Posts Tagged ‘Potagers’

My favoured form of planting is always loose, with few sharp edges, but I can also be a sucker for the odd bit of formality too. On the way back from two weeks in the Loire (blog from Chaumont imminent), we stopped off in Saint Martin de Boscherville, just west of Rouen in Normandy, unaware  that there was a rather large and impressive Abbey in this quite small village. The beautifully designed and maintained garden was a joyous surprise and a serene spot to enjoy the soft, late rays of a warm summer afternoon. The simplicity and perfection of this sculptural square of hornbeams completely enchanted me. Oh, to have a spacious plot and have a go at recreating this organic marvel.

What first lured me to the gardens was the promise of a potager,

and I was delighted to find quite a number of beautifully planted flower and veg beds on entering the garden.

Even the scarecrows followed a  somewhat religious theme.

From the hornbeam terrace, views of the Abbey and further across the Seine valley were breathtaking and I would definitely like to spend a few more days on our next visit to explore more of the Normandy gardens on offer. This time round we stayed a night in the very comfortable Le Brecy (with a delicious breakfast of croissants and home-made jams, honey and yoghurt).  If you’re in the area, a couple of other gardens certainly worth a visit just east of Rouen are Les Jardins d’Angelique and Le Jardin Plume (to read the Jardin Plume Blog click here) .

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May 29th

I found the Chelsea Flower Show hugely enjoyable and inspiring this year. Stealing the show for me was Crug Farm Plants inside the Great Pavillion. It’s their first time showing at this RHS show and they’ve not only deservedly won a gold medal, but also the coveted President’s award.

Most of their amazing exotic looking plants are completely hardy in the many parts of the UK- just wish I had the space for this stunning large-leaved Schefflera macrophyllum. Plants at Crug Farm (based in Wales) have been nursery grown from seeds collected from all over the world by Sue and Bleddyn Wynn-Jones and this is why their collection of plants is unique (and so enticing!).

Enticing, as many of their unusual plants, such as this Syneilesus, can be planted in tricky spaces such as the dry shade of London back gardens. Can’t wait to visit their nursery and will make sure I go with plenty of space in the back of my van!

I’ve often found the smaller Artisan show gardens the most inspirational at Chelsea. Not only can I relate to their size, but their informal and year-round planting seems more achievable, certainly more sustainable and arguably more desirable then some of the bigger show gardens. Jihae Hwang’s ‘Emptying one’s mind ‘ (on the way to the toilet) garden was thoughtfully designed and planted and filled with quirky and imaginative recycled objects,

such as this upturned pot used as a bird bath,

and recycled furniture to create different planting levels and areas in this small garden.

This make-do-and-mend aesthetic was beautifully echoed in the creatively recycled fence surrounding Kati Crome and Maggie Hughes’s ‘A Postcard from Wales’,

and also in the bed springs of ‘A Child’s Garden in Wales’. Love it! (more…)

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