Ashwood Hellebore Nursery

18_02_15_8485There have not been many perfect sunny days so far in 2018 and I was lucky to be part of a private visit to Ashwood Hellebore Nursery with the Leicestershire & Rutland Gardens Trust on an exceptionally sunny day.18_02_15_8486This was the first time I had visited the nursery and I have to say the stock looked very healthy and was extensive.

The guided “Hellebore Tour” gave us a fascinating insight into the history of Ashwood Hybrid Hellebores. 18_02_15_8489Part of the propagation shed full of hellbore stock.18_02_15_8491Our guide explaining the process of pollination and selection. I had heard that they were trying to develop hellebores which held their heads up. However, this is no longer the case as they found that, with the open flower upwards, they suffered from the rain etc. They now concentrate on flowers whose backs have more interest as it is the backs that are most viable from above.

never the less the stock plants clearly demonstrated why their hellebores are world famous.

18_02_15_8507As well as the hellebores, the private visit included a tour around “John’s Garden”. John’s Garden is the private garden of John Massey, owner of Aswood Nurseries. It is situated behind the nursery in a canal-side setting, in the lovely open countryside of South Staffordshire. The garden has been developed since 1998.18_02_15_8503We were lucky to have John taking us around. He is an encyclopedia of plant knowledge and a great guide which made that garden come alive. He explained about transparency pruning and the importance of respecting a tree’s natural shape and form. The garden has a lot of shrubs that have been pruned in this way and I am sure any gardener would find this interesting.18_02_15_8505

Throughout the garden there are some great examples of sculpture. The canal can be seen towards the back of some of these pictures.18_02_15_851318_02_15_8512Looking both ways along the pond.

As you would expect there are many interesting plants. The garden worked exceptionally well as a winter garden but from the photos of the garden at other times it would certainly be worth a visit on one of the open days.

 

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End of the Month View – January 2018

Its the end of January and for one reason and another I have hardly done any gardening this year. We were away for five weeks travelling in Laos in December which was great but while we were away lots of little admin jobs seem to stack up waiting to be done. I will do some travel blogs on Laos shortly now that I have got the list of jobs done.

Before we went away we had a concentrated tidy up of the garden. Thank goodness we did as the weather has not been great since we got back with snow, frosts and rain and even more rain! As a result there are lots of gardening jobs waiting to be done and February is going to be very busy!18_01_29_8456This was one of the rare bits of sunshine looking across the garden and I will be honest in this photo it looks almost identical to the November EoMV18_01_29_8458But looking a little closer we can see many alliums and tulips already making considerable growth.18_01_29_8459Similarly in this bed but it also highlights the climbing roses that will need to be tamed in February. (I know it is a bit late but I am sure they will survive.)18_01_29_8457Elsewhere spring bulbs are starting to put on a show. This bed is largely snowdrops and aconites.  18_01_29_8464Here the snowdrops and aconites mingle with some really beautiful Cyclamens (variety not known) and an Iris Histrioides Katherine Hodgkin. This really is the essence of spring.18_01_29_8461This bed is more designed with Yew balls under planted with Hakonechloa macra. In spring clumps of snowdrops come up to extend the interest in the bed.18_01_29_8462Aconites and Iris Reticualata bring real colour to the spring beds.18_01_29_8463As I said we have had some very hard frosts, -7 c at times and the Euphorbia ‘Mellifera’, a plant that has marginal hardiness in this area has not enjoyed the cold. I think it will be OK but has certainly been knocked back a bit.

17_03_23_5108Other jobs completed have been the potting up of around 80 dahlia tubers. These had been drying out in our garage but have now been potted up in potting compost and are crowding into the green house. The above photograph is from 2017 but you get the idea. Around the end of February I will start watering them and with any luck they will produce great plants for planting out around the end of May when the frosts should have finished. In addition there has been more clearing some of the dried herbaceous plants from last year.

17_05_31_5882For those of you who remember this huge Crambe Cordifolia we said at the time that although it looks spectacular it was crowding everything out and we planned to move it. Well that was one of the jobs we have done so we can cross it off the list! The roots were over 60cm but I have replanted it elsewhere and I expect it to sulk for a year and then take off again.

18_01_29_8460The five new trees of Sorbus aucuparia ‘Autumn Spire’ also arrived and needed planting in the area behind the high wall. This almost completes the Design Challenge I mention last year and I will do a blog on this later in the year.

2018 Gardening Hours
Week beginning Jan 20th Total 2018 to-date Average per week
12 30 10

Given that last year we did on average 19 hours a week you can see we are well down on that!

Some of you will know that I took on the EoMV blog from Helen Johnstone last year. Helen is now back from her break from blogging and would like to take back the hosting of the EoMV which she had been doing since March 2009. So, if you would like to join in with the End of Month View please do. I suggest you add a link to your post in the comments below and also visit Helen and do the same there. Thank you for supporting the EoMV while I “baby sat” it and please come back to Glebe House Garden as often as you wish.

End of Month View – December 2017

The end of the month and the end of the year!  Happy New Year and good gardening in 2018.

I have not been able to get into the garden much during the last few weeks. Much of “putting the garden to bed” for the winter was done in November so I will use this opportunity to look back over the year.

Click on the small images to see them full size.

January

17_01_30_4716Many of the beds look exactly as they were following the winter clean up. However, there are signs of spring to be seen.

February

17_02_24_4992February brought a storm which removed a branch from an old apple tree. I was undecided as to whether to keep the reduced tree or to start again.  So far we have keep it.

Elsewhere snowdrops are filling many of the beds

March

17_03_01_5017The arrival of lambs in the field beyond our garden is always one of those events to make you smile.

Spring flowers are everywhere now.

April

17_04_07_5243The garden is beginning to glow with tulips, blossom and the first roses.

May

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Roses really start to come out now. And everywhere flowers of every kind are looking great.

June

17_06_14_6204All the borders are filling out. The pond that was finally repaired is also looking as it should and the water lilies that spent almost a year out of the water have survived!

July

17_07_12_6694Herbaceous plants are taking control of the borders now. The alliums are still there but the herbaceous plants are the stars now.

August

17_08_25_6891In January these beds looked empty. Now the flowers are up to six feet high in just a few months.

September

17_09_27_7307Borders are now “more” than full. Staking the plants is the biggest issue to prevent them falling on each other.

October

17_09_29_7312Autumn is on its way but around the garden there are still plenty of flowers.

November

17_10_30_7446The first frost of the year. the dahlias do not like it but some of the roses continue to flower. Now is the time to take the climbing roses off the wall for pruning and tying in their new growth for next year.

December

The borders have all been cleared ready for another spring in November. We have escaped to the sun. The garden has been told to look after itself!

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning December 23rd Total 2017 to-date Average per week
0 1004 19

An average of 19 hours a week and by week we have:2017-hours

I hope these pictures have wet your appetite for the new gardening year. Looking forward to 2018 and a Happy New Year to you all.

If you would like to join in with this meme you are very welcome – add a link to your post in the comments box and please link to this post from your blog so readers can find other EoMV posts. There are no rules about what you post. Maybe you want to focus on one area through the year or give a general tour, whatever suits you is fine with me.

Berberis koreana (Korean Barberry) ‘Red Tears’ an excellent plant with four seasons.

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September 27th

Ever so often a chance purchase of a shrub gives a pleasant surprise.  Berberis koreana  ‘Red Tears’ was one such purchase and it is certainly worth considering for any garden.

Berberis, commonly known as barberry, is a large genus of deciduous and evergreen shrubs from 1–5 m tall found throughout the temperate and subtropical regions of the world. Extremely hardy, Berberis koreana (Korean Barberry) is certainly one to consider for almost any garden. Berberis koreana grows with a dense, oval to rounded habit, at a moderate rate, up to 4-6 ft/120-180 cm tall and wide. It performs best in full sun to part shade, in dry to moist, well-drained soils and is not fussy about soils provided they are not soggy or wet. The main Berberis koreana cultivar is ‘Red Tears’

Berberis koreana  ‘Red Tears’ will give four seasons of interest:-

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April 17th

This semi-evergreen shrub is native to the Korean peninsula and Japan. Its bark is reddish brown and the twigs are densely armed with short spines in groups of one to five. At this stage the main interest are the very crisp green leaves.

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April 25th

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April 25th

In mid-spring, this small, multi-stemmed. semi-evergreen shrub produces striking pendulous clusters of golden-yellow flowers. At this stage the flowers are beginning to hang in clusters but are not fully open. The leaves are also getting a red tint to their edges

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May 10th

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May 10th

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May 13th

By now the flowers are fully open and have quite a “honey” scent which fills the still evening air.

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August 19th

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August 19th

The flowers are followed by an abundance of tiny oval fruits which at this stage are yellow tinged with red.

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August 25th

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August 28th

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August 28th

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August 28th

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August 28th

The fruits ripen to bright red by the fall and are attractive to birds.

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September 27th

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September 27th

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October 9th

and then persist across the winter. Therefore extending the season of interest of this ornamental shrub.

Overall Berberis koreana  ‘Red Tears’ is an excellent shrub giving year round interest with virtually no maintenance.

Other points to consider:

Pro:

Fairly pest-free, easy to grow and to care for. Light pruning may be required to maintain a lovely shape. Drought tolerant and  deer resistant, what more could you wish for!

Perfect choice as a single specimen plant or massed in borders, for foundation plantings or as an informal barrier, screen or hedge.

Against:

The shrub can sucker from the roots and form colonies

End of Month View – November 2017

This year November has been the major clean up of the garden ready for winter and more importantly ready for spring.17_11_23_7452You can see that most of the herbaceous materials have been removed. In some ways I would liked to have keep more of the seed heads for the birds etc., however, in order to plant the bulbs (over 1500 bulbs, see list here)  and spread mulch we need access to the beds.17_11_23_7453The twiggy material goes through a shredder and is then added is bagged up ready to add to the compost heap, the softer material goes straight on to the heap. Only the pertinacious weeds (eg ones with tap roots) get thrown away. In this way we recycle at least 95% of all the plant material. The green link stakes are stored in one of our outbuildings. Given we have 1000’s of such stakes in many different sizes this is quite an exercise in itself. If anyone has a good suggestion of how to store these stakes I would love to know it.17_11_23_7455A border almost totally cleared ready for bulbs etc

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And the same corner in August!

17_11_28_7465Tulip bulbs ready for planting17_11_28_7464And the under-gardener planting bulbs on a cold, crisp November day.

17_11_24_7462Now we have easy access to the climbing roses I need to turn my mind to pruning and tying in the new growth.17_11_28_7463To the right of the pond more tulips bulbs waiting to be planted.17_11_24_7460The plastic sheet hanging from the pergola serves two purposes. It keeps the rain off the wooded bench but more importantly it keeps the rain off two small peach trees which are planted in tubs either side of the bench. This should avoid peach leaf curl.17_11_24_7461Another border ready for winter and the spring.17_07_27_6785And the same border in July.17_11_28_746717_11_28_7466Elsewhere we have planted bulbs and have spread a mulch dressing onto the soil. This is Ivy’s bed on the garden map. There is plenty more mulch spreading yet to do!

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning Nov 25th Total 2017 to-date Average per week
30 1004 21

If you would like to join in with this meme you are very welcome – add a link to your post in the comments box and please link to this post from your blog so readers can find other EoMV posts. There are no rules about what you post. Maybe you want to focus on one area through the year or give a general tour, whatever suits you is fine with me.

End of Month View – October 2017

October in the centre of England has been a strange month. The temperature has continued to be above average and the plants have continued to flower. It is definitely autumn with the leaves turning and dropping, all the more so with several windy periods as a couple of Atlantic storms have arrived. We are towards the east of the country so even these storms have normally moderated by the time they get to us.

17_10_28_7426My regular view across the garden. There are still many flowers out although not as many as last month. We have not had any frost so far so the dahlias are continuing to flower. One of the negative aspect of the warm and damp weather through September and October has been the growth of moss in the lawns. 17_10_29_7433This time of year is a good time for scarification to remove any thatch and moss in the lawn. It always amazes me how much can come up with such a small machine and this is after the lawns have been cut with the normal mower.17_10_28_7425Its a labour intensive job. After the scarification the thatch needs to be raked into piles.17_10_28_7427Bagged up ready to be moved around to the composting area. Then the lawn need mowing again to pick any lose material not raked up. Thank goodness it is only once a year.17_10_29_7434Elsewhere a sure sign that winter is on the way is when we start to wrap the benches in the garden.17_10_29_7442However, the roses continue to flower. This is mostly Rosa ‘Lichfield Angel’17_10_29_7437and Rosa ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ which also needs its winter prune to get it back into shape.17_10_29_7439Pruning climbing roses is a significant job at this time of year. This will more or less need to be taken off the wall and rearranged but………..17_05_13_5698……….see how it will look in May. Rosa ‘Shot Silk’ is the rose.

One of the stars this autumn has been Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ which continues to look fantastic.17_10_29_7441View across the lawn with Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’  either side of the pond.

It is getting into bulb planting time. We do not lift our tulips as most come back each year but over time they do need replenishing. My order for 2017 arrived and contains the following:

Quantity Name
250 Crocus Joan of Arc
100 Crocus speciosus Albus
50 Cyclamineus Narcissi Jenny
100 Narcissi Tete-a-Tete
20 Lilium Bright Diamond
20 Lilium Foxtrot
10 Lilium Purple Lady
10 Lilium Curly Sue
10 Lilium Venezuela
20 Schubertii
100 Anemone Altrocoerulea
15 Cyclamen Coum Album
10 Cyclamen Hederifolium Album
25 Eremurus Bungei
100 Iris Histrioides Katherine Hodgkin
25 Leucojum Aestivum
25 Leucojum Vernum
10 Lilium candidum
100 Tulip Exotic Emperor
100 Tulip Purissima White Emperor
100 Tulip Red Impression
100 Tulip Big Smiles
100 Tulip Elegant Lady
100 Tulip Purple Blend
100 Tulip Species Turkestanica

We have made a start but the tulips are best not planted before November to avoid “Tulip Fire” so we are going to be busy in November with 700 bulbs to plant! Tulip fire is caused by the fungus Botrytis tulipae. It is closely related to the grey mould pathogen Botrytis cinerea. Leaf symptoms are visible from when leaves emerge in late winter until they die back in summer.

17_10_29_7444In some areas we have started to cut back the herbaceous plants in preparation for tulips and mulching. However, with so much still flowering it seems a shame to cut out too much.

The dahlias will continue to flower until the first hard frost. Here is Dahlia “Twyning’s After Eight” plus a Red Admiral butterfly!17_10_29_7438This is Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ which will be cut back soon but is looking great right now.17_10_28_7430This combination of Osteospermum ‘Tresco Purple’ and Salvia ‘Cerro Potosi’ has been looking great since June this year.17_10_29_7445What is this flowering so much at the end of November? Helianthemum ‘Ben Fhada’ a flower I normally associate with the summer but I am not complaining.

If you would like to join in with the End of Month View please do. It would be great if you could add a link to your post in the comments below and link to this post in your post.

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning
October 21st
Total 2017 to-date Average per week
28 883 21

Breaking News:

17_10_30_7446Having almost completed this blog and commented on the frost free weather; this morning we had the first frost of the winter! Not enough to hurt the dahlias but they will be hit soon.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – October 2017

It is the middle of October, in two weeks we will put the clocks back at the end of summer time. The evening will be dark and we will feel winter is really here.

For this GBBD I decided to walk around taking photos of the various blooms that are still out.  If you had asked me before the walk I would have thought maybe a dozen good blooms. How wrong I was! Here are the photos I took (and there could have been more!)

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Salvia ‘Cerro Potosi’

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Rosa ‘Phyllis Bide’

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Rosa ‘Alister Stella Grey’

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Rosa ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’

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Rosa ’Wildeve’

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Rosa ‘Lichfield Angel’

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Rosa ‘Anne Boleyn’

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Rosa ‘Bonica’

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Rosmarinus officianalis horizontalis

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Ricinus communis ‘Impala’

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Anemone ‘Honorine Joubert’

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Clematis ‘Ville de Lyon’

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Cyclamen Self set hardy variety

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Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

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Rosa ‘Sombreuil’

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Cosmos ‘Versailles tetra’

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Aster ‘Starshine’

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Dahlia David Howard

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Rosa ‘Queen of Sweden’

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Clematis ‘Lady Betty Balfour’

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Rudbeckia ‘Rustic Dwarfs Mixed’

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Rudbeckia x Hirta Hybrida Cherokee Sunset

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Helianthemum ‘Ben Fhada’

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Phlox paniculata Uspekh

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Verbena bonariensis

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Aconitum x cammarum ‘Bicolor’

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Achillea ‘Credo’

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Rosa ‘Ghislaine de Feligonde’

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Osteospermum ‘Tresco Purple’

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Rudbeckia ‘Herbstone’

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Aster praealtus

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Rosa ‘Shot Silk’

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Rosa ‘Awakening’

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Dahlia ‘Twyning’s After Eight’

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Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’

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Achillea millefolium ‘Terracotta’

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Coreopsis ‘Redshift’

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Clematis ‘Chelsea’

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Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’

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Rosa ‘Crown Princess Margareta’

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Rosa ‘Blush Noisette’

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Salvia involocruta bethellii

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Dahlia Bishop of Auckland

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Sedum ‘not known’

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Cerastostigma willmottianum ‘Forest Blue’

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Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

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Geranium riversleaianum ‘Mavis Simpson’

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what is blooming in gardens around the world.

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning
October 7th
Total 2017 to-date Average per week
33 847 21

 

End of Month View – September 2017

The weather this September continues to be very variable. One day the sun will be out with temperatures around 20c, perfect gardening weather, the next will be grey and wet all day. 17_09_29_7312What ever the weather Autumn is certainly setting in now. Looking down the garden the day after the grass was cut there is already a carpet of leaves forming.17_09_27_7288Else where the Euonymus  alatus ‘Burning Bush’ is looking fantastic with its Autumn foliage.17_09_27_7296The usual EoMV across the garden has not changed that much from last month. It does look a bit duller but I think this is mainly the lack of sun for the photograph!17_09_27_7308In more detail the corner bed on the left has been really successful with the Ricinus communis ‘Impala’  continuing to put on an excellent display. The dark leaves and white flowers of Dahlia ‘Twyning’s After Eight’ off setting the yellow flowers of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’. 17_09_27_7307Last month I said I had been disappointed with Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ and several people said how  much they valued this plant. 17_09_27_7306Now I take back my words as you can see what a great plant to have in the Autumn border. However, due to its size good staking is definitely required.17_09_27_7304Almost lost in this corner is Achillea millefolium ‘Terracotta’ together with the magenta of  Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ . A great demonstration of the value of complementary colours. With so much large herbaceous planting it is easy for smaller plants to get lost. We will be giving some thought to how to make more of the front of the border.17_09_27_7298The main rose bed is to the left of the wall. The roses are coming to the end of their blooming period. 17_09_27_7291However there are still some beauties to see. This is Rosa ‘Anne Boleyn’ a very reliable rose around two to three feet high, a great perfume and repeat flowing. What more could you want?17_09_27_7309The view across the lawn to the right hand part of the wall. From this distance it looks very green but there are some points of interest to explore.17_09_27_7299Another good repeater is Rosa ‘Mutabilis’. When it is windy this rose always gets hit. It has been stripped twice of its flowers this year but it keeps coming back. It is planted as a climber on the wall and as it is a bit tender seems to respond well to this..

As well as the Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ above , Salvia involocruta bethellii continues to perform.17_09_27_7295Another Autumn favourite, both for insects and flowers, is the Sedum although in this case I have no idea about the variety. Sedums must be one of the easiest plants to grow and propagate and as such end up being slotted into gaps without recording what they are! We always do a ‘Chelsea chop’ on these which seems to give strong stems and less flopping. 17_09_27_7297At the end of the bed on the right is Cotinus ‘Nottcutts Variety’. Normally a very dark variety.

It is clearly not well. It looks like Verticillium wilt. The RHS website gives the following information.

Verticillium wilt is caused by the soil-borne fungi Verticillium dahliae and V. albo-atrum. Both infect a very wide range of garden plants through the roots and then grow upwards in the water-conducting tissues, causing wilting of the upper parts due to water stress. Wilting is mostly seen from spring until autumn.

Plants affected include Chrysanthemum, carnation, aubergine, potato, tomato, cucurbits and strawberries. Woody plants are also affected, including Acer, Cotinus, Rhus, Berberis, Catalpa, Cercis and Rosa, but the full host range is very wide indeed. Conifers are not affected.

See RHS Verticillium wilt for more information. It looks like I will be removing this and we will have to rethink what to replace it with.

The Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ by the pond has really grown a lot since last month and is looking stunning. We already have many cuttings of this in the green house as insurance against a hard winter.

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning September 23rd Total 2017 to-date Average per week
17 794 20

Between the rain showers work in the garden includes; finishing off some hedge cutting, removing specimen weeds that are always growing, repairing a blocked fountain and mowing the lawn. The moss in the lawn has become very severe in places so it looks like I will be doing some scarification soon.

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. Thank you.

 

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

 

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