Categories
climbing plants colours garden design garden photography garden ponds garden pools garden seating gardening gardens grasses half-hardy perennials hardy perennials Hardy Plant Society HPS National Garden Scheme NGS ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs roses Shropshire The National Gardening Scheme" water in the garden Yellow Book Gardens

Aiming for a year round garden – our garden in June – how our visitors saw us.

This year, 2014 will be the year we open our garden under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme, so we saw our garden details published in the famous Yellow Book. This is a landmark for any gardener in England and Wales, albeit a pleasing one and a worrying one. So many questions pour into your mind when you see the description of your garden in print.

I had to provide 9 photographs of our garden taken in previous years at the same time of year we are due to open. It was hard to choose shots that gave the right “feel”. We wanted to give a taste of what our plot is all about and these pictures give further ideas for the visitor after they have read the paragraph we presented to the NGS. Luckily I could look back into the archives of my blog. To check out the photos I selected go to the NGS website, http://www.ngs.org.uk, click on “find a garden” and type in Avocet where you are asked for a garden name.

We have also been asked by a couple of garden groups if they could visit. So the first of these we set for mid-June and we felt it would provide a practice run for the big day in August. The group were the Shrewsbury Mini-group of the Shropshire Hardy Plant Society, so we knew them already which made the day a bit less daunting. I took a series of photos in the morning of the day they were coming to give an idea of how they would see our little quarter acre of garden.

This post also serves as part of my series on “Aiming for a Year Round Garden” where I look around our garden to see if our aim to have interest throughout he year is working.

The first photos show how we welcome visitors as they find our gateway and look up the drive.

2014 06 22_0988 2014 06 22_09892014 06 22_09902014 06 22_0991

 

Next we take a quick wander around the front garden to view the gravel garden (The Beth Chatto Garden), the stump circle and the driftwood circle, as well as the mixed borders around the lawn.

2014 06 22_0992  2014 06 22_09942014 06 22_0995 2014 06 22_09962014 06 22_0997 2014 06 22_09982014 06 22_0999 2014 06 22_1000 2014 06 22_1001 2014 06 22_1002 2014 06 22_1003 2014 06 22_1004 2014 06 22_1005 2014 06 22_1006 2014 06 22_1007 2014 06 22_1008 2014 06 22_1009 2014 06 22_1010 2014 06 22_1011

We have worked hard this year to make the drive and the side of the house more welcoming using antique galvanised containers planted up with Dahlias and Calendulas and brightly coloured Pelargoniums are planted in the hanging baskets and other containers.

2014 06 22_0993

The next “port of call” is the Shade Garden followed by the “Fern Garden” and then into the “Seaside Garden”. I always seem to follow a set pathway around the garden when taking photos but I have to admit that I designed the garden to give visitors choices and so have created a situation where no two people wandering around need to follow the same route. I want each section of the garden to be viewed and approached from several directions. So although I am trying in this post to show our garden from our visitors’ viewpoint it is in reality just my own personal route.

2014 06 22_1013 2014 06 22_10122014 06 22_1014

And so to the back garden which has a different feel to it altogether as the individual garden compartments are all hidden in some way. It is a garden where you have to go looking – you cannot sit and look and take it all in in one go. Unlike the front, where from the seat under the arbor you can view most of the garden borders in one go, there are parts you can’t see so you are enticed to go to them for a close look.

In the back garden we find the water feature among Hostas and Toad Lilies on the end of the Shed Bed and from there you can look down the central path with arches draped with trained apple trees, roses and clematis. Another arch to the side of the main path affords glimpses of more borders.

2014 06 22_1047

2014 06 22_1020 2014 06 22_1021 2014 06 22_1022 2014 06 22_1027 2014 06 22_1028

From the central path we can peer over the cloud pruned box hedge into these borders, which hopefully will entice the visitors to explore further.

2014 06 22_1029 2014 06 22_1030 2014 06 22_1031 2014 06 22_1032

By turning right off the central path visitors find themselves between the Chicken Garden and the Secret Garden and after a mere half dozen steps must choose which one to look at first.

2014 06 22_1038 2014 06 22_1039

2014 06 22_1033 2014 06 22_1034 2014 06 22_1035  2014 06 22_1037

Within the Secret Garden alongside a comfortable cream coloured seat visitors can enjoy our latest creation, the Alpine Throne.

2014 06 22_1036

If however our visitors chose to go left at the central path they would find further choices, the Japanese Garden, the Wildlife Pond and Bog Garden to the right or the Long Border and Crescent Border to the left.

2014 06 22_1040 2014 06 22_10412014 06 22_1042 2014 06 22_1043 2014 06 22_1044 2014 06 22_1045 2014 06 22_1046

Back closer to the house we can find the “Pollinators’ Border” complete with insect hotel, the Shed Scree Bed and the new Tropical Border.

2014 06 22_1049 2014 06 22_1048

2014 06 22_1050

So there we have a quick tour of our garden in mid-June just as our first group of garden visitors saw us. We enjoyed the kind comments they left and felt it had been worthwhile, particularly when several said they would be back when we opened for the NGS in August.

The only downer was that the Bearded Iris had given us their best show ever, a true extravaganza for the three weeks or so prior to the visit. On the day just one bloom remained to show everyone what they had missed. Gardeners always say “You should have come last week.” and for us this may well have been true, at least where the Iris were concerned.

Our next big day is our NGS Open Day on the 3rd August so we are hoping we can maintain interest in the borders until then. A second mini-group of Shropshire Hardy Planters will be visitors a month after that so we will have to be “on our toes” for a while yet!

Categories
climbing plants colours garden photography gardening Hardy Plant Society photography village gardens

Clematis Photoshoot

I was seduced once again by the beauty of Clematis when we visited a couple of small village gardens in late late June. The visit was with the Shropshire Group of the Hardy Plant Society. Please enjoy my Clematis Gallery. Thanks to Amy for growing such wonderful clematis.

2014 06 21_0594 2014 06 21_0593 2014 06 21_0592 2014 06 21_0591 2014 06 21_0590 2014 06 21_0589 2014 06 21_0588 2014 06 21_0587 2014 06 21_0586 2014 06 21_0585 2014 06 21_0584 2014 06 21_0583 2014 06 21_0582 2014 06 21_0581 2014 06 21_0580 2014 06 21_0579 2014 06 21_0578 2014 06 21_0577

2014 06 21_0576 2014 06 21_0575 2014 06 21_0574 2014 06 21_0573 2014 06 21_0572 2014 06 21_0571 2014 06 21_0570 2014 06 21_0569 2014 06 21_0566 2014 06 21_0565 2014 06 21_0564 2014 06 21_0563 2014 06 21_0562 2014 06 21_0561 2014 06 21_0560 2014 06 21_0558

Categories
allotments colours flowering bulbs garden design garden photography gardening gardens hardy perennials ornamental trees and shrubs spring bulbs spring gardening trees village gardens Wales Winter Gardening

Anne’s Garden

It is always special to visit a friend’s garden for the first time. Today with fellow Shropshire Hardy Plant Society members we visited the garden of our group chairman, Anne. She lives just over the Welsh border so we had but a forty minute journey.

2014 04 17_8174

The pathway to the front door set the scene with plants jostling for position to make sure they were seen. I always believe this sort of way into a garden heightens the anticipation. You just know you are going to enjoy the garden and discover some real gems. This was just what happened.

2014 04 17_8151

Anne greeted us at her door and from then on we had a very enjoyable afternoon exploring her little garden, drinking tea and relishing cakes. The garden had pathways wriggling beneath trees and shrubs giving the atmosphere of a small copse.

Anne’s garden illustrated the importance of growing trees in small gardens. So many small gardens are full of small plants which just makes you look down. Anne’s patch had your eyes rushing around, upwards, downwards and seeking out the next corner to peer around.

In the front garden Cercis “Forest Pansy”, Pyrus salifolius pendula and a splendid specimen of Cornus “Midwinter Fire” held the garden together.

2014 04 17_8146 2014 04 17_8143

2014 04 17_8144

 

The weeping pear’s leaves were fully out and its pure white blossom showed off its black stamens. The Forest Pansy was way behind ,its bare black stems just starting to show bursting purple buds.

2014 04 17_8142

 

I enjoyed the way so many different leaf shapes, colours and textures juxtaposed so happily.

 

2014 04 17_8141 2014 04 17_8158

2014 04 17_8163 2014 04 17_8170

Being mid-April spring flowering bulbs added cheer to combat the grey skies of the day.

2014 04 17_8148 2014 04 17_8162

2014 04 17_8177 2014 04 17_8152

2014 04 17_8178 2014 04 17_8181

Whenever I visit a garden I spot one of my favourite families of plants, the euphorbias. Anne had some fine euphorbias including E. mellifera a variety that we grow but have to take in during the winter as it just couldn’t survive our winter weather. Anne’s happily lived outside all year.

2014 04 17_8145  2014 04 17_8149

2014 04 17_8182

Acers feature here too and mid-April is a good time to enjoy their fresh subtly coloured new foliage bursting from their buds.

2014 04 17_8153 2014 04 17_8154

2014 04 17_8164 2014 04 17_8171

2014 04 17_8165

We have been looking for small Hostas recently to plant around a water feature situated close to a corner where two path meet. We were really taken with those we found growing in pots in a little shaded courtyard. Luckily they had labels on giving us ideas for our own planting.

2014 04 17_8150 2014 04 17_8166

2014 04 17_8167

Anne’s garden is small in size but it has a mighty big heart! As the last set of photographs below show it is a garden full of interesting individual plants, original plant combinations and many appealing features. We had a great afternoon – thanks Anne.

2014 04 17_8155 2014 04 17_8157           2014 04 17_8168 2014 04 17_8169   2014 04 17_8172 2014 04 17_8173 2014 04 17_8175 2014 04 17_81562014 04 17_8176   2014 04 17_8179 2014 04 17_8180  2014 04 17_8183

Categories
colours fruit and veg garden design garden photography gardening grow your own half-hardy perennials hardy perennials Hardy Plant Society HPS ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs outdoor sculpture roses Shropshire village gardens

A mini-group day out – part one Jill’s garden

“What is a mini-group?” I hear you asking. Well they are area groups within the Shropshire branch of the Hardy Plant Society. We live just south of Shrewsbury so fit into the Shrewsbury Mini-Group but we could equally belong to the South Shropshire group. Perhaps we ought to select the most interesting sounding visits planned by both groups and have extra gardens to visit.

Last month our little group visited two of our member’s gardens plus a garden of a neighbouring house. They were all in the little village of Ruyton-XI-Towns. It is a village we have driven through but never stopped in and once parked up we wandered down looking for Jill’s garden, our first stop for the day. In fact we were parked only a few metres from there. We passed through the front garden which was small but packed with plants with lots of colour and texture and then around the side of the house where again every possible place for a plant had plants in it. Pots and interesting containers were everywhere we looked.

2013 06 24_1160 2013 06 24_1164

As we reached the end of the house the view that met us stopped us in our tracks. This was going to be a real treat! The garden was full of colour and had strong design elements, with paths that invited exploration, arches and frames to encourage you to go through them and pieces of sculpture and interesting natural objects to stop the eye.

2013 06 24_1199 2013 06 24_1145 2013 06 24_1146 2013 06 24_1147 2013 06 24_1148 2013 06 24_1149 2013 06 24_1150 2013 06 24_1151 2013 06 24_1152 2013 06 24_1154 2013 06 24_1155 2013 06 24_1156

Jill is a gardener who can put plants together beautifully taking leaf texture and shape into consideration alongside flower colour. When we looked in more detail at the planting we discovered a few special plants, ones we couldn’t recognise and a few of those that you have to dig deep into the recesses of your memory to recall their names.

2013 06 24_1157 2013 06 24_1158 2013 06 24_1159 2013 06 24_1160 2013 06 24_1161 2013 06 24_1162 2013 06 24_1163

From Jill’s garden we all wandered down the village street to a neighbour who had a garden that was best described as long, thin and wriggling, never more than a couple of metres wide and often only wide enough for a plant fringed path. Despite of this the gardener had packed in dozens of fragrant roses and clematis clambering up any surface or tall plant. This will be the subject of my next post where we will also enjoy the third garden we visited that day, where we ended the day with tea on the lawn. How civilised is that?!

Categories
garden design garden photography gardening hardy perennials Hardy Plant Society HPS National Garden Scheme NGS ornamental trees and shrubs Shropshire village gardens

The Hardy Planters at Lower Hall

DSC_0067-10

Our first visit  to a local garden with the Shropshire branch of the Hardy Plant Society this year took us to Lower Hall in the picturesque village of Worfield.

DSC_0016 DSC_0019 DSC_0020 DSC_0023 DSC_0024 DSC_0027

The River Worfe which gives the village its name meanders aimlessly through the garden and as we wandered along its paths we kept coming across bridges to take us over its flooded waters. The header picture shows the flower head of Dalmera peltata which grows in the boggy patches along the Worfe. The globe of flowers sits atop a tall thin stem rising straight from the soil before there is any sign of any leaves.

The garden has many different elements to it, a walled garden, a stream, a woodland area and various borders so there is a richness of plants to enjoy.

DSC_0034 DSC_0035

DSC_0036 DSC_0037 DSC_0039 DSC_0042 DSC_0044 DSC_0045

As always the Hardy Planters of Shropshire stand and admire!

DSC_0043 DSC_0046 DSC_0047 DSC_0048 DSC_0049 DSC_0057 DSC_0058 DSC_0061

Categories
fruit and veg garden design garden photography gardening hardy perennials HPS ornamental trees and shrubs roses Shropshire South Shropshire village gardens

“Sheila’s Cafe” – The Garden of Two Hardy Planters’

We spend many days visiting gardens all over the country, several of them large gardens run by the RHS or the NT, which we enjoy greatly. But we enjoy even more small gardens in our own county of Shropshire or in the neighbouring counties of ~Hereford, Staffordshire and Cheshire, many of them opening under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme. But most of all we enjoy our visits with the Shropshire Branch of the Hardy Plant Society, and in particular gardens tended by fellow members.

On a wet, dull, chilly mid-June day we visited just such a garden a few miles from our home in the Shropshire Hills.

Fairview is the garden of Geoff and Sheila Aston and although not a large garden it has a large heart. It welcomed us with such warmth.

It invited us to follow its paths and discover its secrets hidden behind hedges and around corners.

DSC_0166

DSC_0152

DSC_0155

When we think back to this garden we think of Sheila’s Café and the tidiest garden shed in the world. I will admit to experiencing a bout of “shed envy” – just how does Geoff keep his work spaces so tidy and well organised? This shed envy was closely followed by “compost heap envy”!

Sheila had turned the garage into a café where we met for a coffee and cakes and a chat about the garden before we had a slow wander. Now that is what I call a welcome!

DSC_0167

DSC_0158

DSC_0159 Time for a wander ………………..

DSC_0156

DSC_0151

DSC_0154

DSC_0147

DSC_0165

Before finishing our tour we were to be impressed by the veggie patch.

DSC_0157

DSC_0164

DSC_0150

Off to Holly Cottage now – just a short journey down a maze of Shropshire lanes. (see next post)