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

 

Some stars in the August border

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

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

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

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

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

Spetchley Park Gardens

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

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

A short history taken from displays in the information centre.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The garden

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

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

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

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

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

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The rose garden

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

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‘Miss Willmott’sghost’ in Glebe House Garden

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

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

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

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

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

Old melon and grape houses.

17_07_13_6737Some exotic planting in the melon yard.

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

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

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

When to visit

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

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

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

Glebe House Garden

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

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

End of the Month View – May 2017

It is totally crazy in the garden just now. All the beds need to move to there summer look. There are over 70 large dahlias which are in pots waiting to fill the odd space left by tulips etc. In addition we have visited plant nurseries several times to get additional stock as we are changing the “look and feel” of a couple of areas. In the vegetable area everything seems to need attention with frost having finished it it time for planting out courgettes, tomatoes, dwarf beans etc.. And in two weeks we have an open garden! As such this will be a short end of the month.17_05_31_5878This is my classic end of the month view across the garden. You can see that everything is growing at a great speed and most of the climbing roses are in full bloom.17_05_31_5879The bed on the left which is mainly roses are just coming into flower.17_05_31_5880In front of these roses is a Tradescantia, Tradescantia ‘Innocence’17_05_31_5881The bed in the left corner is having some major changes. the tall herbaceous at the back is being extended round to the left with the addition of Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’, Cimicifuga ramosa ‘Atropurpurea’ and Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’.17_05_31_5882The Crambe Cordifolia has gone completely mad with the most enormous flower head. Some time ago I said we might move this as, although the flower head can be stunning, the leaves are not very interesting and take up a lot of space. It must have heard me and is demonstrating that it should stay!17_05_31_5883Small beds in front of the pond have for some reason always been difficult. We have changed the rose to Rosa Pink Gruss an Aachen with Clematis ‘Chelsea’ a ground cover clematis. Early days but so far so good.17_05_31_5885The bed to the right of the pond has not yet had the early summer tidy up. I anticipate some dahlias will go in here. However, the Allium Christophii are looking great and on the wall Rosa ‘Alister Stella Grey’ and Rosa ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ are blooming away.

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Rosa ‘Alister Stella Grey’

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Rosa ‘Crown Princess Margareta’

17_05_31_5889The bed on the right already looks full but as you can see there are some Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ waiting to go in. On the wall Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ and another Rosa ‘Alister Stella Grey’ are in bloom. The very large cat mint is Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’.

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Rosa ‘Mutabilis’

17_05_31_5893Again you cannot beat the Allium Christophii.17_05_31_5895A new clematis growing up the pergola,  Clematis ‘Monte Cassino’. 17_05_31_5897Just to the right of the end of the month view is the urn bed. Here Rosa Alchemist  always puts on a great show at this time of year.

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Rosa Alchemist

 

The wall across the lawn

We moved to Glebe House in September 1994. When people come around our garden they often ask us what the garden was like when we moved in. Actually some of the garden features were there then but over time they have all evolved and in some areas a small paddock has been incorporated into the garden.17_05_25_5840 The other day I noticed that the wall across the lawn was looking particularly good.This wall divides the main lawn and follows the contours of the ground resulting in the lawn being at two levels and although it does not align with other garden features it takes the eye into the garden towards the views beyond.img120This photo was actually taken in June 1995. As you can see the wall was in place then but was not really made a feature of the garden.17_05_24_5833We always felt the wall needed a good “full stop” at the end. As you can see above we have created a small round bed at the end with a Rosa Bonica providing the “stop”. You can also see that the wall is actually higher than the original wall. In the old photo the lawn edge actually sloped down to the top of the wall.img119Another photo from June 1995. The steps up had been built and these have not been changed apart from the flower beds around them and the lawn in the foreground is now paved with sandstone  The very large tree, back right, is an old walnut. We were very disappointed when it died and had to be removed about ten years ago.17_05_25_5839The steps today with the sand stone paving.17_05_24_5831As well as raising the height of the wall we have created a flower bed along the top of the wall. This is about one metre wide and at this time of year it really comes into its own.

In any dry stone wall then Aubrieta is an essential plant.

The rock rose, Helianthemum ‘The Bride’ has been looking great although just one day after these photos were taken there were no flowers on it. That was probably due to the heat which has unusually been at 28c for the last few days!

This is probably my favourite geranium, Geranium cenereum subcaulescens. It is a very dark cerise colour which really shines out from the green leaves. It is planted singularly along the wall but also on mass under Rosa Bonica at the end of the wall.17_05_24_5824Another geranium at the end of the wall is Geramium sanguineum ‘Shepherd’s Warning’. This was planted about eight years ago and although it looks quite healthy has not spread unlike some  of the other sanguineums that can be very invasive.

This plant was taken from a cutting in a friend’s garden. It is definitely a “noname” plant at the moment.17_05_24_5818Viola cornuta ‘Alba’ must have arrived from else where in the garden but it is working well here.17_05_24_5832Rosmarinus officinalis forms a small bushy shrub and provides Rosemary for cooking.

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Geramium sanguineum striatum

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Geramium sanguineum striatum

17_05_24_5812Geramium sanguineum striatum is a lovely geramium and here it is on either side of the steps.17_05_24_5817Geranium cinereum ‘Ballerina’ another small geranium.17_05_24_5819Another rock rose, Helianthemum ‘Ben Fhada’17_05_25_5838Along the wall from the steps.17_05_24_5831Looking the other way along the wall. Over the next few days we will be planting Mesembryanthemum ‘Magic Carpet’ which have been started in the greenhouse and will provided interest throughout the summer.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
51 885 17

Tulip Mania

News flash: The first swallows arrived on April 3rd

Tulip Mania

17_04_05_5209Tulips have really come out this week. For many years we have planted Tulip Red Impression all along the left hand border to our garden. It is hard to get the effect in one photograph but standing looking at the display with the sunlight shining across the flowers is just magical. Most of them come up each year but we look for any gaps and replenish them. Probably we plant around 100 extra Red impression each year plus many other tulips and bulbs. See blog with bulb list.17_04_03_5197Looking along the same border. There is a small cobble path running through this part of the border although it is covered in twigs from the tree above (another job waiting to be done).17_04_03_5192The same border with Anemone Blanda Atrocoerulea and Leucojum Aestivum 17_04_03_5193 Leucojum Aestivum which resembles a snowdrop but is much larger. Worth a space in any garden.17_04_03_5196Looking from the back of the same border.17_04_03_5188Another part of the same border.17_04_03_5183Tulip Turkestanica a species of tulip native to central Asia. It was first described by Eduard August von Regel in 1873 as a variety of T. sylvestris, then elevated to full species status two years later.17_04_03_5184Tulip Turkestanica on the edge of the “Dingly Dell” border which is actually at the back of the Japanese border.17_04_07_5240Another tulip species, Tulip Humilis17_04_06_5214Tulip Ballerina lining the path to the pergola with Tulip Apricot Impression in the background.

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Tulip Ballerina

17_04_06_5212Close up of the lovely Tulip Ballerina 17_04_07_5242Sitting under the pergola looking towards the corner bed. Tulip Gavota in the foreground.

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Tulip Gavota

17_04_07_5243From the pergola across the main lawn with Tulip Ballerina in the foreground.

17_04_06_5218Tulip Ad Rem at the back of the corner bed. When the sun comes out Tulip Ad Rem really fluoresces.

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Tulip Ad Ram

17_04_03_5172Tulip Apricot Impression together with many alliums.

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Tulip Apricot Impression

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Tulip Apricot Impression

17_04_03_5181Tulip Purissima (white) and Tulip Beauty Queen (pink) both plant in 2007

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Tulip Indian Summer and Tulip Annie Schilder

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Tulip Annie Schilder with Tulip Indian Summer in the background

17_04_07_5236Tulip Indian Summer and it has a wonderful perfume a bit like wallflowers.17_04_07_5247A final view across to the border full of Tulip Red Impression with the evening shadows across the lawn.

News flash: First rose in bloom!

17_04_07_5244As I walked back to the house I noticed that Rosa Old Blush China had started flowering

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
30 679 16

End of the Month View – March 2017

It is now the end of March and we are half way through Spring. Th snowdrops have faded but other spring delights are following.17_03_29_5132Here is my classic End of the Month View (January, October, September, August) Last January the beds looked empty. Now they are full of leaves with lots of tulips and alliums pushing up. Mostly it looks very green but on the right we can see some early tulips adding some colour. 17_03_29_5143Looking across the centre bed we can see more tulips putting on a great display. (Before you ask, these have been in for over 10 years and I have lost the reference to there name). At the back you can see a blue carpet under the rose bushes.17_03_24_5131The Anemone Blanda Atrocoerulea were planted last spring with the idea that they would provide interest under the roses at a time when rose bushes are very boring. 17_03_23_5115This is proving very successful. The leaves die back very quickly after flowering and can then be tidied up if required. Over time these will eventually grow to form a complete carpet of blue.17_03_29_5134The bed to the left of the lawn is full to bursting with tulips and alliums and should look fantastic in a few weeks time. (Actually a gardening group will be visiting then) 17_03_29_5135However, looking at it I think we need to give some more thought to structure and colour at this time of year.17_03_29_5136To the right of the pond there is a similar mass of tulips and alliums. At the back the Delphinium Black KnightClematis Jackmanii, and Clematis Viola are all making good growth.17_03_29_5138To the right of the pond Tulip Apricot Impression is opening up. 17_03_29_5139Tulip Apricot Impression in all its glory. A very nice reasonable priced tulip.

At the back left of the bed you can see some plastic which covers Peach Terrace Amber Dwarf. This is to protect the peach from peach leaf curl.17_03_24_5130Under the plastic the peach is already in flower.17_03_29_5140Further round the bed on the right the Crown imperial fritillary is also flowering.

17_03_29_5145Elsewhere in the garden the plum Prunus Jubilee is flowering so far avoiding any frost damage.17_03_29_5146

Just how nice can spring get!

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
28 649 16

This week we spent considerable time in the garden. What were we doing?17_03_23_5112For example here is our strawberry bed which is down wind from a big sycamore tree. You can see that this is covered with small seedlings from the tree.  It takes time to remove them by hand. Just one of the jobs to be done.

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.

also Sarah at Down By The Sea for Through The Garden Gate (here).

No room in the greenhouse!

At this time of year the greenhouse becomes an essential building in any garden, large or small.17_03_23_5111Despite having a relatively large garden the greenhouse is not very large. The location is not ideal either as it faces west and has a large wall to the south and east. You may well ask “why did you put it here?” I would say that the main reason was that we did not want to spoil the views down the garden and the only other sensible location was totally shaded by a large old apple tree. Actually the location does have the advantage that it does not get over hot in the middle of summer.

Nevertheless, at this time of year I am always wishing that it was a bit bigger.17_03_23_5105At the end are Osteospermum cutting that have been over wintered and a bay tree which I bring in to protect it from the winter frosts.

On the left you can see dahlia tubers that have been planted up in potting compost and about two weeks ago received their first watering. I tend to lift all our tubers as we used to get hard frosts which could be fatal for any left in the ground. After drying them off (in an upside down position so that any liquids can flow out) they are then potted up in dry potting compost and kept either in the garage or under the staging in the greenhouse. 17_03_23_5109There is not enough staging so some are started off on the ground.17_03_23_5108On the right as you enter there are even more! The issue I have is that I always end up with more dahlia plants than I started with and I am always reluctant to throw away anything that could make a good plant. The greenhouse just get fuller!17_03_23_5110It is amazing how quickly the tubers burst into life. This one is Dahlia Arabian Night a beautiful dahlia with large, fully-double flower-heads of dark burgundy-red.

In a few weeks the dahlias will all have grown to maybe 30 cm high and I will cut out the growing tips to encourage more bushy plants. However they will need to be kept in the greenhouse until the frosts have finished in May. This immediately presents an issue as during this time there are many seed to plant and grow.17_03_23_5106This is already underway with trays of cosmos and poppies and in the incubator tomatoes and many more exotic flowers. This becomes a huge juggling act and eventually the whole floor will be covered with plants and the scent becomes overpowering. The aconites and Anemone Blanda White Splendour have already been moved out and I described these in Aconites and others spring delights.17_03_23_5107Two trays that will soon be ready to plant out are Anemone Nemerosa Robinsoniana  which I treat in a similar way to the aconites.

There is a very critical timing when the tomatoes need their final potting up and need to be located in their final position in the greenhouse. To do this some of the staging is removed and I just have to hope that we can get the dahlias planted out at that time.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
12 621 16

Lambs and snowdrops

 

17_03_01_5009Spring had really arrived now. Over the years we have been splitting clumps of snowdrops to fill out the border down the lefthand side of the garden. This has been a real success with the spring bed looking absolutely gorgeous.  17_03_01_502317_03_01_5007From our back door the border is raised and you find yourself looking into the snowdrops.Which is really great to see.17_03_01_5024Looking down on the same part of the bed you can see the progress the tulips are making. These are mainly Red Impression and by April the whole of this left hand border will be full of Red Impression.17_02_22_4982The beauty of spring comes through with snowdrops, aconites,  Iris Histrioides Katherine Hodgkin and a small cyclamen. 17_03_01_5012Elsewhere the snowdrops set of the yew and box hedging.

17_03_01_5017The other arrival this week are the lambs in the field below our garden. The lambs are born in lambing sheds so when they are put out to the field they are quite strong. However, the day they arrived it turned cold and rained and I guess they wondered what it was all about. Certainly we could hear a significant amount of lambs crying out through the night.17_03_01_5016In a week or two they will be charging around the field like a group of adolescents!

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
16 574 16

All 16 hours were on the clean up following Doris. In particular, Diane did 10 hours of shredding so that we can recycle all the brushwood back into the compost heap through the year ahead. The shreddings have been bagged up and are ready to be moved to the compost area.