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Whitlenge Nursery and Gardens – an NGS opening

One of our first NGS garden visits this year was to Whitlenge Garden and Nursery near Kidderminster in the West Midlands. The gardens were show gardens for the owner, a garden designer/landscaper, but we still enjoyed parts of it, including some plant combinations and some landscaping ideas mostly. being a designer’s show garden it didn’t have a coherent feel to it and it lacked flow. But there were so many ideas for visitors to pick up on.

Here I will share our wanderings around the garden with you for you to enjoy.

Please click on the first photo and then navigate using the arrows.

 

 

 

 

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Early Spring at Bodnant Garden – Part 1 – to the Dell

I promised a few reports on our planned visits to Bodnant Garden in North Wales so we are pleased to share our visit in early spring, a day with the most perfect weather possible to make our exploration a good one.

Warm, calm and blue skies! We stayed over nearby to make sure we had time to wander slowly around this large garden at a leisurely pace, the only way to appreciate a garden so full of interesting plants.

After parking up we soon spotted a bank of little blue bulbs which we thought were possibly Scilla. As we entered the garden itself we came across this informative and attractive sign prepared by the head gardener giving us ideas of what was looking good in the garden.

Our visit coincided with the height of the flowering seasons for Magnolias, Rhododendrons and Camellias as well as spring flowering bulbs and the earliest of perennials, so we were in for a colourful day’s exploration. Bodnant is a garden designed to present choices where paths fork and cross.

We made our way to the Winter Garden, one of our favourite parts of the garden, a place so full of ideas for anyone to use to add winter interest to their own patches.

     

We then found a gateway that took us into a field of daffodils, simple old cultivars, creating a peaceful place to wander slowly and take in the atmosphere of this special space.

We strolled through the field slowly and then made our way down to the top of the Dell. The gallery that follows shares this part of our time at Bodnant. In part 2 we shall wander along the dell and then back up the long slope to explore the areas around the hall.

 

 

 

 

 

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Garden Entrances and Archways – Part 5 of this very occasional series

It has been a while since we visited this series so here is a new selection of my photographs of entrances and archways we have discovered in several gardens during our visits.

     

 

 

 

 

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flowering bulbs garden arches garden design garden paths garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials National Trust ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs pathways pergolas spring bulbs The National Trust trees Wales Winter Gardening winter gardens

The Winter Garden at Bodnant Hall

We left home for a journey up towards Chester and then West along the North Wales coast after listening to the local weather forecast for our destination. It predicted a heavy snow storm passing through early morning and warnings were announced for closed roads and dangerous conditions. The weather was set to travel eastward and weaken, so we hoped we would meet it as it had weakened and arrive at our destination as it cleared.

We got it spot on as a couple of hours later we arrived at the northern tip of Snowdownia, at Bodnant Hall where we wanted the see the Winter Garden. We had explored it before in the summer and it looked good then. We vowed to return in its prime season to see if it lived up to its summer promises.

We were not to be disappointed in the slightest as it surpassed all expectations. It was simply breathtaking. Come with us as we explore along its winding paths.

We entered the garden by following a path cut into the hillside and then down a ramp where we discovered a raised wall with the sort of planting we expected to see in the Winter Garden itself. We also passed two plants with not so friendly foliage, a Colletia paradoxa and a Yucca, both well endowed with points and sharp edges.

    

The world-famous laburnum arch looked so different at this time of year, exposing its strong structure and the shapes of each trained Laburnum tree.

  

As we began to follow the meandering paths which implored us to explore every part of the garden, we spotted some beautifully shaped trees and shrubs pruned to expose their lower trunks and branches, sharing their special shapes with us. Conifers sometimes create amazing shapes without the need for the gardeners’ secateurs and loppers.

     

The paths at Bodnant have been designed and set out to let the visitor appreciate every bit of planting from close up and from a distance to get a variety of views to appreciate. They are beautifully positioned.

           

Snow isolates flowers in such a strange way. It means we see them without foliage just their colours emerging from whiteness. We are so used to viewing flowers against a predominantly green background.

   

The beauty of the Winter Garden at Bodnant that is unique where such gardens are concerned is the way it is designed to have overall strength as a whole design but each pairing of plants and each grouping is applicable to most home gardens. Around each corner the visitor can discover an idea easily transferable to their own patch. The design is best described as accessible. Pathways ensure visitors see as much as possible and each feature planting from at least two different viewpoints. Here is a selection of pics showing these paths.

    

 

Next time we visit Bodnant Gardens will probably be in the spring when it looks very different again.

 

 

 

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Parcevall Hall Gardens – Wharfedale

Situated in Wharfedale one of the most beautiful places in North Yorkshire, Parcevall Hall was really difficult to access via narrow roads, hairpin bends and narrow bridges, but it somehow suited the place that we enjoyed one day in September. The gardens were beautiful and typical of those created in the arts and crafts style, the house being redesigned and much developed at that time also.

The house and gardens sit beautifully on a steep slope which certainly added interest for there was much for the garden team and designer to overcome in the making of the garden, slopes and steps abound. Some of the garden was above the hall, a Rose Garden and the area known as Silver Wood, which hid an unusual rock garden. Below the house terraces were dug into the slope and many different garden rooms created. There was strong design to appreciate and beautiful plants to admire.

 

We walked up from the Garden Office and Tea Rooms after crossing over a tiny clear stream and wandering up through woodland. From a clearing in the woods we enjoyed a view over the rambling rooftops of the hall and all its outbuildings.

   

The woodland was dotted with berried and flowering shrubs many with signs that birds and rodents had been enjoying them.

       

Although the plan we were following meant we expected to find the Rock Garden hidden within Silver Wood it was still a wonderful surprising sight when we first came across it. It was a rock garden of huge proportions cut out from the natural slopes and featured a tiny meandering stream falling slowly down its slope. There were some interesting plants to be found among the rocks.

 

Please follow the gallery below to tour the rock garden with us. Click on first photo and navigate using the arrows.

After leaving the Rock Garden and Silver Wood we wandered around the hall to find the terraced gardens below it. Each terrace had an atmosphere of its own and different plantings. The best way to show you what we found is by using another gallery to help you enjoy these terraces with us.

To finish off this journey around Parcevall Hall I want to show you this little group of bronze hares looking up at the moon. Moonstruck hares! Great little cameo!

One rogue has no interest in the moon at all and had even turned his back on it to preen himself.