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Return to the gardens at Hergest Croft

We always enjoy returning to visit and explore gardens we have loved discovering before. Hergest Croft gardens are one of our favourite places to visit and we have visited at several different times of year. In 2018 we made a journey down into Herefordshire in the middle of September for an early autumn/late summer visit.  The building itself is a beautiful “arts and crafts” style villa of brick with features and details to give it a special look. The driveside provides a good place to house plants for sale particularly trees and shubs propagated from the garden’s specimens and some interesting herbaceuos plants. Alongside the entrance is a stunning glasshouse that matches the main house wonderfully and it is here that we begin each visit, after of course coffee and cakes in the tea room. This tea room has a special extra, a lovely outdoor seating space, a covered veranda.


Beneath the veranda we enjoyed looking at a border of dahlias and over the top of the border to the borders surrounding the lawn. Here we spotted the first of a series of artworks created on slates, very delicate botanic drawings.


More plants for sale grace the walkway along the side of the house, again interesting plants propagated on site from their own plant material.

We next moved into the glasshouse where we always enjoy perusing the delicate plants flowering away happily. Let me share this little gallery with you. Please click on the first pic then use arrows to navigate.

Here is a selection of the photos I snapped as we wandered around Hergest Croft gardens, which helps to illustrate how varied the garden is and what a wide selection of plants are grown there. There is a huge collection of rare and unusual trees here including several “Champion Trees” which guaranteed plenty of interest as we wandered the pathways.


There is just so much at Hergest Croft it is hard to do it justice, but I shall finish with a few selected photos of the many I took to help give a taste of this wonderful Herefordshire garden.

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The Botanic Garden of Wales in the Rain – part two.

Welcome back to South Wales where we were enjoying a very wet visit to the Botanic Gardens. In part one we looked at the magnificent glasshouse before taking a break. In part two we carry on in the heavy rain. Winding paths provided us with interesting routeways through the newly planted gravel and rock borders full of interesting foliage all glistening with rain droplets.

The black seed heads of an Eryngium looked in sharp contrast to the pale blue-grey foliage of the Euphorbia close behind.  A beautiful oak bench of the simplest design was far too wet to enjoy sitting on. Wet rocks looked full of colour – in the dry they would have been almost monochrome. Grasses always look so good with rock!

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Grass borders with every blade moving in waves like a rough sea are here edged with the neatest of low Box hedging. A bench of modern design looked so good against the Box and grasses. Trees in near silhouette looked good against biscuit coloured grasses.

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We got soaked through on our walk towards the walled garden but I was still tempted to stop to take a few shots of grasses and my favourite Betulas and some more simple oak block seating.

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Jude, aka Mrs Greenbench aka The Undergardener, thought she looked good in this throne! It was a pity her feet didn’t reach the ground – it spoiled the illusion somewhat! It was hard to get her off it! The throne sat under an oak framed arbor with a slate floor, both local materials. Drawings of dragons were etched into some of the slate.

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Once in the walled garden, a unique double-walled garden in fact, we enjoyed seeing what the local school children had been up to on their plots. A beautiful bug hotel, a greenhouse made from recycled drinks bottles and an ingenious method comfrey feed all held our interest in spite of the rain.

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Once inside the tropical glasshouse we certainly warmed up but my glasses and camera lens both misted up. It took a while for us and the camera to acclimatise. When we did, we were enthralled by foliage of all shapes and sizes, many patterned and textured. Just enjoy the photos.

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The few blooms present were bright and gaudy!

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When we last visited this garden these old Victorian range of glasshouses were covered in scaffolding so it was great to see they had been renovated and planted up. While the modern curved glasshouse houses temperate plants we were pleased to have discovered the contrast with these old ones housing their tropical plants. It was hot and very humid! The variety of planting was impressive!

The only trouble with the comfort we felt inside the glasshouse was that when we left we had to return to the reality of the wet, cold Welsh weather.

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Scented Pelargoniums

When we visited the wonderful Herefordshire garden, Hergest Croft, we entered the garden by taking a route that took us through an old conservatory to find it full of one of our favourite families of plants, the scented Pelargoniums.

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We have a small collection at home which we display on a set of old library steps at the side of the woodstore so that we can rub their leaves as we collect logs or as we pass to go to the back garden.

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The collection at Hergest Croft was much bigger and more varied. It took a long time to rub a leaf of each and savour the scents reminiscent of mints and fruits. But there was great variety in the texture of the leaves too, from the softest velvet, through soft and waxy to rough and coarse.

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These two were so heavily scented and their leaves so textured it hardly mattered that they had such insignificant blooms.

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There were a few Pelargoniums which were from a different family, I think they are Regals but I can’t be sure. The dark flowered one is “Lord Bute”. We were fascinated by the one pink petal on the one flower of the white bloom presumably caused by a virus. A great collection and a most welcoming start to a garden visit. We left the conservatory to discover the delights of Hergest Croft especially its rare and champion trees.

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indoor plants

The Blooming of a Big Bulb

We had a lovely present from my brother, Derrick and his partner Lyn at Christmas, a big fat Amaryllis. We potted it up and waited. It seemed a long wait but suddenly there were signs of  growth, buds started opening looking like little green tongues sticking out. Once they reached about 4 inches in height a flowering stem burst upwards growing at a great rate. It was noticeably taller each day and the bud at its topmost point plumped up until it reached about 18 inches. It then stopped adding any growth to the stem length and instead the bud expanded. Until.

The deepest red petals started to appear, almost black.

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After a few days the flowers were huge, as wide as a saucer and each petal developed the texture of the softest most luxurious velvet.

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We positioned them near some of my paintings as the petals matched colours in the paintings. these abstracts were based on a special rock structure on a beach in North Wales, where the darkest grey rock had extrusions of red forced into them.

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At their peak the four flowers that topped the stem looked far too heavy. It seemed as if the stem would bend or snap at any moment. The contrast between the yellow and red became intense.

And now for one final set of photos – the bloom at its best.

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Jude’s Orchids

Orchids are by far the Undergardener’s favourite indoor flowering plants. She always has several in flower in every month of the year including February when their wonderful, unusually coloured and uniquely shaped flowers are so welcome.

Photographing them was more of a challenge than I thought. I wanted to show their colours, patterns on their petals, their satin-like texture and above all that special presence they possess. So, please check out my orchid gallery and see what you think.