When I was sitting in the garden yesterday, I was delighted to see the birds were using these pot saucers as a water supply.
Very few plants in our gardens can survive these temperatures let alone flower. These are the few exceptions here.
I was once told I would regret planting this in my garden because it can be invasive. In our free draining soil, I am very happy to have it.
What is surviving in your garden?
The Old Vicarage East Ruston.
During our tour of East Anglia, this garden was high on my Wish list to visit.
When Alan Gray and Graham Robeson first came to the old vicarage there was no garden whatsoever, it was a blank canvas. Every garden was designed entirely by them as were the various buildings, their sole aim has been to try and enhance the setting of their home. Alan occasionally writes for the RHS magazine and has his own YouTube channel. Throughout the garden there are many rare and unusual plants growing. They propagate from these in small numbers so that they may be purchased from the plant sales area. There is a converted barn for a tea room with a wonderful display of vintage garden tools on the walls. The garden lies 1½ miles from the North sea.
The pedestrian entrance court with its free draining gravely soil is planted each spring with a variety of succulents, with Aeonium ‘zwartkop’ and the slaty blue Cotyledon orbiculata taking centre stage.
The garden spans 32 acres, containing many garden rooms to discover and explore. Herbaceous borders, gravel gardens, sub-tropical gardens, a box parterre, sunken rose garden, Mediterranean garden, Walled garden, large woodland garden and a Desert Wash garden.
The Desert Wash.
This area of the garden is designed to resemble parts of Arizona where, it probably only rains, once or twice a year, but when it does rain it floods and great rushes of water channel through the landscape tossing rocks and stones around and leaving behind dry channels and islands where succulent plants flourish.
The real work in making this garden started one metre below the surface where they broke up the sub-soil and incorporated lots of gravel. Then they built layer upon layer of gravel and gravel mixed with soil, the aim being to keep this area very free draining especially during the winter.
Many of the plants grown here are able to tolerate some cold provided they remain dry at the root. Some four hundred tonnes of flint of various sizes have been used in the construction of this area.
They are always experimenting and pushing the boundaries with the planting. Besides the usual drought tolerant plants you will find Puyas, Bromeliads, Agaves and Aloes. Nothing is wrapped for winter protection, the excellent drainage prevents water lying around their roots.
Slide Show The Desert Wash.
Viewed through a porthole cut in the shelter belt is this much photographed borrowed view of Happisburgh lighthouse.
St Mary’s church at the end of the garden.
This is one area of the garden, there is so much more to see not least its magnificent Walled Garden which was built to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
RHS Hyde Hall.
In 1955 when Dr and Mrs Robinson came to Hyde Hall in 1955 there were only six trees on the top of a windswept hill and no garden. They donated the 42-acre garden, Hyde Hall, to the Royal Horticultural Society in 1993. We visited there in August 2012 during our garden tour of Essex and East Anglia.
A dry garden was created in 2001 by Mathew Wilson, curator at the time, it aimed to show visitors how they can work with the environment and use drought-tolerant plants.
This path leads into the dry garden, described as one of the crowning achievements of Hyde Hall.
Work began in the winter of 2000, which ironically was one of their wettest winters. It is home to more than 400 different species of plant.
The garden has been built on a south-facing slope covering 0.4 acres, using Gabbro boulders and subsoil mounded over the rubble.
The topsoil was mixed with grit and sand to offer a free-draining environment for the plants.
On summer days, with the rolling hills in the backdrop, the garden looks rather like a Mediterranean outcrop, and it’s easy to forget that you are in the heart of Essex.
In spring, the garden shines with golden Euphorbia, conifers are included for winter interest and drought tolerance, while in summer it turns purple as Verbena bonariensis attracts hosts of butterflies and ornamental grasses towers high above the garden.
Such as the wonderful Stipa gigantea below. Alliums are planted for spring colour with Agapanthus, which you just see on the left for later in the year. Also on the left is Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ which provides colour over a long season.
Echinops ‘platinum blue’ and Verbascum olympicum enjoy these conditions.
Also, the beautiful Crinum Powelli is here with Eryngium planum.
From here you could look down onto the gravel or scree garden which had more recently been developed.
Some of the stars up close.
Hyde Hall is well worth a visit if you are in the area, this is only one of the many inspirational gardens within its boundary. Do you have any drought tolerant stars shining in your garden?
With the heat wave currently restricting me to the shade of my office and cooling fan, I thought it provided an ideal opportunity to write about drought-tolerant gardens.
We spent a week in August 2012 visiting gardens in Essex and East Anglia, one of the driest areas of the UK.
The first one we visited was Beth Chatto’s, famous for its gravel garden.
Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden.
Beth Chatto was born in 1923 to enthusiastic gardening parents. After working as a teacher she married the late Andrew Chatto, his lifelong interest in the origins of plants influenced the development of the gardens and their use of plants to this day.
Following Andrew’s retirement, they built their new home on wasteland that had been part of the Chatto fruit farm. The site presented many difficulties for starting a garden including low annual rainfall. It was to Andrew’s plant research that they turned.
Informed by his knowledge Beth selected plants for a series of gardens that could thrive under different conditions. Beth Chatto’s first book, “The Dry Garden”, was published in 1978.
The gardens began in 1960 and from an overgrown wasteland of brambles, parched gravel and boggy ditches it has been transformed, using plants adapted by nature to thrive in different conditions. Thus an inspirational, informal garden has developed.
A light and airy tearoom allows visitors to relax and take in their surroundings over homemade cake.
The world-famous gravel garden inspired by the low local rainfall, is full of drought-resistant plants from the Mediterranean. The site was originally the nursery car park.
It was first subsoiled to break up the pan. The soil is largely gravel and sand, mushroom compost was added to help plants become established.
This picture shows Agapanthus Evening Star & Verbena bonariensis with large-leaved Berginias, in the bed across the path. The Berginias are a favourite for edging borders, providing all-year-round interest with many developing a rich red tone in winter.
Self-seeders such as Fennel and Verbena thrive in these conditions……….
along with Stipa tennuissima and Verbascum.
A few conifers were included as accent plants, Beth wrote in her book, “they, surprisingly, survived due, I think, to mulching in the early days” here also Stipa gigantea and Euphobias.
Perovskia blue spire and Alliums are some of the plants that make up the planting palette of this garden.
The Mount Etna Broom in the centre, has grown to become a 15ft tree.
Clean gravel is added to the paths from time to time to help conserve moisture and suppress germinating weeds.
Trees, such as Eucalyptus and shrubs were also chosen for their drought-tolerant qualities.
The Scree Garden.
Planted in 1999 in part of the old mediterranean garden, the Judas tree in the centre of the island was planted over 45 years ago and forms a focal point.
On the day we visited succulents and alpines were on display along with the washing
The accompanying plant nursery stocks over 2000 plants, all displayed by growing conditions. They do provide a mail order service.
If you are in the area I would recommend a visit, there is also a water garden, woodland and reservoir gardens. You can visit the restaurant, plant centre & gravel garden free of charge.
July can be an anticlimax in the garden following the excitement of June with its roses, peonies and Iris.
These are some of the plants trying to fill the void here in our garden.
The sunny front border is always home to some self-seeded Eryngium Giganteum (Miss Willmotts Ghost) as popular with the pollinators as the gardener.
In the silver birch border, the Anthemis tinctoria is in full flower perfectly complimenting the Clematis ‘Blue Angel’.
One of my favourite July plants is the Francoa sonchifolia with its orchid-like flowers. It is very drought tolerant and easy to grow from seed.
The blue border is in some areas living up to its name with Geranium Johnson’s Blue and a self-seeded Campanula lactiflora ‘Prichard’s Variety’ matching the garden furniture.
On the other side of the blue border around the sundial are planters of Zantedeschia Contor, Agapanthus and two Cotyledon orbiculata a striking drought-tolerant succulent
Either side of the Banana Bench is the delicate Dianthus carthusianorum, ideal for dry areas.
We recently visited a garden owned by a garden designer who had classic urns set back in a border planted with annuals.
I had these two lovely Yorkshire pots, inspired, I built two wooden stands and planted them with Fuchsia and mini Petunias to provide some extra colour in a shady area against the fence on either side of the never-ending path around the banana bench
In another shady area on the patio is a small display of Ferns and Hostas.
On the fence by the raised herb bed is a fan-trained red currant bush laden with fruit. I need to cover them with a net before the birds find them!
Proving that July doesn’t have to be dull in the garden is the Clematis ‘Perle d’Azur on the trellis behind the banana bench. Please turn your sound on, select watch on YouTube and select full screen when you play the video.
What is providing colour in your July garden?
We recently visited a group of gardens in Worcester who were opening for the National Garden Scheme, I don’t think many of the visitors would have expected to find such a wonderful Bonsai collection in Worcester.
From the NGS website,
“The garden has been 14 years in the making. It was designed around a collection of Bonsai trees which needed to be displayed sympathetically in fairly natural surroundings. It is a low maintenance garden with many oriental influences and a studio designed to look like a tea house. There are also two small ponds with fish and wildlife.”
The owners are Malcolm & Diane Styles.
I am sure you will agree with me this is a wonderful garden and bonsai collection.
A video tour of the roses in Our Garden@19.
Please turn your sound on watch on YouTube and select full screen and enjoy.
On June the 4th and 5th six gardens in the village of Hanley Swan opened in aid of the National Garden scheme.
Thank you to all the supporters who baked cakes, helped with serving the teas and selling plants in support of Saint Richards Hospice, especially the garden owners who put a lot of work in to ensure their gardens looked wonderful and not least of all the visitors without who we would not raise any money for the two charities.
Some pictures from our garden just before opening.
We also had a group visit from Evesham U3A on Wednesday.
Despite poor weather on Sunday we raised £1619 to share between the two charities.
This bank holiday we joined in with 16 others in the village for the Open Gardens and Flower Festival.
Some of the tulips had gone over however the Camassia leichtlinii ‘Blue Heaven’ were just beginning to open.
Their true beauty can be really appreciated when photographed up close.
I created a short video of the garden during a quiet moment between visitors.
Please turn on your sound, select Watch on YouTube then select full screen.
I guess, if you asked any gardener how to sow seeds, you would receive a different answer from each one.
I recently gave a zoom presentation to the Worcestershire Careers Association gardening group on seed sowing.
These are my thoughts.
There is a wide range of pots and containers for seed sowing, generally, I prefer to use small pots rather than seed trays because they provide a deeper root run until you get round to pricking out the seedlings.
Large seed trays also encourage the sowing of too much at a time.
I also use root trainers. The large ones are useful for growing sweetpeas, beans and sweet corn, and they save pricking out. You can then plant them directly into the garden. You can buy smaller ones, ideal for starting vegetables such as lettuce or annual flowers.
A free alternative is used toilet rolls centres which fit nicely into the plastic containers grapes are sold in.
The choice of compost can be a controversial area. Legislation regarding the use of peat is driving the move to peat-free compost.
I think you only need one type of compost, multipurpose. I use Melcourt ‘sylva grow’, a peat-free one recommended by the RHS. This year I am experimenting with using Fertile Fibre, a Coir product. This is dehydrated making it light to carry and is easily rehydrated for use.
There is no doubt peat-free compost requires more feed, which may explain why some comparisons show poor results.
I also use fine grade vermiculite for seed sowing, it is light to carry, helps prevent seedlings from damping off and benefits root development. Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that is heat-treated. Traditionally horticultural sand or grit would have been used and as a gardener with recurring back problems, reducing the weight of materials is an important consideration.
For small seeds, I sieve multipurpose compost, to remove the larger pieces, mixing it 50/50 with vermiculite. When planting small seeds, I water from above before sowing or from below afterwards.
After sowing I lightly cover with vermiculite and label. You can cover it with a polythene bag and place it on a well-lit window sill. I use a heated propagator which negates the need to cover individual pots. You will need to remove the individual cover when the seeds have germinated, keep warm with good light to prevent them from becoming leggy.
Coir Jiffy pellets are useful for propagating seeds and cuttings, they require soaking before use.
Once germinated they can be planted out into pots to grow on, this also saves pricking out.
I use a mixture of compost with around 25% vermiculite for growing on.
I grow larger seeds such as sweet peas, broad or runner beans in the same 50/50 mix without sieving, planting into root trainers or toilet roll centres.
What is your secret to successful seed sowing?
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!
Following my post ‘Peace and Tranquility’ I thought it would be interesting to post some pictures, as slide shows, of Japanese gardens we have visited here in the UK.
From their website:
“The Japanese Garden was almost certainly the result of Alan de Tatton’s visit to the Anglo-Japanese Exhibition at the White City in London in 1910.
Inspired by what he saw there, Alan de Tatton decided to introduce a Japanese garden to Tatton. A team of Japanese workmen arrived to put together what is now rated to be the “finest example of a Japanese Garden in Europe.”
The Shinto Shrine and artefacts contained within the garden are all reputed to have been brought from Japan especially for the construction of the garden.” More Tatton Japanese Garden.
From their website. “The Japanese Garden encompasses Thomas Simpson’s love for the unique elegance and incomparable beauty of Japanese horticulture.
He imported genuine stone and bronze artefacts to enhance the garden. The Tea House is draped with Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) and plants native to Japan have been used including the spectacular Kurume Hybrid azaleas, Japanese cherries and maples together with hostas, Hakon grass and a Ginkgo. The pool is home to large Koi carp best viewed when crossing the water on the stepping stones. The Japanese garden is still regarded as one of the finest in the country.” Website: Compton Acres Japanese Garden.
Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons.
From their website: “It would be difficult to find a poet who hasn’t opined on the changing seasons, it is equally relevant for gardeners, be they amateur or professional, who wait with eager anticipation for the first signs that the earth is thawing.
Raymond Blanc OBE is no different and along with his garden team, waits patiently for spring to arrive, taking time to remember the different destinations he has visited and how these trips during different times of the year have coloured his visions.
When East and West meet
His visit to Japan in the early nineties was one such occasion, which ignited his imagination and inspired him to create a Japanese Garden in the environs of the 15th century Belmond Le Manoir. Captivated by the Japanese tradition of Hanami, a longstanding practice of welcoming spring (held between March and May), which is also known as the ‘cherry blossom festival’, Blanc wanted to bring part of his Japanese adventure back to the UK.
The Japanese Tea Garden at Belmond Le Manoir entices guests to become more mindful as they explore, crossing the oak bridge to find sanctuary and was influenced by Taoist, Buddhist and Shinto traditions.” More details of the Japanese Garden.
National Botanic Garden of Wales.
From their website: “This Japanese garden is called ‘Sui ou tei’, which refers to the national flowers of Japan and Wales, the cherry blossom and the daffodil.
It combines three different traditional Japanese garden styles: the pond-and-hill garden, the dry garden and the tea garden. Japanese garden styles have developed over a 1400-year history, each style celebrating the changing seasons in different ways.
Such changes illustrate the transience of life, and tiny details, such as leaf buds opening in springtime, play an important role by drawing attention to the passage of time.
In the last 150 years, Japanese gardens have been created all over the world, adapted to local conditions. They are appreciated for their tranquillity and sense of calm when visitors take the time to absorb the scenes presented by the garden.” Website.
Bridges Stone Mill.
Closer to home and on a more modest scale is Bridges Stone Mill, they open for the National Garden Scheme in Worcestershire.
“Once a cherry orchard adjoining the mainly C19 flour mill, this is now a 2½ acre year-round garden laid out with trees, shrubs, mixed beds and borders. The garden is bounded by a stretch of Leigh Brook (an SSSI), from which the mill’s own weir feeds a mill leat and small lake. A rose parterre and a traditional Japanese garden complete the scene.” Bridges Stone Mill NGS link
Then there is our garden with its small Japanese garden, open for the National Garden Scheme with five gardens in the village of Hanley Swan on the 4th and 5th of June. Details of all the gardens here: Hanley Swan NGS Open Gardens.
If you have the opportunity to visit a garden with a Japanese element, please do, I am sure you will find it relaxing and inspiring.
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.
It has been said many times during the pandemic how important gardens and outdoor spaces have become to people from all walks of life.
Whether walking in the city parks or exploring the countryside everyone feels a benefit.
Those of us with gardens have also found them sanctuaries either to sit in enjoying a beverage of your choice or with your head down planting, weeding or sowing, when you soon forget everything else that has been going on.
When gardens have been able to open to the public there has been an increase in visitors, delighted to be able to visit gardens again.
Historically, gardens have always been considered sanctuaries, from the ancient Islamic gardens to the tranquillity of Japanese gardens.
Irene and I have, for some time, been attracted to Japanese style gardens, inspired by visits to Japanese gardens with the Japanese Garden Society. Most notable to Tatton Park where we meet Professor Fukuhara who helped with the restoration of their Japanese garden.
He took us inside the Japanese garden at Tatton and gave us a tour explaining the restoration of this famous garden.
The professor lectures on Japanese garden design in Japan and designed the gold medal and best in show Japanese garden at Chelsea in 2001, now relocated to the National Botanical Gardens in Wales, which we have visited several times.
He also redesigned and supervised the construction of the rock garden at RHS Wisley for the bicentenary of the RHS.
Those of you who have visited our garden will know we have a small enclosed area designed in the style of a Japanese stroll garden. Many visitors comment on the different atmosphere when they enter and sit in the shelter. With the three essential elements of a Japanese garden, rocks, water and plants, there is at the one entrance a Cherry tree.
Inside there are flowering spring trees, shrubs, bamboo and Acers, for their wonderful leaf colour, with rocks and a dry river bed leading to the Bamboo water spout.
The other gateway is covered with the stunning Japanese white Wisteria, floribunda ‘ Alba .‘
These elements can, I think, be easily incorporated into any garden or even just on a patio to help bring that sense of peace and tranquillity that many have searched for during these times.
Little did I realise when I booked this month’s speaker, for our garden club, on Japanese garden design history how important some of these elements in a garden would become to those of us who are fortunate to own a garden.
Wishing you peace and tranquility were ever you find it.
Three plants bringing colour and joy into our garden this January.
What is bringing colour and joy into your garden?
I have chosen these pictures taken in Our Garden@19 during 2021 to create a calendar for this year.
It is difficult to select a favourite photograph from each month of the year.
However these are my choices.
I have chosen my favourite photograph from last year as a calendar cover picture.
Do you have a favourite picture from 2021?
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.
In the greenhouse.
In the garden by day,
and by night.
In the house.
Thank you for reading brimfields.com during the year and leaving your comments. I enjoy reading your blogs they provide a touch of sanity during these mad times.
Merry Christmas. I leave you with this Christmas Cracker joke.
Why did no-one bid for Rudolf and Dasher on eBay?
Because they were two deer.
I have previously written about St Wulstan’s Nature Reserve being a favourite walk.
These pictures are from our visit yesterday.
Even a wet December day can provided some photo opportunities.
Photographs taken with a Canon EOS1100D with a Canon 18-200mm lens.
With encouragement from the Government and countryside organisations such as the RHS and NT there is an increasing interest in planting trees and the benefits to the environment of doing so. While most of these reported on are on a large scale, if chosen correctly there are some wonderful ornamental and fruitful trees for even the smallest garden.
Our garden is approximately 125ft by 45 and within it we have 12 ornamental and 12 fruit trees.
One favourite, Acers can be grown in a pot for many years. They will grow in any reasonable soil although they do prefer soil on the acid side which can be achieved by mixing some ericaceous compost in the pot or planting hole. You can purchase simple soil test kits to find out if you have acid or alkaline soil.
We have several Acers in our garden, Acer griseum is a special one. It looks wonderful with the winter sun shining through its peeling cinnamon-like bark.
In the oriental garden, a favourite one is Acer Negundo Flamingo, its variegated leaves consisting of green centres splashed at the edges with salmon pink, which later turn cream. The trunk of this tree is now four foot tall, the branches above this are pollarded in January to help keep it compact along with preventing it from reverting to all green leaves.
Also in the Oriental garden is the Ginkgo biloba it’s autumn foliage turning a deep saffron yellow. It is a member of a very old genus, with some fossilised leaves found dating back 200 million years. They can grow up to 100 ft tall, I purchased a young 4 ft one which I prune in January to keep it as a column shape.
The Sorbus family is worth considering, Sorbus Eastern Promise is a lovely small tree, perfect for the small garden, its dark green leaves turn deep purple and orange before falling onto our garden during the autumn.
Sorbus Olympic Flame is one to seek out, it is a small, highly colourful Japanese Rowan tree with a columnar habit distinctive for its large foliage that starts coppery in the spring before turning green in summer and fiery red come autumn.
You cannot mention autumn colour without considering the Liquidambar we have Liquidambar slyraciflua ‘Stella’.
One in our neighbour’s garden is particularly stunning in the autumn, always turning colour before ours. This will eventually become a large tree, fortunately it is slow-growing.
Spring colour can be provided by the magnolia family, ‘Lennei’ with its pink-white flowers can grow to 20ft without pruning. A more compact variety is Magnolia stellata.
There is a wide selection of ornamental Cherry trees for the garden. This unknown one in our garden is loved by the honey bees.
Although normally associated with spring blossom, there is Prunus Autumnalis, an Autumn-Winter flowering cherry with white blossom. It is a small tree, suitable for most small gardens. Choose a variety with a single rather than a double flower for the pollinators.
I call Prunus serrula our Champion Tree, it is grown for its wonderful mahogany bark although its delicate flowers are loved by honey bees.
The Silver Birch Betula jacquemontii is considered the best for white bark. With its upright habit it can be grown as a single or multi-stemmed feature. It can reach 4metres within ten years when some carful pruning will be required if you need to control its eventual height and shape.
I think the first choice of tree for any small garden should be fruit trees. The modern grafted Apple tree is well suited to any size garden. We have in our garden Malus ‘Blenheim Orange’, ‘Grenadier’, ‘Hereford Russett’, ‘Kidd’s Orange Red’, ‘Rosette’ and of course Worcester Pearmain’. We also have the Cherry ‘Sunburst’, the Pear ‘Invincible’, Plums ‘Opal’, Victoria the ‘Cambridge Greengage’ and the Crab Apple ‘Golden Hornet’ trained as a globe.
The smallest of the trained fruit tree are the step-over apple trees, 18 inches to 2ft tall with a level side branch trained each side, you can literally step over them. They are very productive, often found in French Potagers and are excellent for edging a vegetable border or herb garden. Apples, pears and cherries can be decoratively trained into fan shapes, espaliers and cordons. Plums can be trained as a fan. Ensure it is grown on a ‘Pixy’ rootstock or it will be too vigorous. Plums should not be pruned during winter because silver-leaf and canker can enter through the cuts. Young trees can be trained in the spring with more established ones in the summer.
You can purchase any of these already trained, although expensive you are buying time. Alternatively, you can buy much cheaper bare-root two-year-old whips during the winter.
While many people find pruning daunting it is very rewarding to see a trained fruit tree in blossom knowing there is fruit to follow. I would recommend obtaining a copy of the RHS book Pruning and Training it covers everything from trees to shrubs, climbers, roses, soft fruit and tree fruits.
When visiting gardens and nurseries look out for some of those mentioned above and talk to garden owners. It is worth taking your time before buying a tree as it is a worthwhile, long term investment but can be an expensive mistake to rectify.
The wildlife enjoy the trees all year as a safe landing area before visiting the bird feeders or as a source of food. You see them feeding on the insects hiding in the trees during the spring and summer or the fruits during winter.
…of my true loves hair sang Donovan in 1965. It is currently the dominate colour around the garden.
In the Oriental Garden.
On the Patio.
Around the Borders.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang …
From Shakespeare to Donovan the colour yellow inspires words.
Trees and Leaves.
Autumn pollen providers.
We have had a colourful, mild autumn, the garden has been a delight.
Photographs taken with the Canon close up lens 500D 72mm attached to the 18-200mm lens.
Broughton Grange featured on the BBC Gardeners World this week, if you have not seen the programme I would recommend watching on catchup for an up to date view of this outstanding garden.
We visited in July 2016 when it was open for the National Garden Scheme. It was on my must see list having seen pictures in magazines and reading about Tom Stuart-Smith design of the walled garden. It did not disappoint, seeing it again on Gardeners World inspired me to post pictures from our visit.
This garden description below is from their NGS entry.
“Broughton, Banbury, Oxfordshire
An impressive 25 acres of gardens and light woodland in an attractive Oxfordshire setting. The centrepiece is a large terraced walled garden created by Tom Stuart-Smith in 2001. Vision has been used to blend the gardens into the countryside. Good early displays of bulbs followed by outstanding herbaceous planting in summer. Formal and informal areas combine to make this a special site including newly laid arboretum with many ongoing projects.”
The Walled Garden.
Arboretum, Topiary, Plant Sales and Teas.
The garden is open on certain days, please visit their website for more information: broughtongrange.com
Please select Watch on YouTube then full screen for video.
What is giving you Autumn Joy in the garden or countryside?
September is one of my favourite months in the garden, it could be nostalgia because we always had a wonderful show of Michaelmas Daises (Asters/Symphyotrichum) in our cottage garden at home. Many other plants also provide interest at this time of year, the annuals such as dahlias, late flowering perennials, trees and shrubs with changing leaf colour.
Some of the others.
Please turn on your sound, watch on YouTube and select full screen.
Do you have a favourite September plant?
We visited Ravelin on Sunday, one of their National Garden Scheme open days. It is situated in the next village to us, Hanley castle. The description is from their NGS page.
“A ½ acre mature yet ever changing garden with a wide range of unusual plants full of colour and texture. Of interest to plant lovers and flower arrangers alike with views overlooking the fields and the Malvern hills.
Thought to be built on medieval clay works in the royal hunting forest. Small pottery pieces can be seen interspersed with sedum planting.
Designed to enable you to move through areas ranging from perennial and herbaceous planting, gravel, woodland and pond. Seating provides different views and experiences and the opportunity to appreciate the unusual plants collected by the owner.
Seasonal interest provided by a wide variety of hellebores, hardy geraniums, aconitums, heucharas, Michaelmas daisies, grasses and dahlias and a fifty-year-old silver pear tree complemented by self-seeding plants adding colour, vitality and encouraging wildlife.”
Below is a short video showing some of the garden during our visit. Please select full screen on the video.
Cream teas were consumed and plants purchased!
They are next open on Sunday 3rd October 12-4pm.
Along with many garden owners, we originally decided not to open our garden this year due to the pandemic. However, with the improving situation, we have now held popup openings in June and September supporting the charity National garden Scheme. ngs.org.uk
During these days we have also sold plants for St Richards Hospice and at the village of Pirton church fair.
These events have raised just over £1000.
We have to say a big thank you to all our visitors who purchased tickets, refreshments and plants. To the volunteers who manned the stalls and the staff at the National Garden Scheme for their support.
The pictures are from the garden just before the September opening.
We are going forward with more confidence with five other gardens in the village joining us next year on the 4th and 5th June for the National Garden Scheme.
We have decided to hold another pop-up opening for the National Garden Scheme charity.
The exotics are looking good, I am hoping the Michaelmas Daisies will soon start to join them.
And in the greenhouse.
We hope for a sunny day so that visitors can enjoy the garden with tea and cake!
Three plants in the garden offering attractive foliage as well as flowers.
Galtonia candicans has white bell flowers with lance like blue green striped leaves.
The Pholx are just starting to flower here, this is Phlox paniculate ‘Harlequin’, variegated leaves with a touch of pink.
This is the first time Colocasia ‘Black Dragon’ has flowered in the four or five years we have had it. We have always being pleased with just its stunning foliage.
Do you have any double value plants in your garden?
I hope you and your garden are keeping cool.
This is the first time this colourful garden visitor has been seen this year. These markings are of a juvenile, thankfully it stayed feeding long enough for me to fetch my camera.
Who would have thought a runner bean flower could be so beautiful?
Do you have some July Specials in your garden?
I think my favourite is ‘Merlot’, I love the colour and the wine!
Do you grow Pellies and do you have a favourite?
A video tour of Our Garden@19 in early June. Please select Watch on YouTube and select full screen.
We are opening our garden for the National Garden Scheme on the 28th June, whilst some of these will be over the climbing roses among others should be in full swing.
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?
The plants in the new planter I built in April have settled in well and are starting to grow.
As this is on the North side of the house I selected shade loving plants. These are plants I already had in pots except for a new Trachelospermum jasminoides which I hope will eventually provide an evergreen scented screen.
The rear of the house is not the most attractive however the plants make an attractive diversion.
‘Maggs’ the family cat approves of her new seat in the dry!
Do you have a shady area in your garden?
A short tour of Our Garden@19 Please turn your sound on, select YouTube then full screen and enjoy.
A tour of the greenhouses in May, the cold winds and frosty nights dictate that tender plants have to remain inside. This time of year is always over crowded greenhouse time!
The tomato, Amateur, new to me this year, Amelia from https://afrenchgarden.wordpress.com mentioned it as a favourite of her fathers. I was attracted to it because he grew it as a bush tomato.
On the side shelf are trailing pelargoniums growing on for the hanging baskets. Pelargoniums are one of my favourite summer plants.
Pelargonium cuttings and three purchased P. Ardens on the heated propagation bench.
Alongside are Courgettes, Genovese Basil in pots. In the root trainers are Coleus, ‘Festive Dance’ seedlings. Thunbergia plata, ‘Susie Series’ White and at the back Hordeum Jubatum an ornamental barley that I first saw growing in Aberglassney garden
On the top shelf are climbing French and Runner Beans, Sweet Corn ‘Swift’ and Dwarf French Bean ‘Purple Teepee’.
Spinach and Rocket seedlings growing on ready to plant in the raised beds later on.
These are Dahlia Merckii seedlings pricked out into root trainers, a seed swap from Fiona Wormald at https://thegardenimpressionists.com two years ago. I did not manage to sow them until this spring, the germination has been fantastic.
The Dahlia tubers are proving to be a little slow to show this year, one of the Striped Vulcan, new this year, has started.
Rainbow Chard in root trainers along with Fennel. This is the first time I have grown bulb fennel.
These young Alstroemeria plants are from seeds collected by my brother last autumn from the ones in his garden.
In the raised beds are crimson flowering Broad Beans.
With Spinach, Sweet-peas on the obelisk and newly planted lettuce.
Now we need some sunshine.
I have begun an experiment with tulips this year, following an article I read by Fergus Garrett from Great Dixter regarding which tulips they found to be perennial.
The most reliable ones being the Darwin Hybrids, I planted three varieties in November, two in pots and one in the borders.
The real test will be next year if they flower as well. One indication mentioned in the article was whether the bulbs had divided into several small ones or remained as one big bulb, these being the ones worth saving.
I planted Tulip ‘Apeldoorn’ in pots placed in several areas around the garden. Please Click on gallery pictures to enlarge.
These remind me of the traditional cottage garden tulips similar to the ones I brought home from my Great Aunt’s garden.
Tulip Hakuun aka ‘White Cloud’ in large white pots in the White and Green garden.
Tulip ‘Daydream’ was planted in bulb saucers in the borders along with
Forget- Me-Nots and Wall Flowers.
Tulip ‘Abu Hassan’ has already proved to be perennial here, these tulip bulbs were purchased three years ago.
Tulip ‘Ballede’ was planted in the borders ten years ago and while its numbers have reduced over time, I think for such a beautiful tulip, it will be worth topping up next autumn.
Providing some spring cheer in the welcome rain is Clematis ‘ Pamela Jackman ‘ with pots of Azaleas at her feet.
Along with Apples ‘Rosett’ and ‘Blenheim Orange’…..
….is the Crab Apple ‘Golden Hornet’.
Have you found any tulip varieties to be perennial in your garden?
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.
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?
Aston Pottery Garden.
Having read some impressive reviews about the garden at Aston Pottery, Aston, Oxfordshire, we visited in August 2016.
On this occasion, they were open in aid of the National Gardens Scheme charity.
Created by the owners since 2009 and set around Aston Pottery’s Gift Shop and Cafe, borders flower from June until November.
In the spring 5000 tulips are planted in pots around the shop and cafe, these are then followed by lilies and agapanthus. They created a wonderful pot display when we visited.
60 hornbeams flank the 72-metre Hornbeam Walk, opened in 2012 by the local MP David Cameron, planted as a year-round garden with a summerhouse at the end, and a mix of perennials and annuals which are enjoyed by pollinators.
You then arrive at the 80-metre Hot Bank with kniphofia, alstroemeria, cannas, dahlias and salvias.
There are stunning Double Dahlia Borders 5m deep with over 600 dahlias and grasses edging the back.
New in 2015 was an 80m x 7m deep Annual Border full of over 5000 annuals grown from plug plants.
A traditional Perennial Border with over 50 different perennials offers a wonderful view from the country cafe.
The garden has featured in the Telegraph, Country Living, RHS The Garden and BBC Gardeners’ World. They have been producing pottery for over thirty years suppling Liberty’s of London.
When garden visiting begins again, this is a garden I would recommend, it is a stunning riot of colour. They are planning to open for the National Garden Scheme this year on the 21st and 22nd of August and are normally open seven days a week except over the Christmas period. The pottery shop and cafe make it ‘A Grand Day Out’.
I have created the video below from photographs I took during our visit, to remind us all of the joy of Garden Visiting!
Please watch on YouTube then select full screen.
Guest Publisher Leonie Creighton.
Leonie is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic gardener she is the minutes secretary to the Black Pear Gardening Club. I have invited her as guest publisher for this seasonally appropriate article she wrote for the club newsletter.
One of my favourite plants at this time of year is IRIS UNGUICULARIS (I.stylosa) Algerian Iris.
This lovely flower is native to Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey , Greece and Syria where it grows in light scrub,open pine woods and rocky places.
It flowers from late autumn to early spring when so few plants are in flower. The flowers are beautifully scented, in shades of lavender to deep violet with a yellow throat.
This winter flowering Iris is easy to grow in well drained soil in full sun. Plant near a wall to help maintain the soils heat. I grow it in a raised bed that’s in full sunlight for most of the day, but that said I also grow it in a woodland area in partial sunlight and it is still happy but doesn’t flower quite so well. It is also useful to grow at the base of clematis as they like their heads in the sun and their roots in shade and it helps to hide the bare base of the clematis and keep its roots cool.
Plant it so that the rhizomes are just below the surface of the soil and 10cm (4in) apart.
It produces an evergreen mound of narrow, arching grass like foliage. This foliage does become brown and bit untidy but can easily be trimmed back to keep it looking good.
A top dressing of bone meal or potash in either autumn or spring is beneficial but look out for snails hiding among the leaves.
It dislikes being moved, but if you have to disturb it do it in spring after flowering. It may sulk for a while before it starts to flower again.
This is a long lived plant. I grow the species variety from divisions taken off my mother’s plant that has been growing in her garden for probably fifty years.
Two other very nice named varieties are ‘Mary Barnard’ which has a lovely velvety blue-purple flower, a much more intense colour than the species.
Also, ‘Walter Butt’ a ghostly pale grey-blue , but with a heavenly scent.
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Did you Know : Iris was a Greek goddess, the personification of the rainbow, which she used as her pathway though the sky.
Winter visited Our Garden@19 towards the end of 2020.
Flowering in the house and keeping warm is the Christmas Cactus.