First set of seats in this installment about garden seating features those we found while on holiday near Pembroke followed by more we discovered at Bodnant Garden in north Wales. Then a set we found at Wildegoose Nursery and Garden and finally some we found at our friends, Nathalie and Tony’s Oswestry garden and Ruth and Mike’s village garden in North Shropshire.
In 2019 we spent a warm and humid mid-July day at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire where we explored the gardens for the whole day, refreshed by the largest ice-cream cones we have ever enjoyed. It is one of the UK’s largest gardens and is full of interesting planting, unusual features and some wonderful glasshouses. These glasshouses are the work of a past head gardener Joseph Paxton. You need a whole day to really appreciate these gardens and you need to plan your day well.
The first set of photos shows the beauty of the glasshouses both old and new at Chatsworth and a beautiful mature specimen of Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’ and a subtly planted pot.
We made our way around the glasshouses towards the productive garden, which we knew had been developed since our previous visit and enjoyed some interesting plants and plant combinations along the way.
Sculpture is always in evidence at Chatsworth and there was plenty of interest on this visit, from classical to modern, wood and stone and hidden away throughout the gardens.
And then we came across this amazing seat which is a piece of sculpture in its own right.
We were so pleased to get the opportunity to visit Wildegoose Nursery Garden this weekend a time when it is usually closed but two special “Winter Weekends” have been arranged. We arrive in fog which added so much to the atmosphere of the walled garden borders. We felt calmed by the muted sound that fog and mist gives us.
The borders were full of seed-heads of perennials and grasses and even a few rogue flowers. Tiny raindrops hung from every seed and stem, giving plants extra life.
Sometimes in gardens especially in winter it is the tiniest details that are the most beautiful, spidery stems, individual seed-heads and even out of season blooms.
Euphorbias are loved for their chartreuse, lime and lemon coloured bracts and tiny flowers but when these fall in the autumn they reveal the brightly coloured stems which brighten winter borders.
Sedum varieties have the same powerful coloured stems as their seed heads turn black and purple.
I shall share the rest of my photos below – I hope you enjoy looking at all the pics as much as we enjoyed our misty winter garden wander.
It will be a few months now before we next get the chance to explore Wildegooose Gardens and Nursery, as it stays closed now until April.
This is the last visit to the smaller of our two gardens that we have been visiting throughout 2019, so please enjoy my report on Wildegoose Nursery and Garden which we visited on its last open day of the year. We spoke to Jack one of the owners who looked very glad that the season was ending and the nursery closing for another year. He and Laura and the twins were off on holiday the day after our visit.
The colours of the autumn flowers was so intensely beautiful and the light on the day of our visit enriched them further. The bright pink Persicaria amplexicaulis in a new cultivar to me, ‘Amethyst’.
There were signs of autumn to remind us of the season! Pumpkins and gourds, trees and shrubs showing unusual shades of pink-red.
In places the dying seedheads of perennials contrast beautifully with the autumn leaves on the shrubs.
I shall finish off this report of our visit with a gallery of my photos. As usual just click on the first photo and then navigate using the arrows.
For my next post in this series we will return to Bodnant, the bigger of our two gardens this year.
A return visit to a garden that we have not seen for a few decades is a rare treat. We returned to Stone House Cottage Garden and Nursery as part of a day out with our Hardy Plant Society Shropshire Group friends. In the afternoon we followed up with a wander around Arley Arboretum, another place we have visited before. Both gardens open for the National Garden Scheme during the year too.
We were greeted by Stone House’s owner and gardener, Louisa Arthbutnot, who invited us to wander freely but saying she would be around to answer queries. We entered through a round tower and were soon reminded about what makes this such a special patch, interesting plants combined well and brick-built grottoes.
Entering the garden through the first folly we are given a choice of paths straight away, so enticing.
But we did not make a choice straight as we were attracted to the unusual selection of plants growing right alongside the back door of the entrance folly.
Brickwork and follies feature so strongly in the is cottage garden and enhance it in a unique way.
As we moved through the garden we discovered unusual shrubs with loose meadow-style planting beneath them.
But what makes this cottage garden stand out as being something rather special is its collection of rare and unusual plants and the way Louisa places plants in communities so effectively.
As we left the garden we all made for the nursery where many unusual plants were waiting to tempt us.
Instead of a monthly visit to the same garden for a whole 12 months I decided to look at two gardens, one small and one large. We have already visited the large one, Bodnant Gardens in North Wales already. So here is our first visit to our chosen small garden Wildegoose Nursery and Garden here in Shropshire.
We visited on May 5th, the day that Wildegoose opens with Millichope Hall Gardens for the NGS, just as we do. Wildegoose is the restoration project of the hall’s walled garden. Here a young couple, Jack and Laura Willgoss, have set up a nursery and are developing a modern perennial style garden as well as specialising in hardy perennial violas. It is an exciting project which we love to visit often.
Our first visit for this series of posts was on May 5th, a bright day with a chilly wind but a day with great light for taking photos and enhancing the brightness of colours.
We arrived via a tall gate in the the brick walls and were immediately struck by a patch of Forget-me-nots and tulips. We soon realised that Jack and Laura had a great taste in tulip colours. These tulips complimented so effectively the strength of colours of euphorbias and wallflowers.
Throughout the garden, as we wandered and explored, little gems of plants caught our eyes like this unusual Cammassia and the strong stemmed Thalictrum “Black Stocking”.
Memories of the walled garden’s Georgian origins and its history until its demise after the two world wars appear occasionally throughout the garden, and exciting artifacts integrate into the plantings.
The teashop is wonderfully old-fashioned and is so welcoming with beautiful bone china crockery in which tasty tea is served along with home-made cakes. We found a beautifully coloured table and chairs within the garden. We are tempted to paint some of our metal furniture in that colour as it sits so comfortably in the garden.
Next here is a selection of photos taken throughout the walled garden for you to enjoy.
We finished our wanderings at the nursery. Always a good idea! Here we bought a selection of their hardy perennial violas – beautiful!
Laura and Jack’s twins always leave a surprise somewhere in the garden and today this was in the nursery beds. A nice friendly way to finish an inspirational, relaxing afternoon.
We will be back in the summer and report that exploration too.
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.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan is one of the top garden attractions in the country as figures have shown. The gardens were discovered and unearthed by Tim Smitt when he explored the gardens which had been derelict since the end of World War I, when so many of the gardeners did not return. The gardens were totally overgrown, buildings derelict and glasshouses tumbling down, glass broken and wood rotting.
Smitt decided to resurrect them and opened the gardens to the public as a team of gardeners and archaeologists began work. They were called, romantically, The Lost Gardens of Heligan. We visited soon after it opened and really enjoyed its romantic atmosphere.
The restoration is now just about complete, so we looked forward to our return visit to see it in its new guise. We soon realised that we were in for a treat as soon as we entered the coffee shop for our usual boost of coffee and cakes before our wanderings. Old garden tools were beautifully framed and displayed on the walls and the building had a lovely old rustic feel about them.
As we left the cafe a fingerpost presented us with plenty of options. We were most interested in the productive walled garden with its glasshouses, coldframes, bothy and potting shed. So we made our way there passing interesting plantings along the way.
We entered the walled garden through a gateway and made our way towards apple arches forming a covered walkway, rich with fruit. Around all border edges fruit is trained to create living productive fences. Across the length of each garden patch vegetables, roots, beans and salads march in long strong rows as straight as can be.
The gardeners were busily strengthening the traditions laid down by their gardener predecessors. One gardener was spreading seaweed collected just hours before from the beach and driven back to the walled garden by tractor and trailer. Nearby potatoes were being harvested and boxed up in wooden trays in readiness for storage in dark sheds or cellars.
Flowers for cutting were blossoming in lines parallel to the veggies, zinnias, dahlias and antirrhinums.
Leaving the walled garden we moved into a smaller attached walled yard, where coldframes sat wide open for aeration.These sat happily alongside a collection of glasshouses. These glasshouses were the very ones we had seen years ago in a state of total dereliction. Now they stand proud and productive thanks to the skills of craftsmen utilising traditional craftsmanship and skills.
The walls were furnished with ancient trained fruit trees, apples, pears, peaches and plums.
Beyond the glasshouses the potting shed stood holding the memories of those gardeners lost in the first world war, terracotta pots filled each row of every rack where close by garden tools hung on whitewashed walls. We could feel a special atmosphere in this shed, full of the skills of gardeners past and present.
Leaving the potting shed we still had lots to see and plenty to explore. See my next post for Heligan Part 2, Beyond the Potting Shed.
We had not visited Crug Farm garden and nursery for several years, so taking advantage of our return journey from Anglesey we took a short detour to explore this woodland garden in Snowdonia. Driving into the little car park the yellow and orange poppies, Meconopsis cambrica, gave us a warm welcome.
I will now simply invite you to walk with us along the paths at Crug Farm sharing the atmosphere and the beautifully designed planting schemes, by following my gallery. Just click on the right arrow and navigate through using the arrows.
We left the woodland garden through a gateway that lead to the nursery set within a small walled garden. We enjoyed a walk around studying a large range of plants collected by owners the Bleddyn-Jones’. Of course we bought several to add to our shade borders.
We made our monthly visit to Attingham Park, our last one for 2017, just as Christmas was making itself known at this National Trust property. Before we even reached the coffee shop for our usual warm drink to get us fueled up for our walk, we had been met by a snowman, a Christmas tree and we were entertained to some 1940’s music and dancing. The hall was decorated in a 1940’s style so the dancing set the scene.
The trees were decorated with wartime decorations, based on the idea of “make and make do”, as were the decorations in the coffee shop, where paper chains were made from newspaper. The trees were themed with one based on children’s games from the 1940’s and another was book based.
We came across a few other Snowmen, as we followed the one-mile trail, to amuse us on this chilly day. I managed to get around this month without my wheelchair as my recovery from leg surgery is coming along nicely. I walked the mile using a crutch which was very pleasing and rewarding!
Wandering through the woodland areas beneath tall mature trees, we noticed that a few browned leaves were managing to hang on to the branches but the majority were bare skeletons. These frameworks of trunks, branches and twigs were magnificent with no green leaves to hide their structure.
New buds were already waiting patiently on some branches anticipating spring far off on the horizon, while on other neighbouring trees a few dried leaves hung on. One patch of trees still showed some green in its canopy. A few old seed pods hung on having defied the storms, rains and gales of autumn, seed heads of trees, shrubs and perennial plants.
We wandered around the walled garden now virtually clear of crops, leaving hazel pole structures bare of the bean plants that once adorned them. The volunteer staff here are adept at creating beautiful and original plant structures.
A green flowered cauliflower had recently been attacked by frost, so had browned a little. Celeriac though recently cropped awaited storage.
The gardeners’ bothy was simply decorated but full of atmosphere, added to by the gardeners and volunteers enjoying their break so the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingled with the smell of wood smoke.
Whatever time of year you explore the countryside, parkland or even more so a garden, there are always surprises awaiting. An out of season flower, a bud bursting at an inappropriate time or sadly at times the sudden death of a favourite plant. Two surprises were awaiting us at Attingham this December. First were lemon yellow catkins hanging fresh and healthily from hazel shrubs. These are usually key features of the month of February. In December they provided a beautiful diversion for me and my camera lens!
The second surprise was a Rhododendron shrub in flower!
Now that we have explored the parkland at Attingham Park every month during 2017, we need to decide where our monthly visit will be next year. We need somewhere open all year and of interest every month too. We shall let you know in the new year! I hope you have enjoyed visiting Attingham with us each month during 2017.