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Are You Sitting Comfortably? – No 18 in an occasional series

Here we are with the 18th post in this series all about garden seats which we discover and like on our many garden visits. I will cover gardens we visited in the spring, beginning with Whitlenge Gardens and Nursery, a garden designed to spotlight the owners garden planning business. I hope you enjoy looking at the selection.

We visited our friend Julie’s garden with our Hardy Plant Society mini-group and found a few chairs there too, including a set of four pieces made by her son, beautiful simple pieces sitting in a shaded woodland area.

 

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Moors Meadow – a romantic garden full of magic

We had not visited the magical garden at Moors Meadow for several years so we were really looking forward to exploring it with my brother Graham and sister-in-law Vicky.

The garden here was pronounced Britain’s most romantic garden by a national gardening monthly. We were so looking forward to finding out if it lived up to this and if it still felt as magical as we remembered.

It didn’t take long for us to discover that it was indeed a garden full of surprises, artifacts, unusual plants, amazing seats and wandering pathways through changing moods of garden.

   

I shall now share a gallery of photos showing our walk around the gardens.

So there is my gallery of photos of our journey around the magical and romantic gardens at Moors Meadow. I hope you enjoyed sharing our journey and our enjoyment.

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Return to the gardens at Hergest Croft

We always enjoy returning to visit and explore gardens we have loved discovering before. Hergest Croft gardens are one of our favourite places to visit and we have visited at several different times of year. In 2018 we made a journey down into Herefordshire in the middle of September for an early autumn/late summer visit.  The building itself is a beautiful “arts and crafts” style villa of brick with features and details to give it a special look. The driveside provides a good place to house plants for sale particularly trees and shubs propagated from the garden’s specimens and some interesting herbaceuos plants. Alongside the entrance is a stunning glasshouse that matches the main house wonderfully and it is here that we begin each visit, after of course coffee and cakes in the tea room. This tea room has a special extra, a lovely outdoor seating space, a covered veranda.

 

Beneath the veranda we enjoyed looking at a border of dahlias and over the top of the border to the borders surrounding the lawn. Here we spotted the first of a series of artworks created on slates, very delicate botanic drawings.

   

More plants for sale grace the walkway along the side of the house, again interesting plants propagated on site from their own plant material.

We next moved into the glasshouse where we always enjoy perusing the delicate plants flowering away happily. Let me share this little gallery with you. Please click on the first pic then use arrows to navigate.

Here is a selection of the photos I snapped as we wandered around Hergest Croft gardens, which helps to illustrate how varied the garden is and what a wide selection of plants are grown there. There is a huge collection of rare and unusual trees here including several “Champion Trees” which guaranteed plenty of interest as we wandered the pathways.

   

There is just so much at Hergest Croft it is hard to do it justice, but I shall finish with a few selected photos of the many I took to help give a taste of this wonderful Herefordshire garden.

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The Picton Garden in October

The Picton Garden is situated below the Malvern Hills in Herefordshire. The garden is famous for its aster collections and its beautiful small garden. In fact it holds the National Plant Collection of Michaelmas Daisies, so a visit in September and October is a real treat.

We have already visited the garden twice before, once in autmn and once in spring and it is wonderful every time we visit. This visit was in mid-October but the seasons this year had been so strange that everything in the garden is way ahead of time for a normal season, at least three weeks out of sinc. So this visit would prove to be very different to our previous autumn wander.

The reception, with its rustic wooden hut and beautiful gate are matched by the friendly welcome we received from the garden owners and managers, members of the Picton family. Immediately you realise this is not gong to be a sterile collection of Asters, but a well-designed beautifuly planted garden with winding paths among mixed borders, each with its own character. There are even a few pots of succulents near the entrance.

The first views of the borders along the paths set the quality and sensitive style of planting that we were to enjoy throughout.

 

We enjoyed some interesting cntrasting shrub and tree foliage combinations.

 

But we had to admire the way asters were used mixed with other perbaceous plants and the clever use of all the many perennials, huddled together in the borders.

    

As we neared the end of our wanderings around these beautiful autumnal garden scenes, we discovered display beds showing how different asters fitted into the different families. The nursery was our last port of call before we returned to our car for the journey home. Of course we had quite a boot full of Asters with a couple of hardy Chrysanthemums for good measure.

 

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An adventure to get here – Canwood Gallery

Canwood Gallery in the Herefordshire countryside is found after miles of narrow winding lanes and so is decsribed as “an adventure to find” on its website. We visited this outdoor sculpture gallery after hearing of it from Graham and Vivky, my brother and our sister-in-law.

The driveway led us to a beautifulbrick and timber house wrapped in a garden and fields in beautiful countryside. We started wandering around to the sound of a tractor at work. Apart from that the place was silent. Some sculptural pieces were situated close to the house or even leaned against farm buildings.

 

An indoor gallery set in an old combine shed held an exhibition called “In the middle of  somewhere.”

Starting our tour of the outdoor exhibition spaces we were attracted to these two corten steel pieces. Follw my mini-gallery to follow me as I walked around the pieces looking through them to the spaces beyond.

Close by two large heads looked over the countryside.

Sometimes we both find odd pieces not to our taste and this one made us feel nothing.

When studying some sculpture pieces it is the detail that attracts, such as with these figures, one in wood the other stone.

Simply titled “The Bull”, this piece created from two finishes of metals was full of strength and movement.

Moving pieces always add interest to a collection of static pieces. This figure moved with the breeze most elegantly, catching the light as it did so. Enjoy my mini-gallery to follow her changing positions.

After being mesmerised by her gentle movements the following pieces appeared strong and static.

From the fields we entered the gardens through a metal gate to enjoy the sculpture standing comfortably among garden plants. Two pieces, “Birds” and “Lady of the Lake” are sharing the water of the pond in front of the cottage.

   

I will put all my photos of the other sculptures in to gallery for you to enjoy.

 

 

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Snowdrops and Creative Pruning – Ivy Croft Garden

I often publish posts about summer days out in winter to help us warm up so as we are in the middle of an exceptionally hot period of weather I shall do the opposite and publish this post I wrote in the winter in the hope it may cool us down!

There were two main reasons we wanted to visit Ivy Croft Garden and Nursery to look at, firstly their huge collection of snowdrops and secondly their imaginative pruning techniques. Both these elements are highlights of the February garden. We drove down to Herefordshire with gardening friends Pete and Sherlie who had never visited the garden before. We had been once before several years ago, when it was still quite early on in the development stage. We were looking forward to seeing what it was like after so many years.

The garden which was started in 1997, surrounds the cottage which has a formal area close to the house partly enclosed by an ivy hedge. Further afield the garden becomes less formal and a wander around gave us the chance to look at its pond, willow and dogwood collections, a perry pear orchard and a vegetable garden enclosed with trained fruit trees.

The area around the house featured many flowering bulbs and in the spring and summer alpines would take over. A colourful Acer griseum stood with two variegated Hollies in a circular bed surrounded by a gravel pathway.

   

The pruned features we discovered as we parked up included a pleached limes, box balls and all were neatly presented.

  

An amazing selection of ivies made up the ivy hedge which surround two sides of the formal garden around the cottage. It was a beautiful, unusual feature to welcome visitors.

 

The huge work shed had a unique humorous tough, buttresses created by training and pruning yew trees. Close by stood this beautiful white barked birch tree.

 

As we walked away from the pleached limes and box ball topiary, we wandered through the wide selection of rare and unusual snowdrops. Beyond this border was a trellis-like “fedge”, a living hedge made from willow.

 

Shrubs with coloured stems and trees with coloured bark are strong features of the winter garden, and Ivycroft had some fine examples of both. Coloured stems were provided by Salix and Cornus, whereas the coloured bark appeared on Betulas and Prunus.

       

Little details reward those who take a closer look, a catkin, a flower or an old seed pod.

      

As mentioned earlier Snowdrops were a special feature of the gardens at Ivy Croft, but we also enjoyed cyclamen, miniature daffodils and hellebores. Colours shone from shrubs too, Hamamelis, Daphne mezereum and Hedera helix in its shrubby form.

       

We certainly had plenty to enjoy at Ivy Croft and it had changed so much since our last visit over 10 years ago. We will certainly be visiting once again when it opens again for a day in the spring.

 

 

 

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Garden Revisiting Part One – The Garden in a Cider Orchard

We are so lucky to have so many great gardens that we can visit in a day from home. I thought a week of posts all about revisiting gardens would prepare us well for the warmer weather and get our creative gardening juices flowing again.

There are many in our home county Shropshire itself and we have easy access to Herefordshire and Powys where there are even more. Several of our favourite gardens we like to visit every year or so, so that we can see how they develop over time and change with the seasons. In this occasional series we shall do just that. I shall be featuring those gardens that we like to keep going back to.

For the first of these we travel down the trunk road southwards, the A49 which will take us through South Shropshire and into the Herefordshire border. It is just a few hundren yards from this road that we find the gardens of Stockton Bury which are described as the “Gardens in the Orchard”. The garden was born in 1900 and has never stopped developing. The present gardener, Raymond Treasure has developed it into rich tapestry of unusual trees, perennials and even a few follies, all wrapped around the old farm buildings.

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It is a garden with a surprise around every corner, and however many times you visit this still happens. A living garden!

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The mixed borders are rich in perennial plants that the wildlife enjoy.

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At any turn in the path you can find a surprise, brightly coloured planting, secret rooms, unusual plants you can’t name,

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Please enjoy this special place by browsing through my gallery of photos. There are probably too many but Stockton Bury is such a photogenic location it becomes hard to edit your shots.

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Our return visit to Stockton Bury was as special as the first we ever made, full of special plants, secrets and surprises and touches of humour.

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