Mind the Gap!

I have been thinking for some time that the wooden bridge crossing the dry river in the Japanese garden would soon need replacing. It had developed a certain amount of spring when crossing!

It gave way the other day as I was crossing to the shelter, so the decision was made for me as to when I would replace it!

The path leading to it contains slabs set at the diamond so it was an easy choice to add two more as stepping stones, through the dry river bed, along with some more small cobbles.

These should not rot!

I can now carry my coffee/wine to the shelter without fear of spilling anything!

Becky’s Baking Adventures,

Ever since we have opened our garden for the National Garden Scheme our family has been part of the team. You can read about them and the part they play by clicking on ‘The Garden’ heading and then the ‘Garden Team’.

Our two granddaughters have always helped with the refreshments, when they were younger clearing the tables, then delivering orders to the tables, more recently baking cakes to sell to visitors on open days.

Rebecca the eldest granddaughter, who is now at university, has created a website where she will blog about her baking adventures. It is called Becky’s Baking Adventures. Why not go along and see her first post for Pancake day.

Rebecca ready for NGS open day.
Becky’s Baking Adventures.

Christmas Tree Festival.

I have written about the village of Pirton in Worcestershire before, every two years they hold a Christmas Tree Festival to help raise money for the church maintenance. The village of Pirton was originally part of the Croome Estate and is located one mile north of  Croome Park (now owned by the National Trust).

This year there were 26 Christmas trees individually decorated by local families. I have created a video of the festival set to seasonal music. Please select full screen on YouTube and enjoy.

Happy New Year.

Spetchley Park Gardens in May.

With the tentative easing of lock down restrictions our first garden visits have been to Spetchley Park Gardens with 30 acres to roam there is space for everyone.

Spetchley Park, Worcester has been privately owned for over 400 years, with a good garden history due to its connection with Miss Willmott. It also has tea rooms, a heritage centre and plant sales. http://www.spetchleygardens.co.uk

This gallery of pictures was taken during our visit in early May.

Where is your favourite garden to visit?

Spring (ing) into action!

This winter in Our Garden@19 has been busy with ‘Estate Maintenance’. I previously posted about replacing the trellis and fence in the white and green garden, then as now my brother Derek has been my right hand man.

Replacing the entrance to the propagation area was the simplest of our recent efforts. We gave it an oriental look.

Continuing with the oriental theme, our neighbour’s fence at the back of the oriental garden started to fall over with the weight of the ivy and snow. I decided to cut back the ivy and erect a new fence on my side.

Note the badger path underneath the fence.

Then painted it black to tie in with the rest of this area.

A moon window was added to look into the room.

Next on the list was rebuilding the raised beds.

The old obelisks I built when we came here were dismantled and rebuilt, hopefully with more style, to a design by Geoff Hamilton.

Broad Bean Scarlet Flower and Sweet Peas started in pots now planted out.

These early spring bulbs and flowers have been cheering me up on sunny days. Please click on gallery pictures to enlarge.

Back to the oriental garden.

In the rest of the garden…

The pollinators have also been taking advantage of the sunshine.

What is springing you into action this spring?

Happy New Year.

Winter visited Our Garden@19 towards the end of 2020.

Flowering in the house and keeping warm is the Christmas Cactus.

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)

From the bathroom window we can see the snow-capped Malvern Hills.

Snow boot painted by the Grandchildren as a Christmas present.

A snowy video tour of the garden wishing you a Happy New Year please turn your sound on and select full screen.

Thaw.

Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed

The speculating rooks at their nests cawed

And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flower of grass,

What we below could not see, Winter pass.

EDWARD THOMAS (1878-1917)

Thank you for visiting Brimfields.com during 2020, hopefully, some of you may be able to visit the garden in person later this year if we are able to open for the village church funds in May.

St Wulstan’s Nature Reserve.

A favourite walk of ours even before lockdown was St. Wulstan’s Nature Reserve. Before it became a nature reserve, it had a fascinating history as a US army hospital, a TB hospital and a psychiatric hospital, it is managed by Worcestershire county council.

These pictures are from a visit in early July, the open areas around the shrubby were full of colour and insect life

With the Malvern Hills in the back ground.

Because of its sweet honey like scent ladies bedstraw was used for bedding

Wild Parsnip.

The sap from wild parsnip is toxic. Cultivated parsnip left in the garden for a second year has attractive flowers.

At the end of Matron’s Path, there was the Rowan covered in berries and the wild Clematis with its fluffy seed heads.

In a lane closer to home was this flower, it looks a little like an orchid. it is the Dyer’s Greenweed. historically used to create a yellow dye.

Do you have a favourite walk?

Fragrant Flowering Shrubs for Winter Interest.

This article was originally posted on the website of the Black Pear Gardening Club   by club member Julie Munn. With its seasonal interest, especially now we all have our Christmas garden gift vouchers to spend, I invited Julie as guest publisher for this post.

Fragrant Flowering Shrubs for Winter Interest.

Winter Flowering Shrubs can add that much-needed cheer & interest to our gardens when the days are so long & dark after Christmas. As Gardeners, we are always working ahead & planning for the Spring, Summer & Autumn but Winter often gets forgotten & inspiration can be slow to come to mind when the borders look bare & uninteresting. In this article I aim to introduce some plants that can bridge the gap before Spring takes a hold & the welcome Snowdrops, Narcissi & Hellebores make an appearance. The plants which follow are all fragrant which is a bonus to the often, delicate flowers, as well as providing an enticement into our gardens when it’s cold & frosty. Winter Flowering Shrubs also provide nectar for any early foraging insects & provide a refuge for birds during harsh weather. Here are a few of my favourites.

 

Hamamelis

Hamamelis or Witch Hazel are deciduous shrubs which have very fragrant, spidery, yellow, orange or red flowers in late Winter. They grow best in acid-neutral, well-drained soil in sun or part shade. Their growth is slow, but they need space to achieve their natural, vase-like, spreading habit. Hamamelis can be planted in a mixed border or as specimens in a lawn or Woodland Garden. They also have excellent Autumn colour. Several varieties are available.

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’

Jan 2016

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ Feb 2016

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ Mar 2015

When planting Hamamelis, improve soil by adding well-rotted manure or garden compost especially if you have clay soil. Planting on a slight mound can aid drainage & ensure the grafting union is not buried.

Mahonia

Mahonia are large, evergreen shrubs &
are available in many varieties & sizes.
Their evergreen foliage provides excellent
contrast against other plants & leaves are
usually spiny. Fragrant, clusters of flowers
are a welcome sight from late Autumn
through Winter & early Spring, followed
by black or purple berries. Mahonia
provide good architectural structure in a
Mixed Border or Woodland Garden &
they tolerate part or full shade. Grow
Mahonia in any moist but well-drained
soil.

Mahonia x media ‘Lionel Fortescue’

Dec 2015

Sarcococca

Sarcococca are evergreen shrubs whose flowers have an intense, sweet fragrance in Winter & are an excellent addition to any garden. Sarcococca confusa is the most well-known variety with its small, creamy white flowers which are almost hidden by the foliage. They grow best in any humus rich, moist but well drained soil & prefer to be positioned in full or part shade. Their flowers are followed by shiny, black berries. Sarcococca can be positioned in Mixed Borders & Woodland Gardens but to enjoy the fragrance at its best, place near to an entrance door or pathway where its scent can be enjoyed. They make excellent additions to Winter Pots & Containers.

I grow S. hookeriana var. digyna which gives a pink tinge to its flowers.

Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna

Feb 2019

Chimonanthus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox, often known as Wintersweet, is a deciduous shrub with a multi-branched, bushy habit & is best for the back of a border or against a wall or fence, where they can enjoy some protection. The highly fragrant, yellow-greenish flowers appear along the previous year’s stems in Winter & early Spring & often have a reddish-purple inner petal. Their flowers can be easily missed until you smell the fragrance & then the hunt for its source takes over. The flowers are followed by fruits, capsule shaped which contain the seeds.

Chimonanthus praecox Mar 2015

They grow best in any well-drained soil in a sheltered position & enjoy full sun.

Daphne

Daphne can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs & are available in a variety of growth habits. D. bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is one of my favourite Daphne’s & its perfume is a welcome fragrance in the Winter Garden. Position this Daphne near to a pathway, entrance or in an enclosed garden area, to fully appreciate the scent. The clustered flowers are purplish-pink & white & highly scented, followed by black berries. Plant in any moist but well-drained soil in full sun or part shade & it benefits from having a sheltered position.

Daphne can be placed in a Mixed or Shrub Border but choose the spot carefully as Daphne can resent transplanting.

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’

Jan 2015

Grevillea rosmarinifolia

Grevillea rosmarinifolia is an evergreen shrub which grows to approximately 2 metres & has a loosely arching habit. Its branches of rosemary-like foliage with each rigid leaf having a prickly tip. The flowers appear in clusters at the end of branch tip & are a deep red in colour & unusual in form.

Although the flowers are not scented, I couldn’t resist bringing this plant to the fore for its long flowering period. Flowering starts from late Winter & lasts through to late Summer. Grows in acid-neutral, moist but well drained soil in full sun. I planted my Grevillea behind a wall for some shelter at its base, but it now enjoys full sun & has achieved 2 metres in height.

Somewhat prickly to work around but tolerant of pruning & shaping. Fits well into any Shrub or Mixed Border.

Grevillea rosmarinifolia

These are only a few of the many Shrubs which add Winter Interest to our gardens. So, be inspired & once all your herbaceous borders have died back, look at your garden areas & fill in the gaps with some of these lovely plants.

Julie Munn – 14th November 2019 All photos my own

About Julie.

Gardening & Plants have always been my passion, my Grandad was a keen Gardener & I have a vivid memory of watching his large fingers pricking out tiny Antirrhinum seedlings into meticulously, straight rows in seed trays. This sparked my interest & I was hooked, as well as eating the warm, ripe tomatoes he offered when I turned up at his greenhouse door. My Parents are also keen Gardeners & Allotment holders & have always encouraged me in the garden & with Nature in general while growing up.

After working in the NHS & in my husbands’ engineering business, my son no longer required my attentions, so it was now my time to do something I enjoyed. I enrolled on an RHS Course at Pershore College & little did I know it was to be my home for the next 31/2 years. I passed the RHS Diploma in Horticulture, level 2 & also volunteered at Spetchley Park Gardens which gave me some hands-on experience. The staff at Pershore College encouraged me to continue my learning, so I stayed on for a further 2 years to obtain the Pershore Diploma in Garden Design, Level 4, which I passed with distinction. I have always enjoyed Art & the design element fed my creative juices.  While at College, I started my own Garden Maintenance business & have now been self-employed for nearly 6 years. Mainly working in large gardens in the counties of Hereford & Worcester, carrying out Plant & Border Maintenance, all types of Pruning, Soil improvement, Propagation, the Control of Pests & Diseases & of course Weeding. I worked for 3 years in a Garden which was open to the public during the Spring & Summer months, helping with charity open events like NGS days as well as giving guided garden tours to groups & clubs, which I really enjoyed. I have had several Planting Design commissions & Garden Designs including a design completed on the Island of Jersey which was a real pleasure. I have a real passion for unusual plants & enjoy designing planting plans that provide interest all year round. I am now growing my Garden Design business as I really enjoy working with clients to help them achieve not only a lovely garden but one which they can enjoy & confidently manage successfully for themselves, with perhaps a little help from me, from time to time.

Julie Munn

Julie Munn Garden Services

Autumn Project 3 Completed.

I have long held the view that autumn is the beginning of the gardening year, preparing the garden and the plants for their winter rest before the explosion of spring and summer glory.

The main autumn project, this year, has been to move plants into their correct positions!

I am sure many of you can relate to the gardener’s curse of initially positioning plants in the wrong place.

Two of the first candidates for moving were the Cytisus, ‘Golden Cascade’ and Albus. While they produced wonderful spring colours and scent, they had become far too tall, even with some pruning.

I did not want to completely lose them, following a hard prune, I have moved them to the rear of the borders and hope with generous watering they will successfully establish. This has freed an area, which has been planted with Lupins and Foxgloves to flower in June for the open gardens. The lupins will be treated as annuals, in the Great Dixter way. Colourful exotics such as Dahlias and Cannas will follow.

I have for some time had a yearning for a Cornus Kousa ‘Miss Satomi’. After ordering one two years ago, I planted it in the garden. Sadly it died during the winter. The nursery that supplied it kept promising to replace it. When visiting Pershore College plant centre, they had some very reasonably priced Cornus Kousa ‘China Girl’. One was purchased, then planted in ‘Miss Satomi’s allocated position. Soon afterwards the nursery rang to say they had a replacement for me, although they could only obtain ‘Milky Way’. I decided this would have to live in a large pot, on the patio by the entrance to the oriental garden, while I decided where it was going to live permanently.

This turned out to be an ideal position, we could see it from the dining room windows. Three slabs were consequently lifted from the edge of the patio to provide a permanent home. Ironically the flower colours are more like ‘Miss Satomi’ than ‘Milky Way’, The nursery has not returned my email asking if there could have been an identification error!

Several years ago I was given a Rhus hirta Staghorn sumac. Because of its reputation for suckering, it has been residing in a pot on the patio where we could enjoy its beautiful autumn colour.

Last year we inexplicably lost a five year old Snake-bark Acer from the middle of the blue border. This completely unbalanced the border, there is an Acer griseum on the opposite side. Not wishing to risk another reasonably sized, quite expensive tree, I decided to plant the Rhus there, after seeing one looking stunning with it’s autumn colours, in a Piet Oldoulf garden.

I may pot up any suckers to sell on our open days. I think it looks very colourful in its new home among the Asters and grasses.

Moving the plant theatre in project one, freed up an area. This provided a space to plant a Greengage tree that I had purchased as a young bare root tree two years ago. It had been growing on in a pot, now it is planted along with the rhubarb, emptying more large pots.

Having admired large pots packed full of colourful exotics and annuals in other gardens, all these freed up pots will provide an opportunity to do the same.

Now to plan filling these!

There’s a Buzz in the air!

Prunus serrula is an all year round favourite tree in Our Garden@19. However at this time of year it is also popular with the bees, especially the honey bees. The flowers are quite small and insignificant compared to the bark. Standing under the canopy when in flower it is a buzz with bees.

You will need full volume to capture some of the sound, because the majority of the bees working in the top of the tree. I guess the nectar flow is greater there early in the morning, before the sun penetrates the canopy.

A friend sent this to me, I thought it was so appropriate I have now added it.

“Where the bee sucks, there suck I: 
In a cowslip’s bell I lie; 
There I couch when owls do cry. 
On the bat’s back I do fly 
After summer merrily. 
Merrily, merrily shall I live now 
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.” 


― William Shakespeare.

Is anything creating a buzz in your garden?

Bulbs, Sunshine, Tea and Cake.

The churchyard at Birlingham, Nr Pershore in Worcestershire has long been a pilgrimage for snowdrop lovers in the area. Bulb Teas are held each Saturday and Sunday in February until Sunday 24th February in the Village Hall from 11.00am to 4.00 pm.

The Grade II listed church of St James with its 15C tower, which at one time contained a dovecote, sits in the middle of the village by a small green, with the old school, now a private house, and the village hall.

We visited on Sunday, in glorious sunshine, and with the snowdrops starting to go over, crocus and cyclamen were taking their place.

A Cherry tree just outside the church wall was in full flower with honey bees taking advantage of the  sunshine to gather nectar.

 A colony of bees have made their home in the tower…

In this hole under the old clock face.

The church was open and had been decorated with flower arrangements.

The teas and cakes were proving to be very popular on this beautiful afternoon in this charming Worcestershire village.

A feeding frenzy in the rain.

I have observed over the years that the birds visit our feeders in greater numbers on a wet day, more than any other weather, except snow.

These pictures were taken on Friday through the dining room window with the flash turned off. The Goldfinches were joined by a pair of Siskins and a Bluetit during that time.

Do you have visitors to your garden in the rain?

The season of Mellow Fruitfulness & Pooh Sticks.

The end of the summer holiday saw us, with the grandchildren, visiting the Knapp and Paper-mill reserve of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. Link                                              The reserve lies in the Teme valley and the Malvern Hills area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

After a picnic at the entrance to the site, where we were watched by a cheeky Robin, we set off to explore, our youngest granddaughter could remember visiting with her school, they do have an educational facility on site. You come first to the old orchard, where some of the trees were laden with apples, which I assume previously belonged to Knapp House…

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You can venture down to the stream at several different places with a willow hide at one, placed specifically for viewing Kingfishers.

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Leigh Brook

The Knapp weir was originally used to divert water to the watermill.

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There are meadows…

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…and steep wooded banks.

 

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The hedgerows were bearing clusters of autumn fruit, which I am sure the bird life will appreciate later in the year.

The Elderberry has long been a favourite for making into wine. We made some many years ago, I have to record it was a nice but powerful drink.

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Sambucus nigra

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The GuelderRose was looking spectacular, already developing its wonderful autumn leaf colour. The berries contain one seed which is distributed by the birds.

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Viburnum opulus

Wild Hops gracefully covered many of the hedgerows and trees. It is of course cultivated for the flavouring of beer. (There is an alcoholic theme developing here!) There are male and female hop plants, the female grows the flowers that we associate with beer brewing while the male has catkins. Worcestershire and Herefordshire was historically an important hop producing area along with Kent.

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Humulus lupulus

Also covering the trees and hedgerows was ‘Old Man’s Beard’, this is the country name given to the wild Clematis when it is covered with its whispery seed heads.

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Clematis vitalba

Standing on a small bridge over the steam the girls decided to play Pooh Sticks…

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…The only problem was we could not tell which stick belonged to who, so they both claimed to have won!

IMG_3987The visit made a fitting end to the summer holidays, reminding us that autumn is on its way and like nature we should be filling the store cupboard. (Not least with wine to fight the winter chills!)

 

Murphy—?—26th July 2018.

Rescued by Mary from the Dogs Trust at approximately 18 months old, Murphy has been our friend, companion and protector here at Our Garden@19.

His contribution to the team can be read in ‘The Garden – Garden Team’.                               He was always ready to play with his toys, leaving them conveniently around for us to trip over, endeavouring to keep the garden free of cats, letting us know when the Badgers were visiting the garden and joining in when the church bells rang!  He would happily spend his day with us out in the garden, either up in the potting shed or lay just outside the summer house and looking hopeful when we had tea and biscuits! During his later years the open fronted potting shed became his favourite daytime, summer retreat. One event transcended all this for him and that was going for a walk with his mistress.

Oh! he did not like having his photo taken.

The garden seems empty at the moment.

‘The Mad Month of May.’

March is usually considered to be the ‘mad’ month of the year. Here at Brimfields.com, May qualifies due to so many ‘events’ taking place.

This weekend the Hanley Open Gardens takes place over the three days of the bank holiday weekend. Our Garden@19 will be open on the Sunday and Monday. (Spit and polish between the showers).

The following weekend is the RHS Malvern Spring Show  described on their website as “Set against the magnificent Malvern Hills, our spring festival is packed with flowers, food, crafts and family fun.” A good introduction to the ‘Gardening’ content can be found here on the Chatty Gardener Blog   We will be there, one day, helping on the National Garden Scheme  (NGS) stand.

Winchcombe Gardening Club have invited me to give a presentation to them on the 16th, this is my sixth visit, they either enjoyed the talks or are trying to get their monies worth!

The following Saturday our gardening club, The Black Pear Gardening Club, is holding a Gardener’s Market, there is also a Worcestershire HPS meeting that afternoon which I would like to attend, timing will be tight!

The last weekend in May is another Bank Holiday and friends of ours are opening their garden in Worcester, for the NGS on two days, where we will be helping with teas and plant sales.

(Plant propagation has been an on going process for some time, preparing for the garden openings sales table).

June is a much quieter month, we only have our NGS opening to organise on the 9th and 10th June. (More spit and polish). It all adds up to make life interesting!

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What is keeping you ‘active’ in May?

New Winter Visitor.

Today’s snow brought a new visitor to the garden, for this winter, the Pied Wagtail.

From the RSPB website:

“The pied wagtail, Motacilla alba, is a delightful small, long-tailed and rather sprightly black and white bird. When not standing and frantically wagging its tail up and down it can be seen dashing about over lawns or car parks in search of food.”
You can read more at the RSPB Website.

 

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Pied Wagtail.

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Pied Wagtail.

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Enjoying dried meal worms.

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With a Black Bird friend eyeing up the pear on the feeder.

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Has the snow brought you any new winter visitors?

The National Botanic Garden of Wales.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is one of our favourite places to visit in Wales.
“It is a charity dedicated to the research and conservation of biodiversity, to sustainability, lifelong learning and the enjoyment of the visitor.”

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The Gate House.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales was opened to the public on the 24th May 2000.     We first visited in 2005.

The double walled vegetable garden was not open then, you could however view it from a platform. It has now been rebuilt from a ruin.

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The double walled vegetable garden in 2005.

Our next visit was in 2013.

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The Broad Walk

The Broad-Walk.

The 220m long avenue which divides the Garden is known as the Broad-walk.
One of the longest herbaceous borders in Britain, from spring to winter, this Garden provides a colourful welcome.
It begins at the Gatehouse, passing this water sculpture called Scaladaqua Tonda.

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Scaladaqua Tonda 

The Rill.

I particularly love this rill, it runs the full length of the Broad Walk, vanishing into pools along the way, starting at this dragon topped mirror pool.

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This feeds water down into The Rill,

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a meandering stream that flows down the Broadwalk with a shape and course that is inspired by Carmarthenshire’s Towy Valley river.

It then disappears into the Circle of Decision, a fountain shaped like the cross section of an ammonite,

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The great glasshouse.

Designed by Foster and Partners, is the largest structure of its kind in the world. The structure is (312 ft) long and (180 ft) wide, with a roof containing 785 panes of glass.

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The great glasshouse.

The plants are divided into sections from Chile, Western Australia, South Africa, California, the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean.

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The Japanese Garden.

Designed by professor Fukuhara for the 2001 Chelsea flower show, it won a gold medal and best in show, after which it was recreated here.
“It is named Sui Ou Tei, a reflection of the national flowers of Japan and Wales – the cherry tree and daffodil. It consists of three traditional Japanese gardens – the Stream and Lake Garden, the Gravel Garden and the Tea Garden. Filled with symbolism and guided by Zen philosophy, this is a lovely place to sit and contemplate.”

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The Japanese Garden.

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The Aqualab.

This is a place of learning, perched upon stilts this wooden building is full of microscopes and study aids, here schoolchildren can get the opportunity to explore the wonders of nature.

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The Aqualab,

 

The Tropical House.

Situated in the Walled garden.

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The Tropical House.

It was designed by the world-renowned Welsh architect John Belle, celebrated for his restoration of some of the most famous landmarks in the USA. It is home to tropical plants and a butterfly house.

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The Double Walled Garden.

When it was built 200 years ago, the Double Walled Garden, at over three acres, could provide enough fresh fruit and vegetables for a household of 30 people, and employed 12 full- time gardeners.

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The double walled vegetable garden in 2013.

The two walls, one brick, one stone, provided shelter from animals and the harsher elements, and created important microclimates where tender plants could grow. It is divided into four quadrants, each with its own distinctive pathway. Part of the vegetable garden is given over to local School Allotments, where the schools have built a plastic bottle greenhouse.

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The Bee Garden.

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You can end your exploration at the Stable Block, this houses the Seasons Restaurant, Gift Shop and Oriel Yr Ardd Gallery.

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The Stable Block Restaurant.

If you are planning to visit Wales during the year, we would recommend a visit to the Botanic Garden of Wales, there is much more to see than I have shown.

It also ties in well with a visit to Aberglasney Gardens, another favourite with us.

 

Feed the Birds. March 2018.

The snow has brought on extra demand around the bird feeding stations with the arrival of the Thrush family, most notably the Fieldfares and the Redwings. they come in search of any berries on the holly bushes and remaining crab apples. I usually add to this natural supply with cut up apples.

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This is my apple.

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Fieldfare

Fieldfare

 

Song Thrush.

Redwing.

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Redwing.

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Redwing

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Robin on the dried meal worm feeder.

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Robin

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Female Blackcap.

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Female Blackcap enjoying dried mealworms.

 

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Male Blackbird and the Lion guarding the entrance to the Oriental Garden.

Young female Blackbird.

Female Blackbird.

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Starling.

To see my previous post Feed the Birds visit:Here

Have you had some winter visitors?

Chris, Camassia & Chaos.

Our gardening club, The Black Pear Gardening Club, meets monthly, with speakers during the winter months and garden visits during the summer.

For the February meeting we welcomed Stella Exley from Hare Spring Cottage Plants, York.

The Title of her talk was ‘Chris, Camassia and Chaos’.

Stella regaled us with accounts of the trials and tribulations she went through to provide camassia to Chris Beardshaw for his RHS Chelsea gold medal winning garden in 2015.

It started with a chance meeting at Arley Hall show, following which Chris contacted Stella, to arrange a visit to her nursery.  She holds the national collection of camassia and grows other hardy perennials.

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He showed Stella his plans for the show garden and she agreed to grow 2000 camassia, individually in pots, to provide the 1000 that he needed.
In order to do this she decided to actually grow 4000, this was on top of the 10,000 that she normally grew, nearly all single handed!

All her plants are grown outside on the floor with only a small poly tunnel and greenhouse to work in. That winter they were ‘blessed’ with two periods of snow which held back the development of the camassia. With her experience of growing them she knew they could not be forced on under cover, even if she had the facilities to do so.
The decision was made to rotate them in and out of the poly tunnel, for only two hours during the day and four hours at night, which she did wearing a head torch. She then started to feed them carefully with liquid feed so as not to scorch the leaves.

Chris visited the nursery to see the camassia in flower for the first time just before the show.camassia-gallery-about-gallery-07

Delighted with what he saw he asked Stella to choose the ones that would go on to the lorry for the garden. To make it more difficult they had to be transported trailer at a time down the narrow track to the waiting artic lorry.

Stella ended by showing us pictures of the gold medal winning garden.

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Following a question and answer session, she was busy selling some of the many pots of camassia she had brought with her all the way from North Yorkshire.
There was general agreement that this was one of the most interesting talks we have had.

Stella and the pots of Camassia she brought for sale at the meeting.

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I succumbed to the ‘Charms’ of Camassia leichtlinii ‘Sacajawea’ for our Green and white garden. It has ivory white flowers with variegated foliage.

You can visit Stella’s website: Hare Spring Cottage Plants.

The website for the Black Pear gardening Club: BPGC

Do you grow camassia?

Unless indicated otherwise all pictures are published with Stella Exley’s permission.

Hats, Gloves, Scarves & Muddy Boots.

On Wednesday we replaced our Hats, Gloves, Scarves and Muddy Boots with our ‘Wednesday Best’ to attend the Worcestershire County National Garden Scheme AGM and lunch. ( This being a charity, garden owners have to pay for their lunch).

With the Chief Executive, George Plumptre, of the NGS in attendance, Our County Chairman, David Morgan  presented an impressive report for the year.

Worcestershire NGS raised a total of £74,261.34 direct from garden owners opening during 2017, with a net total of £79,823.28, including advertising and donations.   Nationally, the NGS donated over £3million to beneficiaries in 2017.  You can see which charities benefit from this by visiting the NGS website Here

Before lunch we were entertained and informed by Darren Rudge, BBC local radio gardening expert on ‘Tea bags, bra’s and tights, – household items that can make gardening more cost effective!”

Following the AGM and lunch, we all collected our advertising material for the year, posters, direction arrows and signs to put around the garden.

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County booklets are distributed around various garden centres, shops, tourist offices and any venue where the public can accesses them.

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The Garden Visitor’s Handbook 2018, which covers all N.G.S. open gardens in England and Wales, is available from the NGS website. It makes an ideal companion for the holidaying gardener.

The Hats, Gloves, Scarves and Muddy Boots were back on the next day, we have a deadline to meet!

Do you visit gardens when you are on holiday?

New Visitors.

I along with many fellow bloggers enjoy watching and feeding the birds that visit our gardens throughout the year.  New visitors to our garden@19 this winter have been, a fleeting glimpse of a Gold Crest, a male Bullfinch and on the niger seed feeder, the male and female Siskin.

They are sometimes referred to as the Black-headed Goldfinch, living mainly in woodland in Scotland, Wales and Europe. As with many other birds they migrate south during the winter searching for food.

I managed to capture some pictures of them on the feeders.

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Goldfinch and female Siskin.

Female Siskin.
Female Siskin.

Male Siskin
Male Siskin.

 

I posted about the birds that visit the garden and the different feeds I offer here, last year: Feed the Birds  

Have you had any New Visitors this winter?

 

Croome Park.

One of our favourite local places to visit is Croome Court (NT).
Ideally situated for a walk in the park land, visit to the house, church and end up with refreshments in the restaurant. During busy periods refreshments are served from a Tea Car and in a cafe in the Court.

“Croome Park was Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s first complete landscape design. He was brought to Croome in 1752 by George William Coventry, the 6th Earl of Coventry, who had just inherited Croome Court and its deer parks together with 15,000 acres of Worcestershire.
The new Earl was 28 years old and full of ideas on the new movement towards classicism in architecture and landscape design and probably saw the young Brown as a man whose aspirations matched his own. Together they set about transforming the 17th century house and its Dutch style parterre garden into an undulating rural idyll set about with trees and lakes and rolling away to the distant Malvern Hills. At the focal point of this scene sits the house, Croome Court, which was given a total face-lift that changed it into the Palladian style mansion that we see today
But there is a practical reason behind all this beauty – Croome Court sat on the edge of a bog. Brown, though, had an instinctive talent for understanding drainage and water management, so he created a lake and a mile and a half long serpentine river to draw away all the surplus water. His scheme worked and so the basis for the creation of what seems an entirely natural English landscape was set.”
From Friends of Croome website:  http://www.friendsofcroomepark.org.uk

The Church, within the park is, St Mary Magdalene Church, Croome D’Abitot, which is a redundant Anglican church.
The original church at Croome was demolished by the 6th Earl of Coventry when he decided to replace his adjacent Jacobean house in the 1750s. His new house and park were designed and laid out by Capability Brown as was the church, set on a low hill nearby in Croome Park.
The Chinese bridge, originally designed by William Halfpenny in the 1740s for the 6th Earl of Coventry is in the popular Chinese style. The bridge spanned the river close to Croome Court and linked the house to the wider parkland. Sadly, the bridge is thought to have been lost to rot and decay only 100 years after it was built.
A new English Oak bridge was opened in 2017, identically built, using the original plans.

There was originally a deer park at Croome, they can occasionally be seen in the surrounding landscape. Today the wildlife is mainly squirrels and birds. Water fowl enjoy the river and there is a bird hide for visitors, looking out on to a collection of bird feeders.

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If you are visiting Worcestershire, please add NT Croome Court to your itinerary.

Visitor information can be found Here

Do you have a favourite walk?

Merry Christmas.

Mary usually decorates our mantlepiece for Christmas. This years theme is felted robins and holly leaves she has made, all on a snow dusted Yule Log. (From the Prunus serrula in ourgarden@19).

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Wishing you all an enjoyable, peaceful Christmas and Happy New Year.

Thank you for following, reading and commenting on brimfields.com throughout this first year on WordPress, I have enjoyed reading your comments and blogs.

You can see 2016’s mantlepiece Here

Christmas Tree Festival.

The village of Pirton, Worcestershire, was originally part of the Croome Estate and is located one mile north of  Croome Park (now owned by the National Trust). Pirton Court was historically the home of Viscount Deerhurst. The village church, St. Peters, containing elements dating back to the C12, with its unique black and white timber bell tower has recently been in need of substantial repairs to the bell tower, the clock and weather vane.

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St. Peter’s Church, Pirton, Worcestershire.

This small community has undertaken several imaginative fund-raising enterprises and since 2013 they have held a Christmas Tree Festival. These pictures are from our visit this year. ( The red glow in the pictures are from the over head heaters.)

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There were 26 trees, each one decorated, by a family in the village, with a different theme, some for fun, others in memory of absent friends or family.

Please tap each picture for the title.

 

 

 

The windows and doors were also decorated.

 

 

 

Warming cups of tea and cake were for sale in a marquee alongside the church.

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Have you decorated your Christmas tree?