Peace and Tranquility in the Garden.

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 Shinto Shrine at Tatton Park.

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.

National Botanic Garden of Wales.

He also redesigned and supervised the construction of the rock garden at RHS Wisley for the bicentenary of the RHS.

The Rock Garden at RHS Wisley.


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.

A window into our Japanese Garden.

Wishing you peace and tranquility were ever you find it.

Wisteria, Iris, Cornus kousa, Clematis, Alliums and Alliums in early June.

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.

May Joy.

Our garden@19, in May, was cloaked in the joy of May flowers, starting with the Wisteria floribunda ‘Alba’ …

Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’
Allium ‘Beau Regard’
Allium Mount Everest with White Honesty.
The Blue Border with Allium ‘Purple Sensation ‘.
Iris ‘Alcazar’.
Hesperis matronalis ‘White’
Prunus ‘serrula’ our mug tree.

These pictures were taken just before our NGS May opening, when 77 visitors came on a Tuesday. We are now preparing for our next opening on Monday June 17th.

November Sunshine.

Blogging has had to take a back seat recently with a wedding, holiday, a kitchen refit and decorating taking precedent.  I lifted all the Dahlias from the raised beds last week, replacing them with tulips, also filling all the tulip pots. With the sun shining, I took a quick tour of the garden with the camera.

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Sorbus Eastern Promise

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Vitis ‘ Spetchley red’

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Wisteria floribunda ‘ Alba ‘

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Cotoneaster horizontalis

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Solidago Fireworks

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Miscanthus sinensis

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Molinia ‘Karl Foerster’

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Lunaria annua ‘Rosemary Verey’ Seeds

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Rhodochiton atrosanguineum ‘Purple Bell Vine’

Hopefully I can soon catch up reading some of your posts, there is quite a list in my inbox.

What has been catching the November sun in your garden?

In the February Sunshine.

These winter months are the time of year I try to carry out any ‘estate’ maintenance along with completing the pruning of the climbing/rambling roses, wisteria, vines, the apples and pear trees.

These all require the use of a ladder, which in the past has involved balancing on the top of a rather unsteady step ladder. Having some time ago reached the age where I don’t bounce so well and not wishing to add to the queues at the local hospital A&E department I have invested in a Henchman ladder. This is one of the best investments I have made in garden equipment. The ladder is similar to the Japanese tripod ladders, with adjustable leg heights to accommodate different ground levels and a bar at the top that you can safely lean into, so long as you don’t go any higher than recommended. This feature doesn’t seem to appear on the Japanese ladders which was the deciding factor for me when making my choice. They are made in the UK from aluminium and therefore very light to carry and come in different sizes. I did feel very safe using it this year, it can also serve as a coffee table!

You can view more details Henchman Ladders.

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Two jobs required the help of a local builder, one has been the replacement of the walls to the raised herb bed. I originally built it, in 2004, with treated timber planks, as these have rotted away in places, I decided to replace them with new sleeper timbers.
This bed is also home to a climbing ‘Albertine’ rose, on the trellis, a red currant fan trained along the side fence and a standard red gooseberry in the centre. The new bed is not as big, therefore more of the herbs will be in either terracotta pots or the old galvanised bath and buckets.

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The lawn just off the patio always looks a mess, especially at this time of year, it is not very wide and all the foot traffic passes through here ( human and animal ). I have had it edged with porous black pavers, to match the ones incorporated into the patio design. Wether the grass remains, in this small area, or is replaced with gravel, is yet to be decided. Another option is artificial grass, I am following Cathy at Rambling in the Garden’s progress, with interest, to see how she gets on with her small installation.
I have also edged the fence along the Green and White garden with the pavers to save having to strim the grass.

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Our neighbour has a willow (Salix) tree right against the boundary fence by the Oriental   garden. We have dropped several, so far unsuccessful, hints regarding keeping it pollarded to prevent it becoming to dominant.

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I decided to remove the worst offending boughs, the main branches will be placed, in a corner of the garden, to become a wildlife sanctuary, with the whips along with some Cornus trimmings, being woven into a small natural edge to the bed behind the banana bench. The remainder will be chipped for mulching around the shrubs in the Oriental garden.

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My compost bins are in a poor state of repair and need replacing. I have for two years, had one of the local authority garden waste recycling bins. This has reduced the need for so many bins here. I have replaced one with an extra leaf bin, this is such a useful garden by-product, either for mulching or adding to potting compost that I don’t send it away from the garden.

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Shadows in the sunshine!

We have recently taken delivery of 400 NGS Worcestershire County booklets this month to distribute around local shops, libraries and any garden clubs we visit. We also have our county AGM and lunch this month, where we garden openers collect all the publicity material for our open days. It reminds us the clock is ticking ( I think I have heard that before with a french accent!)

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We have been fortunate to have recently enjoyed some winter sun, thus enabling me to make some progress on the maintenance list, while enjoying the winter sunshine, entertained by bird song.

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What winter maintenance projects do you have for your garden?