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Bressingham Gardens – 2 – Using Grasses.

In this second report of our visit to the gardens at Bressingham I am going to look at the use of grasses throughout the gardens. As the batch of shots below illustrate, grasses here are beautifully integrated into the mixed borders and enhance their partners’ attributes. The grasses add movement, sound and an element of delicacy to the whole garden.

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The Bloms family created the gardens here at Bressingham not only to show the use of perennials and grasses but also coniferous evergreens. It is here they display all the many new cultivars of grasses and perennial herbaceous plants that they have bred over the decades. They also pioneered the use of island beds in garden design where for the first time herbaceous borders were designed to be seen from all around and the island beds of plantings were designed to be islands within seas of lawn.

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Grasses especially varieties and cultivars of Miscanthus are an integral part of the gardens here including the island beds. There is a large collection of Miscanthus which impressed and delighted me as it is a grass family that I love to see and love to use in our garden. It is a great multi-season group of plants.

Here are a few shots of the Miscanthus collection, but it was hard to do justice with the camera to illustrate the subtle variations in colour, height texture and growth habits of these grasses, the colours in all the different flowers and the leaf stripes and variegations.

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Using grasses in clumps, blocks, rivers and ribbons adds drama to the garden, but equally a single specimen partnered with a shrub, tree or herbaceous plant can increase the aesthetic value of both the grass and its partner.

Here are a couple of ideas seen at Bressingham using grasses in ribbons and rivers.

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We enjoyed finding effective planting partnerships involving grasses with other classes of plant.

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We came away full of new ideas and a list of Miscanthus we look forward to adding to our Avocet patch.




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Bressingham Gardens – 1 – Colour Combinations and Conifers

Jude and I have a book in which we write and keep our bucket list, or really bucket lists. We keep lists of places to visit, gardens to visit and activities to try out. We add to them throughout each year and revamp and edit them at the beginning of each new year.

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Our gardens to visit list has contained one particular garden we wished to visit for 3 or 4 years and it was in the summer of 2016 that we finally successfully got there, The Bressingham Gardens. We looked forward to seeing how they used grasses throughout the gardens and to experiencing enjoying so many beautiful herbaceous perennials. We also hoped that the on-site nursery would give us access to some unusual perennials bred at Bressingham and difficult to get elsewhere, and we particularly hoped to buy some Sea Hollies. Blooms are particularly well-known for their Achillea, Crocosmia and Kniphofia developments, such as C. Lucifer and K. Toffee Nose.

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These expansive gardens are like a calm green sea of short cut grass broken up by island beds exploding with colourful mixed plantings.

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Areas of shade are essential in any open aspect garden, and here small deciduous trees are used throughout to add small patches of shade along pathways, and most of these trees have interesting coloured foliage to add another layer of interest.

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We enjoyed the richness of warm colours working together beautifully when caught by the sunshine, and contrasting colours shining out in the borders.

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Coniferous evergreens are a special feature of the gardens as they are a particular love of Adrian Bloom one of the family who designed, maintain and own the gardens at Bressingham. Here they appear in every shade of yellow, green and blue with shapes of all sorts some extreme shape, from narrow, upright sentinels to drooping waterfalls. They also feature within the tall windbreaks planted all around the site to protect the wide ranging plantings within the gardens.

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In my next blog we will return to the gardens at Bressingham and take a look at how grasses are used to good effects. A big disappointmetn at Bressingham is that the nursery there has been sold to a massive national chain of garden centres, so the plants were the same old same old! So sad!