Categories
autumn autumn colours colours garden design garden furniture garden paths garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials light light quality National Garden Scheme NGS nurseries ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs pathways shrubs South Shropshire walled gardens Yellow Book Gardens

Seasonal visits to two very different gardens – Autumn at Wildegoose

This is the last visit to the smaller of our two gardens that we have been visiting throughout 2019, so please enjoy my report on Wildegoose Nursery and Garden which we visited on its last open day of the year. We spoke to Jack one of the owners who looked very glad that the season was ending and the nursery closing for another year. He and Laura and the twins were off on holiday the day after our visit.

The colours of the autumn flowers was so intensely beautiful and the light on the day of our visit enriched them further. The bright pink Persicaria amplexicaulis in a new cultivar to me, ‘Amethyst’.

 

There were signs of autumn to remind us of the season! Pumpkins and gourds, trees and shrubs showing unusual shades of pink-red.

  

In places the dying seedheads of perennials contrast beautifully with the autumn leaves on the shrubs.

 

I shall finish off this report of our visit with a gallery of my photos. As usual just click on the first photo and then navigate using the arrows.

For my next post in this series we will return to Bodnant, the bigger of our two gardens this year.

Categories
colours garden buildings garden design garden designers garden furniture garden paths garden photography garden seat garden seating gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses half-hardy perennials hardy perennials light quality nurseries ornamental grasses outdoor sculpture pathways poppies sculpture Shropshire South Shropshire village gardens

seasonal visits to two very different gardens – mid-summer at Wildegoose nursery and gardens

We made one of our frequent visits to Wildegoose Nursery and Gardens in the middle of July on a warm bright day. We were pleased to find a new sign at the entrance to the nursery and garden, a beautiful coloured plan of the walled garden. Also new was an area of planting alongside the path to the sales hut.

This new planting reflected the planting style of much of the garden, new perennial style with thoughtful colour matching. The nursery beds also looked really colourful and inviting.

We made our way up to the top of the slope where the tea shop is situated, and we treated ourselves to a coffee and one of their special cakes. Then suitably refreshed we set about exploring this wonderful space. Every gravel pathway led to interesting plant combinations.

We will finish off sharing our visit with you via a gallery of my photos. The whole garden is an exciting example of thoughtful planting groups, sometimes pale and subdued colours others bright and red hot. To follow our tracks click on the first photo and then use the arrows to navigate. We shall return later in the year to see Wildegoose in another season.

 

 

Categories
colours flowering bulbs garden buildings garden design garden designers garden paths garden photography garden seat garden seating garden sheds gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials light quality National Garden Scheme NGS nurseries ornamental grasses outdoor sculpture sculpture Shropshire South Shropshire spring bulbs spring gardening traditions village gardens walled gardens Yellow Book Gardens

Seasonal visits to two very different gardens

Instead of a monthly visit to the same garden for a whole 12 months I decided to look at two gardens, one small and one large. We have already visited the large one, Bodnant Gardens in North Wales already. So here is our first visit to our chosen small garden Wildegoose Nursery and Garden here in Shropshire.

We visited on May 5th, the day that Wildegoose opens with Millichope Hall Gardens for the NGS, just as we do. Wildegoose is the restoration project of the hall’s walled garden. Here a young couple, Jack and Laura Willgoss, have set up a nursery and are developing a modern perennial style garden as well as specialising in hardy perennial violas. It is an exciting project which we love to visit often.

Our first visit for this series of posts was on May 5th, a bright day with a chilly wind but a day with great light for taking photos and enhancing the brightness of colours.

We arrived via a tall gate in the the brick walls and were immediately struck by a patch of Forget-me-nots and tulips. We soon realised that Jack and Laura had a great taste in tulip colours. These tulips complimented so effectively the strength of colours of euphorbias and wallflowers.

Throughout the garden, as we wandered and explored, little gems of plants caught our eyes like this unusual Cammassia and the strong stemmed Thalictrum “Black Stocking”.

 

Memories of the walled garden’s Georgian origins and its history until its demise after the two world wars appear occasionally throughout the garden, and exciting artifacts integrate into the plantings.

  

The teashop is wonderfully old-fashioned and is so welcoming with beautiful bone china crockery in which tasty tea is served along with home-made cakes. We found a beautifully coloured table and chairs within the garden. We are tempted to paint some of our metal furniture in that colour as it sits so comfortably in the garden.

 

Next here is a selection of photos taken throughout the walled garden for you to enjoy.

We finished our wanderings at the nursery. Always a good idea! Here we bought a selection of their hardy perennial violas – beautiful!

Laura and Jack’s twins always leave a surprise somewhere in the garden and today this was in the nursery beds. A nice friendly way to finish an inspirational, relaxing afternoon.

We will be back in the summer and report that exploration too.

 

 

 

Categories
autumn autumn colours garden design garden designers garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials Land Art light light quality meadows ornamental grasses outdoor sculpture Piet Oudolf sculpture

Hauser and Wirth – a return to Piet Oudolf’s gallery garden

We have visited the Piet Oudolf gardens at the Hauser and Wirth Galleries in Bruton, Somerset twice already. We wanted to visit once more to see how these amazing new perennial style gardens had matured.

We had to pass between the gallery buildings to reach the gardens but were drawn to these gently planted containers and gardens in the courtyards.

 

A sculpture piece by Richard Long graced one area of grass, but after a quick look and photo, we hurried through the gallery buildings and out into the main gardens. We were to find another Richard Long piece at the far end of the main garden, one of his circular works.

 

To give a true picture of the gardens here at the gallery I need to share a gallery with you showing views across board, plant compinations and a few individual plants too. Enjoy by clicking on the right arrow and navigate as usual using the arrows.

 

Categories
garden design garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials meadows ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs RHS Yorkshire

Two RHS Gardens – Part 2 Harlow Carr

To visit the second of the RHS gardens we visited during 2017 we had to travel north up to Yorkshire and we stayed near Harrogate, a beautiful spa town. This is the RHS garden we probably visit the most as it is our favourite and we love the area it is situated in. We chose to go up in late summer. We particularly enjoy the Winter Garden and the new perennial gardens and as we had already visited to see the Winter Garden so we needed to see the perennials borders too.

The RHS are excellent at giving a warm welcome to its visitors and we certainly felt that at their most northerly garden, beautiful planters, great breakfast at the famous “Betty’s Tearooms” and cheerful plants as we entered the main gardens, including bright, cheerful meadow planting.

A recent children’s competition involving creating miniature gardens in old boots provided some entertainment at the bottom of the main steps into the garden.

Next we will share moments we enjoyed as we made our way towards the educational centre with its new buildings, glasshouse and plantings.

The gardens around the education centre provide a fine example of contemporary plant choice and plant combinations, starring grasses and tall airy perennials, growing beautifully among gravel, a wildlife pond and a contemporary styled vegetable garden alongside. Even the seating has been carefully chosen to look just right. Nothing has been left to chance!

       

As mentioned at the beginning of this post we were looking forward in particular to wandering around the borders of “new perennial planting” especially as we were visiting when it should be its prime time. So please enjoy this wander with us by following the gallery. Click on the first picture then navigate with the arrows.

 

When we were finishing our visit to this wonderful RHS garden we made our way back for a final coffee before finding our car and returning to our hotel, and noticed a large and very beautiful insect hotel alongside the path. It was an heartening end to our exploration.

Categories
colours garden design garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials light light quality ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs RHS

Two RHS Gardens – Part 1 – Hyde Hall

As members of the RHS we often visit their gardens and their partner gardens. Sadly it is a long journey to get to any of their main gardens so we do not visit as often as we would like. We make an effort to visit at least two each year.

In 2017 the two we selected were Hyde Hall in Essex and Harlow Carr in Yorkshire, two very different gardens, one in the south and one in the north. The first we visited was Hyde Hall which is the furthest away of all their gardens so we have only ever explored it once before. We made this journey in the middle of the summer and were looking forward in particular to seeing how the Dry Garden had developed as this was a new venture when we originally visited this garden. When we journey down to Essex we usually pay a visit to the garden of the great lady of British gardening, Beth Chatto, but this time we did not have time. But we will go to her garden soon when I will post about her incredible garden when we do. For now though we will concentrate on the gardens of Hyde Hall.

It is rarely possible to admire the planting within a car park, but at Hyde Hall the planting was worth looking at and photographing. It was based on new style perennial planting which had such a gentle calming effect on us as we walked from the car to the garden. Grasses and airy perennials were the mainstay of the plantings.

  

Once inside the gardens themselves, the quality of planting and the brilliant way in which plant partners were grouped were of the highest quality.

              

Grasses feature strongly at Hyde Hall adding texture to the landscape where grass is cut selectively, but different ornamental cultivars are used for structure and their architectural presence, and in mixed plantings for contrast, movement and for visitors to touch and stroke.

   

In places we could identify where plants had been chosen to take advantage of the light from the sun, using its brightness to encourage us to see reflection, shimmering light, glossy textures and contrasting patterns. Essex is dry and sunny particularly compared to our Shropshire climate. Using the brightness of the sun and the dryness of the climate to enhance gardens is so clever and not often done well. Hyde Hall is the star in this department.

In my second post about this wonderful RHS garden I shall focus on their famous Dry Garden, but for now I want to explore the way light is used so effectively in some areas. Light can emphasise glossiness of foliage, it can emphasise the interplay of light and shade and it can emphasise texture.

   

Categories
architecture garden design garden designers garden photography garden ponds garden pools gardening gardens grasses hardy perennials meadows National Garden Scheme NGS ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs outdoor sculpture reflections sculpture Tom Stuart-Smith trees Uncategorized walled gardens water garden water in the garden Yellow Book Gardens

Cogshall Grange – a Cheshire garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith

Sometimes when you find a garden in the National Garden Scheme’s Yellow Book, you just know it is going to be a special place. Such was the case with the gardens at Cogshall Grange in Cheshire. The description in the book was so inviting and the reality matched it perfectly. It had been designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, one of our favourite garden designers and featured both formal and informal elements, woodland borders, a walled garden, modern herbaceous planting, wildflower meadows and an orchard, all set in the grounds of a Georgian country house.

Jude and I traveled up to Cheshire with friends Pete and Sherlie who also love the work of Tom S-S, so we all arrived full of anticipation.

As we moved from room to room in the garden discovering each feature the atmosphere and mood changed and we were constantly presented with fresh perspectives. This garden was a true garden experience.

We were really looking forward to seeing inside the walled garden which was where the influence of Tom Stuart-Smith was clearly to be seen, but of course we started with coffee and cake to get us in the mood. We discovered and enjoyed interesting small areas of planting as we made our way towards the walled garden, a delicately planted container, some beautifully pruned box and some varied, well chosen plant combinations.

Just as the garden was a careful amalgam of traditional parkland and modern perennial planting so the country house was a combination of old and modern architecture.

      

The walled garden was where the influence of Tom S-S could be seen and felt most strongly, with his very personal planting style and choice of plants mostly hardy perennials. The atmosphere was so gentle and calming. There was so much to photograph within its walls that the only way to do it any justice at all is through a gallery for you to peruse at your own pace. Please as usual click on the first shot and navigate using the arrows. I hope you can identify the very special feeling of this space.

We left the walled garden via a gateway which led us into gentle meadows of wildflower planting.

Walking back to the car to begin our homeward journey, we continued to make discoveries, some grassland had been cut to contrast with the longer uncut areas which were dotted with sculpture such as this beautiful stone seat.

   This beautiful garden excelled!

Categories
garden buildings garden design garden designers garden photography gardening gardens hardy perennials Herefordshire meadows outdoor sculpture sculpture Yellow Book Gardens

Montpelier Cottage – another Yellow Book garden

A warm bright day in early September was a great day to visit another National Garden Scheme, Yellow Book garden. Thus we drove once again into our neighbouring county of Herefordshire in search of Montpelier Cottage. The main roads turned into minor roads and the minor roads turned into lanes. The lanes got narrower and narrower until at last we found the yellow NGS sign on a gate into a field which for the day became a temporary car park.

The cottage in its primrose yellow livery felt so welcoming.

2015 09 13_5375 2015 09 13_5377

A sense of humour, important in any garden, soon became apparent at Montpelier Cottage.

2015 09 13_5376 2015 09 13_54552015 09 13_53822015 09 13_5456 2015 09 13_5454

The gardeners here are the garden writer Noel Kingsbury and his wife Jo Eliot and they have been developing the garden for ten years. The garden style and plant combinations are experimental looking to find “the border between the wild and the cultivated” being inspired by American prairies and the wildflower meadows of Europe. As we knew Noel Kingsbury had been working closely for many years with garden designers and nurserymen Piet Oudolf  and Henk Gerritsen, we were interested to see how this ten year old garden had developed.

As we followed the narrow path towards the back of the cottage the gardens came into view and we knew we were in for a colourful wander. The terrace of stone slabs overlooked the garden and sitting here enjoying a refreshing tea and tasty cake we could get views over most of the garden. Brightly coloured annuals and tender perennials grew vigorously in pots.

2015 09 13_5378 2015 09 13_53802015 09 13_5381 2015 09 13_5379

When we had finished our refreshments we soon found a sign which invited us through a gap in a hedge. Alongside the gap a piece of sculpture created from beautiful blue glass caught our attention.

2015 09 13_5452 2015 09 13_5446

As in any garden there are certain individual plants that stand out and here at Montpelier Cottage they were this deciduous Euonymous sporting a cerise and orange colourway, the deep ruby flowered Sanguisorba “Red Buttons”, the monochrome bamboo, the Rosa rugosa with big hips and the incredibly tall growing Hollyhocks.

2015 09 13_5388 2015 09 13_5387 2015 09 13_5383 2015 09 13_5384 2015 09 13_5409 2015 09 13_5435 2015 09 13_5434

But as with any garden it is the big picture that gives it its own style and presence. At Montpelier Cottage the garden boasted large areas of perennial planting through which paths were cut.

2015 09 13_5410 2015 09 13_5411 2015 09 13_5412 2015 09 13_5414 2015 09 13_5415 2015 09 13_5416  2015 09 13_5419 2015 09 13_54202015 09 13_5421 2015 09 13_5422 2015 09 13_5424 2015 09 13_5425 2015 09 13_5426 2015 09 13_5427 2015 09 13_5428 2015 09 13_5429 2015 09 13_5445 2015 09 13_5442 2015 09 13_5441 2015 09 13_5440 2015 09 13_5439 2015 09 13_5438 2015 09 13_5437 2015 09 13_5436

It was too late in the year to see the wildflower meadows at their flowery best so we hope to visit earlier in the year in 2016, but the kitchen garden was looking very productive.

2015 09 13_53932015 09 13_5404  2015 09 13_54062015 09 13_5405

There are interesting rustic buildings which came into view as we wandered the paths through the garden.

2015 09 13_5430 2015 09 13_54022015 09 13_5417 2015 09 13_5448

2015 09 13_5450 2015 09 13_5449

I shall finish my post about this unusual garden with a photo of a lovely slate sculpture and another piece of creativity by Mother Nature herself, weaving with Ivy stems. The final picture shows a beautiful use of shaped box.

2015 09 13_5390 2015 09 13_54072015 09 13_5453

 

Categories
climbing plants colours garden design garden designers garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials Italian style gardens meadows ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs Piet Oudolf RSPB sculpture Staffordshire Tom Stuart-Smith Winter Gardening winter gardens

A Garden in December – Trentham – Part Two

Back at the Trentham Gardens we moved into the borders designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. But first we passed through the formality of the Italianate borders with their strong structure of low box hedges. The view of these borders, which we get from the top of a flight of semi-circular stone steps is guaranteed to take our breath away. We looked forward to this moment every time we visited.

2014 12 16_8815 2014 12 16_8823

Seed heads were the stars here too with a mix of tall grasses and structural perennials. New growth was appearing promising colour to come in the spring.

2014 12 16_8825 2014 12 16_8826 2014 12 16_8827 2014 12 16_88282014 12 16_8829 2014 12 16_8831

Phlomis, having given bright sunshine coloured flowers in summer, were now starring again with their dark brown almost black spheres of seed heads spaced up the length of their straight stems.

2014 12 16_8830 2014 12 16_88322014 12 16_8847 2014 12 16_8833 2014 12 16_8834

The tallest stems were of a plant we did not recognise. Tiny seed heads hung like Tibetan prayer flags from gently bowing stems.

2014 12 16_8835 2014 12 16_88402014 12 16_8836 2014 12 16_88372014 12 16_8838 2014 12 16_8839

As we left the T S-S borders we looked back over them from the raised pathway. Dampness from earlier showers made the path surface glisten and reflect the blue of the sky.

2014 12 16_8842

On the lawned slopes by the glass fronted cafe giant snowdrops powered over our heads. We  always love willow structures! These were made from willow, some stripped of their brownish green bark and were beautifully woven and shaped. They stood a good 10 feet tall.

2014 12 16_8841 2014 12 16_8846 2014 12 16_8843 2014 12 16_8845 2014 12 16_8846

After our compulsory coffee stop which, was much appreciated on this cold December morning, we wandered back through the borders towards the Rose Walk. Again my camera snapped away at the wonderful structures of the perennials and grasses.

2014 12 16_8848 2014 12 16_8849 2014 12 16_8850 2014 12 16_8851

Although most winter structure showsoff the many shades of biscuits and browns, silver seemed to dominate one area. Giant leaves of Verbascum hugged the cold ground in huge, soft, silver rosettes. The silver giants were the Onorpordum or Scotch Thistles which in winter take on strong sculptural shapes.

2014 12 16_8852 2014 12 16_8853 2014 12 16_8854 2014 12 16_8855 2014 12 16_8856 2014 12 16_8857

The roses still persisted, producing occasional buds in gentler colours than in the summer. There was an added subtlety about them which gave them extra charm.

2014 12 16_8859 2014 12 16_8860 2014 12 16_8861 2014 12 16_8862 2014 12 16_8863

The sculptures at either end of the Rose Walk were wrapped up snuggly against the ravages of the winter. The Japanese Acers along side the walk displayed their seeds like the rotors of helicopters. The Wisteria which had clothed the metalwork with blue racemes of flowers in the Summer was now showing buds and old seed pods.

2014 12 16_8864 2014 12 16_8865 2014 12 16_8867 2014 12 16_8868 2014 12 16_8869 2014 12 16_8870

As usual I took a few photos looking through the arches across to the River of Grasses.

2014 12 16_8871 2014 12 16_8865

We were amazed to see a clump of Delphiniums with fresh growth of foliage and strong flower stems with fattening buds. No doubt the weather will have the last say and bring them to a premature ending.

2014 12 16_8866

The team of Trentham gardeners were, as always, beavering away in the borders. We have enjoyed seeing what they are up to on each of our visits. They have always greeted us with a smile and a few words of welcome.

2014 12 16_8873 2014 12 16_8874 2014 12 16_8875

So there we have it – a year in the life of one of Britain’s best gardens! Even though we have made the effort to visit every month throughout 2014 it never seemed a chore. We loved every minute of the many hours spent here. And we shall keep coming back. It has to be our most popular garden destination.

 

Categories
garden design garden designers garden furniture garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials Italian style gardens ornamental grasses outdoor sculpture Piet Oudolf sculpture Staffordshire Tom Stuart-Smith Winter Gardening winter gardens

A Garden in December – Trentham – Part One

The final installment in my monthly series looking at how the gardens at Trentham change throughout the year.

The garden has gone full circle passing through the seasons. We began last January when the gardens were in the throes of winter and finish off in December in another winter.

As we crossed the River Trent on the suspension bridge we got a good view of the golden “River of Grasses” through the two trunks of a multi-stemmed Birch, our native Betula pendula. In all or our previous monthly wanders we turned right at the bottom of the bridge into this huge area of grasses. For our December wanderings we turned left partly because we fancied a change but mostly because we spotted a willow word.

2014 12 16_8769 2014 12 16_8770

The gravel path took us beneath tall, ancient trees both deciduous and evergreen. Up in one we were surprised again to find a fairy looking down at us watching our every move.2014 12 16_8771 2014 12 16_8772

When we reached the willow NOEL we spotted a row of willow stars further along the path .

2014 12 16_8773

On one old trunk where a large bough had been cut off nature had been at work with her army of fungi to eat away at the rotting wood, and thereby creating a piece of relief sculpture. Can you spot a figure emerging?

2014 12 16_8775

After this little diversion from our usual route we retraced our footsteps to explore Piet Oudolf’s River of Grasses. Here a few seed heads stood against all odds having withstood the ravages of early winter.

2014 12 16_8777 2014 12 16_8778 2014 12 16_8779 2014 12 16_8781 2014 12 16_8780 2014 12 16_8782

I have enjoyed seeing how the Betula nigra are looking on each of our monthly visits. The texture and colour of their peeling bark catches the light whatever the time of day or time of year.

2014 12 16_8783 2014 12 16_8784

By passing through the avenue of Birches we found ourselves in Piet Oudolf’s prairie style borders, where so many different seed heads stood strong and proud.

2014 12 16_8785 2014 12 16_8786 2014 12 16_8787 2014 12 16_8791 2014 12 16_8793 2014 12 16_8794 2014 12 16_8796 2014 12 16_8800 2014 12 16_8801 2014 12 16_8802  2014 12 16_8803

We enjoyed seeing how the gardeners had tied up some of the tallest of the old stems. We decided there and then to give it a go in our own patch.

2014 12 16_8808 2014 12 16_88062014 12 16_8792 2014 12 16_87892014 12 16_8790

Where some of the herbaceous plants had been cut back by the gardening team, new growth of the freshest green has burst through and waits patiently for the Spring to come along. The cut down grasses however remain dormant, but without doubt within their sheaths new spears of green are making moves.

2014 12 16_8788 2014 12 16_8795 2014 12 16_8797 2014 12 16_8809

Tiny vestiges of colour remained to surprise us, please us and amaze us.

2014 12 16_8799 2014 12 16_8798

Before we left the prairie borders we looked back for the final time in 2014.