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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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community gardening garden buildings garden design garden ponds garden pools garden seating garden wildlife gardening gardens gardens open to the public Land Art log piles logs National Trust nature reserves outdoor sculpture The National Trust trees water in the garden wildlife woodland

An Interest Trail for Children – Dunham Massey

We have created an “Interest Trail” around our allotment community garden, and we see it performing two roles, firstly it guides all our visitors around the site taking in as big a variety of features as possible and secondly it performs as an activity trail for children. It has proved very popular. Whenever we come across a similar trail in large gardens or parks we always have a look to see how the idea has been executed. We visited the National Trust garden, Dunham Abbey, primarily to enjoy the Winter Garden but we discovered that since our last visit a few years ago a couple of the gardeners have created a children’s trail so we could not resist trying it out.

It was wonderful! Come with us and enjoy! We found the sign and below it one of the decorated bikes and then enjoyed a woodland wander before discovering the first of many fun and educational features designed for children.

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Any child who is brought here is very lucky indeed! At our allotment we also have features and arrange activities for the children and grandchildren of our members and their friends so we left with many new ideas.

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garden buildings

Building a new log store

Why do piles of logs neatly stacked always look so good in a garden? They are somehow welcoming indicating perhaps that inside there awaits the comfort of an open log fire or roaring log burner. We have always stored our logs under the overhang alongside our front door, which smells lovely as you approach or as you open the door in the morning. That lovely smell of cut wood.

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However this summer we have had a wood burner fitted in our conservatory so we need more wood storage. We had logs piled in any vacant space we could find around the house and garden. In the picture below these logs are piled up leaning against my fishing storage shed on the edge of the path between the shed and our garage. It was all getting a bit annoying.

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The answer was another wood shed and in a rash moment I decided I could make one! I decided I would design and construct one that would store a whole load of logs and at the same time hide the refuse wheelie bins.

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Well I did manage but will admit it did take a few weeks to achieve.

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But I have to say I am rather pleased with the end result. Now I must telephone Ben the woodsman for a trailer load of logs. I feel sure the logs will be well-seasoned as I have allowed for plenty of air movement and it should get plenty of sun.