The open garden season is now getting into its stride here in the Uk. We are opening again this year along with other gardens within the village for the Church on April 29th, 30th and May 1st and for The National Garden Scheme on the 10th and 11th of June.
This movie will take you on a short tour of the four seasons in the garden. I believe the gardening year starts in the autumn preparing for the main show in the summer. Please select full screen. When the garden is open we do endeavour to provide visitors with a good show. We try to put on the Ritz.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Watch on YouTube then full screen on the video.
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.
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!
This weekend six gardens in the village of Hanley Swan should have been opening in aid of the NGS nursing charities.
Due to the Covid-19, this has been cancelled, so together with the other garden openers, we have created a video tour of the gardens.
Please make yourself a cup of tea or any beverage of your choice. Imagine you are in the gardens, sit back, turn on the sound, click on play, select full screen and enjoy.
We visited the first National Garden Scheme, http://ngs.org.uk open garden in Worcestershire on Sunday. The garden, Brockamin, includes Plant Heritage National Collections of Asters and some hardy Geraniums. It opens for Snowdrops in February, Daffodils in March and Asters in September.
The 1.5 acre informal garden contains mixed borders planted with hardy perennials and shrubs, several of which were in flower or adding stem colour.
Hellebores, Crocus with an early Narcissi adding to the colour.
Then of course the snowdrops, all labeled for identification.
Tea and cakes along with plants for sale were there to tempt us. Was I tempted I hear you ask, lets just say I have always been attracted to gold!
On Saturday the Black Pear Gardening Club visited Blackmore Grange, owned by Doug and Anne Robertson. A total of £206 was raised and donated to St. Richards Hospice, Worcester. The Hospice has recently launched a fundraising drive to support its £5.3m expansion plan. You can find out more via this Link
41 members visited on a beautifully sunny day (another one!), to enjoy the garden and tea and biscuits (of course). Anne also invited members to bring along a picnic to enjoy in the garden.
Anne, a knowledgeable plants women, has previously opened her garden for the NGS. This quote is from the 2011 NGS Yellow Book.
Blackmore Grange. “All year round two acre rural garden surrounds the family home. Packed with a large variety of plants, shrubs and trees. The swimming pool has been transformed into the stable garden, an outstanding area of traditional cottage-style planting. Also a mixed orchard, woodland walk, mixed planting beds and kitchen garden”. Described by Chris Beardshaw as “A natural garden full of interest and variety”.
One entrance to the garden is along this woodland path…
…where you arrive into one of many seating ares in the garden.
From here you have views across the sweeping lawn in front of the house towards two curved borders one edging the west facing terrace, the other viewed across the lawn…
These borders are packed with plants, amongst those enjoying the summer sun were fennel and lavender…
…and this beautiful dark blue agapanthus ‘Navy Blue’…
Following this path along side the border…
…past a thriving kniphoia…
…you enter the stable garden…
…where the teas were served.
The plants which caught everyones’ attention here were the dark red dahlias, ‘Chat Noir’, ‘Rip City’, ‘Sam Hopkins’ and with its dark foliage, ‘Kamar Choc’…
…a double Hollyhock…
and this delphinium ‘Faust’.
Verbena bonariensis, agapanthus and succulents growing in the gravel and broken pots.
Climbers including, ornamental vines, roses and clematis, cover the pergola and scrambled up through support plants.
This dahlia and hydrangea add a splash of light colour, providing a perfect contrast to the smoke bush, several of which were flowering in the garden.
Leaving the stable yard garden for the woodland walk, some of the roses were still flowering with their hips just beginning to develop their autumn scarlet colour.
A welcome bench in the shade…
Anne, on the right with club member Betty Mills.
It is important to read the plant label to ensure you have the correct name to go with the photo.
Turning back towards the house you see the mixed orchard, which is underplanted with spring bulbs and roses growing up into some of the more mature apple trees. In the centre of the lawn, is a magnificent tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera.
Near the house, down some steps, is Anne’s potting shed and the kitchen garden with its fruit cage full of ripening fruit…
…and at the rear, an impressive pot display of hostas, acers and seasonal bedding plants.
No one was in any hurry to leave, enjoying the weather and the setting in this “Natural garden full of interest and variety”.
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.
County booklets are distributed around various garden centres, shops, tourist offices and any venue where the public can accesses them.
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!
In May we had an enjoyable holiday in Cornwall, which I wrote about: here.
One of the gardens we visited, that left a lasting impression on us was the Moyclare Garden, near Liskard.
This is the introduction to the garden from their website.
“The garden at Moyclare was established in 1927, and hosts a fine variety of plants, shrubs and trees in one acre of sheltered flat ground around the house. Many are unusual and some are quite rare.
The garden was first planted by Moira Reid, and is now in the care of Elizabeth and Philip Henslowe.
It is open to visitors from the end of March or early April until near the end of August.”
The great cottage garden writer Margery Fish was a close friend with the exchange of many letters and plants. Many other notable garden visitors were to follow, again to quote from their website:
“Amongst the keen garden visitors was Beverly Nichols, another gardening writer, who gave a present of a Eucalyptus gunnii. John Betjeman wrote: ‘A perfect piece of England’ in the visitors book – much to the annoyance of Moira who considered it then to be an Irish garden! Charles Nelson from Dublin’s Botanical Gardens was another visitor, as was Topline Broadhurst who televised it often in the 1970s, and many others. The most recent was Helen Yemm, who writes for the “Daily Telegraph”.”
On entering the garden the first plant to catch my eye was Azalea Amoena, in full flower.
The garden is a series of mainly woodland walks between beautiful flowering shrubs…
…predominantly camellia, rhododendron and azaleas.
Growing along the edge of this path was this delightful Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’
We gardeners know that our gardens are constantly changing, although not always planned.
Another unusual ground cover plant brightening up the garden understory was Stylophorum lasiocarpum.
Several arches have more recently been built around the garden providing support for many different climbers, clematis, roses, wisteria and in the case of this one…
…the Actinidia Kolomikta…
…commonly known as the variegated leafed hardy kiwi.
The pond is home to goldfish and much aquatic life despite the efforts of the local heron.
The young crozier shaped fronds in a huge clump of Osmunda regalis were asking to be photographed.
When we visited the South Lawn was dominated, both with its flowers and scent, by a huge Myrtle ‘Amomyrtus apiculata’,
The red flower to the right of it is the Rhododendron ‘Winsone’.
To the left in the border was a Enkianthus campanulatus, living up to its name with beautiful little bell shaped flowers.
The terrace facing the south lawn is home to many tender plants such as the Abutilon megapotanicum, which blooms freely, it has also produced a seedling or sport of a new taller Abutilon.
In pots on the terrace and planted around the garden was the late flowering tulip Angeliue, which Irene was very taken with. One for next years bulb order.
The current owners Elizabeth and Philip Henslowe made us very welcome, Elizabeth is justifiably very proud of the garden and the unusual plants it contains and she has an enviable depth of plant knowledge. Several new plants have been discovered within the garden over the years some of which have been propagated and sold by The Duchy of Cornwall Nursery.
Moyclare is a wonderful garden to explore, you literally find gems around every corner. The garden does have the ‘Wild garden’ look, a style of garden I much admire, very William Robinson, I thought, perhaps that is due to the Irish connection. If you should be visiting the area please check the website here for opening times. Tea and cake is available along with a chance to purchase some of the rarities (and not so rare) plants growing in the garden.