Yesterday I opened my garden for the first time for NGS. This was an ambitious plan on my part as the garden was a paddock when we arrived in 2014. There was nothing here thanks to the former residents, a herd of goats.
In 2018 I have battled with a wet, cold winter which left standing water on my low-lying, clay soil as recently as April, followed by the driest Summer for 57 years.
Then, on the week of opening my garden, Thames Water decided to shut the lane to my house and put diversions in place. The final insult however was that the forecast was for rain!
The (NGS yellow) sunflowers were a market purchase to greet visitors on arrival and decorate the tea room aka the garage.
Sweet peas and dahlias in various shades of pink which I grow at work for Ali. I brought some of these home to decorate the tea tables.
I am pleased to report the afternoon was a great success: the rain held off, lots of people visited and perhaps most fun of all was that our very own Cathy joined by the Golfer came along. Cathy as we know is very knowledgeable about plants and floated around the garden chatting to visitors, answering questions. Meanwhile the Golfer did a sterling job, stood at the top of the lane waving traffic down towards the parking.
It was a really good day and I thought my garden did alright by the visitors. We raised just under £1400. Thank you to everyone who came.
Thank you to all my lovely helpers
The charities supported by NGS provide crucial care.
In memory of friends lost:
And for those currently undergoing care
Lucy and little Daisy, Get well soon!
In a Vase on Monday. Thanks for reading. D.
The National Garden Scheme have announced that in 2017 they raised a record £3.1million for charity. Crikey. 💛
Beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK, Carer’s Trust, Queens Nursing Institution, Parkinson’s UK, Perennial and MS society.
As someone who is opening her garden for the first time I feel proud to be part of this extraordinarily brilliant fund raiser.
By heck £3.1million that’s a lot of people looking at gardens, quaffing coffee and cake.
I hope any local readers will join me on August 12th. Those of you who are further afield, do try to visit at least one garden in your local area.
Look for the Yellow Book. D.
This morning is of course Monday, that much you know and it is bitterly cold again which you may not know if you are elsewhere in the world ( hello Brother Dorris) but it is thankfully bright. As it is Monday I am going to join Cathy with a bowl rather than a vase full of hellebores.
Hellebores never last very long if cut and brought into the house, yet floating the heads on shallow water seems to suit them better. Certainly we can observe the beauty of each flower much more easily like this rather than having to tip their shy heads towards us.
I should love to be able to tell you which varieties are here but they are not mine. Hold up, not mine ? You see I visited a delightful garden on Saturday, open for the National Garden Scheme. NGS.
Old Church Cottage is in a very pretty and historic spot, brimming with snowdrops and crocus, cyclamen and hellebores. More about that another time. On the table, welcoming visitors, was this bowl of blooms. Can I pinch that? Well I just did.
Have a great day and stay warm. D.
On a Tuesday Cathy encourages us to share a view of our garden each week. I joined her when I could in 2017 and found it a really useful record of progress through the seasons. It is also interesting to see progress (aka having a nose) in other people’s gardens.
Late Summer sunshine
Spring has sprung
By recording the view you see the changes of the seasons, the difference the light makes and it helps to identify where changes are needed.
I shall be opening my garden for the National Garden Scheme in August 2018. The preparation will be significant and I already have a massive to do list. No panic allowed! So in 2018 I shall continue to share my Tuesday view, when I can. The view will be taken from the opposite end, looking back up the garden from the comfort of a bench inside the garden shelter. I like the frame it gives the view. It is from here that I am hoping visitors will want to stop a while to drink tea, eat cake and enjoy the view.
I hope you will join me and Cathy to track the year in your garden. Be sure to include a link to Cathy. Let me know what your plans are, it’s good to share. D.
Water in the garden when done well is spectacular.
When not quite right it is almost embarrassing, think horse relieving itself.
One beautiful garden which uses water successfully is Serge Hill. The family garden of designer Tom Stuart-Smith has corten steel tanks of water which serve to reflect the sky and surrounding planting. The tanks are in a sunken courtyard surrounded by the walls, on three sides, of their home.
From the house I imagine the family look out across the surface of the water to see a beautiful reflected scene.
I have no idea how the water works, it appears to be still yet is certainly not stagnant. It is not over flowing. The reflective qualities of the water sat within the confines of the earthy tones of the steel, surrounded by ruby coloured Astrantia and orange Euphorbia is a very pleasing combination.
The 52 week photo challenge is water this week. Take a look at Sandras arty blog to see some other water photographs https://daffodilwild.wordpress.com
Enjoy this glorious Summer weather, let’s hope it lasts a while.
Brunnera macrophylla, Crown Imperial fritillaria, grade II*, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, Lily flowered tulips, Lunaria annua var.albiflora, Monica Young potter, NGS, Peter Aldington, RIBA, spring bulbs, Turn End, white Honesty
Designed and built by architect Peter Aldington in the 1960s Turn End is one of three houses which hold an RIBA Award for Architecture (1970) and Grade II* listing; there are only twelve post-war houses so designated. I however went to visit the garden which was open under the NGS yellow book scheme on the last bank holiday Monday. Disappointingly the weather was typically bank-holiday wet but the garden was no less beautiful and perhaps enabled me to see it without the usual crowds.
The garden is a series of places, full sun, white washed walls, gravel with pans of houseleeks, armillary sphere and an arbour covered in climbers. Not looking so ‘hot’ in the wet weather I photgraphed the other areas of the garden most suited to the grey damp day.
Many areas of the garden looked wonderful thanks to widespread use of Spring bulbs, in particular tulips and Crown Imperial Fritillarias.
Bulbs with the less seen white form of Lunaria annua or ‘Honesty’
There is an impressive collection of pots in the garden and they demonstrate lots of ideas of how to place them successfully.
This particular beauty was made by the late Monica Young. It brings to mind the unfurling of a hosta perhaps? The simplicity of the backdrop, wall covered in dark green ivy, appropriately does not compete with the beauty of the pot.
I really enjoyed the garden and intend to revisit later this year to see it in a different season. I was so impressed by the use of bulbs and the thread of colour repeated around the garden. The pots, well they were each a thing of beauty and their leafy surroundings were enchanting.
I admire certain buildings and have a strong interest in architecture as well as just plants and gardens. When an interesting building also has a beautiful garden, what could be better? Turn End in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire falls into this category for me.
For any readers north of the border or for anyone planning a trip up to Edinburgh I suggest this may be worth a look. For everyone else I suggest a visit to Haddenham, check the Turn End website for opening details; the garden is open on Monday 2 May 2pm to 5.30pm under the National Garden Scheme.
Turn End Trust’s patron, architect Richard Murphy, has invited Peter Aldington to exhibit alongside him at the Royal Scottish Academy’s Annual Exhibition in Edinburgh. The RSA Annual Exhibition showcases work from RSA Academicians the length and breadth of Scotland. Now in its 190th year, exhibits contemporary painting, sculpture, film, printmaking, photography, installation and architecture. The convenor […]
As a Summer treat I spent the afternoon visiting the garden of the late Roald Dahl in Great Missenden, Bucks. Open for charity as part of the NGS, yellow book open garden scheme, this is a charming garden. It features a York stone terrrace, pleached lime walk leading to the late author’s Writing Hut, a walled vegetable garden with glasshouse and wildflower meadow with its own Gypsy caravan.
I have visited the garden before, some two or three years ago now, but knew it would be a nice treat for my garden chum Liz. The House is on an elevated position and the front garden rolls gently away from it. This is somehow more noticeable by the great fat yew bowling balls sat on the lawn, they look as if they are about to roll away in any minute.
The house looks freshly painted white, this may just have been the intense sunlight glaring on it, but the door is a fizz popping yellow and this colour scheme is picked up by the planting. A giant tree paeonia dominates at perhaps 2 meters, its large open paper-like white petals have egg yellow middles. I really didn’t like this egg like combination and yet when I looked back at the plant from a distance with the house in the background I could appreciate its suitability.
The stone terrace was softened by froths of Alchemilla mollis, a mass of yellow flowering Hemerocallis, Day lily, variety unknown, glowed in the sunshine. The climber on the pergola style frame around the table was Clematis Tangutica and this is a late flowering yellow form (of course) which has silky-hairy seedheads in Autumn.
I rarely choose to have yellow flowering plants in my garden as I often find the colour unpleasant, so much so, that I consider the yellow shrub Forsythia X Intermedia positively vulgar. I do however love the Alchemilla mollis and reckon there should be space in every garden for one so I really found it interesting to see the yellow combinations work so well together.
The lime walk, was as you would imagine, parallel lines of pleached limes, however on a rare hot Summer’s day (31c) it seemed especially inviting as it offered shade. Under-planted with Hostas and Alliums I could picture this earlier in the season looking really fresh. And I was envious of the perfect leaves, untouched by snails.
The Writing Hut is at the end of the Lime Walk and I understand that the hope is to one day have this moved into the museum in Town. This may leave the Lime Walk as the road to nowhere but I expect something else will replace it. The Wildflower meadow looked as pretty as a picture with children running through the mown paths.
The vegetable garden was an impressive walled area of raised beds but I was disappointed to see that these were made from railway sleepers and in the hot sun you could almost smell the tar seeping from the sides. Not a great idea for your veg. The glasshouse was a lean-to style and there on the wall was what could only be right for this garden but a peach! Hardly giant but non-the-less gorgeous.
The garden is delightful and beautifully maintained. I like the personal touches around and about. such as a piece of coral which looked at first glance like a cactus, but on closer inspection revealed itself:
Anyway I like to imagine the late Mr Dahl having a little chuckle at his amusing objets in his garden. Interviewed in 1988, two years before his demise, Mr Dahl said that he took inspiration from his garden to create the setting for Danny, the Champion of the World and described how he had only ever written his stories from his hut at the end of the Orchard. How lovely.