Another NGS Garden : Gorsty Bank – a wildlife friendly garden

This a wonderful wildlife friendly garden which opens for the NGS and is owned and gardened by fellow Hardy Plant Society Shropshire Group members Annie and Gary Frost. The garden is a short distance from home so we soon arrived after a short journey and enjoyed the walk through the village of Hyssington and up the drive to the garden. We found some lovely primulas along the lane and the driveway itself was atmospheric with old stone walls on one side and native hedging alongside.

We were warmly greeted by Gary and as usual made our way to the refreshments and enjoyed talking with Annie as we enjoyed tea and tasty homemade cakes. The views from our seats afforded an idea of the richness of the experience we could look forward to.

We then enjoyed a slow wander around this gentle garden with its paths and gateways to guide our way. We loved the two meadows and the mini-arboretum.

 

Another enjoyable return visit to a favourite NGS garden afforded us a great day out. We will be back!

Posted in countryside, flowering bulbs, garden arches, garden buildings, garden design, garden paths, garden photography, garden seating, garden wildlife, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, hardy perennials, meadows, National Garden Scheme, NGS, ornamental trees and shrubs, pathways, spring, spring gardening, village gardens, wildlife, Yellow Book Gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seasonal visits to two very different gardens

Instead of a monthly visit to the same garden for a whole 12 months I decided to look at two gardens, one small and one large. We have already visited the large one, Bodnant Gardens in North Wales already. So here is our first visit to our chosen small garden Wildegoose Nursery and Garden here in Shropshire.

We visited on May 5th, the day that Wildegoose opens with Millichope Hall Gardens for the NGS, just as we do. Wildegoose is the restoration project of the hall’s walled garden. Here a young couple, Jack and Laura Willgoss, have set up a nursery and are developing a modern perennial style garden as well as specialising in hardy perennial violas. It is an exciting project which we love to visit often.

Our first visit for this series of posts was on May 5th, a bright day with a chilly wind but a day with great light for taking photos and enhancing the brightness of colours.

We arrived via a tall gate in the the brick walls and were immediately struck by a patch of Forget-me-nots and tulips. We soon realised that Jack and Laura had a great taste in tulip colours. These tulips complimented so effectively the strength of colours of euphorbias and wallflowers.

Throughout the garden, as we wandered and explored, little gems of plants caught our eyes like this unusual Cammassia and the strong stemmed Thalictrum “Black Stocking”.

 

Memories of the walled garden’s Georgian origins and its history until its demise after the two world wars appear occasionally throughout the garden, and exciting artifacts integrate into the plantings.

  

The teashop is wonderfully old-fashioned and is so welcoming with beautiful bone china crockery in which tasty tea is served along with home-made cakes. We found a beautifully coloured table and chairs within the garden. We are tempted to paint some of our metal furniture in that colour as it sits so comfortably in the garden.

 

Next here is a selection of photos taken throughout the walled garden for you to enjoy.

We finished our wanderings at the nursery. Always a good idea! Here we bought a selection of their hardy perennial violas – beautiful!

Laura and Jack’s twins always leave a surprise somewhere in the garden and today this was in the nursery beds. A nice friendly way to finish an inspirational, relaxing afternoon.

We will be back in the summer and report that exploration too.

 

 

 

Posted in colours, flowering bulbs, garden buildings, garden design, garden designers, garden paths, garden photography, garden seat, garden seating, garden sheds, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, grasses, hardy perennials, light quality, National Garden Scheme, NGS, nurseries, ornamental grasses, outdoor sculpture, sculpture, Shropshire, South Shropshire, spring bulbs, spring gardening, traditions, village gardens, walled gardens, Yellow Book Gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whitlenge Nursery and Gardens – an NGS opening

One of our first NGS garden visits this year was to Whitlenge Garden and Nursery near Kidderminster in the West Midlands. The gardens were show gardens for the owner, a garden designer/landscaper, but we still enjoyed parts of it, including some plant combinations and some landscaping ideas mostly. being a designer’s show garden it didn’t have a coherent feel to it and it lacked flow. But there were so many ideas for visitors to pick up on.

Here I will share our wanderings around the garden with you for you to enjoy.

Please click on the first photo and then navigate using the arrows.

 

 

 

 

Posted in garden arches, garden design, garden designers, garden furniture, garden paths, garden photography, garden ponds, garden pools, garden seating, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, hardy perennials, National Garden Scheme, NGS, ornamental trees and shrubs, outdoor sculpture, pathways, pergolas, shrubs, spring gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Year’s Day at the seaside

This post was written right at the beginning of the year but I never got round to publishing it, so here it is a day spent at the seaside to celebrate the arrival of a new year, 2019.

It has become a tradition with Jude and I to spend New Year’s Day at the seaside, sometime on the north coast, sometimes mid-wales. For 2019 we made the trip to mid-wales settling on Aberystwyth as our venue for the day. Daughter Jo and son-in-law Rob joined us so it was extra special.

 

We are always amazed when at the coast how both Mother Nature and visiting humans produce little creations with pebbles and driftwood.

    

As the day wore on the light changed and a warm light lit up the sea and the rocks where the tide rushed in with frothy waves.

So now we can look forward to January 1st 2020 a new year’s day seaside amble and of course a new decade’s day amble too!

Posted in Christmas traditions, colours, Land Art, landscapes, light, light quality, sculpture, the sea, the seaside, the shore, Wales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

My Garden Journal 2019 – April

April is one of our busiest months in our Avocet patch, a month when we are busy, our wildlife colleagues are busy and the plants are growing apace. We have tasks to complete as well as usual garden routines.

As I often do in my journals I began with the weather and wrote, “April burst onto the scene with a crazy few days of weather. The first day, April Fools’ Day, was bright and mild after a frosty start which gave us hope for a few good days for gardening. Sadly this was far from the reality as during the following few days the weather treated us to rain, sleet, snow, hail and freezing winds! Not good for gardening!” I added a few photos of frozen rain after it had settled on the garden.

Frozen rain on the garden was an unexpected event.

 

“Succulents love hot dry areas but look good with hats of snow and ice.”

 

“Pitcher with snow and black lichen.”

“Frozen rain on fresh herbaceous foliage.”

On the page opposite my weather report I considered some of our flowering shrubs that add a fresh dimension to the spring garden.

“April seems to be the month when our collection of flowering shrubs come into their own, many of them will continue to give colour for weeks on end and then delight us with their foliage in summer and autumn and also the addition of berries.” I then shared a set of photos of a few of our spring flowering shrubs.

     

Next I shared a few of our spring tasks around the garden

I wrote, “Our list of “non-plant” jobs continued well into the spring, when we made a new shed, in a bright blue painted sentry-box style, specially to fit in our seaside garden.”

“The flat-packed shed arrived in a box and we soon opened it up and lined up all the pieces in readiness.”

“It took longer to make than expected and the finished shed was a bit flimsier than we would have liked so I will add more structural wooden struts to it.”

On the opposite page I looked at other jobs we undertook in April.

“More jobs to launch a new month ….. Jude created a new insect hotel.”

“We planted potatoes in bags.” “We sowed wildflowers in Arabella’s Garden.”

“Roses on arches needed a trim and some shrubs needed pollarding.”

 

When we turn over the page we see that the next two pages are all about those special flowers of spring, flowering bulbs.

I wrote, “We seem to have more daffodils to enjoy in our garden than ever before, and they soon get the company of tulips joining the Muscari, Leucojum and the little blue flowered bulbs.”

I shared a collection of photos of our tulips on one page and of our daffodils on the opposite page.

“This is just a small selection of our dozens of varieties of tulips spread around our garden.”

   

“Daffodils appear in almost every bed and border, like brightly coloured children’s sweets. The garden becomes a sweet shop of delights.”

Over to the next double page spread we return to the garden tasks we performed during April.

I wrote, “When we host visitors to our garden we sell plants and Jude has established what we call her ‘micro nursery’. We also take plants with us when we give garden talks around counties close to us and in neighbouring Welsh counties. We needed to increase our nursery space as we go out to give talks more and more. I doubled the size of Jude’s herbaceous plant sales shelves. We mostly used re-cycled wood.”

I carried on to the next page saying, “I also created a shrub nursery at the bottom of the garden in the space where our compost was made. We needed space for cuttings in ‘long tom pots’ and the individually potted shrubs.”

“The first job was to get Ian, our garden helper, to bag up our compost ready to be used as a mulch around the many borders.”

“We put up tables to show our shrubs on and put membrane down underfoot.”

“All that is left to do now is to put slate down on the membrane to give a comfortable and attractive surface.” That is a job to be done when we revitalize our central path, replacing slate that has been down for several years so now has a bit too mush soil mixed in, with fresh clean slate mulch. Watch this space!

So once again turning the page the next double page spread features bluebells and Primula auriculas. I wrote of bluebells, “Towards the end of the month the first of our native Bluebells come into flower. They give us a shot of bright blue and enrich the air with their sweet aroma.”

I then shared a couple of i-Pad drawings I attempted to show the vitality of these amazing flowers of spring.

On the page opposite the bluebells I looked at some of our Auriculas, with their unique colour range and combinations. I wrote, The wide range of unique colour combinations, sometimes enriched with a fine ‘meal’, seen in the flowers of Primula auricula are what made these flowers appeal to the enthusiasts and show men in their hayday. Today they are grown more as alpines. Jude bought a tray of mixed seedlings a few years ago and she has selected out some special ones.”

The final page for my journal in April features another popular collectors’ plant, the Hostas, “We love Hostas and grow many with a wide variety of leaf shapes, colours, sizes and variegation patterns in different areas of the garden.”

 “These are some of our miniature and small varieties, surrounded by sharp grit to deter slugs and snails.”

And that is where my April entries into my garden journal came to a conclusion. The next visit to its pages will be in May when the garden should be looking even better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in colours, flowering bulbs, garden design, garden photography, gardening, gardens, hardy perennials, ornamental trees and shrubs, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, shrubs, spring bulbs, spring gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Easter family fun in the garden

Our family got together for Easter weekend recently and as usual enjoyed a great time together. Jude and I enjoyed the company of Jude’s mum, our children Jamie and Jodie, their spouses  Sam and  Rob and our grand daughter two year old Arabella.

On the Saturday we sat around our dining table in the garden room painting Easter eggs, bunnies and chicks and created works with all sorts of craft materials. Young Rosa from next door joined us and loved being with Arabella and helping her. We had a lovely messy time!

  

 

On the Sunday we arranged an Easter Egg Hunt around the back garden. Jude and I got up early and set up signs for the trail which ended up at the summerhouse. Please enjoy my gallery of photos chronicling the egg adventures.

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Early Spring in Bodnant Gardens – Part 2 – The Dingle and back to the hall

So here is Part 2 of the post concerning our visit to the National Trust’s Bodnant Hall Gardens. We will explore the Dingle and then make our way back to the nursery via a route taking us by the hall itself. In Part 1 we wandered as far as the end of the Yew Walk ready to drop down into the stream valley and follow the clear, fast-moving waters.

Another important flowering shrub that attracts thousands of visitors to Bodnant at this time of year is the Camellia, with its gaudy pink or white flowers and glossy evergreen foliage. I will admit it is not a favourite of mine but here is a small selection of those we wandered by. Someone likes the flowers enough to create a little piece of artwork with them for others to enjoy.

To continuing sharing our visit to Bodnant with you, I shall share a gallery of photos taken as we wandered around the area on two sides of the hall. Click on the first photo and then navigate using the right arrow.

Just before we left the garden we walked through the hot garden alongside a tall stone wall, a border we love in the late summer when it is at its best, but on this visit we found a few interesting plants. The strongest feature was the selection of Hyacinths in an exciting range of colours from creamy yellow to nearly black. These were joined by Tulips, Anemones, Bergenias and emerging fresh growth of Euphorbia griffithii.

 

We had a great day out exploring these wonderful gardens, full of atmosphere and such a wide variety of different areas developed in different ways. We will return for a follow up visit in the summer.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in flowering bulbs, garden design, garden paths, garden photography, garden ponds, garden pools, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, grasses, hardy perennials, meadows, National Trust, ornamental grasses, ornamental trees and shrubs, spring bulbs, spring gardening, The National Trust, trees, Wales, water in the garden, Winter Gardening, winter gardens, woodland, woodlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments