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colours garden design garden photography gardening hardy perennials ornamental trees and shrubs Yorkshire

Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens – a very special place.

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While in Yorkshire last summer we visited a small and very special garden, full of ideas to be taken home. Ideas on planting and design. This is a garden of many “rooms” each with its own character and atmosphere. Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens, just 6 miles south of the city of York, has been described by Alys Fowler as “One of the country’s finest cottage gardens.”

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It is a garden where the plantsmanship and passion of the owner is felt and can be touched. She works closely with nature and understands how caring for a garden and caring for wildlife should go hand-in-hand.

Look carefully at the picture below and see if you can spot a delicate iris.

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We were particularly taken with the meadows as they included some interesting additions beyond native species. At the time of our visit the last few flowers were left on the top of the flower stalks of Camassias in whites, creams and blues. We were interested to see that Rosa rugosa were planted in the meadows. When we spoke to the gardener she informed us that they were simply strimmed down along with the grasses and herbaceous materials and they re-grew each spring, flowering successfully every year.

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Of all the many garden rooms we discovered we particularly liked the yellow/golden garden full of bright foliage and yellow flowers. The overall feel was of being inside a chartreuse world glowing and warm.

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Other areas were more formal with cut box edging, neat lawns and rills. There was a veritable feast of seats of all descriptions on which to rest and absorb all the different atmospheres in these rooms. In complete contrast to the formal gardens were the informal pond and wildlife meadows.

As usual a particular favourite sitting place was the tea shop! Situated in a secluded courtyard with gentle sculptures and calming borders the teashop lived in a beautiful old outbuilding. To illustrate what a friendly place Stillingfleet Lodge is we only have to go into the teashop. Here there is all you need to make tea or coffee and plates of fresh, home baked cakes and biscuits and an honesty box with a price list alongside. True faith in the honest character of the visiting gardeners. Work by local crafts people was also beautifully displayed here.

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colours garden design garden photography gardening gardens open to the public hardy perennials meadows outdoor sculpture photography

Breezy Knees

Enough of this cold, wet, miserable weather! Let’s transport ourselves back to warmer times and brighter days in the wonderful Vale of York.

Breezy Knees. What a great name for a nursery! We came across it in an article written by Roy Lancaster for the RHS members’ magazine, “The Garden” and he highly recommended it. So when travelling around the Vale of York and finding ourselves close to it we just had to go and have a peruse. It also has a garden to wander around attached to it, which highlighted many of the unusual herbaceous perennials it sold.

How about this for a bench?

The nursery is less than ten years old and created on open farmland, very open hence its quirky name. We arrived at the end of a period of rain and the day before had seen the nursery’s show gardens closed as much of it was flooded. From the nursery to the gardens entails a ten minute walk between fields and we soon discovered the relevance of its name.

The garden is a collection of small garden rooms displaying different types of garden styles and conditions, from an annual meadow to a rose garden and from raised beds to double borders. The most unusual is the “Rogues Gallery” where garden thugs live together and warn us of their behaviour.

We began our exploration of Breezy Knees with a wander along an enticing path cut through the Spring Meadow, and then moved on through the show gardens discovering some beautiful plants along the way.

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If you are up that way, make sure you drop in to Breezy Knees. It will be worth it.

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A sense of humour always adds an extra element to any garden. Breezy Knees certainly had plenty to offer. As well as their long bench we were delighted to come across this pair of wonder wellies! Jude the Undergardener looks as if she is checking to see if they are her size!

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