A warm bright day in early September was a great day to visit another National Garden Scheme, Yellow Book garden. Thus we drove once again into our neighbouring county of Herefordshire in search of Montpelier Cottage. The main roads turned into minor roads and the minor roads turned into lanes. The lanes got narrower and narrower until at last we found the yellow NGS sign on a gate into a field which for the day became a temporary car park.
The cottage in its primrose yellow livery felt so welcoming.
A sense of humour, important in any garden, soon became apparent at Montpelier Cottage.
The gardeners here are the garden writer Noel Kingsbury and his wife Jo Eliot and they have been developing the garden for ten years. The garden style and plant combinations are experimental looking to find “the border between the wild and the cultivated” being inspired by American prairies and the wildflower meadows of Europe. As we knew Noel Kingsbury had been working closely for many years with garden designers and nurserymen Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen, we were interested to see how this ten year old garden had developed.
As we followed the narrow path towards the back of the cottage the gardens came into view and we knew we were in for a colourful wander. The terrace of stone slabs overlooked the garden and sitting here enjoying a refreshing tea and tasty cake we could get views over most of the garden. Brightly coloured annuals and tender perennials grew vigorously in pots.
When we had finished our refreshments we soon found a sign which invited us through a gap in a hedge. Alongside the gap a piece of sculpture created from beautiful blue glass caught our attention.
As in any garden there are certain individual plants that stand out and here at Montpelier Cottage they were this deciduous Euonymous sporting a cerise and orange colourway, the deep ruby flowered Sanguisorba “Red Buttons”, the monochrome bamboo, the Rosa rugosa with big hips and the incredibly tall growing Hollyhocks.
But as with any garden it is the big picture that gives it its own style and presence. At Montpelier Cottage the garden boasted large areas of perennial planting through which paths were cut.
It was too late in the year to see the wildflower meadows at their flowery best so we hope to visit earlier in the year in 2016, but the kitchen garden was looking very productive.
There are interesting rustic buildings which came into view as we wandered the paths through the garden.
I shall finish my post about this unusual garden with a photo of a lovely slate sculpture and another piece of creativity by Mother Nature herself, weaving with Ivy stems. The final picture shows a beautiful use of shaped box.