Categories
countryside garden design garden paths garden photography gardening gardens hardy perennials landscapes National Garden Scheme NGS ornamental trees and shrubs Powis Powys shrubs Yellow Book Gardens

Some NGS gardens open by timed tickets – part 1 – Bachie Uchaf

After not being able to visit any gardens during the lockdown period, due to government guidelines, it was great when some lifting of the lockdown rules allowed gardens using a timed pre-booked ticket only system to open. The RHS, NT and our very own NGS (Yellow Book Gardens) all made plans to make this safe.

We opened our own garden along with our next door neighbour on the 2nd and 3rd July, which was great success. But we also started visiting our NGS gardens too.

The first of these was Bachie Uchaf a garden not far away in Powys. It felt great to be out enjoying someone else’s garden. Between the car park on a rough part of the farmyard and the house itself we passed some impressive plant combinations which gave us ideas of what we had to look forward to in the main garden.

The garden is set at the head of a valley so afforded impressive views out into the Welsh countryside.

This was a garden divided up into ‘rooms’ but still afforded us long vistas within its quarry bottom setting.

Bachie Uchaf surprised us with its unusual quarry bottom setting but also by the imaginative planting and use of space availability by the gardeners/owners. One final area that impressed us in particular was a steep rock face planted with succulents mostly sedums. Very unusual and cheerful.

 

Categories
garden design garden photography gardening half-hardy perennials Shrewsbury Shropshire succulents village gardens Yellow Book Gardens

Succulents in Flower

We grow dozens of succulents especially aeoniums and echeverias. We love them because they give us wonderful variations in foliage, texture, colour, pattern and shape, but they all will throw up a flower spike on occasion. This week we suddenly had a few flowering all at once, so enjoy my photos!

Categories
garden photography gardening gardens Uncategorized

Gardening in Lockdown – Aeoniums

Aeonium have been one of my plantaholic obsessions now for several years and I am still slowly adding to my collection. Recently I have managed to acquire a few cuttings of varieties previously unknown to me such as Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ and Aeonium lancerottense.

Kiwi is a variegated cultivar with pale greens highlighted with creams and oranges. I now have it well rooted but it is still very small. It will be a really special feature of my collection before too long! The A. lancerottense is similar but just a little more subtle in colour.

 

Aeonium ‘Kiwi’                                                   Aeonium lancerottense.

Most aeonium tend towards varied combinations of purple and green.

     

Categories
garden design garden photography

Gardening in lockdown – new Sempervivum

Each spring I try to buy some new House Leeks, Sempervivum. This year though we couldn’t go out and choose some from nurseries due to “lockdown” so it was a case of ordering online. But it was exciting opening the packaging!

Here are some of my new acquisitions – enjoy! The beauty is in the detail.

The first two photos show selections planted out into two trugs, one wooden and one  a traditional Sussex Trug.

One set I bought had tasty names all named after fruity items which also related to their colours.

Sempervivum ‘Berry Cherry’                            Sempervivum ‘Cranberry Cocktail’

Sempervivum ‘Appletini’                                   Sempervivum ‘Cinnamon Starburst’

The others below are equally beautiful and interesting but came simply called mixed collection.

I will finish off with one more named variety which has lots of babies beginning to grow around its perimeter which will become useful cuttings later this summer.

Sempervivum ‘Big Cherry’

Categories
climbing plants colours garden design garden photography gardening gardens roses Shrewsbury Shropshire South Shropshire

My Garden Journal 2020 – June

Back to my garden journal for 2020 again and we are into the last month of the first half of the year, June, the month that sees the longest day and shortest night.

I began by sharing some of our rose bushes and climbing varieties that we grow throughout our garden in mixed borders and up obelisks and arches. I wrote, “June, the month for roses …………..”

I then featured photos of some of our red roses, writing, “Roses are red!”

Here are the photos of some of our red roses that grace our garden in June.

 

On the following page I continued with roses but those that were not red! “My flowering plant of the month!

Roses are red? Or white, cream peach, yellow ……..”

 

After looking at our flowering rose bushes and climbers, I did something completely different. I collect bark that had been detached from one of our birches by recent strong winds and created a collage, which lets us see the variety in colours and textures.

“In June windy days blow detached bark peelings from our birch, Betula albosinensis ‘Septentronalis’. We find what looks and feels like paper all around the garden. Each piece of peeled bark has its own character.”

We can look over the page now for a complete change as I looked at some wildlife found in our garden, a damselfly and a wasp. “Being a wildlife garden, our patch brings us some beautiful visitors for us to enjoy, to listen to and to watch. They help balance the natural world of our garden.”

“Damsel Flies hatch from our wildlife pond by the dozens, beginning with various ‘Azures’ and later the ‘Reds’.”

This beautiful yellow and black Ichneumon Wasp has appeared in our garden in good numbers for the first time ever this month.”

From wildlife we turn to succulents on the opposite page, where I wrote “Our foliage plants of the month of June are Aeoniums, a very special group of succulents. I have built up a good collection now.”

I then shared photos of a selection of some of our aeoniums……..

Next comes clematis, with two pages of pics. I wrote, “Clematis, herbaceous and climbers are flowering throughout the garden. Some are already on their second flush having flowered in the spring.”

The first of the two pages feature flowers from “Pale blue to deep purple.”

 

The second page showed “Every shade of red.”

The final page for June is all about the bark of Acer rufinerve. I wrote, Plant of the month for bark and stem this month is one of our snake-bark acers, Acer rufinerve also known as the ‘Melon-skin Maple’. These six photos start at the base of the trunk and move upwards.”

So that is my journal entries for June. Next report will be July.

 

Categories
garden design garden photography gardening succulents

Gardening in lockdown – Succulents in Containers

Once it is warm enough day and especially night time for plants to be hardened off out of the greenhouse I always enjoy smartening up my succulent containers and perhaps create a few new ones.

Even within lock down I still enjoyed this activity, especially as I had a few new aeonium and echeveria cuttings to include.

What is special about succulents is the way we can appreciate foliage close up, its textures, colours, patterns ans variations with temperature, season and dryness.

 

We do also get wonderful surprises from our succulents in the form of flowers.

 

Categories
garden photography gardening hardy perennials spring spring gardening succulents

Gardening in lockdown – Jude’s micro-nursery plants sort out

We sell lots of plants mostly perennials and shrubs when we open our garden and when we give talks to clubs and societies. I take the shrub cuttings and Jude deals with seed sowing and looking after plant divisions and self seeded perennials.

The greenhouse is almost exclusively used to sow and then grow on Jude’s perennial seeds.

 

As they reach a suitable size they are potted on and then hardened off in trays outside. This also allows us to water them from below.

 

Cuttings taken from succulents are also kept in the greenhouse until they are large enough to pot on and move outside. Perennials end up on the shelves in Jude’s little nursery which has a label saying “Jude’s Micro-nursery”.

At about the same time dahlias are potted on when they show good new growth after their winter rest. Begonias are hardened off too.

 

Categories
garden design garden photography gardening gardens half-hardy perennials hardy perennials July ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs roses Shrewsbury Shropshire shrubs village gardens Yellow Book Gardens

My Garden Journal 2019 – July

We move into the second half of the year with this visit to my 2019 garden journal, where we shall see what the garden has to offer and take a look at some of our gardening tasks for the month.

The first double page spread featured borders in our front garden, beginning with a follow up look at the New Garden, where I wrote, “July began hot and humid so during the first week gardening wasn’t easy. Every job was tiring, but there is lots to look at. Let us visit “The New Garden” to see how it has developed over the last 4 weeks or so.”

“Three different Agastache, including A. ‘Kudos Yellow’ and A. ‘Kudos Gold’ and an unknown blue flowered cultivar.”

“Step across the grass from “The New Border” and we come to one of our two “Doughnuts”. This one comes in two halves, an airy meadow of Dianthus and Briza backs onto our sun-loving ferns and euphorbias.”

“Dianthus carthusianorum”                  “Briza and Dianthus”

Festuca glauca flower buds.”

“Dianthus cruentus”                    “Rosa Prince’s Trust and R. Enchantress”

Foxgloves feature on the next page and opposite we look at the “Layby Border”.

“This year is definitely the year of the foxglove, and throughout June and into the middle of July Digitalis rule the border roosts.”

“Digitalis fontanesii”                                                            “Digitalis grandiflora”

“Digitalis lutea”

 

Across the drive we can have a look at how the “Layby Garden” is coming on.”

 

The next double page spread deals with some of our Achilleas, of which we grow many as we love them as much as the wildlife does, especially bees, butterflies and hoverflies.

I wrote, “Last year we decided to develop a section of our Beth Chatto Border, which is our gravel garden planted with grasses and herbaceous perennials which never need watering. We added a river of Achilleas.”

 

On the next page I concentrate on pink and white flowered Achilleas where I wrote, Variations on a theme, “Pink to White”, caused by so many self-seeded natural crosses made by bees and their colleagues. Thank you bees!”

Turning over to the next double page spread, We look at the perennials in the Shrub Border and then some of our jobs for July.

“Staying in the front garden it is noticeable how the perennials towards the front of the Shrub Border are giving extra colour.”

 

“July is a busy month, but this year it is extra busy as winds and frequent heavy showers mean lots of tying up.” 

“Ready to topiarise the box clouds”

“Low level and high level pruning.”

 “Deadheading climbing and rambling roses.”

Eryngiums or sea hollies feature next.

I wrote, “Mid-summer is when our Sea Hollies, Eryngiums, are at their best, their blue and silver stems, bracts and flowers take on their metallic tints.”

 

The first set of photos are of E.bourgattii ‘Picos Blue’

The next four photos are of E. Jade Frost.

The four photos below are of E. ‘Neptune’s Gold’ with its bright green foliage and metallic blue flower heads.

“Eryngiums add so much to the garden in virtually every month. Amazingly textured, coloured and sometimes variegated foliage plus metallic flowers and bracts.” 

These are exciting plants to finish off my entries into my Garden Journal 2019 for the month of July.

Categories
autumn colours climbing plants colours flowering bulbs garden design garden photography garden wildlife gardening gardens half-hardy perennials hardy perennials irises light light quality log piles logs natural pest control ornamental trees and shrubs roses Shrewsbury Shropshire shrubs South Shropshire spring bulbs succulents trees

My Garden Journal 2017 – November

The penultimate visit to my garden journal for 2017 is here – hope you enjoy it. I began by referring back to a development we started in the garden back in September which we finished off in November. We are very pleased with how it has turned out and look forward to seeing the new plants flourish.

“October continued with damaging winds and days with brown skies and orange sun as we received the effects f Hurricane Ophelia, downgraded to Storm Ophelia as it hit our shores. The last few weeks of October and the early days of November, saw us busy continuing develop our “Oil Tank Garden”.

 

“We screened the ugly tank with panels of beautiful diamond latticed panels and soon got on with the planting. Always the exciting bit!”

Over the page I continue to describe our development of this border and wrote “Behind the tank we have planted two trees, the Heptacodium mentioned in September and a stunning Sorbus called Joseph Rock with yellow berries in stark contrast to its deepest red autumn foliage.

 

“Hundreds of miniature daffodils were planted with crocus, Anemone blanda and other small bulbs.”

“A new solitary bee home was sited in the new garden. We gave it a miniature green roof!”

“We soon had a selection of climbers planted to clothe the trellis panels, Roses, Clematis, Honeysuckle and a Coronilla”.

   

“Behind the tank we planted for wildlife and hedgehogs in particular. We placed a nestbox for hedgehogs among dense planting of ferns and Euphorbias. We added stone piles, leaf piles and log piles.”

Turning over another page I featured some words by Dan Pearson and looked at some autumn flowering plants.

“Taking a look at Dan Pearson’s writings about Autumn in his “Natural Selections” book he wrote,

I want to invite the seasons into the garden, vividly and in layers. I use asters, autumn crocus and gentians at ground level, and shrubs that perform for this season to take the eye up and away, to straighten the back. I weave berrying trees and shrubs into the garden as much for their jewel-like fruit as for the birds which flock down to gorge when the fruit is ready for feasting upon.”

We aim to do exactly the same in our Avocet patch. Below are a few of our Asters which feature in our “Shrub Border”,  a border that brings Autumn in.”

  

“Another herbaceous perennial that features strongly in our November garden are the Salvias. We leave a few to over-winter in the garden but most will be brought into the cool greenhouse.”

       

Turning over again I take a look at succulents, plants rarely mentioned in the context of the autumn garden.

“When considering Autumn colour, succulents are rarely mentioned, but just check out the photos below of some of our succulents taken in November

   

Below are my paintings/drawings of two multi-coloured succulent stems which I created with water soluble pencil crayons.

“Taking succulent cuttings.”

 

“Final pots of succulents waiting to go into their winter home.”

 

The final page of my November entries in the Garden Journal celebrates my “Plant of the Month”, which is one of only two Irises native to the UK, Iris foetidissima.

  

The next visit to look at my Garden Journal in 2017 will be the last one for the year, December.

Categories
garden buildings garden design garden photography gardening gardens hardy perennials National Garden Scheme NGS ornamental trees and shrubs outdoor sculpture Shropshire town gardens Yellow Book Gardens

Westgate Villa, a Japanese garden in Shropshire

Jude and I have a soft spot for gardens with a Japanese feel to them, and we are lucky to have an excellent example in our home county of Shropshire and just a short drive away. We had heard of the garden at Westgate in Bridgnorth and always intended to pay a visit but circumstances had not allowed us to. But eventually we managed to make their National Garden Scheme open day in April.

It was well worth the wait! We loved it, the planting, the structure and its special atmosphere. The front garden however was of a very different feel altogether being a formal garden designed to match the age and style of the house. Foliage was the star there!

On the flight of steps nearby foliage again featured but this time succulents were the stars.

   

Moving around the house looking in small borders and corners we found interesting plants and objects that gave clues to the beauty of the Japanese section we were making our way towards. This area prepared us so well for the treat that lay ahead of us.

      

We stepped through an archway into a different world with an atmosphere of such peace that it made us feel so calm. The Japanese garden at Westgate was one of the best examples we have ever seen in an English garden. Come with us on a journey through such a special place. To view the gallery click on the first photo and navigate using the arrows.