A bunch of tulip bulbs wereplanted in the Autumn, lasagne style.
I am not able to refer to my notes today so I am unable to confirm the variety of tulip. I am liking how the colour tone sits with the terracotta. Certainly they are a range from Sarah Raven, the Graceland tulip collection perhaps.
Tip toe through the tulips time, enjoy. D.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Chelsea Flower Show 15, Chris Beardshaw, Emma Bridgewater, James Basson, L'Occitane Garden, Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities Garden, Perch Hill, Rosa Albertine, Ruth Willmott, sarah Raven, Stipa gigantea, Winslow in Bloom
I may not have been able to do as much gardening as I would like in recent months but I have been busy on the garden front in other ways. I have been to look at other gardens. I had planned to write about all of them in detail and yet the time got away from me, so here I am, finally putting finger tip to key (the modern day version of ‘pen-to-paper’).
In May there was the joy that is Chelsea Flower Show. This years visit was on a cool grey afternoon yet the planting was far from grey, as to be expected it was a visual feast with joyful colour combinations everywhere you looked, including some of the visitors. There were lots of the usual purples and blue tones but this year more of these seemed to be interrupted by a splash of orange. In the grey light of the day in question you can see how good this combination is, even with lower light levels.
White is also good at lifting itself and shining out against our pale grey skies. The trunk of the Birches stride out against the dark green backdrop of Yew and accents the rather dreamy looks of the softest pink Astrantias and Japanese anemones.
For pure escapism I was rather taken by the beauty of these olive trees; it brought to mind holidays in the Mediterranean. This might work in a sheltered urban garden but alas not in my exposed rural situation.
In June I visited Winslow in Bloom which comprised a number of gardens open in the Town. It is always interesting to see what has been done in other peoples gardens and they each had at least one plant or idea to take away. A couple of the gardens stood out as being quintessentially English and I thought you might to take a look.
Later in the month I took a couple of days in East Sussex to visit Perch Hill and Great Dixter.
Perch Hill is the garden and cookery school of Sarah Raven. For those who are not familiar with Sarah Raven, she has an inspirational mail order company for seeds and bulbs, and other garden items. She is the author of numerous books including my favourite ‘Wild Flowers’. She writes for The Telegraph and is a guest presenter on BBC Gardeners World. She is married to Adam Nicholson the grandson of Vita Sackville-West.
Liz and I headed off bright and early to arrive in good time for the Perch Hill Open Day. Once we found the garden, no easy task due to a dearth of signs, we parked up in a field and headed in. We were greeted with a wonderful sight:
So what can I tell you about the garden at Perch Hill? Well it is a feast for the eyes, of that there is no doubt. Each and every which way that you turn your eye is greeted to an abundance of plant life. The buildings themselves are a delightful collection of barns, outbuildings, Shepherds hut and a huge glasshouse located on a high point outside the village of Brightling. Each area is tastefully done, with an extravagant display of planting. Pots are filled to overflowing, combinations and varieties of the flowers are interesting and unusual.
Even the cafe set up in the glasshouse is of the best possible taste. Food is served on crockery by Emma Bridgewater, the shelves are crammed with a wonderful selection of scented leaf geraniums, succulents and vegetables. There are interesting pots, vases and candlesticks on display some of which are for sale. The large table we sat at was adorned with a collection of succulents, cacti, seed heads, stones and vessels.
An interesting screening between diners.
The visit was very enjoyable day and both Liz and I came away with some ideas for our own gardens. Our one disappointment was the lack of plants for sale. I had thought that as Sarah Raven runs a mail order company there would be stock available to buy. Wrong. Clearly my mistake, Perch Hill is the cutting garden and school for Sarah Raven as well as her family home. The mail order business is from another venue.
I would recommend a visit to one of the open days at Perch Hill, the website has all the details https://www.sarahraven.com/perch-hill-calendar
Just don’t go hoping to fill your car with plants.
Dressing the house for Christmas is a treat many of us look forward to and a small group of friends try to meet at the beginning of December to make a wreath for the front door. This a very satisfactory event: collection of greenery from the garden and local hedgerows, making of wreaths at someones kitchen table, a glass or cup of something, to wet ones whistle, accompanied by perhaps the first mince-pie of the season, Christmas tunes on the i-pod and most importantly the exchange of ideas and gossip. This year however I was unable to join my friends and instead had to do my wreath making all alone, Larry-like in the greenhouse. The wreaths shown here are made for the owner of a garden where I work
This year I decided to work on a silver theme and sprayed a bunch of stuff from the garden to include in the wreath. Holly leaves and berries came up a treat, the seed head skeletons of Alliums were taken out of the garage where they had hung since about June, and they too were given the silver treatment. This was an idea which I first saw Sarah Raven do and have copied it many times since.
I had also saved the seed heads of some Eryngium and had stored these in the workshop in a bucket. Now the workshop is not my domain, it is in fact a wonder that I am allowed in there at all as it houses all manner of machinery and tools and really is not the usual habitat for a gardener called Dorris. These prickly customers had been plonked in a bucket pending hanging to dry, the bucket was left on the floor minding its own business. In my absence Dave was in search of diesel or some such liquid, failed to spot the bucket tripped and to break his fall put out his hand into, yes you can guess, the bucket of thorny plants. Enraged the bucket was hurled out into the yard where I found it upon my return. Ouch that’s gotta hurt! Amazingly the seed heads remained in tact and these too got a touch of the silver spray.
Greenery I used to form the base of the ring was moss, topped with a layer of dark green yew leaves and this year for the first time I included sprigs of Rosemary from the garden. I really liked this as it gave a nice scent to the wreath and the very slight silver tone of the leaves worked with the sprayed decorative pieces. The other slightly smaller wreath this year was a variation on the above but with ivy entwined.
Finished off with some silver ribbon the wreaths were hung on the doors ready to welcome visitors over the Christmas period.
Since preparing this note, I have read a number of other articles on this subject and I found a note by Jekka’s Herb Farm interesting so I am sharing it with you here.