While in Yorkshire last summer we visited a small and very special garden, full of ideas to be taken home. Ideas on planting and design. This is a garden of many “rooms” each with its own character and atmosphere. Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens, just 6 miles south of the city of York, has been described by Alys Fowler as “One of the country’s finest cottage gardens.”
It is a garden where the plantsmanship and passion of the owner is felt and can be touched. She works closely with nature and understands how caring for a garden and caring for wildlife should go hand-in-hand.
Look carefully at the picture below and see if you can spot a delicate iris.
We were particularly taken with the meadows as they included some interesting additions beyond native species. At the time of our visit the last few flowers were left on the top of the flower stalks of Camassias in whites, creams and blues. We were interested to see that Rosa rugosa were planted in the meadows. When we spoke to the gardener she informed us that they were simply strimmed down along with the grasses and herbaceous materials and they re-grew each spring, flowering successfully every year.
Of all the many garden rooms we discovered we particularly liked the yellow/golden garden full of bright foliage and yellow flowers. The overall feel was of being inside a chartreuse world glowing and warm.
Other areas were more formal with cut box edging, neat lawns and rills. There was a veritable feast of seats of all descriptions on which to rest and absorb all the different atmospheres in these rooms. In complete contrast to the formal gardens were the informal pond and wildlife meadows.
As usual a particular favourite sitting place was the tea shop! Situated in a secluded courtyard with gentle sculptures and calming borders the teashop lived in a beautiful old outbuilding. To illustrate what a friendly place Stillingfleet Lodge is we only have to go into the teashop. Here there is all you need to make tea or coffee and plates of fresh, home baked cakes and biscuits and an honesty box with a price list alongside. True faith in the honest character of the visiting gardeners. Work by local crafts people was also beautifully displayed here.