Not every Manor house garden is a picture of perfection. In fact, most of the Manor House gardens we don’t get to see are being looked after as best people can but there are those gardens where a tipping point has been reached and they are slowly being lost. You have to admire these owners for their previous efforts and more importantly opening up their garden which we recently visited. This is my postcard from a fading Manor house garden.
The arrival of the puppy means visits are fewer this year, but the Green & Gorgeous Flower Farm Open Day was one that we didn’t want to miss (so the puppy had a lazy Sunday afternoon napping). Behind the scenes, where the magic happens, this is ultimately a business but my oh my, so many lovely flowers to see and share so, here is my postcard from the Green & Gorgeous Flower Farm Open Day.
Whilst there are many “for the nation houses and gardens” open to us folk, there are also a multitude of private homes and gardens also available to visit. Whilst they may not be open every moment of the year they are nonetheless worth hunting out because they often are a personal endeavour and for that reason always very special. Kingston Bagpuize House, near Abingdon, is just such a place and to be honest though the gardens are very modest to say the least they are well done and the walks in the area around just enough for a lovely afternoon. Here is my postcard from the Kingston Bagpuize House.
Hare Hill in Cheshire is a wonderfully tranquil wooded garden, surrounded by historic parkland and that has a delightful walled garden at its heart. Unlike many National Trust properties, you can only visit the garden and I think that makes it all the better. Should you ever be passing by I thoroughly recommend a visit – especially during the summer when the white perennial borders are in full swing. Here is my postcard from the Hare Hill.
Snowdrops are one of the first signs that winter is starting to draw to a close and spring is around the corner and one of the best places to see snowdrops at their best is Welford Park near Newbury. It is a lovely place to wander around at this time of the year and the snowdrop woods are fabulous with the winter aconites also putting on a great show. If you miss it this year, you must make a note in your diary for next because you won’t be disappointed. Here is my postcard from the Snowdrop Woods of Welford Park.
Every garden should be re-visited to see how it changes but the gardens at Broughton Grange in North Oxfordshire should be visited again and again and again. It has that feeling that no matter whenever you turn up, you just know there is going to be something really quite different to see and that is what makes it special. It was our first visit but it definitely won’t be our last… this is my postcard from Broughton Grange…
Some things you rightly have to wait for and every 3 years a wonderful group of people open up their gardens in East Hagbourne as part of the National Garden Scheme Open Gardens and today was that day! So we enjoyed a lovely few hours wandering around their gardens big and small and all offered a very warm welcome and so here is my postcard from East Hagbourne’s National Garden Scheme Open Gardens day.
Wytham Woods is an ancient semi-natural woodland, which has been owned and maintained by the University of Oxford since 1942 and we spent a lovely few hours wandering around the woods. You will need to apply for the free permit should you want to visit but a visit is well worth it as there are plenty of long trails through the woods to enjoy. You can also do your bit to help document how the woods are changing by taking photos at designated “Chronolog” points.
With a week off we decided to visit West Dean Gardens near Chichester in West Sussex and it was well worth the trek the Sat Nav took us on. The walled garden with its glass houses and multitude of fruit trees is magnificent as is the 100m Edwardian pergola which is host to many varieties of magnolia, clematis, rose and honeysuckle.
Rousham is… just a wonderful place to be – it is food for the soul. If you haven’t been go, if you haven’t been for a while go. This is a place that always gives you the space to decide which of the many inviting paths to take and rewards you whichever way you go. It is one of my favourites, it never disappoints and always delights.
Gardening is a passion and being responsible for a garden however big or small shouldn’t be anything less than a pleasure. I was lucky enough to be able to visit the garden at St. Timothee today and apart from the wonderful garden, it was the passion of the owner and the pleasure it clearly gave them that shone through above all – that is what really makes garden a great garden. Here is my post card from St. Timothee.
Looking out of the window, the world doesn’t seem very inviting at this time of year but get your boots on, wrap up warm, head out and there are many winter delights to be found at almost every turn. We had a lovely walk around Harcourt Arboretum a few days ago and enjoyed the flowering witch hazels, the wonderful bark that shines in the winter gloom and signs all around that far from sleeping, the plants were busy doing their thing.
A friend asked me whether I was putting my feet up now the wet weather had arrived. I had to have a little laugh to myself. No, I am not, in fact I am probably busier now than during the summer when gardens are largely left to their own devices. Now is a great time for lots pruning and dividing as well as all those maintenance jobs and projects that you keep adding to your diary. So I thought it might be good to keep a little pictorial diary of the past week or so and just a few of the things I have been up to.
I suspect every gardener dreads this question… so “What is your favourite garden?” Why because it is so difficult to pick from so many wonderful memories and places. However when put on the spot, for me there are two answers – a cheat I know. First up is the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco and I hope you enjoy the photos we took. The second, well that is the last garden I visited (whether for work or for pleasure) because each garden, each plot of land always has something unique and special to offer and so that is my answer (but the Tea Garden is a really close second!).
With a few days off, one of the things we were determined to do was finally go to RHS Wisley and it did not disappoint at all. Like Kew, you really can’t do it justice in one visit – fortunately I am an RHS Member and we live relatively close so many return visits are planned. In the mean time, here is my very first postcard from RHS Wisley just a few highlights from the visit.
Front gardens come in all shapes and sizes from those with huge vistas and long sweeping driveways to those with nothing more (and nothing less) than a window box. As the centre of Oxford doesn’t really have enough space for those long sweeping driveways, for many the window box is their floral welcome mat. Here is my postcard from the window boxes of Oxford.
There are no shortage of gardens to visit and if nothing else, even in the height of summer, they provide inspiration and ideas for next year as well chance to admire the hard work of others. And so on a visit to the parents we went to Abbeywood Gardens near Delamere (Cheshire, North-West England for those from other parts). Now if you visit the Abbeywood Website you may come away thinking this is just some wedding venue but don’t be fooled, these gardens are wonderful and bold with huge drifts of grasses, perennials and evergreens and that is before you get to the woodlands. It really is well worth a visit.