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Archive for the ‘Gardens to visit’ Category

topiary-vie-win-to-field Some gardens just make your heart sing. Bryan’s Ground is one of those amazing places. It’s a heady mixture of formal, intimate rooms (about three acres of these),inula-and-giant-fennel-at-bryans-ground-upright

and planting chaos, where self-seeders are left to do their own thing (Fennel, teasels and Inula (?) above),

veronicastrum-and-clematis-at-bryans-ground-upright

blousey perennials wilfully flop into pathways

bedsprings-as-trellis-at-bryans-ground

and climbers scramble up old bedsteads.

irises-at-bryans-ground

I first read about Bryan’s Ground on The Patient Gardeners blog, some years ago, and it wasn’t until last July that I finally managed to find my way over to see the gardens which are on the Welsh border about 20 miles from Hay-on-Wye.

Originally I’d been wowed by an image of a whole room full of Irises (have a look at Michelle’s pics of these) and planned to visit in May, but by the time I’d coordinated my plans with Veronica from Through the Garden Gate, summer was upon us and the irises (above) were well and truly over. We didn’t mind at all.

I’m sure whenever you visit, there’ll be gorgeous planting to see,

rabbit-pillarsand sculpture and follies aplenty to enjoy.

3-rabbits-at-bryans-ground

gargoyles-at-bryans-ground

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This truly inspiring garden has been created by David Wheeler and Simon Dorrell (who also are the writers of the quarterly Hortus magazine) since 1993.

plant-bench-at-bryans-groundAt every turn there are playful vistas and great planting ideas,

potager-2and I know it’s a garden that I’ll want to return to time and time again. Veronica felt the same.

pond-area-at-bryans-groundOnce you’ve wound your way all the different rooms, paths then lead you into the arboretum and another five acres with a large pond,

clearing-at-bryans-groundstylish mowing, and many specimen trees.

two-chairs-in-the-arboretum-at-bryans-groundIt’s a lovely calm spot.

When you’ve finished your wanderings, there’s also delicious cakes to tempt you and a small nursery area. Plan your visit well, as Bryan’s Ground is only open Sunday and Monday afternoons, this year from mid April until the end of July. Group visits can also be arranged by appointment. Most definitely worth making the trip.

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Great Dixter 4 I often feel that I’m a tad gushing when I write about Great Dixter, but I just can’t help myself. If you’re ever feeling a bit jaded about gardening (or despair about Brexit), then a day spent soaking up the gorgeous borders will lift your spirits and help you to think anew about the planting in your own garden.

Lolloping plumes of Cortadeira richardii On this visit, the towering but delicately airy Thalictrum ‘Elin’ was one of the plants that really moved me (rubbing shoulders here with nodding plumes of Ampelodesmos mauritanica and Cortaderia richardii, giant fennels and teasels). (Should you be heading towards Normandy for your holidays, then Jardin Plume also has some very inspiring planting with Thalictrums).

Rachael Dodd is one of Fergus Garrett’s knowledgeable and enthusiastic team at Great Dixter, and illustrated on part of our garden tour how Thalictrum are carefully staked to (seemingly invisibly) support the plant in this windier part of the garden. Good to know how much careful planning and work is carried out to achieve such glorious planting schemes.

It also struck me that there are no half measures at Great Dixter. This is high-octane gardening (with lovely soft, dreamy edges), and the transformation of different areas from season to season is always experimental and innovative, packed with ever-changing colours and textures, and this is what makes the gardens so enticing and inspiring.

Long border with house as backdrop at Great Dixter June 2016The ‘all singing all dancing’ long border was glowing, as ever, with wonderful plant combinations,

Long border at Great Dixter June 2016looking lush from any angle. I think the pink flowers at the bottom of the frame are Viscaria oculata and to their left, parsnip flowers have been given the ‘Chelsea chop’ to avoid the need for staking. The purple above is Salvia nemerosa.

Great Dixter 2

Poppies were at the height of their flowering in many areas,

Papaver glaucum 2dotting their jewel like qualities throughout different borders. This variety (above) is Papaver glaucum (seeds available from Chiltern Seeds). A beautiful annual poppy, with further buds on side shoots that will supply continuous flowering for around 5 weeks.

Wildflower meadows at Great Dixter 2

And then the gardens flow into wildflower meadows,

Wildflower meadows surrounding the house Great Dixter 2

tying in the estate to the countryside,

Wildflower meadows at Great Dixter with orchids and Hay rattle and knapweed

with orchids and hay rattle and many other natives that will encourage and protect wildlife diversity.

Woodpile at Great Dixter

Further additions, such as these Andy Goldsworthy-esque woodpiles are being constructed around the estate to further increase wildlife habitats to invite in other insects and fauna.

Clerodendron bungeiAnd the nursery was as intriguing as ever, packed full of desirable plants so you can go home (as I always do) with another little bit of Great Dixter for your own garden. (Above are Clerodendron bungei cuttings growing for future sales).

Parsnip flower at Great DixterAt the end of the day, I dragged myself away from the voluptuous planting, but I can’t wait for my next visit to see how the gardens progress throughout the year.

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Inner Temple Garden
This weekend heralded the beginning of the marvellous Chelsea Fringe , where you can attend many a quirky horticultural happening, mostly in London, (although lots also happening around the UK, especially Bristol and Bath and further abroad) until June 12th-mostly for free.

Last Sunday, the Inner Temple Gardens were holding posy making workshops as part of the Fringe. Rarely being open to the public at weekends, this was a great opportunity to visit the gardens and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

This year, head hardener, Andrea Brunsendorf made the decision not to clothe the beds with tulips, but instead, concentrated on foxgloves and sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis). On entering the garden you couldn’t helped being wowed by this heavenly display. I also espied (top left) the rather tricky to grow Geranium maderense which is just about hardy in London and takes two to three years to flower. Mine never survived further than the first year of flowering-do they ever?

Inner Temple GArdensNot having the space to grow their own, five hundred ‘Camelot Lavender’ foxgloves were commercially grown for the gardens and this abundance of repeat planting created majestic swaying rhythms throughout the borders.

Hazel supports 2Gorgeously hand crafted hazel supports were in evidence for later flowering perennials, such as asters, and this only added to the sense of a thoroughly well-planned (and beautifully executed) garden.Peonies in potsHanging out in a Mulberry tree near the posy making were these delightful peony posies in jars. As I said, well thought out and executed to perfection.

If you can get to visit during the week, the Inner Temple gardens never disappoint and are open to the public between 12.30pm and 3pm. (Nearest tube Blackfriars.)

And I’m hoping to get to see loads more Chelsea Fringe events over the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow evening (Thursday 26th May) there’s the Guerilla Gardeners’ Walking Tour in Lambeth, Friday morning (27th May and other dates) you can get a sneaky look into one of Stefano Marinaz’s latest designs in a private garden in South Kensington.

The Olden Community Garden in North London (just opposite the Emirates Stadium) always has a great event an offer, and on Sunday 5th June they’ll be throwing a Music Party between 2pm and 7pm. You can expect an eclectic mix of sounds including English, Irish and American Folk, Tuodr Polyphony (sounds interesting), French Jazz and more, all set within the walls of this urban oasis.(Nearset tubes are Highbury and Islington and Holloway Road.)

Anmnarose's fernery in the toilet 3

Whenever I’ve been to a Chelsea Fringe event in the past, I’ve (nearly) always come away inspired. I loved Deb Nagan’s Garden of Disorientation back in 2012 and Anna Rose Hughes’ planted up toilet in Peckham (above) in 2013, so I’m off to peruse the website for more possible treasures.

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