Monday, 17 October 2016

West Dean Gardens

West Dean Gardens are fabulous, they have been restored over the last 30 years by Gardens Manager Jim Buckland and Gardens Supervisor Sarah Wain. There are lovely walled gardens to wander around:

 with lots of trained fruit trees, the one below is a sort of goblet shape
 and this one more pointed
 and the most amazing displays of flowers, maybe Gazanias below
 and more

 and there are 13 working Victorian glasshouses which are kept in the most fabulous condition inside, although there is an appeal to restore them since the fabric needs attention.
 In one of the greenhouses, I found this fabulous Short Luffa seen above
This one below had a Ravilious feel to it with the regimentation of the tomatoes:
 There were beautiful plants in the tropical greenhouse:

 And this one below gives an idea of the numbers of palnts in the greenhouses

 Here's a Streptocarpus and fern greenhouse
 Here's a view of the walled garden from one end with the small building at the end:
The impressive 100 metre long pergola seen below was designed by Harold Peto and needed extensive restoration following the 1987 storm. It is host to many varieties of magnolia, clematis, rose and honeysuckle.

 The Gazebo at the west end of the pergola features a mosaic floor of knapped flints interspersed with horses' molars.
 View from the Gazebo
 A view of the pergola from a distance
 and last but not least, one of the beautiful perennial beds replete with Echinacea, Persicaria and grasses
There's also a great restaurant, and they hold lots of events during the year.

Hinton Ampner

Having spent hours choosing plants at Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants, there was little time to visit Hinton Ampner, but I'm glad we did. The gardens were fabulous with the most amazing displays of Dahlias
here you can see them en masse
 and you can get an idea of the borders of Dahlias with the beautifully manicured topiary
here's the statue you can almost see in the photo above
and a glorious Agave in a pot on the terrace
there was an amazing Datura like plant in a pot near the toilets with exquisite flowers
 a lovely pond
and plant of the week was the Chinese Mint Shrub
The shop has a kestrel flying around the skylight and I bought a Salvia involucrata. It's well worth a longer visit, but I'm glad we stopped off on the way to Emsworth.

Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants

Visiting Hardy's nursery was something I'd been wanting to do for a while, having seen Rosy Hardy at plant fairs and read her Tweets. The nursery is situated at Freefolk near Whitchurch, on the way to the south coast from here, so fitted in nicely with a trip to Emsworth.
Since visiting I've looked up the website and found they stock over 1200 plant varieties including many rare and exciting species. Their plants are home grown herbaceous perennials grown outdoors in peat free compost, ready to plant out into the garden.
On arrival, we were greeted by two members of staff who were ready to help us find whatever we were looking for, but we did what I think lots of people do, browsed through all of the plants making a mental note of those which could not be left behind!
 We could have looked at the benches by the entrance and bought plants from there:

 but it was much more fun to look at every plant laid out in order of colour and some other criteria:
I ended up with 13 plants which are absolutely wonderful:
I've redesigned beds to accommodate them, and am very pleased with the results. I think my favourite is Scabiosa columbaria subsp ochroleuca 'Moon Dance', although Coreopsis verticillata Moonbeam comes a close second.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Iford Manor - the Peto Garden

Many gardens close at the end of September, so I decided to visit a few gardens before the end of the season, starting with a second visit to Highgrove House which was as interesting as the first visit. Although being late season rather than May, when I last visited, the Salvias and dahlias were looking at their best. Photography isn't allowed at Highgrove, so apart from saying how much I enjoyed the visit, I'll also say that I was interested to see the small flowered Streptocarpus growing outside in large pots, I'll certainly be doing that next year.
Having spent the morning at Highgrove, we travelled south to Iford Manor which is just south west of Bradford on Avon. The Grade 1 Italianate-style garden is famous for its tranquil beauty and was the home of architect and designer Harold Peto from 1899-1933. The garden is set on a hillside behind the impressive house, he has designed walkways and placed statues around the garden making it a wonderful place to visit.
 On arrival, the first thing to impress apart from the beauty of the house is the statue of Britannia on the bridge over the river
 Above Iford Manor, and below the steps beside the house taking the visitor up into the garden
 or alternatively, one can take the right turn and walk towards the Cloisters built by Peto in 1914, partly to house his remaining antique fragments and partly as a historical reference to the Cloisters which had once existed on the Conservatory lawn.
 Above a balcony overlooking the valley, and below the inside of the Cloisters

 from there we walked through the woods and came across the King Edward VII Column
 and here's one of the walkways
and here's the Great Terrace
 with lovely plantings, including the Verbena 'lollipop' seen below
 Here's a view of a statue through the colonnade

 Here's a view of the terrace looking towards the Garden Room

 Here are two views of the bronze wolf with Romulus and Remus made for Peto by Angelis of Naples from a mould taken from the original in the Capital museum in Rome.
 from there we went to the Japanese Garden
and then onto the Blue Pool
with this statue at one end
 and this Romanesque bas-relief of a woman riding a lion. The yew hedges are clipped into the shape of the crest of the Chigi family of Siena as a memorial to the present owner's grandmother who was a member of that family.
 Below a small courtyard with huge salvia Amistad just visible
 Looking up towards the Great terrace.
Iford Manor provides an excellent day out, it's open on Sunday afternoons during October.