End of Month View – February 2018

18_02_24_8528The view across the garden has not really changed yet since the start of the year but elsewhere as we will see spring is beginning to burst out. It has been very cold -5c at night for the last few days and the outlook is snow so it is lucky I have taken some photos already.

Over the years we have split and planted snowdrops in a number of our beds and at this time of year they reliably put on a great display for little cost. I have never gone out of the way to buy some of the expensive snowdrop bulbs and have been more than happy with the effect that is created. There are some singles which were probably here 25 years ago when we moved here and some doubles which we introduced. The great thing about snowdrops is that once they have finished flowering the leaves etc soon die off and can be removed and the bed is ready for the next display eg tulips etc.18_02_25_8536Some of the cyclamens are also out with snowdrops and Iris Histrioides Katherine Hodgkin. These all look a bit frosted.

I had hoped for some new planting of crocus this year but unfortunately the grey squirrel has dug them up and eaten them. The odd thing is that once established the squirrels seem to leave them alone. Next year I will have to plant them in pots (out of the way of the squirrels) and effectively “plant them in the green” which has worked before.

Here are some of the Glebe House Hybrids. See Ashwood Hellebore Nursery18_02_25_8543The aconites  Eranthis Hyemalis that I planted last year have come back and are in flower. See Aconites and others spring delights18_02_25_8540Crown imperial fritillary are coming through at a great speed. They have been coming back each year for 15 years now.18_02_24_8532One of the delights of the winter border is Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ looking really good against the yew hedge. It does have a habit of running which means a bit of work later in the year to control it and maybe some free plants from the runners! However the colour at this time of year is hard to beat.18_02_01_8523One of the jobs that I have been slow to do this year is tidying up the climbing roses. This is Rosa ‘Shot Silk’  and you can see extensive vertical growth from last year. These vertical growths need to be persuaded into the horizontal. Unfortunately they are not well behaved and often you will find they have grown up behind the wires which can mean having to remove the wire, releasing all the other branches that have been fixed to the wire in previous years!18_02_01_8525In addition some of the growth has died back and this needs to be removed.18_02_24_8526After about six hours of work and many scratches then you can stand back and admire the result. To a large degree this is the main maintenance work on a climbing rose.

That’s the good news but we do have many climbing roses that all need tiding up. “Before” and “After” for Rosa ‘Alchemist’ a great rose that has been here for at least 25 years.18_02_25_8542And another one just completed, Rosa ‘Alister Stella Grey’.18_02_25_8545Lastly the Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ which has been trained horizontally above a lot of different spring flowers is really visible this year as there are also three Rosa ‘Jacques Cartier’ which are normally in front of the pyracantha. These had not done well recently and we have cut done right down to grown level to regenerate them.

2018 Gardening Hours
Week beginning
February 174th
Total 2018 to-date Average per week
10 70 10

So far this year we are well behind last years average of 20 hours a week. It is no wonder I am still pruning the roses! When the snow stops I must get out and do some more!

Do have a look at Helen The Patient Gardener’s blog where you fill find links to other gardens at the end of February. Thank you to Helen for hosting this meme.

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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