Two Suffolk gardens

Recently we had a short holiday in Suffolk which enabled us to visit two gardens that we had not visited before. In some ways September is not an ideal time for visiting gardens as the summer season is largely over and winter gardens are not yet in their element. However the good news is that it does mean the gardens are not so crowded.

Anglesey Abbey Gardens

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Anglesey Abbey is a  Jacobean-style house with gardens and a working watermill. The original priory was build around 1100 by a community of Augustinian canons. The canons were expelled in 1535 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and in 1600 the priory was converted to a private house.  In 1926, Anglesey Abbey was bought by an American, Huttleston Broughton, later Lord Fairhaven, and his brother Henry. The 1st Lord Fairhaven fully restored the house which had fallen into disrepair and began to collect beautiful furniture, artworks and statuary.map

One of the great achievements of the 1st Lord Fairhaven was the establishment of the garden at the house. Wanting to inspire and surprise visitors, he created a spectacular garden (114 acres) with planting for all seasons and a cosy house in which to entertain. Life revolved around horse racing and shooting, and guests enjoyed 1930s luxury.

In 1964 Lanning Roper wrote a book entitled “The Gardens of Anglesey Abbey”, in which he described the careful planning of this remarkable garden with its many vistas, avenues, rare and common trees, pools, statues and river temples. 17_09_10_7045He describes the way in which huge areas of sky and mown grass were used to balance symmetrical planting and how Lord Fairhaven used the trees and shrubs to make groups of contrasting colour and foliage. Much of the original planting exists today.

In many ways the designs in the garden relate to the 18th century landscapes of avenues and rides dividing the landscape and these can be seen in the above schematic map.

17_09_10_7015One of the most popular features of the garden is the “winter garden” with textures and colours that are striking in the winter.17_09_10_701617_09_10_701917_09_10_701417_09_10_7018The “winter garden” lies along the serpentine path to the right of the map.17_09_10_7022We were lucky to get the cyclamens at their best, extensively planted under the trees.

The dahlia garden is an area devoted to dahlias. Regrettably there was only limited labeling of the plants. 17_09_10_7026The main herbaceous border consists of a  large semi circular lawn surrounded by borders. Not looking too bad this late in the season.17_09_10_7024A nice solution to naming with planting plans and names for each part of the border.17_09_10_7040A part of a large rose garden with many plants still flowering well.17_09_10_7042The avenues of trees were spectacular with suitable sculptures at key points.

In the inter war years many of England’s great country houses were in dire economic state, and were forced to sell some or all of their collections including sculpture. In Lord Fairhaven they found a rich and eager buyer and he amassed a large collection of garden sculpture.17_09_10_704317_09_10_7044The house and gardens are now maintained by the National Trust and more information and visiting times can be found here.

Helmingham Hall Gardens

HelminghamAt first glance Helmingham Hall looks like something out of a Disney movie. One of the most beautiful country estates in England, Helmingham Hall is the much-loved home of the Tollemache family for the past 800 years. 17_09_13_7073The moated hall can trace its origin back to 1480.
17_09_13_7074The 400 acres of parkland is home to venerable oak trees and herds of both Red and Fallow deer.map (1)One of the obvious interesting features is that there is a moat around the walled garden as well as the house. It is thought that the gardens are of Saxon origin designed to protect stock from marauders but over the centuries has developed into one of the finest gardens in England and is Grade 1 Listed.17_09_13_7092The classic parterre flanked by hybrid musk roses lies between the house and the kitchen garden. 17_09_13_7093

The kitchen garden now include many herbaceous borders with two significant borders that divide the kitchen garden into quadrants.

In addition there are other paths which cut across the kitchen gardens. Here they have used sunflowers, runner beans and gourds to line these paths.. 17_09_13_7087Adjacent to the walls within the kitchen garden are a number of trial beds with boards giving plant details. Also some fantastic yew buttresses between these beds.17_09_13_7079As well as the planting within the kitchen garden the wall is planted on the outside with flower borders and fruit trees.17_09_13_7090And inside some step over apples with far too many apples!17_09_13_7096The kitchen garden across the moat which surrounds it.17_09_13_7094A classic view across open parkland with trees that have been “pruned” by animals eating the lower branches to a common height.17_09_13_7099On the other side of the house is a knot garden.17_09_13_7102Looking back to the house from the knot garden. More information on Helmingham Hall Gardens

Glebe House Garden

A combination of holidays, weddings, producing a charity event and rain have resulted in little activity in the garden. There is much to do so I hope the rest of September developed into an Indian Summer. I cannot believe that the end of this week is time for another EoMV.

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning September 16th Total 2017 to-date Average per week
4 777 20

 

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Planning for the future – a design challenge II

In November I discussed a design challenge in our garden. This is an update prior to contractors arriving to lay down the hard landscaping. 6-mock-upThe design challenge was to create a plan for the area of garden behind the wall which had been used as a general dumping area. Things have moved on and we now have a plan for the paths which were to follow the diagonal lines above.LayoutThe bricks will be laid in the form of a “knot”although we do need to think through how the corners work. There are two options, the right end or the left but this is probably best done when we have the bricks on site and have measured out the overall shapes.

The bricks took some time to identify. They needed to be suitable for paths but also not to look  wrong next to the old wall which was built in 1704. The bricks we have chosen are Old English clay pavers from Chelmer Valley.old-english-5This picture shows them when they have been laid flat. However, we have decided to lay them on their edge. This has the advantage of better matching the bricks in the wall and it makes it easier to haunch them without the mortar showing along their edges.Cotswold-Blend-on-edgeTo give an idea of how they will look these pavers (slightly different from the ones we have chosen) have been laid on their edge, so our paths will be similar to the diagonal run of bricks.

Between the paths will be gravel; up to a metal edge along the edge of the lawn, up to the wall and around the trees themselves.

Picture5To achieve a unified design the gaps through the yew hedge and by the fruit cage will have have the same pavers laid in a similar way. These changes will give a very strongly defined lawn area which will be a precise rectangle and be symmetrical around the opening in the far yew hedge. This will also make lawn maintenance easier.

Lastly we shall have the same pavers laid along the edge of the small lawn which is up a step from the new design area. Picture3This small lawn is adjacent to the large pond area  which is surrounded by similar pavers bringing a continuity to the design.17_04_25_5378

6-mock-upWe have also decided on the trees. These will be Sorbus ‘Autumn Spire‘ – narrow, upright small trees with excellent autumn colour once established. The final choice of tree was determined by the site which only gets limited sunshine and the need for a tree that would not undermine the wall. Many thanks to people who suggested alternatives.

Until now the area has been a dumping ground!

but during the last few weeks I have been sorting out the good stuff from the rubbish and has amassed many river cobbles and granite sets that I am sure I will find uses for elsewhere in the garden. (I just need to find somewhere to store them now)

The contractors should arrive on September 19th so there should be another blog later in the year to show the result. We have wanted to do something here for at least 15 years so at long last something is happening. This is the last significant are of our garden to be developed.

17_09_07_6941And if you were wondering how the pigeons were doing here they are! They have just about doubled in just over a week and really the nest is hardly big enough for both of them.

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning
September 2nd
Total 2017 to-date Average per week
33 771 21