awards climbing plants colours garden design garden photography garden ponds garden pools garden seating gardening gardens gardens open to the public hardy perennials National Garden Scheme NGS ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs outdoor sculpture sculpture Shropshire shrubs trees Uncategorized village gardens water in the garden Yellow Book Gardens

Windy Ridge – another Yellow Book Garden

Windy Ridge is a fellow “Yellow Book Garden” in Shropshire and thus like us opens for charity under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme. The gardener owners have been opening their garden for many years more than we have and we have visited several times before. We decided the time was right for a return visit to discover how it has developed over the years. The owners/gardeners are real plantspersons with plenty of knowledge to share and impart related to both plants, garden management and design.

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Windy Ridge is a garden of wandering paths, secret places, surprises around every corner but above all a garden full of plants to stop you in your tracks either because they are so well grown or very unusual.

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There are quality sculptural pieces among the plants for visitors to enjoy beginning with a huge carved tree trunk at the garden entrance.

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Secret pathways which lead the visitor onward and present choices are an important element of a quality garden.

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In our own “Avocet” garden we enjoy raising the canopy of our trees and shrubs to expose interesting bark and trunk shapes and to let in light to allow planting beneath. At Windy Ridge this is performed to perfection and helps give the garden its character. The first photo below shows how this technique even helps Laurel, my most disliked plant! To make it work the gardener must look closely at and listen to the plant before attempting the first cut. If the gardener does this he is more likely to react to the character of each tree and shrub and give it the shaping it deserves and wants.

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We enjoyed and admired the way that the formality of clipped box integrates so well into the softness of the planting.

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Berries enhance the September garden and add even more colour to that provided by flowers. Windy Ridge had colour aplenty!

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If I had to pick out one plant as my favourite at Windy Ridge it would have to be beautiful coloured and scented Clematis, C. odorata, a plant left to ramble unpruned to great effect. It is a Clematis we have been seeking for our own patch for many years so seeing and smelling it here has renewed our determination to add it to our huge clematis collection already climbing and clambering in our Avocet garden.


Hydrangeas were well in bloom when we visited and the sheer variety of colours was to be admired.

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The highlight for many visitors is the large garden pond with wonderful marginal planting, a decked area with white ironwork seats and a narrow pathway behind it for the visitor to explore. We had a great afternoon returning to the garden at Windy Ridge and found it as inspiring as always. We were pleased to note that it had received an award in a national garden competition.

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awards community gardening

More Awards for Bowbrook Allotment Community

There is nothing better on cold dull days of winter than looking back.

When the RHS gave us our first award we jokingly started calling ourselves an “Award Winning Allotments” and then as we get more and more we now call ourselves the “Multi-Award Winning Allotments”. Well last year in the autumn we were invited to another award ceremony jointly held by the RHS and Britain in bloom.

We enjoy these ceremonies as it affords us the opportunity to meet gardeners from other community gardens and see what they are getting up to. This year the ceremony was held in a hotel with well-laid out gardens too so we enjoyed a wander before our lunch.

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Our allotment gardens, Bowbrook Allotment Community, affectionately know as BAC, fall under the RHS Its your Neighbourhood Scheme for community gardens that improve their local areas. We are measured against a set of criteria which consider horticultural excellence, environmental enhancement, wildlife friendliness and community involvement. Assessors from the RHS make visits and spend several hours on site marking us against set guidelines. The awards are awarded at 5 levels starting with beginning at Level 1 moving up to Level 5 Outstanding. They can also give out discretionary awards to individuals and community gardeners.

We were pleased to receive a Level 5 Outstanding Certificate in 2015 for the 5th year running. We were totally surprised when we were called up at the end of the award ceremony to be be awarded an RHS National Award of Distinction, one of only two awarded. We were given this as we had achieved a mark of 100% in every category. Can’t be bad! It truly reflects our great community spirit!

I thought it would be interesting to add photos of the banners displayed in the hall as they give clues to the spirit of this award scheme.

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awards Britain in Bloom buildings garden photography gardening outdoor sculpture the sea the seaside

Awards and Wet Weather in Cleethorpes

We have just returned from a weekend up on the Lincolnshire coast. We had been invited to attend the RHS Britain in Bloom award ceremony at Cleethorpes’ Beechcomber Entertainment Centre, a rather strange place harking back to the days of Butlins Holiday Camps. We were there to represent our Allotment Community as I am chairman and Jude is secretary to the management committee. We had to attend the ceremony on Saturday eve so decided to make a weekend of it.

The award ceremony was very successful for us, the rest of the weekend less so. But we are gardeners and hardy folk so we were not going to let the wild weather beat us. At the ceremony we proudly received an RHS National Award of Distinction. This was a result of our awards Bowbrook Allotment Community received at the RHS Its Your Neighbourhood Award Ceremony in Birmingham in September, a “Level 5 Outstanding Award” and two RHS Discretionary Awards, the “Community Gardening Award” and one awarded to me for “Outstanding Merit Award for Leadership in Community Gardening”. We came away with some beautiful cut glass trophies as well as our certificates.

The east coast of England was battered by winds and heavy rain over the weekend but being a hardy pair we carried on regardless and enjoyed a bracing walk along the promenade. The gardens here had been recently renovated and were neatly kept. We are not fans of bedding plants formally planted nor of conifers but admired the gardeners handiwork none the less. Sculpture pieces featured along the promenade gardens.

All the photos were taken through pouring rain and often through a filter of rain drops on the lens filter glass.

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Cleethorpes had become run down but is experiencing a bit of a revival and civic pride seems to be returning. However some of the traditional buildings of seaside resorts were looking worse for wear especially emerging from the gloom of the day.

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But we weren’t the only brave souls defying the elements. Dog walkers, fishermen, the seaside donkeys and windsurfers were equally defiant.

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Drying out after our promenade along the sea front took some time but the seaside in rough weather has its own specific charm about it. It was heartening to see a seaside town trying to reinvent itself using gardens as a starting point, a good way to create some pride in a place.


Thanks for the compliment.

OK we create our blogs because we enjoy writing and taking photos and then enjoy sharing them with others. But it is nice sometimes to get the odd compliment such as a blogging award.

So thanks to Judy of the blog grandparentsplus2 for nominating my blog for the Beautiful Blogger Award. I now need to tell you 7 things about myself you may not know and list my 7 favourite blogs to nominate them for the Beautiful Blogger Award.

1. I read over a hundred books every year which means that over the last decade I have read my way through 1 000 books. It makes my eyes ache just to think about it!

2. I suffer from Noun Aphasia which means that I often forget the names of things. I have previously forgotten what a chair is so-called it “the thing with four legs that we sit on”. I once forgot the name of Goldilocks  so-called her “the girl who lived in the woods with the bears”. It is very frustrating but my family enjoy it.

3. I can’t dig! I have to get Jude, Mrs Greenbench aka The Undergardener, to do it for me. I have no feeling in my right leg so if I dig I simply fall over!

4. I am a great fan of jazz and the blues.

5. I have been an allotment gardener now for over 20 years.

6. I enjoy chutney making with my excess crops.

7. I have a terrible memory! I nearly forgot that one.

My select seven blogs are


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I know that not everyone likes awards but this is an opportunity to suggest a few blogs others might enjoy. Sharing ideas is central to blogging.