed” very kindly sent me some seed last year. 17_08_19_6850Another climber, Clematis ‘Jackmanii’, has been doing great things although this year has not produced the best from clematis which I suspect was due to lack of rain through the spring.17_08_19_6852Last but not least, Anemone ‘Honorine Joubert’, a great plant not least because it copes with shade well.

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning
August 12th
Total 2017 to-date Average per week
10 671 20

Spetchley Park Gardens

When you have had an interest in gardens all your life it comes as a surprise when you discover a little gem of a garden that you did not know. This happened on a trip arranged by the Leicestershire & Rutland Gardens Trust to Spetchley Park Gardens near Worcester.

Spetchley is a beautiful historic garden, surrounded by ancient parkland, deer park and lakes and is set in the wonderful Worcestershire countryside with far reaching views to the Malvern Hills.17_07_13_6716

A short history taken from displays in the information centre.

The Spetchley Estate was purchased in1606 by Rowland Berkeley, a wealthy wool merchant and banker, and has been in the family ever since.

In 1625 his son, Robert Berkeley, was granted a licence to impark (to enclose) by Charles I creating the Deer Park that we see today and carrying out an extensive campaign of planting and enclosure. Robert was a chief justice and was knighted by the King. By a sad accident his house was burnt down in 1651 by Scottish Covenanters staying there who also supported the King. Sir Robert lost a great deal of money through supporting the Monarchy and rather than rebuilding the house, converted the outbuildings which became the family home for the next 170 years.

However with the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, Robert (grandson of Sir Robert to whom he left the estate) may have received compensation, and from 1673 when he became of age he embarked on a new campaign of tree planting advised by his friend the famous diarist and silviculturist John Evelyn

When another Robert Berkeley (1764-1845) inherited the estate in 1804 he embarked on the next major phase of alterations at Spetchley. 17_07_13_6717The new house, designed by John Tasker, was begun in 1811 with gardens and parks in the ‘romantic’ style of the time creating long vistas over the lake and sweeping lawns grazed by deer.17_07_13_6718

J. P. Neale 1822, in his book Views of Seats of noblemen and gentlemen, in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, wrote “The extensive grounds of this ancient place were crowded with timber, walls, and fences; judgement, skill, and taste, were absolutely necessary to give the whole a new appearance; and in this the present owner has succeeded with admirable effect… the eye now glides over the undulating green…”

17_07_13_6729The grounds were enlarged and improved for a third time from about 1897 by the celebrated gardener Ellen Willmott and her sister Rose. Robert Valentine Berkeley married Rose in 1891 and, together with her sister, she transformed the planting in the gardens with long borders densely packed with plants.

In 1925 Spetchley became one of the first gardens in the country to open its gates to visitors under the National Garden Scheme.

The garden

The gardens are having another improvement with the Spetchley Revival Project, a long term project designed to invest in securing the gardens for future generations to enjoy. Much of this has already happened.

Of particular interest is the complete dredging of the lake (garden pool on the map) which resulted in huge quantities of silt being removed, the banks reinforced and the puddling maintained. The lake is centre stage for many of the views from the grounds.17_07_13_6741

We had a guided tour around the garden with the head gardener. I think to get the most from this garden such a tour is essential as much of the interest is in the history. There are many trees of interest in the gardens that were planted by the family over the last 350 years with new specimen trees still being planted.17_07_13_6724This is a cork oak, Quercus suber, the primary source of cork for wine bottle stoppers and other uses, such as cork flooring and as the cores of cricket balls and an unusual tree in England.

Spetchley was earmarked as the headquarters for Churchill and his war cabinet during WWII however he decided to stay in London and so it became a recuperation home for the 9th USAAF.  On Churchill’s death 12 acorns that he had collected from his favourite oak at Blenheim were distributed to places that had a connection with Churchill. One came to Spetchley and the oak is growing on the Long Walk opposite the Cedar.

17_07_13_6722The bridge over the canal from the garden pool with the new rose garden in the background.

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The rose garden

Ellen Willmott, the renowned horticulturalist and plants woman, was instrumental in helping her sister, Rose Berkeley, design and plant the garden and so, heavily influencing the existing planting structures. She was the first lady recipient of the RHS’s Victorian Medal of Honour. This is the Miss Willmot of Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Willmott’s ghost’

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‘Miss Willmott’sghost’ in Glebe House Garden

It is said she would always have some seed in her pocket so that when she visited other gardens she could scatter some in their borders , hence Miss Willmott’s ghost!

Ellen Willmott was also instrumental in the creation of the large herbaceous borders.17_07_13_672817_07_13_6708

Every garden needs at least one,17_07_13_6712and at Spetchley there is a very fine example, with room for two, located in a old brick built building in the garden.

Sculpture has been introduced into the garden creating many interesting focal points.

17_07_13_6732A corner of the walled garden now devoted to flowers.

Old melon and grape houses.

17_07_13_6737Some exotic planting in the melon yard.

Edward Elgar was a friend of the family, often staying and enjoying some fishing in the garden lake. He was so inspired by the garden that he penned part of his masterpiece, the Dream of Gerontius, whilst staying here.

17_07_13_6743No important house in England would be without a chapel and Spetchley is no exception with some very fine memorials to the Berkeley family in the nave.

Some areas have been redesigned in recent years. Of particular interest here is the creation of a covered walk way using Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’. This is probably unique and according to the head gardener is quite a challenge to keep looking good.

When to visit

The displays of spring bulbs in April and May, including drifts of Narcissi ‘Spetchley’, are some of the best in England and are complemented by a springtime shrub garden containing rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias and azaleas and include one of the largest private collections of peonies in the Country. I shall certainly revisit the gardens at this time.

In June there is a large selection of roses, whilst July, August and September reveal the great herbaceous borders in all their glory.

Do not expect manicured borders but do expect much variety in the planting.

Glebe House Garden

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning July 29th Total 2017 to-date Average per week
27 636 21