Saturday, 26 July 2014

Beth Chatto's garden


In June I went to visit Beth Chatto's garden near Colchester in Essex. The garden is planted on the principle of the right plant for the right situation and the planting is so clever that after looking at the photos I took again, I see new things I didn't even notice on my visit. It was without doubt one of my top favourite garden and it is so beautifully kept.

The story behind the garden is also very inetersting and I would recommend a look at the website Beth Chatto still lives in the house in the garden.

Part of the garden is an ols gravel carpark. Plants that are suited those condition was planted here and it works so well.
Above is some of the carpark planting; the Verbena venosa in the foreground and the Verbena bonariensis that go though the planting add so much air and together with the Allium they add soft, cool purple colours that compliment the Eryngium.
The spikey Eryngium are complimented by the large variegated Cordyline australis and then at the same time, the Genista aetnensis in the background and the Stipa tenuissima softens the whole thing. Amazing!

Above is more of the gravel garden; Verbena bonarienses, poppies and Verbascum adds light and air.
More Alliums and poppies, I love the creeping Thyme that softens the borders.
Like a jewel, this is Eryngium giganteum 'Mrs. Wilmott's Ghost'. The poppies makes it look so delicate.
A rude Verbascum!

Above is Genista Aetnensis; the Mount Etna Broom. It is a very soft looking tree.

More Eryngium in front of Stipa tenuissima; extreme contrast that work so well.
Now this combination nearly took my breath away; so simple yet so ingenious. Gigantic Gunnera and masses of Alchemilla mollis in front of it. I love both of these plants for their own reasons; Gunnera is just a magnificent structural plant with it's oversized leaves and Alchemilla mollis has several things going for it; the leaves are a lovely green, a nice shape and after rain or watering they hold raindrops on the edges of the leaves and make them look like little jewels.
Together, the shape of the leaves are repeated, they look similar in shape but one is huge and the other small, and to break it up is the sprays of frothy flowers from the Alchemilla.

The gardens have some impressive trees too, the two huge cedars in the back were especially beautiful I thought.
The blue of the Salvia above is outstanding. It is Salvia x sylvestris 'Blauhugel'.
A field full of Phlomis.
Salvia and Erymgium makes a good combination.
The garden has a woodland part. Here are hostas and ferns in many shapes and colours.
The woodland even has a Heracleum mantegazzianum (Giant hogweed), despite being a health hazard (this one was too far from the path to be of any danger) it is a magnificent looking plant and it was nice seeing it in a natural habitat doing what nature intended it to do.
Lots of exciting coral sedums.
Gunnera, red hot Astilbe and lovely orange Primula candelabra.
Meeting this tree was one of the highlights for me.  This is a Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood) it is a deciduous conifer which means that in autumn its needles will turn fiery oranges and red and then it will drop them. Like a Larix but this is no Larix.
This tree, was up until the 1960s only known as a 120 million year old fossil. The a scientist in China discovered it. It is a living dinosaur. And there's one alive and well in Essex.
The Metasequoia's needles are short and the new growth is soft. The bark gets more and more interesting with age.
Metasequoia and Gunnera.
This is Beth Chatto's own collection of Sempervivum. These are not for sale but there is a good plant sale with lots of unusual plants.


Monday, 21 July 2014

The Gardens of the Rose

This week I went to visit The Royal National Rose Society's Garden of the Rose near St. Albans, Hertfordshire. The amount of varieties there is overwhelming and although it is impossible to see all the roses at their best, there was a good display.

It was one of the hottest days of the year and both me, my camera and the roses were struggling with the heat but it was worth the effort; with a light breeze going through the gardens and skylarks above, it seemed to be the most perfect day to be there. I would highly recommend it a visit, but only if you're genuinly interesyed in roses; there was traditional companions such as Alchemilla mollis, Heuchera and Clematis but the stars were the roses.


Above is floribunda rose 'Anisley Dickson'.  It is a lovely soft red/orange with yellow stamens, it is nice and open and has a slight fragrance.

A rose with a strong fragrance is 'Cadfael' (below) which is an English Old rose, it also has excellent repeat flowering. I don't know how useful it is for insects and wildlife as it has tightly packed soft pink blooms.

This climber above is 'Dublin Bay', it is a beautiful blood red and repeat flowers but the scent is minimal.

This little beauty really caught my eye, a prolific floribunda with glowing yellow centres and petals in pink, red and orange hues. It is known in America as 'Cinco de Mayo' but here it is known as 'Celebration Time'. It has little scent but truly is a feast for the eyes.
This photo does not do this rose justice. (My camera had problems with the high light levels).
This rose is absolutely gorgeous; 'County of Yorkshire' is a small floribunda rose with a spreading and compact habit and lots of flowers that unlike some white roses don't look 'tatty' round the edges as the flower matures. To me, this is close to my idea of a perfect looking rose.
It is an ideal ground cover rose or for use as a weeping standard. The scent isn't very strong but it is good for pollinators. 

'Crazy for You' is this bi-coloured spectacular looking bloom. But alas no scent.

A relatively new rose is 'Irish Eyes'; so profuse and a riot of colour! But what is has in colour it lacks in scent.

The white rose above is 'Summer Memories'; apparently it has really good disease resistance but it also has a lovely heady scent. I adore this one, it has a wild feel about it despite the deliciously opulent blooms.

These roses are of the variety 'Flower Power'. They seem to have lost both their flowers and their powers.
The garden also have two magnificent Cedrus atlantica glauca (Atlantic blue cedar).

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Green fingers

I am a Capel Manor trained and life-long gardener based in Barnet in Hertfordshire who can help with garden tasks should you need me to. I pride myself in being reliable and thorough. Please send me an email and we'll have a chat about how I can help. I charge an hourly rate and I don't charge to come out to have a look and give a quote.