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Another Yellow Book Garden – Tea on the Way

We enjoyed a visit to another garden which appears in the National Garden Scheme’s Yellow Book, the scheme which our own Avocet garden is a part of. We spend many an afternoon visiting our fellow gardeners who open their gardens for charity.

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In mid-May we set off through the Hope Valley near our home and on through South Shropshire through the village of Clun up a narrow lane that got more and more narrow and rougher and rougher until we reached a field designated as a car park for the day. The garden of Guilden Down Cottage awaited a short walk away. We soon realised that we knew of this garden already in its other guise as “Tea on the Way”. The cottage owners serve refreshments to walkers passing by. But on the day of our visit they were open to raise funds for the charities of the National Garden Scheme.

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At the entrance to the garden we spotted produce for sale in a lane side stall.

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We waited to pay our entry fee and order our usual tea and cakes to prime us for our garden exploration! I noticed a beautiful woodstore and beside it a sleepy old sheep dog.

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We soon began to realise that this was gong to be an interesting visit, perhaps not so much for the plants but more for its quirkiness and cheerful atmosphere. As we wandered towards a seat on which to enjoy our refreshments we spotted the first quirky artifacts. Even the seat we sat upon was home made and full of character.

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Once refreshed we took off on our exploration and first off found this well planted container. The planting around the front lawn looked lush and was set off by the bird bath.

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A flight of stone steps with rustic trellis either side welcomed us into the main garden. Being an organic garden we were on the look out for unusual ideas and gardening methods. As always though we were searching out the plants!

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Some plants were planted in interesting containers or within collections of artifacts.

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The kitchen garden was beautiful with a network of paths made from woodchip entered via handmade gates created using wood harvested from the garden.

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Close to the kitchen garden we found a polytunnel and a fruit cage and some signs of organic principles in action, an insect home, comfrey liquid fertiliser and worm pee fertiliser.

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A few more artifacts and craft pieces spotted at Guilden Down Cottage will end this post nicely.

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Yellow Book Gardens 2 – Radnor Cottage

Our second visit to an NGS Yellow Book garden for 2015 was just a few days after the first of the year to Bury Court Farmhouse, and was to a garden in South Shropshire near to the village of Clun.

Radnor Cottage sits on a steep hillside with broad views over the countryside. We visited on a bright sunny day with temperatures in the upper teens and this surprising Spring weather brought out lots of garden visitors.

We hadn’t been to Radnor Cottage for many years so really couldn’t remember what to expect. The garden owners described it as a semi-wild woodland garden so the plants of this season looked good in their setting. As we walked slowly up the steep gravel driveway we spotted wetland areas to our right and a mini-arboretum to our left, but we passed these by in search of the sign indicating “TEAS”.

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While fetching the teas I spotted this bright yellow leaved Berberis which we were pleased to see looked so fresh and lively as we have just planted one in our front garden in the Hot Garden. We enjoyed our tea and cake sat among a vast array of containers planted up with Sempervivums and other cushion alpines.

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I have a soft spot for Celandines so I just had to stop for a close look at this double form.

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We began our tour of the garden meandering up a steep slope with typical Spring planting among the close cut grass. We liked the juxtaposition of the formal box balls and the gentle naturalistic planting on the grassed bank. William Robinson would have enjoyed this garden! Species Tulips, Anemones, Muscari and other spring bulbs were to be discovered from the narrow gravel paths.

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We found a little veggie patch hidden behind a beech hedge.

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We then moved back down the drive to explore the wet area with a series of pools beneath old trees. Banks of daffodils flanked the grass paths. These grass paths appeared as we rounded corners presenting a choice of ways to go each time.

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Leaving the wetland we crossed the gravel drive and entered the mini-arboretum. Buds were bursting and bark glowing in the sunshine.

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Apart from the fact that it was on a steeply sloping hillside, we could not remember the garden at Radnor Cottage at all, so it was just as if we were visiting it for the first time.