Pentre Uchaf – a high altitude garden

While holidaying in mid-Wales near Cardigan we enjoyed a visit to a garden high up in the hills, surrounding a cottage called Pentre Uchaf. It took quite a drive to get there following narrow lanes up and down steep hills and along narrow valleys. We were so relieved to get there and started as usual with refreshments.

The walk from the car up to the house treated us to great views looking through the planting of trees and perennials.

The theme of the visit was enjoyment of these views from every part of the garden.

 

These two little surprise elements added extra interest to our garden wanderings.

As with any garden it is the plants that are the stars! Pentre Uchaf was no exception!

It may have been a difficult drive to find this little garden but it was most definitely worth the effort.

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Sculpture Heaven

The name for this garden was a bit off-putting but once through the gates we warmed to it immediately. This was a collection of outdoor sculpture of all sorts, a huge variety in fact but there was the important element of a garden wander to see all the pieces.

As soon as we entered through the rustic gateway we knew we were in for a treat, as sculpture was placed all around in trees, shrubs, in borders in grassed areas. We made our way across for refreshments and checked out the map to get an idea of a route we could follow and not miss any areas out.

 

Here is a selection of some of the weird and wonderful characters we met on our wanders.

 

We were delighted to discover sculptural pieces that were also musical instruments. They were so simple but very beautiful.

This was one of those gardens with a second string to its bow, the sculpture. It made for a good day out!

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Chatsworth – part two

Back at Chatsworth we now explore further through the gardens and stop to study the two famous water features, the water steps and the tall water spout.

Alongside the top path through the open woodland area, we discovered delicately planted areas, some designed by Dan Pearson and adapted from his Chelsea Best in Show garden dedicated to Chatsworth.

A special and unusual feature here is the Pulhamite rockery and ravine, Pulhamite being an artificial stone created for use in gardens. It all looks so realistic!

So that was our day at Chatsworth. Our next visit may be when the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show is on in the summer. Watch this space.

 

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Chatsworth – part one

In 2019 we spent a warm and humid mid-July day at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire where we explored the gardens for the whole day, refreshed by the largest ice-cream cones we have ever enjoyed. It is one of the UK’s largest gardens and is full of interesting planting, unusual features and some wonderful glasshouses. These glasshouses are the work of a past head gardener Joseph Paxton. You need a whole day to really appreciate these gardens and you need to plan your day well.

The first set of photos shows the beauty of the glasshouses  both old and new at Chatsworth and a beautiful mature specimen of Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’ and a subtly planted pot.

We made our way around the glasshouses towards the productive garden, which we knew had been developed since our previous visit and enjoyed some interesting plants and plant combinations along the way.

Sculpture is always in evidence at Chatsworth and there was plenty of interest on this visit, from classical to modern, wood and stone and hidden away throughout the gardens.

 

And then we came across this amazing seat which is a piece of sculpture in its own right.

   

 

 

 

 

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My Garden Journal 2020 – January

A new year starts here and along with it a new garden journal in a new book. This year I will restructure the format of my journal so that it includes fewer photos and written reports but more paintings. For my title page I wrote, “A year in the life of our garden in drawings, paintings, photos and maybe a few words.”

Each month I will include paintings and sketches, a flowering plant of the month, a foliage plant of the month and a ‘bark and stem’ plant of the month. So enjoy the January pages of my 2020 garden journal.

The first page of my January entries featured two watercolour paintings of our Witch Hazels, Hamamelis ‘Jelena’ and H ‘Diane’.

Page two sees me looking at the amazing winter flowering shrub, Cornus mas. Each month I will feature a “Flowering plant of the month” and this Cornus is my January choice.

“Scented flowers. Deep red berries. Deeply textured bark.”

I then created two more watercolours of flowering winter plants, one shrub and one climber, Daphne bhuloa ‘Jacqueline Postill’ and Jasminum nudiflorum.

I moved onto look at my ‘Foliage plant of the month” and my choice for January is our little collection of Arum italicum.

My final plant of the month is Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’, January’s plant of the month for stems and bark, with its “Orange stems, orange ‘snake-bark’ trunks, small white flowers and primrose-yellow autumn colour.”

My January entries in my garden journal end with our “Garden tasks for the month”, so it was “Heads down to lay seep hose through borders, prune large branches of Mahonia and pruning Hypericums.”

So that is our January in our garden. We will visit my garden journal in February to see what went on in that month.

 

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Are you sitting comfortably – no 14 in a very occasional series

Back with another set of garden seats for you to enjoy. Imagine yourself taking a seat for a rest, to take in the view and appreciate the comfort of the seats themselves.

Firstly let me share a few seats from the gardens at Ivy Croft in Herefordshire, a garden open for its huge snowdrop collection and interesting winter plants.

We recently visited John’s Garden attached to Ashwood Nursery in the West Midlands, and being in February seats became very obvious features. They varied so much in style!

Next I want to share with you seats from the gardens at Erddig, a Welsh National Trust property.

So that is it for this collection of garden seats. More to follow in the future!

 

 

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Simply Beautiful – 19

The woodland walk at Attingham Hall Park is one of our favourites and we walk it several time each year.

What a surprise this was! As we wandered along a bark chip path at Attingham Park Jude noticed water in the bowl of an old Beech tree. Closer examination revealed a tiny pond with crisp reflections of the upper branches of the Beech. Simple and beautiful! Simply beautiful!

 

I imagine that this mini-pond has an important role to play in the ecosystem of the wood, attracting tiny water creatures, providing a bathing place for birds and a drinking place for wildlife.

 

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