Planning for the future – a design challenge III

Back on November 26th 2016 I blogged about Planning for the future – a design challenge where I discussed the issues and some of you added your thoughts.

The main issue was we wanted a design to tidy up the space behind the wall and between the yew hedges but this is an area that gets very little sun and we wanted it to be relatively maintenance free.

Then on September 29th 2017 I blogged  Planning for the future – a design challenge II which described in detail what we planned to do.

17_09_27_7283Then at last work began.  The main reason for the delay was the lack of availability of the contractor we wanted to do the work.17_09_27_7282Removing any old turf, weeds etc to give a level bed. Note the soil was excellent quality and we now have a large heap waiting for use else where.17_09_27_728617_09_27_7287Then the design was very carefully marked out. Note the very large set square leaning against the hedge to assist this.17_09_28_7311The areas where there was to be bricks was then dug out and a thick weed membrane covered the whole site. Crushed quarry waste was then inserted to provide a base for the bricks. This may look complicated but it helps ensure no weeds come through in unwanted areas of the final construction.

The success of this build depended on getting all the angles correct. The little yellow box on the tripod to the right of the picture is a laser leveling tool. This was set to the slope of the lawn and thus all measurements could be taken from this laser as the bricks were laid.

A wooden template was used to get the angles correct and the course along the bricks straight. At the same time the height of the bricks were measured from the laser.17_10_05_732117_10_05_7323Metal edging was put around the lawn to give a sharp edge and gravel inserted.

17_10_05_7322The other areas between the gaps in the yew hedging was also paved in a similar way to create a unified design. The joints were pointed with a two part filler which produces a rock hard finish to prevent future weed growth.

At this stage the contractors had finished!17_11_23_745717_11_23_7458I had always planned to source the trees and plant them myself. First I prepared the planting holes digging out any rubbish and getting the soil levels right so that they could be covered with gravel. We decided to go with Sorbus ‘Autumn Spire‘ – narrow, upright small trees with excellent autumn colour once established. I wanted to find trees that were at least a metre high and these were supplied by Mail Order Trees18_01_29_8460On January 18th 2018 the trees were finally planted and the gravel spread out. You can also see that having removed all the rubbish and piled up soil from this area the bottom of the wall needed some attention.18_05_18_8684And on 18th May these were beginning to achieve our vision for the area. The bottom of the wall having been cleaned up and repointed.

The extra paved bits between the yew hedges really integrates the design.18_05_18_8686This photograph shows the final finish on the paving.18_06_10_905918_06_14_875518_06_22_9121And by 18th June the trees had already put on a significant amount of growth. They will need regular watering and some of the lawn needs some attention to establish good sharp edges.

The contractors were Ben and Sam whose company Stonetree I would recommend to anyone needing quality work.

2018 Gardening Hours
Week beginning July 7th Total 2018 to-date Average per week
20 482 18

It really has been too hot and dry to do much despite having been on holiday.

 

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Too much sun after Hoby Open Gardens

18_07_10_9123Have just been away for two weeks following Hoby Open Gardens and it has been hot; very hot for England at 32 centigrade! And we continue to have had no rain of any consequence since the middle of May. 18_07_10_9124We left a garden looking quite good but now it is crisp and dry. Our soil is a sandy loam and tends to dry out quickly but in an English climate this is usually not an issue..18_07_10_9125The main lawn was the walled kitchen garden for a large house next door and the interesting thing now is that wherever there were paths in the original kitchen garden the lawn drys out fastest as you can see in the above.18_06_14_8766The lawn on June 16th before the sun!

So rather than show pictures of dried up plants I thought I would go back to the open garden event.18_06_17_8771After a hectic week getting everything ready the weekend arrived and was a great success. Eleven gardens opened, included Glebe House, and in addition we provided lunches, tombolas, an art exhibition, plant stalls,a white elephant stall (ie a junk stall), a Pimms bar and lets not forget the cream teas. Our garden was one of the venues for cream teas and after Diane had made 250 scones we made almost £900 on the teas alone. Overall the money is still being counted but it looks like we have made almost £7500 which, for a village of just 100 houses, is excellent.  The money is going to do some improvements in our 13th century village church.18_06_22_9093The roses were stunning with Rosa Rambling Rector covering the old apple tree and Rosa Bobby James on the right just coming into flower. Probably one of the best comments was when one of the visitors said she always came into our garden to see the rose ‘Rampant Rector’!

Here are some of the roses in the garden:

18_06_22_9119The main pond had recovered from when it emptied itself  and the water stayed crystal clear.18_06_20_9087and there were no snakes to be seen here either.

18_06_22_9118We only have one hanging basket and luckily it is on automatic watering so it just as good now.

The dahlias were a bit disappointing as the slow spring had held back the flowers. The only flowering dahlias were Dahlia Arabian Night and Dahlia David Howard. Now they are all struggling due to lack of rain.18_06_22_911018_06_22_9109The Delphinium Black Knight and Rosa ‘Iceberg’ made a great show.18_06_22_9113This shrub always provides interest. It is Carpenteria californica with Rosa ‘Irene Watts’ in the foreground. Carpenteria californica is quite a rare plant in English gardens and it needs a sheltered position as it is rather tender.18_06_22_9105June is peak season for poppies which self seed throughout the garden.

We do not have a huge vegetable plot. However, for open gardens even the vegetable plot needs to be weed free.

Elsewhere there were plenty of flowers  to see.

18_06_22_9111As you can see the hedges had not been cut. Actually we ran out of time, however, the current thinking is that it is better to cut box hedging a little later to help prevent blight.

2018 Gardening Hours
Week beginning June 30th Total 2018 to-date Average per week
0 462 18

Holiday week so no gardening.

 

End of Month View – April 2018

April has been another strange month. Its been cold, wet and dull for most of the month, to the extent that any gardening was out of the question. Then we had a very short three days of sunshine and temperatures at least 10 degrees higher at 26c. And did we get out to work in the garden with around 90 people coming around the garden on the 22nd! We were lucky that day was also dry although there was a cold wind. But the last week has gone back to where we started, cold, wet and windy.18_04_22_8612At last colour is coming back to the garden with the tulips bursting out. 18_04_22_8632Looking down on the garden we can see the the lawn has benefited from all the rain. The alliums have also grown at an incredible speed, in some cases bloting out the tulips. 18_04_22_8631Looking further round to the left the wall across the garden is about to burst into life and the Tulip Red Impression that fill the left hand border are coming into flower.18_04_22_862918_04_22_862118_04_22_862318_04_22_8611Tulips are the main feature at this time of year in this part of the garden. the Red Impression always works well against fresh green foliage and also the purple honesty.

18_04_22_8613Last year under-planted some roses with Anemone blanda atrocaerulea. the idea was to give some interest when the roses are only just coming into leaf. It is great to see it working again.18_04_22_8626The bed to the corner of the wall is full of tulips and far to many alliums! When we get some gardening weather I shall remove some of them. The red tulip, Tulip Ad Rem at the back of this picture were planted in 2014 and continue to put on a good display.

Tulip Hageri Splendens is now in flower across the stoned edged circle bed. This was planted at the end of 2016 and are coming back well.

One of my favourite tulips is Tulip Ballerina. 18_04_22_8620It was great to see some frog spawn in one of our ponds and now it is tick with tadpoles. This small pond does not have any fish in it so the fish do not eat the tadpoles. however, if it were warmer I would expect to see grass snakes having a feast.

Looking back a year at End of the Month View – April 2017 its is amazing to see how behind the garden is this year. In April 2017 there were roses in bloom, apple blossom on the trees and the first swallows arrived on April 3rd. No sign of them yet this year! In many ways we are four weeks behind normal.

2018 Gardening Hours
Week beginning April 21st Total 2018 to-date Average per week
8 211 13

The poor weather and a week skiing in France has resulted in little work this month with the exception of the three days mentioned above.

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

End of Month View – March 2018

18_03_29_8568Another frosty morning but at last all the roses on the wall have all been pruned. It has been slow work with a week of snow on the ground and at least another week of rain. 18_03_29_8570There are a few roses that still need sorting out. A bit late but I am sure they will survive. 18_03_29_8571The weather certainly resulted in an early finish for the snowdrops which were looking great. In the last week the sun has come out and the temperature is more back to normal, around at 11c. With the extra temperature you could almost see the garden bursting into live. This bed should be full of tulips in a few weeks and it is great to see flower buds coming through as well as leaves.18_03_29_8572One big job that has been completed is the annual cut of the pleached lime hedge, Tila platyphyllos rubra. See Creating and maintaining a pleached lime hedge

18_03_22_8560The Indian limestone paving by the house was put down about twenty years ago and has started to move losing much of the grout.18_03_22_8558This is in the process of being lifted and re-bedded and re-grouted.

 

It should be finished in another week.

 

I am not a big fan of daffodils. They look great when they are out but the leaves do hang around for a long time after flowering. The solution I have used to good effect is to plant them around the boundary of the garden which is effectively the back of the beds. The leaves can then be left as other plants grow up in front of them.

 

Iris Histrioides Katherine Hodgkin has been a success elsewhere in the garden. At the end of last year I planted them through the Stone edged circle bed. I was concerned that the squirrels had been having dinner on the bulbs as last month there was no sign of them. However, they are now out and looking great. Over time I hope they will multiply and form a snake through the bed.18_03_25_8564This little gem flowered for the first time this year. This is Erythronium Snowflake and they were planted in 2015. A long wait but worth it so I may be tempted to buy some more!18_03_25_8562Another good doer is the corkscrew hazel, Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’, which always has a good display of catkins.

2018 Gardening Hours
Week beginning March 24th Total 2018 to-date Average per week
36 160 13

A busy week and the average is beginning to grow towards last years average of 20 hours a week.

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

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

17_08_25_6889
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.

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.

 

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.

17_07_13_6723

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’

17_07_12_6665

‘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

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – July 2017

17_07_12_6705The weather this year has been a challenge. It has been dry and hot and we seem to be advancing into that gap between Summer and Autumn even so it is only the end of July. Many plants are dry and crispy and having been away for a couple of weeks we have not had time to remove those specimen weeds that always seem to grow the best! However, there is still much to show this month.

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ is doing well and has picked up considerably since we gave it a good watering.

The dahlias have been slow to bloom probably lack of water. Here is Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ with Hemerocallis ‘Catherine Woodbury’17_07_12_6662Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ looking great as always.17_07_12_6663Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity’17_07_12_6695almost lost in the border with other perennials.17_07_12_6664Another day lily, Hemerocallis ‘Stafford’.17_07_12_6665A favorite with the bees and looking at its best Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Willmott’s ghost’17_07_12_6666The blue globes of Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’. This magnificent variety produces stiff silvery stems with dark green, silver-backed thistle-like leaves which terminate in brilliant dark, vivid blue globes the size of a spiky golf ball.

Dahlia Twyning’s After Eight the white flower offset by the dark foliage.17_07_12_6667Anthemis tinctoria ‘Sauce Hollandise’ need supporting as it grows but gives a real splash of colour.17_07_12_6672One for the back of the border. Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’ will grow to six feet.17_07_12_6673Another echinops, Echinops Humilis ‘Taplow Blue’ also grows to around six feet.17_07_12_6700And here they are together with Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’.17_07_12_6671A useful gap filler for the front of the border is Mesembryanthemum and it is easy to grow from seed.17_07_12_6668Potentilla ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’ another useful plant for the front of the border.17_07_12_6669One of my favorite dahlias, Dahlia Bishop of Auckland.  17_07_12_6670Always unexpected, Verbena bonariensis plants itself where it wants to grow but it is always a delight.

One of the best, Rosa ‘Bonica’ 17_07_12_6678Day lily, Hemerocallis ‘Lemon Bells’17_07_12_6681and in the same border Hemerocallis ‘Catherine Woodbery’

Eremurus White Beauty Favourite doing well as they were only planted last November.17_07_12_6679Achillea ‘Credo’ was planted in 2016 and is now looking much stronger.17_07_12_6706The bottom of the garden with Stipa gigantea and17_07_12_6684 Echinacea.17_07_12_6686Leucanthemum ‘Goldrausch’ a good strong  Shasta Daisy.17_07_12_6687Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ with17_07_12_6688Phlox paniculata Uspekh in the background.

By the large pond the seat is surrounded by lilies. Lilium Inuvik and Lilium Inuvik. Easy to do, just plant bulbs in pots November/ December and wait.17_07_12_6694Phoxs have done particularly well this year. In the foreground is Phlox paniculata ‘Bright Eyes’.17_07_12_6696Lavandula augustifolia ‘Hidcote’ is always hard to keep looking good and not woody.17_07_12_6697We only have one hanging basket and here it is!

A couple of clematis, Clematis ‘Perle d’Azur’ and Clematis ‘Jackmanii’.17_07_12_6699A great honeysuckle which we took as a cutting from another garden.17_07_12_6701Rosa ‘Meg’ a beautiful climbing rose that was in the garden 23 years ago when we brought the house and garden.

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 July 8th Total 2017 to-date Average per week
13 571 20

Tresco Abbey Garden

For the last two weeks we have been away a staying on Tresco, one of the islands that make up the Isles of Scilly.

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Tresco Island, Isles of Scilly

The above photograph shows what a beautiful island Tresco is. The garden this blog describes is located just between the first pool and the left hand side of the island. The Isles of Scilly are 28 miles south west of the British mainland

and benefits  from a temperate climate which enables many subtropical plants to survive there.

A brief history of Tresco Abbey Garden

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Augustus Smith (1804 – 1872)

In 1834 Augustus Smith leased all the Isles of Scilly. He set himself four goals: good education for children, to stamp out smuggling, to stop the practice of dividing family holdings and to ensure improvement of the land and buildings stock by islanders themselves.

He also started the Tresco Abbey Garden which were based around the ruined St Nicholas Abbey. He built walls and planted shelter belts, established a close connection with Kew and, because of the location of Tresco, many Scillonian mariners returned with seeds, plants and cutting from around the world.

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Thomas Algernon Dorrien-Smith(1846 – 1918)

In 1872 Thomas Algernon Dorrien-Smith, nephew of Augustus inherited the lease. He continued to support the economy of the islands and started the daffodil flower industry. Tresco Abbey Gardens went from strength to strength. The plants Augustus planted were reaching maturity and were flowering. Thomas identified the Monterey pine and Monterey cypress as successful in shelter belts and went on to plant thousands of trees. With links to the Truro Flower Show he effectively introduced many tender species to Cornish gardens.

“He devoted his life unselfishly to these islands and added greatly to their prosperity and beauty”

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Major Arthur Dorrien-Smith(1876 – 1955)

In 1918 Major Arthur Dorrien-Smith inherited the lease from his father. He was already a gardener and horticulturist and in 1903 set up the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. He went on many plant hunting expeditions in New Zealand and on one expedition brought back 2000 plants to be divided between Kew, Edinburgh and Tresco. In 1922 financial constraints forced him to hand back control of the other Scilly islands to the Duchy of Cornwall

However, he continued to develop Tresco abbey gardens. In 1935 there were 3500 cultivated plants on Tresco and he continued to order new varieties from around the world. In 1950 the gardens were opened to the paying public. He was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the RHS

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Lieutenant Commander Thomas Mervyn Dorrien-Smith

In 1955 Lieutenant Commander Thomas Mervyn Dorrien-Smith inherited the lease from his father. He was not a plants-man but soon established a management role. He made the transition from a purely agricultural community to one that also embraced tourism. He converted some of the island cottages for holiday lets and built the Island Hotel (now closed). He continued to introduce new varieties of plants to Tresco and in 1960 exhibited the full range of Tresco’s treasures at Chelsea Flower Show.

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Prince Charles and Robert Dorrien-Smith(1951 -)

In 1973 Robert Dorrien-Smith inherited the lease  from his father and in 1983 introduced a heliport on Tresco.

The garden was then hit by natural disasters:
In 1987 a very rare snow storm caused extensive damage to many of the plants and in 1990 a hurricane brought down many of the trees including ones in the shelter belts. Robert has since replanted 60,000 trees and restored plantings in the garden. He also introduced  various sculptures to the garden and created the “Mediterranean Garden”

Tresco Abbey Garden today

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St Nicholas Priory, the ruins of 12th century Benedictine abbey

St Nicholas Priory was founded in the early 12th century by Benedictine monks and it was where the first plants of the Abbey Garden were planted in the mid-nineteenth century.17_07_05_6595The garden is terraced against a sheltered south facing slope. This is the middle terrace. Each terrace effectively has its own micro climate getting drier as you go up enabling different ranges of plants at each level.IMG_1623Do not expect formal planting schemes or manicured borders. The garden is really about the plants.

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South African Watsonias

Watsonias flower in drifts through the gardens in the summer.

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King Protea

The King Protea is the national flower of South Africa and one of the most striking blooms on Tresco! No other garden in Britain can boast such a variety of beautiful South African Proteas on display.IMG_1588In the lower parts of the gardens tree ferns from New Zealand and Australia flourish.

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Norfolk Island Pine

This is one of the most iconic trees in the garden with its regular foliage. I often think it was planted upside down as the branches seem to hang upwards!Picture25‘Gia’ by sculptor David Wynne and made from a block of multi-coloured South African marble.

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Canary Island palms

The Canary Island palms on the Middle Terrace are the tallest in the British Isles. These steps are called Neptune Steps and they dissect the garden from top to bottom.Picture22Higher up the Neptune Steps.Tresco_20080703_2317The “Mediterranean Garden” with a water feature, based on an Agave, which was created by Cornish artist Tom Leaper in 1996. This is probably the most ‘designed’ part of the garden.

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The pincusion plant from South Africa, Leucospermum cordifolium

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A native of the Andes, Puya chiensis

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Furcraea longeava in flower

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Aloe arborescens

Each New Year on Tresco the gardeners have count the number of plants in flower. This year saw more species of plants than ever before in bloom – an astounding 289.

I have only touched he surface of this unique garden. The only way to really understand the garden is to spend a few days on the island. There are many places to stay owned by the Tresco Estate. 17_07_05_6593

Source of history:
‘Tresco Abbey Garden A Personal and Pictorial History’ by Mike Nelhams

Glebe House Garden

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning July 1st Total 2017 to-date Average per week
0 558 21