A Walk in the Park – Attingham Park November

Number eleven in my series of posts where I report on our monthly visits for a wander around Attingham Park, our local National Trust property. Just as in October I was in a wheelchair pushed around the paths by Jude, the Undergardener so some of the photos will look taken from a low angle. Please enjoy sharing our visit with us!

We decided to follow the One-Mile Walk and as usual made our way firstly towards the Walled Garden. Autumn had settled in although some varieties of tree still held onto a full complement of foliage, awaiting another few days of frosts to join into the feeling/essence  of the season. The colourful mixed herbaceous and annual flower borders which have been welcoming us into the walled garden have almost lost their colour with just a few yellow-flowered Rudbeckias extending the show.

 

The borders around the central circular dipping well still showed colour from healthy-looking specimens of Penstemen “Garnet” and a few white flowers as companions.

 

The vintage hose-reel held modern plastic hose in a bright yellow rolled up to form tight patterns.

 

The wooden doorway from the main section of the walled garden which leads visitors into the glasshouse section opened wide to reveal a wheelbarrow full of Dahlias prunings. A gardener knelt nearby preparing the plants for their winter storage. She had lifted the plants, cut their top growth off with her Felco secateurs, thrown these prunings into her barrow and busily cleared soil from around the tubers. These she would take off into one of the cool brick stores to overwinter. Some of the hardier varieties were in flower closer to the gardeners’ bothy.

  

All of the glasshouses were closed up against the changing weather, but through their windows we spied pumpkins and chilies drying. Nerines added pink cheer to the outsides.

 

    

The autumn light shone through the trees at a low angle lighting up the colours of the changing foliage giving the effects of stained glass windows.

     

Next month’s visit will be the final one of our 12 monthly visits to Attingham Park to study the seasonal changes. We look forward to seeing how the move into the next season, winter, will show itself.

 

 

 

Posted in autumn, autumn colours, colours, flowering bulbs, garden design, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, half-hardy perennials, hardy perennials, kitchen gardens, light, light quality, National Trust, pathways, photography, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, The National Trust, woodland, woodlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Garden Journal 2017 – November

The penultimate visit to my garden journal for 2017 is here – hope you enjoy it. I began by referring back to a development we started in the garden back in September which we finished off in November. We are very pleased with how it has turned out and look forward to seeing the new plants flourish.

“October continued with damaging winds and days with brown skies and orange sun as we received the effects f Hurricane Ophelia, downgraded to Storm Ophelia as it hit our shores. The last few weeks of October and the early days of November, saw us busy continuing develop our “Oil Tank Garden”.

 

“We screened the ugly tank with panels of beautiful diamond latticed panels and soon got on with the planting. Always the exciting bit!”

Over the page I continue to describe our development of this border and wrote “Behind the tank we have planted two trees, the Heptacodium mentioned in September and a stunning Sorbus called Joseph Rock with yellow berries in stark contrast to its deepest red autumn foliage.

 

“Hundreds of miniature daffodils were planted with crocus, Anemone blanda and other small bulbs.”

“A new solitary bee home was sited in the new garden. We gave it a miniature green roof!”

“We soon had a selection of climbers planted to clothe the trellis panels, Roses, Clematis, Honeysuckle and a Coronilla”.

   

“Behind the tank we planted for wildlife and hedgehogs in particular. We placed a nestbox for hedgehogs among dense planting of ferns and Euphorbias. We added stone piles, leaf piles and log piles.”

Turning over another page I featured some words by Dan Pearson and looked at some autumn flowering plants.

“Taking a look at Dan Pearson’s writings about Autumn in his “Natural Selections” book he wrote,

I want to invite the seasons into the garden, vividly and in layers. I use asters, autumn crocus and gentians at ground level, and shrubs that perform for this season to take the eye up and away, to straighten the back. I weave berrying trees and shrubs into the garden as much for their jewel-like fruit as for the birds which flock down to gorge when the fruit is ready for feasting upon.”

We aim to do exactly the same in our Avocet patch. Below are a few of our Asters which feature in our “Shrub Border”,  a border that brings Autumn in.”

  

“Another herbaceous perennial that features strongly in our November garden are the Salvias. We leave a few to over-winter in the garden but most will be brought into the cool greenhouse.”

       

Turning over again I take a look at succulents, plants rarely mentioned in the context of the autumn garden.

“When considering Autumn colour, succulents are rarely mentioned, but just check out the photos below of some of our succulents taken in November

   

Below are my paintings/drawings of two multi-coloured succulent stems which I created with water soluble pencil crayons.

“Taking succulent cuttings.”

 

“Final pots of succulents waiting to go into their winter home.”

 

The final page of my November entries in the Garden Journal celebrates my “Plant of the Month”, which is one of only two Irises native to the UK, Iris foetidissima.

  

The next visit to look at my Garden Journal in 2017 will be the last one for the year, December.

Posted in autumn colours, climbing plants, colours, flowering bulbs, garden design, garden photography, garden wildlife, gardening, gardens, half-hardy perennials, hardy perennials, irises, light, light quality, log piles, logs, natural pest control, ornamental trees and shrubs, roses, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, shrubs, South Shropshire, spring bulbs, succulents, trees | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Simply Beautiful – 14

Number 14 in this occasional series of posts will feature a very special little plant with the bluest flowers you could imagine – Commelina dianthifolia. This little gem of a flower is commonly called the Bird-bill Day Flower as each flower lasts but a day and they emerge from bird bill shaped green sepals. We were given our plant by gardening friends Gordon and Mona and we treat it like a special friend itself.

 

Posted in colours, flowering bulbs, garden photography, gardening, hardy perennials | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Our Christmas Traditions

Recently, Judy wrote on her blog, newenglandgardenandthread.wordpress.com, about their family traditions at Christmas time. Check out her post to read her words. She suggests other bloggers post about their family traditions too, so here is a summary of my family’s Christmas traditions.

Firstly we have to have a real green tree, no artificial ones allowed by request of the guests who descend on our home every Christmas Eve. We have three generations celebrating every year but this year we gain a fourth, Jude and I of course, Jude’s mother Sheila, our children Jamie and Jo and their spouses Sam and Rob, and this year a little one year old joins us, our granddaughter Arabella (the fourth generation). We have to decorate the tree before they arrive and place presents beneath and around it.

Christmas Eve means a family evening meal, with log burner and open fire lit and glowing nicely. We all intend to go to bed early and inevitably fail especially Jude and I. Jude has to be Father Christmas later when the house goes quiet – she has to drop off “Christmas Stockings” for everyone outside their bedroom doors. Aren’t we strange!

Chrsitmas Day is a day of chaos and feasting, from the first brew of tea to wake us up through the all too big feast, Christmas dinner itself and regular snacking of sweet or chocolate items throughout. Presents are unwrapped in the morning after a traditional English breakfast and mugs of coffee. Friends and family are contacted during the day to thank them for presents and cards and to wish them a Happy Christmas.

A good doze is the order of the day once the feast has been demolished. The day ends with an evening when the family play board games, eating chocolates until we collapse and retire to our beds.

The day after is Boxing Day, a day of relaxation and walks for those fit enough. It feels very quiet and calm!

So that is it – our traditions of Christmas Day.

Posted in Christmas traditions, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Painting in a Meadow in Norfolk

Sometimes when you choose a holiday location and select accommodation you hit the right spot. When we spent a week in Norfolk in 2017 we did just this. We booked a barn conversion with its own little nature reserve in the middle of open farmland miles from any village or town.

Each morning as we got up we started the day by wandering around the meadow with a coffee mug in hand and camera over the shoulder. Each evening we repeated the exercise after our evening meal. Pure luxury! It brought back so many childhood memories for me.

The highlight was probably its wildflower meadow sat within the grounds. The meadow was full of such a wide variety of flowering plants and grasses, and hence full of wildlife, birds, bees, beetles, hoverflies, butterflies and moths. At night the birds were replaced by bats who hawked the surface of the meadow feeding on moths and night flying insects.

The meadow was a place of natural sights, sounds, movement and scent.

We ate outside as often as possible on a terrace overlooking a small lake surrounded by mature, native trees, Alder, Ash and Oak. These trees were favourite haunts of owls who entertained us with their calls as light faded each evening. We brought the sweetpeas back from Houghton Hall, where they grow in the walled garden and visitor are invited to use the scissors and string provided to pick and tie a bunch. The Lavender, a Dutch Lavender, in the pot we had bought from another garden we visited. It is now planted at home.

   

I decided it would be a challenge to paint the flowering meadow sat in the picnic bench in the very centre. So I set up my gear and had a go.

   

A beautiful calming time! The sounds of nature as a background makes painting so much easier, more flowing.

 

Here are my finished pieces.

And here it is framed and on daughter and son-in-law, Jo and Rob’s wall. The left hand pic shows it alongside my brother, Derrick’s pastel drawing of a magnolia.

 

 

Posted in birds, colours, garden photography, garden wildlife, grasses, meadows, trees, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cogshall Grange – a Cheshire garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith

Sometimes when you find a garden in the National Garden Scheme’s Yellow Book, you just know it is going to be a special place. Such was the case with the gardens at Cogshall Grange in Cheshire. The description in the book was so inviting and the reality matched it perfectly. It had been designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, one of our favourite garden designers and featured both formal and informal elements, woodland borders, a walled garden, modern herbaceous planting, wildflower meadows and an orchard, all set in the grounds of a Georgian country house.

Jude and I traveled up to Cheshire with friends Pete and Sherlie who also love the work of Tom S-S, so we all arrived full of anticipation.

As we moved from room to room in the garden discovering each feature the atmosphere and mood changed and we were constantly presented with fresh perspectives. This garden was a true garden experience.

We were really looking forward to seeing inside the walled garden which was where the influence of Tom Stuart-Smith was clearly to be seen, but of course we started with coffee and cake to get us in the mood. We discovered and enjoyed interesting small areas of planting as we made our way towards the walled garden, a delicately planted container, some beautifully pruned box and some varied, well chosen plant combinations.

Just as the garden was a careful amalgam of traditional parkland and modern perennial planting so the country house was a combination of old and modern architecture.

      

The walled garden was where the influence of Tom S-S could be seen and felt most strongly, with his very personal planting style and choice of plants mostly hardy perennials. The atmosphere was so gentle and calming. There was so much to photograph within its walls that the only way to do it any justice at all is through a gallery for you to peruse at your own pace. Please as usual click on the first shot and navigate using the arrows. I hope you can identify the very special feeling of this space.

We left the walled garden via a gateway which led us into gentle meadows of wildflower planting.

Walking back to the car to begin our homeward journey, we continued to make discoveries, some grassland had been cut to contrast with the longer uncut areas which were dotted with sculpture such as this beautiful stone seat.

   This beautiful garden excelled!

Posted in architecture, garden design, garden designers, garden photography, garden ponds, garden pools, gardening, gardens, grasses, hardy perennials, meadows, National Garden Scheme, NGS, ornamental grasses, ornamental trees and shrubs, outdoor sculpture, reflections, sculpture, Tom Stuart-Smith, trees, Uncategorized, walled gardens, water garden, water in the garden, Yellow Book Gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Are you sitting comfortably – no 13 in a very occasional series.

More seats to enjoy looking at and to imagine sitting in – enjoy!

This first set is from Bryn y Llidiart, garden set high in the Welsh hills in a beautiful undulating garden with a variety of rich views so every seat enjoys its own special place to look at.

  

Closer to home is a large country cottage just inside the Welsh border, Hurdley Hall, with a garden full of surprises and one which invites wildlife within its boundaries. Seats allow the visitor to soak up the special atmosphere this garden possesses. Some of the seats invite you to sit and enjoy tea and cakes, others to cool down in the shade and some to enjoy delicious views.

A 4-acre garden set in the beautiful Welsh countryside not far from home and north of us is Aberclwyd Manor is so full of atmosphere. It made us feel so calm and rested, so the many seats were very welcome, although many were too old and rickety to sit on.

            

 

 

Posted in garden design, garden furniture, garden photography, garden seating, gardening | Tagged , , , ,