Return to the gardens at Hergest Croft

We always enjoy returning to visit and explore gardens we have loved discovering before. Hergest Croft gardens are one of our favourite places to visit and we have visited at several different times of year. In 2018 we made a journey down into Herefordshire in the middle of September for an early autumn/late summer visit.  The building itself is a beautiful “arts and crafts” style villa of brick with features and details to give it a special look. The driveside provides a good place to house plants for sale particularly trees and shubs propagated from the garden’s specimens and some interesting herbaceuos plants. Alongside the entrance is a stunning glasshouse that matches the main house wonderfully and it is here that we begin each visit, after of course coffee and cakes in the tea room. This tea room has a special extra, a lovely outdoor seating space, a covered veranda.

 

Beneath the veranda we enjoyed looking at a border of dahlias and over the top of the border to the borders surrounding the lawn. Here we spotted the first of a series of artworks created on slates, very delicate botanic drawings.

   

More plants for sale grace the walkway along the side of the house, again interesting plants propagated on site from their own plant material.

We next moved into the glasshouse where we always enjoy perusing the delicate plants flowering away happily. Let me share this little gallery with you. Please click on the first pic then use arrows to navigate.

Here is a selection of the photos I snapped as we wandered around Hergest Croft gardens, which helps to illustrate how varied the garden is and what a wide selection of plants are grown there. There is a huge collection of rare and unusual trees here including several “Champion Trees” which guaranteed plenty of interest as we wandered the pathways.

   

There is just so much at Hergest Croft it is hard to do it justice, but I shall finish with a few selected photos of the many I took to help give a taste of this wonderful Herefordshire garden.

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Are you sitting comfortably? No 17 in a very occasional series.

Here we are back again with another selection of garden seats we have discovered on our wanderings around gardens.

Let’s start with the garden seating we found when wandering around various Cornish gardens.

 

This next group were from the Japanese Garden in Cornwall, a very atmospheric and magical garden which needs lots of places to sit and take in the atmosphere.

So that is the first batch of seat photos from our Cornwall holiday, but there are more to come in post no 18 in this series.

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Simply Beautiful – no 25 in this occasional series

So here I am with number 25 in this occasional series of posts entitled Simply Beautiful where I share a few photos of something or some place that takes my eye. Here are 4 photos of a caramel coloured Heuchera plants lit up by sunlight.

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Take one girl and a pair of sunglasses.

A while ago I published a post called “One little girl and a hat!” and here is a follow up. It is another Arabella adventure of determination and patience. Enjoy!

Arabella at 18 months old was as determined to get things as right as any adult and just didn’t want to give in. So trying to get a pair of sunglasses on Jude’s nose and ears proved quite a challenge.

 

A few weeks before Arabella was enjoying wearing her own sunglasses, not always up the right way!

So we have had a post about Arabella and a hat and now one about Arabella and a pair of sunglasses. Who knows if another of these posts will come along, only time will tell!

 

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My Garden Journal 2019 – January

Back with my new journal for a new year, my Garden Journal 2019. January is often described a s a quiet month in the garden and gardeners are often told to keep inside in the warm, order seeds from catalogues, clean their sheds and sharpen bladed tools and clean up all tools. But in reality a good garden is a good garden for 12 months of the year and a good gardener keeps his bladed tools sharp continously, all his tools are cared for througout the year and there is plenty to look at and enjoy in the garden and plenty of interest to be found in plants.

I begin my January journal entries with the words, “What is in flower in our Avocet patch early in January? A quick wander around on a calm, dry day with camera in hand provides the answer. I thought I wouls be out in the garden for 10 minutes or so but there was so much t lok at that it was three times longer.” 

I shared a set of 8 photos showing “Violas, Cyclamen, members of the Primula family and even an adventurous Rose.”

     

I then went onwards with my camera into the greenhouse which is not yet heated at all, so we are simply keeping things ticking over. Soon we will put heat on and the heated propagating bench in readiness for the exciting task of seed sowing. I wrote, “The greenhouse is a busy place in the winter full to overflowing with over-wintering sensitive plants, autumn seedlings ticking over and cuttingstaken late in the year.”

Examples of these sorts of plants are shown in the set of photos, including seedling Achilleas, Fuschia thalia and Sedum Matrona cuttings.

On the opposite page I looked at some of our many grasses that shine in January and shared a set of pics. “Grasses come into their own in January both deciduous and evergreen. Carex are exceptionally valuable winter grasses.”

 

Carex elata aurea                                                Carex elata aurea

Calamagrostis “Northwood”    Miscanthus sinensis         Carex “Evergold”

Carex elata “Evergold”                             Uncinia rubra       Carex “Frosted Curls”

 

Carex elata “Bowles Gold”                                Anemalanthe lessoniana

 

Calamostris brachytricha                                                        Carex buchanii

On the following double page spread I moved on to look at some of our berries and foliage plants giving interest in January. On the first page I wrote, “Throughout the winter birds especially members of the Thrush family enjoy gorging on the berries on our trees and shrubs. We grow berrying plants for the birds to eat as well as for our own visual feast. By January a few are still left over.”

 

Guelder Rose                                                Mahonia “Winter Sun”

 

Honeysuckle berries                                  Malus “Admiration”

 

Native Holly                                                  Iris foetidissima

Cotoneaster                                                    Libertia

Sarcococa confusa

We can now look at the opposite page and consider some of our interesting foliage, where I wrote, “In January interesting foliage catches the eye, variegation, dusting with silver, glaucous or ruby coloured.”

Eucalyptus parvula               Rhamnus aureomarginata         Eleagnus ebbingei

Coprosmia “Pacific Night”     Pinus mugo “Mumpitz”

Hedera helix “Long Trail Yellow”         Hebe 

Budleja “Lochinch”                                    Euphorbia lathyris

Over the page I wanted to share the disaster we had with our old fence that backed our Seaside Garden. I wrote, “I shall now report on the progress we have made with our winter projects and look at work in progress too. You will not be surprised that strong winds broke down the fence panels backing the Seaside Garden so this area neededa complete renovation. The old fence was soon replaced jointly with our neighbours and the new, better quality fence presented opportunities to put up vine eyes and wires. We planned to plant plenty of new climbers as well as renew and replenish the other plants and artefacts. We decided to include more plants this time.”

 

The new fence ………………….

 

The trellis goes back up and the vine eyes and wires are being fixed up.

 

The climbers are planted ……………. and grasses soon join them.

To finish the month of January off, we can have a quick look at what the finished revamped seaside garden ended looking like, ready for the growing season ahead.

I wrote, “We had great fun rebuilding the Seaside Garden despite cold temperatures made more severe by the icy cold winds. So, wrapped up well against this typical January weather we put up old fishing nets from Scotland, sea-washed driftwood from Devon and Anglesey plus shells and pebbles.”

    

“Avian des res!”

 

“House Sparrows”

“Titmice”

“Wrens”

 

“Meanwhile we continued to change the 3 beds around the back grass into a new hot garden. Sadly we messed up the grass so had to also prepare this for repair. We have now finished planting the new plants and repaired the grass area ready for seeding in March.”

 

So there we have my entries for January in my 2019 garden journal.

 

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Our Short Break in Stratford-on-Avon – Part 4 – Coughton Court

On our return journey from Stratford afforded us the opportunity to return to explore the gardens of the National Tust property, Coughton Court, a garden we had not visited for many years, so we looked forward to seeing how our memories of the place matched up with the reality.

Coughton Court is the family home of the Throckmorton family, who continue to maintain and develop the garden and grounds as well as the house itself.

In particular, we remember the walled rose garden which is often quoted as being one of the most romantic gardens in the UK which is of course the land of romantic gardens. We could both remember this area which was full of scented roses, many old-fashioned varieties, and its beautiful statue of a female figure. I can even remember the beautifully soft subtle planting around its base of Sedum sectabile and Stip tenuissima. I hoped that planting still remained.

The introductory set of eight photos below illustrate the variety of points of interest at Coughton. They show the beauty of the buildings themselves, the rose garden, bog garden, orchards, woodland, riverside walk etc

The Throckmorton family rose garden was developed in 1966 and was designed by a Chelsea RHS Show award-winning garden designer, Christina Williams. What makes ir si special and different to traditional rose gardens is the way the roses are heavily underplanted with herbaceous perennials. The statue is of Fair Rosamund, a beauty of the 12th century and reputedly the mistress of King Henry II. The popular ancient rose, Rosa mundi was named after her and specimens are planted around the statue. The gentle planting of my memories has sadly been superseded.

There was so much to enjoy in this rose garden that it is best to look at following a gallery of photos that I took within its bounds. Click on the first photo and then navigate with the arrows.

Moving on from the rose garden and its rich sites and aromas, we found our way into a much more open space which presented a pleasant contrast to the business of the rose garden. Here a rectangular lawn was edged with herbaceous borders, planted with Gertrude Jekyl style gentle end of the spectrum plant choices. We enjoyed a slow amble among each side, appreciating the individual plants, plant combinations and the bigger picture of looking right along the length of each border.

            

It is always good to visit a garden with many different aspects and the gardens at Coughton Court manages to certainly provide lots of different styles of garden to enjoy. Here are few shots showing different aspects I haven’t the space to share. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Our Short Break in Stratford -on-Avon – Part 3 – Anne Hathaway’s cottage and garden

Anne Hathaway was Shakepeare’s wife and her cottage and garden are probably one of the best known tourist destinations in England, so we were pleased to be visiting in mid-week when we hpoed it might be a little quieter. Luckily we arrived just ahead of a party of schoolgirls, excited, boisterous and noisy.

Visitors were allowed into the cottage in small groups each of which received an introductory talk from a knowledgeable guide. Her chat prepared us well for our visit. We had a wandewr around the cottage interior although really we wnated be outside exploring the cottage style garden.

This set of photos give you the sense of the cottage’s beauty, intimacy and atmosphere. Beautiful gable windows pierce the tiled roof while climbing and scented plants snuggle up to its walls. The gardens are both productive and ornamental, with vegetable patches, fruit production and orchards as well as meadows and mixed borders. A beautiful woven “moongate” adds interest alongsid emany other sculptural pieces.

  

To help share our experiences at the Anne Hathaway cottage and garden I will use a gallery of shots taken during our exploration of the cottage interior, the garden and the grounds further afield. Enjoy by clicking on the first photo then navigate with the arrows.

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