Categories
fruit and veg garden buildings garden paths garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grow your own Italian style gardens light light quality trees walled gardens walled kitchen gardens woodlands

Beyond the Potting Sheds – Heligan Part 2

A few more minutes exploring the secret corners of the potting shed area and then we went off in search of the Italian Garden. We were surprised to find another old restored glasshouse and a cutting garden full of dahlias.

 

We were delighted to see a display of illustrations from “A Song for Will” illustrated by Martin Impney, who is a friend of our son Jamie. We have a lovely signed copy at home. Martin has a unique style of illustration that appeals equally to children and adults.

  

We left the working garden and wandered past interesting plantings to the Italian Garden, with its strong symmetry so different to the rest of Heligan.

 

From here we decided to make our way through the woodlands towards the tropical valley, a feature common to many Cornish coastal gardens. But our progress was stopped when we came across another gateway into a smaller walled garden enclosing another beautifully restored glasshouse. Enjoy the wonderful crafstmanship that goes into making these old glasshouses and restoring them by looking at the details in this little gallery. Click on first pic and then navigate with the arrows.

Within the walled garden box hedges acted as enclosures for beds of cut flowers, especially dahlias, in an amazing rich array of colours.

Leaving the walled cutflower garden, our most enjoyable diversion, we made our way down to the valley garden which we remembered contained completely different types of plants than elsewhere at Heligan. However to get there we had to wander through woodland with sharp contrasts of light and shade.

   

The valley is strikingly lush and full of strong foliage many plants with huge dramatic leaves. We took a circular route through the valley along gravel paths and boardwalks sometimes raised to make bridges over the stream.

We will take you through the tropical valley garden with another gallery. Click on the first picture and navigate with the arrows.

 

 

Categories
arboreta garden design garden photography garden ponds garden pools gardens gardens open to the public Italian style gardens meadows ornamental trees and shrubs shrubs trees water garden water in the garden

A Week in the Lake District – Part 7 – Holker Hall

I had recently read a book on the original creation and the more recent re-design of the gardens at Holker Hall so I was really looking forward to visiting it to see it for real. The book made mention of many rare and interesting trees being planted which made me extra keen to visit.

We hoped it would reach our expectations as it was the last day of our week in the Lake District. We looked forward to a gentle stroll around a peaceful, atmospheric garden. We were not disappointed in any way! Holker’s gardens were full of variety and surprises, with a careful balance of the formal and informal.

As we entered the garden we were presented with this vista, a vista full of promises to come.

2015 06 05_2629

Taking each pathway off from the central path we discovered beautiful examples of formality, neatly cut grass, hedges carefully clipped and seats neatly tucked into niches.

2015 06 05_2632 2015 06 05_2633  2015 06 05_2635 2015 06 05_2636 2015 06 05_2637 2015 06 05_26382015 06 05_2669 2015 06 05_2670

But formality cannot work without carefully chosen and well-grown plants.

2015 06 05_2631 2015 06 05_2634

As we moved away from the formality of the first section of the garden we found gentle meadows which presented a complete contrast.

2015 06 05_2639 2015 06 05_26452015 06 05_2649

The meadows contained surprises, a stone circle, a maze, seats of single blocks of slate and the most beautiful sundial.

 

 

 

2015 06 05_2642 2015 06 05_2643 2015 06 05_2644 2015 06 05_2646 2015 06 05_2647 2015 06 05_2648

It was hot wandering out in the open space of the meadows so it felt good to wander around shaded areas and an Italianate water garden.

2015 06 05_2651 2015 06 05_2652 2015 06 05_2653 2015 06 05_26542015 06 05_2683

One of the reasons to visit Holker Hall is the collection of rare and unusual trees. They were underplanted with meadows of grasses and wildflowers which gave the wooded area the character of a real William Robinson styled wild garden

2015 06 05_2656  2015 06 05_2674 2015 06 05_26662015 06 05_2673 2015 06 05_2678 2015 06 05_2680 2015 06 05_2681 2015 06 05_2682 2015 06 05_2671 2015 06 05_2684

We were amazed by the number of interesting trees at Holker and enjoyed discovering several champion trees. There were so many special places throughout the gardens where shrubs and trees were sensitively grouped to set them off in the best light.

2015 06 05_2675

Categories
climbing plants colours garden design garden designers garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials Italian style gardens meadows ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs Piet Oudolf RSPB sculpture Staffordshire Tom Stuart-Smith Winter Gardening winter gardens

A Garden in December – Trentham – Part Two

Back at the Trentham Gardens we moved into the borders designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. But first we passed through the formality of the Italianate borders with their strong structure of low box hedges. The view of these borders, which we get from the top of a flight of semi-circular stone steps is guaranteed to take our breath away. We looked forward to this moment every time we visited.

2014 12 16_8815 2014 12 16_8823

Seed heads were the stars here too with a mix of tall grasses and structural perennials. New growth was appearing promising colour to come in the spring.

2014 12 16_8825 2014 12 16_8826 2014 12 16_8827 2014 12 16_88282014 12 16_8829 2014 12 16_8831

Phlomis, having given bright sunshine coloured flowers in summer, were now starring again with their dark brown almost black spheres of seed heads spaced up the length of their straight stems.

2014 12 16_8830 2014 12 16_88322014 12 16_8847 2014 12 16_8833 2014 12 16_8834

The tallest stems were of a plant we did not recognise. Tiny seed heads hung like Tibetan prayer flags from gently bowing stems.

2014 12 16_8835 2014 12 16_88402014 12 16_8836 2014 12 16_88372014 12 16_8838 2014 12 16_8839

As we left the T S-S borders we looked back over them from the raised pathway. Dampness from earlier showers made the path surface glisten and reflect the blue of the sky.

2014 12 16_8842

On the lawned slopes by the glass fronted cafe giant snowdrops powered over our heads. We  always love willow structures! These were made from willow, some stripped of their brownish green bark and were beautifully woven and shaped. They stood a good 10 feet tall.

2014 12 16_8841 2014 12 16_8846 2014 12 16_8843 2014 12 16_8845 2014 12 16_8846

After our compulsory coffee stop which, was much appreciated on this cold December morning, we wandered back through the borders towards the Rose Walk. Again my camera snapped away at the wonderful structures of the perennials and grasses.

2014 12 16_8848 2014 12 16_8849 2014 12 16_8850 2014 12 16_8851

Although most winter structure showsoff the many shades of biscuits and browns, silver seemed to dominate one area. Giant leaves of Verbascum hugged the cold ground in huge, soft, silver rosettes. The silver giants were the Onorpordum or Scotch Thistles which in winter take on strong sculptural shapes.

2014 12 16_8852 2014 12 16_8853 2014 12 16_8854 2014 12 16_8855 2014 12 16_8856 2014 12 16_8857

The roses still persisted, producing occasional buds in gentler colours than in the summer. There was an added subtlety about them which gave them extra charm.

2014 12 16_8859 2014 12 16_8860 2014 12 16_8861 2014 12 16_8862 2014 12 16_8863

The sculptures at either end of the Rose Walk were wrapped up snuggly against the ravages of the winter. The Japanese Acers along side the walk displayed their seeds like the rotors of helicopters. The Wisteria which had clothed the metalwork with blue racemes of flowers in the Summer was now showing buds and old seed pods.

2014 12 16_8864 2014 12 16_8865 2014 12 16_8867 2014 12 16_8868 2014 12 16_8869 2014 12 16_8870

As usual I took a few photos looking through the arches across to the River of Grasses.

2014 12 16_8871 2014 12 16_8865

We were amazed to see a clump of Delphiniums with fresh growth of foliage and strong flower stems with fattening buds. No doubt the weather will have the last say and bring them to a premature ending.

2014 12 16_8866

The team of Trentham gardeners were, as always, beavering away in the borders. We have enjoyed seeing what they are up to on each of our visits. They have always greeted us with a smile and a few words of welcome.

2014 12 16_8873 2014 12 16_8874 2014 12 16_8875

So there we have it – a year in the life of one of Britain’s best gardens! Even though we have made the effort to visit every month throughout 2014 it never seemed a chore. We loved every minute of the many hours spent here. And we shall keep coming back. It has to be our most popular garden destination.

 

Categories
garden design garden designers garden furniture garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials Italian style gardens ornamental grasses outdoor sculpture Piet Oudolf sculpture Staffordshire Tom Stuart-Smith Winter Gardening winter gardens

A Garden in December – Trentham – Part One

The final installment in my monthly series looking at how the gardens at Trentham change throughout the year.

The garden has gone full circle passing through the seasons. We began last January when the gardens were in the throes of winter and finish off in December in another winter.

As we crossed the River Trent on the suspension bridge we got a good view of the golden “River of Grasses” through the two trunks of a multi-stemmed Birch, our native Betula pendula. In all or our previous monthly wanders we turned right at the bottom of the bridge into this huge area of grasses. For our December wanderings we turned left partly because we fancied a change but mostly because we spotted a willow word.

2014 12 16_8769 2014 12 16_8770

The gravel path took us beneath tall, ancient trees both deciduous and evergreen. Up in one we were surprised again to find a fairy looking down at us watching our every move.2014 12 16_8771 2014 12 16_8772

When we reached the willow NOEL we spotted a row of willow stars further along the path .

2014 12 16_8773

On one old trunk where a large bough had been cut off nature had been at work with her army of fungi to eat away at the rotting wood, and thereby creating a piece of relief sculpture. Can you spot a figure emerging?

2014 12 16_8775

After this little diversion from our usual route we retraced our footsteps to explore Piet Oudolf’s River of Grasses. Here a few seed heads stood against all odds having withstood the ravages of early winter.

2014 12 16_8777 2014 12 16_8778 2014 12 16_8779 2014 12 16_8781 2014 12 16_8780 2014 12 16_8782

I have enjoyed seeing how the Betula nigra are looking on each of our monthly visits. The texture and colour of their peeling bark catches the light whatever the time of day or time of year.

2014 12 16_8783 2014 12 16_8784

By passing through the avenue of Birches we found ourselves in Piet Oudolf’s prairie style borders, where so many different seed heads stood strong and proud.

2014 12 16_8785 2014 12 16_8786 2014 12 16_8787 2014 12 16_8791 2014 12 16_8793 2014 12 16_8794 2014 12 16_8796 2014 12 16_8800 2014 12 16_8801 2014 12 16_8802  2014 12 16_8803

We enjoyed seeing how the gardeners had tied up some of the tallest of the old stems. We decided there and then to give it a go in our own patch.

2014 12 16_8808 2014 12 16_88062014 12 16_8792 2014 12 16_87892014 12 16_8790

Where some of the herbaceous plants had been cut back by the gardening team, new growth of the freshest green has burst through and waits patiently for the Spring to come along. The cut down grasses however remain dormant, but without doubt within their sheaths new spears of green are making moves.

2014 12 16_8788 2014 12 16_8795 2014 12 16_8797 2014 12 16_8809

Tiny vestiges of colour remained to surprise us, please us and amaze us.

2014 12 16_8799 2014 12 16_8798

Before we left the prairie borders we looked back for the final time in 2014.

2014 12 16_8805 2014 12 16_88072014 12 16_8812 2014 12 16_8813

We discovered new things at Trentham even this late in the year – a set of beautifully crafted wooden garden benches complete with meaningful phrases composed by local writers from Stoke-on-Trent’s past alongside a couple from the two great garden designers involved in Trentham Garden’s rebirth, Piet Oudolf and Tom Stuart-Smith.

2014 12 16_8810

Read and enjoy P O’s words of wisdom – words which express the power of these amazing gardens.

2014 12 16_8811

And reflections on the gardens from Tom Stuart-Smith ……….

“What was once a scene of decay is now a breathtaking panorama of beauty.”

There are two phrases from Arnold Bennet, a local 19th Century writer,

“You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.”

“It is easier to go down hill than up but the view is from the top.”

The final two phrases were written much earlier by Capability Brown, 18th Century landscape designer and his contemporary John Bing, Viscount Torrington who owned Trentham at that time. John Bing wrote

“My old friend L Brown is to be traced at every turn……………. and a judicious former of water; the lake, here, is very fine”

Brown himself wrote,

“………. from its edges “quite round, making them everywhere correspond naturally with the ground on each side.”

A new phase of work is just starting to restore some of the early Capability grounds.

The old formal Italianate gardens that link the two main gardens had been replanted with seasonal bedding plants.

2014 12 16_8815 2014 12 16_8817

In part two of our posts sharing our December visits to the wonderful gardens at Trentham, we move on to the gardens designed by Tom Stuart-Smith and see how they look as the year ends.

 

Categories
autumn autumn colours climbing plants colours garden design garden designers garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials Italian style gardens light light quality ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs outdoor sculpture Piet Oudolf sculpture Staffordshire Tom Stuart-Smith trees

A Garden in October/November – Trentham

We have now reached the penultimate posting in this series where we have been looking at how Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire have changed through the months during 2014. Since our last visit in September Autumn has taken a strong grip on the gardens. Many leaves have taken on their auutmn hues and many have fallen. But it is amazing how much colour there still is to enjoy, colours in late flowers, dried stems and seed heads.

2014 11 04_7144 2014 11 04_7154 2014 11 04_7153 2014 11 04_7167 2014 11 04_7182

We always cross over the gently arching suspension footbridge over the River Trent full of anticipation. On our visit in early November we were presented with a sea of yellows, where Piet Oudolf’s River of Grasses had been transformed by the passage of time into a river of liquid gold.

2014 11 04_7143 2014 11 04_7144 2014 11 04_7145 2014 11 04_7146 2014 11 04_7147 2014 11 04_7148 2014 11 04_7149

We wandered along the gravel path as it cut through the line of River Birch, Betula nigra in search of Oudolf’s prairie borders. These beautiful trees had already shed all their leaves but still drew our eyes as their bark was peeling and curling decoratively away from their trunks.

2014 11 04_7150

Once in amongst the prairie planting we immediately noticed that seed heads in every hue of brown and beige and bright patches of late colour had joined the lemons, mustards and golds of the grasses. Pale purples glowed in the dull light of autumn. This glow is their secret weapon to attract moths and other night flying pollinators.

2014 11 04_7151 2014 11 04_7152 2014 11 04_7153 2014 11 04_7154

The gardening team were hard at working replanting a section of one of the borders. It must be a never ending task. I suppose it gives them the chance to keep improving things as well as keeping the gardens in top condition.

2014 11 04_7155 2014 11 04_7156

Deep pinks and cerise of the Persicarias and the Knautias catch the eye of every visitor. They look so good against the neutral shades that dominate gardens in the autumn.

2014 11 04_7157 2014 11 04_7158 2014 11 04_7159 2014 11 04_7160 2014 11 04_7161 2014 11 04_7162 2014 11 04_7164 2014 11 04_7166

2014 11 04_7165  2014 11 04_7167 2014 11 04_7168 2014 11 04_7169 2014 11 04_7171 2014 11 04_7172 2014 11 04_7173  2014 11 04_7174

This lovely old Tulip Tree caught our attention. It is the oldest of its kind we have ever seen and a notice close by warned of the danger of falling branches. It must be susceptible to winter storms but should it fall it would make a wonderful natural bridge over the Trent. The dome of Hornbeam over a bench is now a golden dome.

2014 11 04_7170 2014 11 04_7175

We made our way towards the formally planted Italian Parterre Garden, passing through an archway of Hornbeams on the way. Sunlight penetrated the coniferous plantings casting long shadows and creating bright patches. It lit up the little low box hedges of the  knot garden.

2014 11 04_7176 2014 11 04_7177

The summer bedding in the parterre has been consigned to the compost heaps and winter/spring plants has taken their place, primulas and a deep red Bellis perennis.

2014 11 04_7178 2014 11 04_7179 2014 11 04_7180 2014 11 04_7181

We always enjoy our first look out over the Tom Stuart-Smith gardens. We were not to be disappointed today.

2014 11 04_7182 2014 11 04_7183 2014 11 04_7184 2014 11 04_7185 2014 11 04_7186 2014 11 04_7187

The autumn light emphasised the texture on this bronze sculpture and on the much newer tunnel archway which marks the way into the display gardens. It gave an all new look to the low slate walls around one of these gardens too. It again emphasised the texture but brought out extra colours too. The light similarly added colour to the plants and to the glass panels featured in another of the display gardens.

2014 11 04_7188 2014 11 04_7189 2014 11 04_7190 2014 11 04_7191 2014 11 04_7192 2014 11 04_7194 2014 11 04_7195 2014 11 04_7196 2014 11 04_7197 2014 11 04_7198 2014 11 04_71992014 11 04_7200 2014 11 04_7201

A wander back through the Stuart-Smith gardens gave us the chance to see the planting in a different light. As the afternoon had progressed the sun dropped down lower and was back-lighting the plants, giving a very different perspective.

 

 

2014 11 04_7202 2014 11 04_7203 2014 11 04_7204 2014 11 04_7205

The Rose Walk was still remarkably colourful with Roses, Cleomes and Verbena bonariensis still putting on strong performances. Butterflies and bees were still busy here too, the blooms having attracted them as they emerged hunting for sustenance as the temperatures rose slightly in the afternoon sunlight. You can see our long shadows cast across the border.

2014 11 04_7207 2014 11 04_72082014 11 04_7210 2014 11 04_7217

 

From the long metal pergola we looked back over the Oudolf gardens and at the shrubs nearby and the butter yellow leaves of the Wisteria climbing over the framework.

2014 11 04_7211 2014 11 04_7212 2014 11 04_7213 2014 11 04_7215 2014 11 04_7218 2014 11 04_7219

 

Now we can look forward to our final visit to Trentham for this year in readiness to publish the final episode in this series of posts. So far we have determined that gardens at Trentham are worthy of a visit any month of the year. Let us hope our December visit confirms it.

 

Categories
autumn autumn colours colours fruit and veg garden design garden designers garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials Italian style gardens light light quality meadows ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs photography Piet Oudolf shrubs Staffordshire Tom Stuart-Smith trees

A garden in September – Trentham

So here we are back for the September visit to the wonderful gardens at Trentham. We arrived in bright sunshine which was a big change to the usual weather on our visits here. Usually we get wet but today looked set fair with blue sky with just a scattering of white clouds. As we walked over the bridge into the gardens we looked down into the River Trent below to see it swollen with floodwater and carrying much dirt in its wake. The water of the Trent flowed brown and the grasses of Piet Oudolf’s River of Grasses refleced this colour.

2014 09 30_5360 2014 09 30_5361

Moving into Oudolf’s Prairie there was much more variety in the colours although grasses remained powerful elements. The tall herbaceous perennials were showing deepening colours as autumn approaches. Rich rubies, purples and blues were, in places, lit up by the crisp white of the Seleniums and sunny yellows of Solidago.

2014 09 30_5364 2014 09 30_5365 2014 09 30_5366 2014 09 30_5367 2014 09 30_5368 2014 09 30_5369 2014 09 30_5370 2014 09 30_53712014 09 30_5372 2014 09 30_5373 2014 09 30_5374 2014 09 30_5375 2014 09 30_5377 2014 09 30_5376 2014 09 30_5378 2014 09 30_5379

Leaving the subtle but at the same time exciting Prairie we wandered off towards the Italian Garden with its traditional style of planting. We passed through a Hornbeam tunnel where the autumnal light played with shadows. Leaving its coolness our eyes were assaulted by Begonias and brightly leaved bananas.

2014 09 30_5380 2014 09 30_5382 2014 09 30_5381

We always look forward to our first glimpse of the delights that await us in Tom Stuart-Smith’s Italianate parterres. Looking from the balustrade the view spread out below in the geometric beds promised so much of interest, while a quick glance below showed bursts of red Dahlias and yellow Rudbeckias.

2014 09 30_5383 2014 09 30_5385

2014 09 30_5386 2014 09 30_5384

Once down among the many beds we soon discovered just what flowers were giving us the colourful sights.

2014 09 30_5392 2014 09 30_5390

These colours were enriched all the more by the russets and chocolates of the grasses and seed heads of perennials such as Phlomis and Verbascums.

2014 09 30_5387 2014 09 30_5388 2014 09 30_5389  2014 09 30_5391  2014 09 30_5393 2014 09 30_5394

We reluctantly left the Tom S-S plantings behind us and ambled off through the tall trees of the old parkland towards the display gardens. We glanced at the early autumn colours of Prunus trees between the silver bark of the trunks of Betula. Some Betula trunks were showing their great age and their textures contrasted strongly with their younger smoother neighbours.

2014 09 30_5395 2014 09 30_5396

 

Rhus trees were showing deep orange foliage which matched the petals of a lovely Dahlia.

2014 09 30_5397 2014 09 30_5398

Elsewhere another Rhus partnered a red leaved Cotinus. Coloured glass leaves atop silver stems added more colour close by.

2014 09 30_5402 2014 09 30_5403

White and purple spires of Actaea caught the light.

2014 09 30_5399 2014 09 30_5400

In the Allotment Garden orange globes of pumpkins were drying in the sun and heat of this Indian Summer.

2014 09 30_5401

After a light lunch we made our way towards the Rose Walk to see how things had changed since our visit last month. We passed back through some of the Tom S-S borders where we were drawn for a closer look towards the long thin seed pods of Amsonias.

2014 09 30_5405 2014 09 30_5404

Seedheads and dying flower heads of many different perennials and grasses were so enthralling that our walk back through these borders took rather longer than anticipated.

 

 

2014 09 30_5406 2014 09 30_5407 2014 09 30_5408 2014 09 30_5409 2014 09 30_5410 2014 09 30_5416

2014 09 30_5412 2014 09 30_5413 2014 09 30_5414 2014 09 30_5417

 

2014 09 30_5418 2014 09 30_5419

A long line of thin rectangular borders designed by Piet Oudolf act as a link between the Tom S-S garden and the Rose Walk. Here colour abounded.

 

 

2014 09 30_5420 2014 09 30_5421 2014 09 30_5422 2014 09 30_5423

In the Rose Walk itself most rose bushes were still in flower and tall flowers such as Cleome and Verbena bonariensis added even more colour.

 

2014 09 30_5424

We enjoyed the views from the Rose Walk back towards Oudolf’s Prairie and River of Grasses. We could also see the shrubs growing alongside it including a spectacular deciduous Euonymous with orange and red fruits.

 

2014 09 30_5425 2014 09 30_5426 2014 09 30_5427 2014 09 30_5428 2014 09 30_5363 2014 09 30_5363_edited-1

 

So this Indian Summer we are enjoying provided us with great light to view the gardens at Trentham but the strange seasons mean that many perennials and grasses were far more autumnal than we could have expected. Next month’s return to Trentham may well show Trentham to be well in the grip of Autumn.

 

 

Categories
garden design garden photography garden pools gardening gardens gardens open to the public hardy perennials Italian style gardens meadows National Trust ornamental trees and shrubs roses sculpture The National Trust trees water garden water in the garden woodland woodlands

Cliveden – the house and garden of Nancy Astor

While holidaying around Cambridge earlier in the year we stopped off on our travels to have a wander around the gardens at Cliveden, the one time home of Nancy Astor. She was an English MP even though American born. Her second marriage was to Waldorf Astor who inherited to a peerage and entered the House of Lords. Nancy was the first ever woman to be a member of the House of Commons, but also gained notoriety as a Nazi supporter.

Her garden turned out to be a garden planted in a style we do not actually like but definitely “of its time”. We are definitely not fans of formal gardens or bedding schemes and here we found both but viewed from an historic perspective they were interesting. Classical figures, topiary and “grand fountains” are also not my style but Jude the Undergardener, being more of a history buff doesn’t mind them.

2014 06 25_1153 2014 06 25_1154

2014 06 25_1166 2014 06 25_1169

2014 06 25_1162 2014 06 25_1155 2014 06 25_1156 2014 06 25_1164

2014 06 25_1163 2014 06 25_1165

2014 06 25_1173 2014 06 25_1174

Interestingly close up the bedding proved to be of orange gazanias rather than the begonias or pelargoniums we expected.

2014 06 25_1160 2014 06 25_1167

But bordering the bedding scheme central feature was a long mixed border, much more to my liking.

2014 06 25_1157 2014 06 25_1158 2014 06 25_1159 2014 06 25_1161

2014 06 25_1168

Things were looking up soon however as we passed through an opening in the yew hedging and discovered a tree unknown to me in the woodland.

2014 06 25_1175 2014 06 25_1172

2014 06 25_1170 2014 06 25_1171

2014 06 25_1177 2014 06 25_1178

Little areas of meadow lined the pathway down through the woodlands. Gnarled branches of old shrubs curled around on the grass near the paths.

2014 06 25_1183 2014 06 25_1191

2014 06 25_1180 2014 06 25_1181

The old rose garden has been revamped recently with newer more disease resistant varieties, so inevitably most are from David Austin. The colours of the blooms have been chosen to represent sunrise and sunset.

2014 06 25_1184 2014 06 25_1185 2014 06 25_1187 2014 06 25_1188

The buildings clustered in the centre of the grounds were rambling and sat beautifully within its setting. In particular it had interesting chimneys and towers which look good against the clear blue sky. Towers even featured in the walled garden.

2014 06 25_1193 2014 06 25_1196

2014 06 25_1197 2014 06 25_1182

 2014 06 25_1189 2014 06 25_1192

The walled garden, with its patterned brickwork, featured beautifully planted herbaceous borders around a highly manicured lawn. The plants were mainly recent cultivars and chosen for their richness of colour.

2014 06 25_1192 2014 06 25_1198 2014 06 25_1199 2014 06 25_1200 2014 06 25_1201 2014 06 25_1202 2014 06 25_1203 2014 06 25_1204

From the courtyard as we leaned on its stone ballustrade we could see the Italianate parterre placed within more manicured lawns. They seemed to sit rather awkwardly there.

2014 06 25_1194 2014 06 25_1195

We finished our Cliveden wanderings in the Water Gardens where formal fountains and oriental buildings sit among informal pools and soft planting.

2014 06 25_1205 2014 06 25_1206 2014 06 25_1207 2014 06 25_1208 2014 06 25_1209

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
architecture buildings colours garden buildings gardens gardens open to the public Italian style gardens Wales woodland woodlands

Portmeiron – the work of an eccentric.

We always enjoy spending the day at this crazy, quirky and totally exuberant “garden” on the Welsh coast near Portmadoc. Portmeiron is a village and gardens created by the eccentric Clough William-Ellis who bought the site in 1925 and then spent the following 50 years developing it into what we can visit and enjoy today.

The village is a collection of buildings  reminiscent of an Italianate style. Every wall is brightly painted in an array of extravagant colours. Some are hotels or holiday cottages, others restaurants and cafes while others are shops and galleries. It is a busy little place sitting on a strip of land below the Lleyn Penninsula and it fits snuggly between the beach and a wooded slope.

2014 08 13_3574 2014 08 13_3588

In between the collection of crazy buildings a team  of gardeners work hard to maintain patches of colourful gardens. The soil is both shallow and full of stones and the land is on a steep slope so gardening here is a tough challenge. So come through the towering gateway and wander around with us.

2014 08 13_3569 2014 08 13_3570 2014 08 13_3571 2014 08 13_3573 2014 08 13_3576

2014 08 13_3579 2014 08 13_3580 2014 08 13_3581 2014 08 13_3582 2014 08 13_3583 2014 08 13_3584 2014 08 13_36392014 08 13_3589 2014 08 13_3590 2014 08 13_3592 2014 08 13_3595

 

 

 

 

Although the Italianate style of the buildings that fascinates at first glance after a while the interesting juxtaposition of colours begins to catch the eye. Colours that you would not think of putting together when choosing paint for your home actually work beautifully.

2014 08 13_3586 2014 08 13_3597

 

Although the bright colours dominate every scene once your eyes and mind adjust to them interesting details come to the fore, such as these bright blue ironwork, a relief sculpture alongside a ring, classical figures, the beauty of this stone archway and the vintage petrol pump.

2014 08 13_3594 2014 08 13_3598

2014 08 13_3599 2014 08 13_3591 2014 08 13_3585

 

2014 08 13_3596 2014 08 13_3600

We took a break from the colourful conglomeration of buildings and ambled along through the wooded slopes above the village itself. Here we discovered ancient trees native and cultivated and an atmosphere of peace, with restful greens and relative silence, broken only by the calls and song of birds.

2014 08 13_3602 2014 08 13_3603 2014 08 13_3604 2014 08 13_3605 2014 08 13_3606 2014 08 13_3607 2014 08 13_3608 2014 08 13_3609 2014 08 13_3610 2014 08 13_3611 2014 08 13_3612 2014 08 13_3613 2014 08 13_3614 2014 08 13_3615 2014 08 13_3616 2014 08 13_3617 2014 08 13_3618

2014 08 13_3621 2014 08 13_3622 2014 08 13_3623 2014 08 13_3624 2014 08 13_3625 2014 08 13_3626 2014 08 13_3640

We followed the woodland path until we found ourselves close to the cliff tops and followed it down towards the shore, where the buildings began again. This time they had a maritime twist to their architecture with white and blue colours dominating.

2014 08 13_3628   2014 08 13_3629 2014 08 13_3630 2014 08 13_3631 2014 08 13_3635

As the road way climbed upwards we returned to the brightly coloured buildings of the village.

2014 08 13_3601 2014 08 13_3636

2014 08 13_3637 2014 08 13_3638 

We were fascinated by the interest of some visitors in particular buildings which it appears were featured in a TV series from the 1960’s, The Prisoner, which still has a strong cult following. It adds yet another layer of interest to this utterly fascinating “one-off” place.

Categories
colours flowering bulbs fruit and veg garden design garden designers garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials Italian style gardens July meadows ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs photography Piet Oudolf roses Staffordshire Tom Stuart-Smith trees

A Garden in July and August – Trentham

So back to Trentham to see how good this wonderful garden is throughout the year. Because of preparing for the first ever opening of our garden we will have to join July and August together and do just this one post. From past experience of visiting in late summer we had high expectations. We expected the River of Grasses to have grown tall and be flowering profusely and for the herbaceous perennials to be full of colour, texture and structure. So let’s have a wander to see what is going on.

We entered the gardens over the little curved bridge over the River Trent and got our first look over the Piet Oudolf gardens. The River of Grasses was showing stress after the strange weather so far in 2014, with the grasses only looking half grown and showing no signs of flowering.

2014 08 04_2316 2014 08 04_2317

Taking the gravel path through the winding row of River Birches we were amazed by views of Oudolf’s prairie planting. After the restful green shades of the River of Grasss there was suddenly so much colour! The planting combinations worked together showing great use of contrasting colours and textures.

 

2014 08 04_2318 2014 08 04_2319 2014 08 04_2320 2014 08 04_2321

Persicaria, Eupatorium, Echinacea, Monarda, Sedum and Sanguisorba were star performers. But there was lots more to appreciate too!

2014 08 04_2322 2014 08 04_2323

2014 08 04_2324 2014 08 04_2325 2014 08 04_2326 2014 08 04_2327 2014 08 04_2328 2014 08 04_2329 2014 08 04_2330 2014 08 04_2331

2014 08 04_2332 2014 08 04_2333 2014 08 04_2334 2014 08 04_2335 2014 08 04_2336

We were sad to leave this area with its gentle atmosphere and some of the best plant combinations you can find anywhere in England. But we were here on a mission, seeking out the changes since our June visit. So off we went to the bit of Trentham we don’t like, the Italian Garden with its gaudy bedding plants. But it is part of the story so I took a few pics of the bedding. Below the balustrading the narrow border was much better with its Aeoniums, Kniphofias and Dahlias. At this time the drizzle started to fall and as usual we got our Trentham soaking.

2014 08 04_2340 2014 08 04_2337 2014 08 04_2339

From the balustrade we got our first views of Tom Stuart-Smith’s redesigned Italian parterre garden. The garden seemed gentler in colour on this visit with a concentration of greens and yellows with clusters of mauves and purples.

2014 08 04_2338   2014 08 04_2342 2014 08 04_2341 2014 08 04_2343 2014 08 04_2344 2014 08 04_2345

2014 08 04_2346 2014 08 04_2347 2014 08 04_2349 2014 08 04_2350 2014 08 04_2354 2014 08 04_2355

2014 08 04_2359 2014 08 04_2358

2014 08 04_2356 2014 08 04_2361

2014 08 04_2363 2014 08 04_2362

Any red or orange looked stunning in this company of course, especially the Heleniums and Crocosmias, with an odd surprise Hemerocalis thrown in for added interest.

2014 08 04_2352 2014 08 04_2353

2014 08 04_2351 2014 08 04_2348

2014 08 04_2357

As usual the corner beds looked great encouraging the visitor to explore further. We certainly enjoyed them as we moved on towards the display gardens.

2014 08 04_2360 2014 08 04_2364 2014 08 04_2365 2014 08 04_2367

2014 08 04_2366 2014 08 04_2368 2014 08 04_2369 2014 08 04_2370 2014 08 04_2372 2014 08 04_2373 2014 08 04_2371

Within the display gardens there were several little areas of interest, such as this old fence leaning on the ivy-covered wall and the delicate pink planting.

2014 08 04_2374 2014 08 04_2375

2014 08 04_2376 2014 08 04_2377 2014 08 04_2378 2014 08 04_2379 2014 08 04_2380 2014 08 04_2381 2014 08 04_2382 2014 08 04_2383 2014 08 04_2385 2014 08 04_2386 2014 08 04_2387 2014 08 04_2388

As usual we made our way back to the car via the Rose Walk, where our senses were invaded.

2014 08 04_2391 2014 08 04_2399

2014 08 04_2389 2014 08 04_2390

2014 08 04_2392 2014 08 04_2393

This piece of sculpture created by Mother Nature stopped us in our tracks – never before had we seen Foxtail Lilies looking quite like this with their towering stems dotted with marble-sized seeds affording a are glimpse of its unusual structural qualities.

2014 08 04_2394 2014 08 04_2395 2014 08 04_2396

From the Rose walk we glanced across through the wrought iron supports to Piet Oudolf’s River of Grasses and his Prairie plantings.

2014 08 04_2397 2014 08 04_2398 2014 08 04_2400

Trentham never lets us down. We were expecting to see big changes and lots of colour on this visit and we were not disappointed, except for the River of Grasses where the grasses seemed small and lacking in flowers just like ours at home. The weather this year has a lot to answer for! So next visit will be in September when once again we will go with great expectations and full of excited anticipation.

Categories
colours flowering bulbs garden design garden designers garden photography garden ponds garden pools gardening gardens gardens open to the public hardy perennials irises Italian style gardens lakes Piet Oudolf Staffordshire Tom Stuart-Smith

Irises at Trentham

When we made our monthly pilgrimage to the wonderful gardens at Trentham for my “garden for all seasons” posts, we were particularly taken with the variety of irises on show integrated into the borders designed by Tom Stuart-Smith.

2014 05 29_9792 2014 05 29_9763

Most were the large flowered exuberant bearded irises but the more delicate demure Iris sibirica were there to be admired too. My first set of pictures are of the blues and purples and all their variations.

2014 05 29_9714 2014 05 29_9718 2014 05 29_9720

2014 05 29_9715   2014 05 29_9745 2014 05 29_9843 2014 05 29_9746 2014 05 29_97622014 05 29_9734 2014 05 29_9756

2014 05 29_9794 2014 05 29_9764

Blues and purples combine well with a variety of other colours within the flowers of some irises, with the uprights in a different colour to the falls.

2014 05 29_9741  2014 05 29_9841 2014 05 29_9840 2014 05 29_9740 2014 05 29_9845 2014 05 29_9728 2014 05 29_9842

Brown and yellow flowered iris seem to add real depth to mixed plantings in the borders. Some of the browns are very unusual to see in flowers other than iris.

2014 05 29_9729