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The Sheffield Gardens – Part 3 –

David Clayden is the third gardener from the Sheffield School of Planting whose garden we visited in the weekend arranged by the NGS. His garden was completely different to the other two but enjoyed by us equally. The garden had a gentle feel to it and it was full of wildlife. It had many features that would attract wildlife including dry-stone walls, green roofs and patches of ferns and grasses.

We found the narrow entrance half way down a steep street of terraced houses, and we got a feeling for the garden as we walked through the tiny front patch.

We then wandered around the side of the house into the back and immediately felt calm and relaxed. With plenty of places to sit including seats on a deck in front of a summerhouse complete with green roof, there were opportunities throughout the garden to sit and observe the planting and soak up the atmosphere.

   

I will finish this report from the three Sheffield School gardeners home gardens with a selection of more images of this third garden. I hope you have enjoyed looking at these three Sheffield gardens which we visited one July weekend.

  

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Pembrokeshire Coast and Gardens – a week away in June -Part 1 – Cae Hir

As autumn creeps in slowly I will look back at a holiday week back in mid-summer as a reminder of what a great year we have had.

In June we decided to make the three hour journey across mid-Wales and then down the coast to Cardigan . We had a brilliant varied week marred only by the rain which hovered above us most days. But being gardeners we didn’t let it beat us – we just donned waterproofs and ignored it the best we could. We visited the coast, followed a coastal path, visited Cardigan the town and castle and of course discovered a few beautiful gardens.

On the day that we journeyed down we stopped off towards the end of our journey to explore a garden partnered to the RHS, called Cae Hir. We loved its mix of cultivated plants living happily with wilder cousins, which made for a warm, gentle atmosphere. Being a small garden we had the chance to spend time with the head gardener, who spoke of the achievements of his father setting up the garden from a barren hillside and the challenges ahead for himself as owner/head gardener. We enjoyed several cups of coffee with him accompanied by cakes of course.

Cae Hir Gardens welcomed us with bright grasses and Welsh Poppies, setting the tone for what we were to experience throughout the gardens.

Cae Hir garden is an atmospheric hillside garden full of choice plants and path choices. We enjoyed some special roses which we needed help to identify, one climber being Leo’s Eyes, a deep cerise R. rugosa and a deep red single flowered rose which even the owner could not identify for us.

There were intimate areas where the planting enclosed us but soon after clear green areas opened up before us changing the mood of the garden constantly.

Occasionally a more formal feature surprised us amongst the gentle naturalness prevalent in the rest of the garden, a piece of topiary or a rectangular pool.

The garden was a balance between woodland and open spaces, and its atmosphere was led by the mix of cultivated and wildflowers. We particularly liked the long sweeps of geraniums and a circular garden based on reds and purples.

 

This lovely garden had one more surprise up its sleeve, awaiting us in an hedged rectangle of garden – a bonsai garden! So our time here was a true box of delights revealing its secrets to us as we explored.

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Julie’s Garden

Jude and I enjoy our monthly summer visits to gardens with fellow members of the Hardy Plant Society Shropshire Group but in addition we visit other gardens with our mini-group colleagues. The mini-groups are sub-groups of the main county group of the HPS. This year we are visiting each others’ gardens in turn, one a month from Spring to Autumn.

At the end of March we journeyed out to the village of Fitz to visit the garden of mini-group member Julie. An open area of lawn invited us to wander and soon our eyes were drawn towards a old shrub pruned into a piece of sculpture.

 

The wood was close to a beautiful pond beneath a Silver Birch, with softly coloured perennials beneath, including some beautiful Epimediums.

Throughout th egarden we kept discovering interesting trees and shrubs.

But Julie’s garden had more to enjoy than plants and plant combinations, with sculptural pieces and touches of humour and signs of inventive minds at work.

This beautiful piece of sculpture features four simply constructed seats which look exactly right where they are. It was created by their son as a set piece for exams – beautiful!

Many of us were fascinated by this crescent trellis built to support climbers so we spent time working out how it was made.

The pool edge held a mixture of pieces, some there just to amuse.

So there we have it – a visit to an interesting village garden in spring.

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Another NGS Yellow Book Shropshire Garden – Sunningdale

I would like now to look back to the summer gone to share some visits and re-visits to other National Garden Scheme (NGS) gardens from a town garden to a huge old garden in North Wales.

The garden at Sunningdale is a half acre town garden in the north Shropshire market town of Wem. Friends had recommended the garden to us so as the garden opening season is coming to an end we decided to make the half hour journey northward up the A49.

We received a warm and very cheerful welcome as we took a path through an open gateway, which took us around the side of the house to reveal a garden that invites visitors to wander. We discovered some interesting bits and pieces on our way around the side of the villa. Plus of course some exciting colours from flowering plants.

  

This delicate tall elegant yellow flowered plant was unknown to us and luckily labelled, Dendromecon rigida, the Poppy Tree. What a treat it always is to discover new plants.

 

Interesting pruning techniques and styles by the owners had breathed new life into otherwise rather dull conifers. Conifers are carved into recesses for seats or entranceways to another part of the garden, or simply to frame a piece of sculpture.

These solid conifers have been carefully trimmed in a way that implies almost drawing with shears.  Beautiful!

To share the rest of this lovely garden I shall finish of with a gallery which follows our wanderings discovering so many different aspects of the garden. Enjoy by simply clicking on the first photo then navigating using the arrows.

 

 

 

 

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A little village garden – Von’s garden.

We have lots of gardening friends with gardens of all types and sizes and in all sorts of locations. One of our most enjoyable garden related activities is to visit a garden belonging to a friend. On a wet dull day in mid-June we visited the village garden of friend Yvonne, more often called Von. It is a garden with a beautiful view across the Shropshire countryside and a garden that happily sits in its environment.

I hope you enjoy my photographs taken in poor light and drizzling rain but the plants shone through. A gravel path leads us alongside a delicately planted border with softly curved shapes. The spires of tall-growing foxgloves and delphiniums shine through the gloom matching the colours of geraniums that soften the path edges.

  

Centrally placed in the garden is a softly shaped pool surrounded by beautiful planting.

 

There are well-placed seats throughout the garden each with special views including some that look out of the garden across the surrounding countryside.

 

These seats are situated on a gravel patch which boasts a large boulder with a smaller partner, a terracotta pot housing a saxifrage alongside an alpine sink.

 

Von loves plants so much that every vertical surface is covered with plants, ceanothus, honeysuckle and ivy.

 

Reaching the bottom of the garden there is a native hedge decorated with soft pink dog roses. Looking back up towards the house we get a different view of the garden and notice a very productive veg patch with neat raised beds.

  

As with any garden the stars are the plants and here there are many of interesting specimen deserving of more than a glance.

  

  

Wildlife enjoys this garden too. While taking a shot of this white and purple-spotted foxglove a bee arrived and set about exploring each little glove. A great finish to our visit, which will definitely not be the last.

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A Return to Bryn y Llidiart

We have a selection of favourite gardens that we like to return to whenever we can. These are often newly established gardens which we like to see developing over time or gardens which are good at different times of the year.

Bryn y Llidiart, up in the Welsh Hills not too far from home is a developing garden which is in a spectacular site but a difficult one to garden in. Christine the garden owner is up for the challenge and the garden is full of interest and reflects its positions beautifully. We have seen it develop for a few years now and love every visit.

 

Close to the house is a colourful area of planting featuring a reflecting pool of corton steel. This patch has lots of interest in a small area and contrasts effectively with the broad views in much of the rest of the garden.

    

From the intimacy of the reflecting pool garden I will turn my camera on the bigger picture, the wider views of the garden. The situation is described in the NGS Yellow Book with the introduction, “Up the airy mountain you are in for a big surprise! “

            

One of the special features of the gardens at Bryn y Llidiart is the planting combinations so I shall finish our visit with a selection of how Christine groups her plants to best effect.

We will visit again in the future and share the visit with you on greenbenchramblings.

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A Water Garden around an Old Mill

A while ago now we visited this wonderful water garden created around an old water mill on the outskirts of the beautiful Herefordshire village of Pembridge. We decided it was about time for a return visit and also time to peruse the Old Chapel Galleries in the same village. After spending some time and too much money on new sculptures for the garden we drove a few miles on and parked up in the garden car park under lovely mature trees. We collected our hand drawn plan of the garden and set off to explore the Westonbury Mill Water Gardens. Immediately we were impressed by how fresh everything looked and were drawn to bright patches of colourful planting among the greenery.

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As in any good garden the quality and choice of individual plants is a key factor in making it an enjoyable place to visit. Take a look at these beauties at Westonbury Mill. Being a water garden designed around a series of streams and pools we searched out the water and marsh loving plants first and found many in flower including the following specimens. Irises including varieties of I.ensata, the wild flowerheads of Butomis, the flowering rush and various Primulas including P. florindae and Rodgersias.

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Even though this was a water garden there were plenty more perennials flowering well and catching the attention of visitors.

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Westonbury is well-known for its collection of follies, built by the garden owner for the sheer fun of it and to amuse the visitors, although they can also have a secondary purpose.

We discovered the first just as we approached the garden itself and so we could enjoy it from outside the garden and within. Water rose up a water ladder from the stream beneath to be released into the hands of gravity thus sending water spewing from the mouth of a stone gargoyle.

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Through a structure of willow rather than stone we moved on to discover further eccentric buildings including a glass bottle igloo, towers and shelters.

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To give you an idea of the feel of the garden and the quality of the planting and structure I thought I would finish this post about Westonbury Mill Water Gardens with a selection of broad shots taken as we wandered its many winding paths.

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What a lovely atmospheric garden this is! Full of interest and full of interesting plants and features.