A Water Garden around an Old Mill

A while ago now we visited this wonderful water garden created around an old water mill on the outskirts of the beautiful Herefordshire village of Pembridge. We decided it was about time for a return visit and also time to peruse the Old Chapel Galleries in the same village. After spending some time and too much money on new sculptures for the garden we drove a few miles on and parked up in the garden car park under lovely mature trees. We collected our hand drawn plan of the garden and set off to explore the Westonbury Mill Water Gardens. Immediately we were impressed by how fresh everything looked and were drawn to bright patches of colourful planting among the greenery.

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As in any good garden the quality and choice of individual plants is a key factor in making it an enjoyable place to visit. Take a look at these beauties at Westonbury Mill. Being a water garden designed around a series of streams and pools we searched out the water and marsh loving plants first and found many in flower including the following specimens. Irises including varieties of I.ensata, the wild flowerheads of Butomis, the flowering rush and various Primulas including P. florindae and Rodgersias.

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Even though this was a water garden there were plenty more perennials flowering well and catching the attention of visitors.

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Westonbury is well-known for its collection of follies, built by the garden owner for the sheer fun of it and to amuse the visitors, although they can also have a secondary purpose.

We discovered the first just as we approached the garden itself and so we could enjoy it from outside the garden and within. Water rose up a water ladder from the stream beneath to be released into the hands of gravity thus sending water spewing from the mouth of a stone gargoyle.

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Through a structure of willow rather than stone we moved on to discover further eccentric buildings including a glass bottle igloo, towers and shelters.

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To give you an idea of the feel of the garden and the quality of the planting and structure I thought I would finish this post about Westonbury Mill Water Gardens with a selection of broad shots taken as we wandered its many winding paths.

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What a lovely atmospheric garden this is! Full of interest and full of interesting plants and features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in buildings, colours, garden buildings, garden design, garden photography, garden ponds, garden pools, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, hardy perennials, Herefordshire, irises, nurseries, ornamental trees and shrubs, water garden, water in the garden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What our visitors saw in August

We open our garden a few times a year both by appointment and full open days so I thought it would be interesting to wander around our patch just after a group left, taking photos as I went, thus giving a visitors’ eye view of our garden. The date was early August.

Salvias featured strongly as did clematis and roses. Colours in the garden were strong and lively, helped by the sunshine when it occasionally came out to play.

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The added bonus of wildlife always delights our visitors. We will soon be hosting our final visit by a garden group for this year but we already have groups booked to come and share our Avocet patch with us in 2017.

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I now invite you to come with me and my camera lens for a wander around our garden by navigating through this gallery. I hope you enjoy the journey. As usual click on the first photo and navigate with the arrows.

Posted in climbing plants, colours, garden design, garden photography, garden wildlife, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, hardy perennials, light, light quality, National Garden Scheme, photography, roses, Shropshire, Yellow Book Gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Modest Gardener – celebrating a small garden

Our dear friend Jean is a talented gardener who sadly won’t recognise that she is. So I thought I would share a set of photographs with you that I took in her garden in late July so that you can enjoy her lovely garden too. Jean loves wildlife and enjoys sharing her garden with the birds, butterflies, bees and any other creatures that come for a visit or to stay. As with all gardeners slugs and snails may be one step too far.

Come on a wander with me by following my gallery of photographs all taken on the same day. It is easy to appreciate this excellent example of what can be achieved in a small space. As you run through the photos  will see one showing an old blackbird’s nest in the stems of a clematis.

 

 

Posted in garden design, garden photography, gardening, hardy perennials, July, Shropshire | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

My Garden Journal in July

Here we are moving into the second half of our gardening year, with my journal entries for July. By the time I had recorded all the entries for July My Garden Journal 2016 was full, so Volume 2 will begin with my August entries.

July, being well into summer, should be great month for the garden, the gardener and gardening. We should be able to look forward to long, warm and bright days to give us time to work in the garden and relax in it too. Relaxing in their own gardens is a skill many gardeners find hard to acquire. The weather put paid to any idea of sitting comfortably on any of our garden seats dotted around our garden rooms.

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Looking back at my Garden Journal 2014 for the first week of July I wrote, “Wet and windy start to July” so things were exactly the same in 2014 and 2016.

Luckily after the first week this year the weather warmed up and the rain retreated.”

Turning the page in my journal I moved on to look at hardy Geraniums.

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“The hardy Geraniums in our patch seem happy enough with our July weather. Our favourite is probably Geranium palmatum.

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“We have been planting hardy Geraniums in our garden since we moved here. I decided to take my camera out to see how many different ones were flowering in early July. We were in for a big surprise!” Below are 4 examples, but there are so many more!”

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Turning over we find a double page spread of Geranium photographs and among them the phrase, “Pink is the colour!”

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Over another page and a third page of photos of Geraniums appears but this time featuring blue flowered cultivars, with the phrase, “….. and a few shades of blue.”

“I found over 20 different Geraniums in flower at that moment but we have others flowering earlier and later. We never dreamed we had so many.They are a good reliable and colourful family of hardy perennials.”

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There are so many hardy Geraniums flowering in our July garden I thought it would be interesting to present a gallery for you to enjoy. Click on the first photo and then use the arrow to follow your way through the gallery.

On the opposite page to the blue Geraniums I move on to consider one of the brightest flowers in the July garden, Lychnis coronaria.

“In July one of the brightest flowers in our garden borders are the cerise gems, Lychnis coronaria. They work well in many combinations with other plants despite their extreme brightness of colour. They make white look extra pure and clear, they sparkle with orange and sit comfortably with every shade of green foliage. Their own foliage is a soft, furry grey.”

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Over the next page I continue looking at Lychnis coronaria with the emphasis on the flower colour and the subtle variations among them. Among my selection of photographs to show the colour of the foliage and the variations in cerise itself I include the phrases,

“Silver-grey foliage” and “Variations of the theme of cerise!”

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Opposite this page of cerise beauties I feature a more subtle variation on the pink theme, as I found another Lychnis we grow, this one being Lychnis chalcedonica “Salmonea” and  just like the coronarias their colours vary.

“We grow another perennial Lychnis which also displays pink flowers. These blooms though are not of the brightest cerise but a much more subdued dusky salmon. This plant is Lychnis chalcedonica “Salmonea” and just like the coronarias the flower colours vary but more gently so.”

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The final four pages in my journal entries for July are all about one of the grasses families, the Carexes. I set myself the difficult challenge of painting 6 different varieties, concentrating on the flower and seed heads. A very big challenge indeed as it turned out!

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“We love grasses and use them in almost every border where they enhance flowering perennials as well as adding their own particular charm, their movement, sound and structure. We particularly love two families, Miscanthus and Carex. In July our many Carex are in full flower and they have distinctive characteristics.”

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Volume One of my Garden Journal 2016 finishes with the words, “It is good to finish Volume One of my Garden Journal 2016 with such a challenge, drawing and painting six different Carex flowers and seeds. In Volume Two I will begin with my report and photographs for August and maybe a little painting or two. I might even be tempted to draw and paint some of our other grasses.”

 

Posted in colours, garden design, garden photography, gardening, hardy perennials, July, ornamental grasses, ornamental trees and shrubs, Shropshire, village gardens | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Are you sitting comfortably? Part 9 of a very occasional series.

So here we are back in Devon to share more garden seats with you. In this collection of seats found and tested on our travels we will share with you those we discovered at the RHS garden at Rosemoor.

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When at Rosemoor this February we were delighted that our day coincided with an exhibition of outdoor sculpture. At times it was hard to tell if a garden seat was a piece of sculpture or if a piece of sculpture was a seat.

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This seat with its carved ends all made from wood from the same tree was a great place for its two owls to settle. It lived beneath an iron framed arch which would be clothed in climbing plants a few months hence. Close up the carved creatures were so full of character.

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We were both amused and amazed when we spotted this comfy looking armchair from a across a wide garden border. Closer to we realised it had been created from handmade bricks, joined together by silicone.

The wooden seat in the photo alongside the armchair was home to a Buddah carved from a single piece of wood joined to a bench of the same species of tree. It gave out a deep feeling of piece.

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Sometimes a seat can be a perch for a photographer. In this case our friend Pip was getting close to a spout of water pouring from the stone wall. Look closely at the picture alongside and you will see that a scarecrow is sitting comfortably with his picnic by his side and his crop of pumpkins piled close by.

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Often garden seats have protection around them to protect the resting gardeners or visitors from the wind and rain. In the photos below wooden posts provide the protection.

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Sometimes the simplest designs work best. These two seats are beautifully designed and crafted and are so simple in their design and construction.

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Other seats sit beautifully within their surrounds looking comfortable and full of belonging.

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Seats can be works of art in themselves and then they really do become pieces of sculpture.

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This is a very ordinary garden bench which is very common in our gardens, but the placement of an old green lawn roller gives it character and invites visitors to sit down and enjoy the beauty of this garden artifact.

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The best of seats on wet days are those under cover, in this case the seat is enveloped beneath a thatched cottage-style arbour overlooking the herb garden. Here you can appreciate the sights and scents in front of you.

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Seats can be made special because they have special purposes, to tell stories from or to enjoy a good swing on.

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Where Part 10 of this very occasional series will send us we must wait and see!

 

 

 

Posted in garden buildings, garden design, garden furniture, garden photography, garden seating, gardening, gardens open to the public | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A beautiful wildlife garden in Herefordshire

Today we travelled further than we usually do for our regular visits to NGS gardens and made our way southwards through South Shropshire and down through Herefordshire to a tiny village near Ross-on-Wye. Even the approach to this garden was special as we left the temporary car park in a farmyard and followed a narrow track through a narrow band of woodland down towards the cottage and its garden. The description in the NGS Yellow Book promised a great afternoon out in a quirky cottage garden created for wildlife and managed organically. We were not to be disappointed in any way!

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We found a steep driveway as we left the woodland shade and slowly made our way down it to the cottage below passing floriferous meadows all the way. We were delighted to see orchids in with more common meadow flowers.

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We paid our entry fees and met the gardener who like us loved peaceful gardens full of wildlife especially. As we spoke I noticed this little selection of artifacts found in the garden. It was to set the tone for the day.

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As we slowly ambled along the many meandering softly surfaced paths we kept one eye on the plants and another on the look out for more artifacts and sculptural pieces. We first found this perky looking pig! We found many more varied pieces to amuse, appeal and amaze.

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This was a garden that invited us to wander and explore its many paths, to discover its calm and restful character. It succeeded in doing what we hope our garden does, to make you feel calm and contented. The planting was gentle and brought to mind the writings of William Robinson, especially how he expressed his philosophy of gardening in his book, The Wild Garden.

We shall now take a wander around this lovely gentle garden by following the pics in this gallery. As usual just click on the first picture and use the navigation arrows.

This was such a beautiful garden which welcomed other gardeners and wildlife alike, and was so full of atmosphere. We hope we are able to return one day in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in conservation, garden design, garden photography, garden ponds, garden pools, garden wildlife, gardening, hardy perennials, Herefordshire, National Garden Scheme, NGS, ornamental trees and shrubs, outdoor sculpture, sculpture, water in the garden, wildlife, Yellow Book Gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

John’s Garden – Ashwood Nurseries.

We have wanted to visit John’s Garden for a long time but have never been able to attend on any of his open days, so when we noticed that a private visit was planned for the Shropshire Group of the Hardy Plant Society we were determined to go along. It is always worth going on these garden visits which give the chance to share the experience with your friends and also share their joint expertise and interest.

John Massey is well known for breeding his own strains of Hellebores and more recently Hepaticas too. He is also an excellent speaker and he has spoken to our Shropshire HPS group several times.

As we wandered down the drive to his bungalow we stopped to admire this imaginatively clipped hedge like billowing clouds. Opposite this was a lawned area with a small collection of interesting trees and some crazy sheep sculptures grazing the grass.

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As we entered the main garden there was more smart pruning deserving a closer look, including this Pyrus salicifolia shaped into an umbrella.

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Let us take a quick look at a few photos of garden vistas, views which tempted us onwards.

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Sculpture featured strongly in John’s garden and here is a selection for you to enjoy.

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Some well-chosen and carefully placed sculptures adorned the area around a beautiful pool. The planting was intriguing too and called out for closer examination.

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A second much smaller water feature was surrounded by a collection of beautiful plants. The little fountain raised the water just a few inches before it dropped back creating gentle ripples and a relaxing sound.

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The area of garden around the back of the house was partly covered with a large pergola over paved areas. Imaginatively planted containers and plenty of seats made this a restful area inviting the visitor to sit and relax to enjoy the succulents and alpines. From the paved area a lawned areas sloped gently down to the canal, a lovely feature acting as the boundary to a garden.

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John and his garden team seem very good at putting plants together especially using foliage as the link pulling the design together.

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As in any good garden however good plant combinations and plant communities are, there are always individual specimens that draw the visiting gardener in for a closer look.

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We really enjoyed our leisurely walk around John’s Garden particularly  as we were accompanied by John himself, who was such a generous, knowledgeable and humorous guide. We were lucky to share this garden with the owner and chief gardener.

But I shall leave you with two surprises we had during our journey, a totally unexpected border, a newly built stumpery and a lovely close-up view of a frog on top of a topiary sphere!

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Posted in canals, garden design, garden furniture, garden photography, garden ponds, garden pools, garden wildlife, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, hardy perennials, Hardy Plant Society, HPS, nurseries, ornamental trees and shrubs, outdoor sculpture, sculpture, trees, water garden, water in the garden, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments