Monday, 5 October 2015

A Southern Weekend: Episode two - Ulting Wick

I have been wanting to visit Ulting Wick for several years now.  I came to hear of it through Twitter and have spoken often and swapped seeds with its creator and owner Philippa Burrough for quite a while.  The garden opens often for the National Garden Scheme but I have struggled to find a date when I can go.  As I was going to be down that way I asked Philippa if I could have a cheeky private visit and she very kindly said yes.  It is here I should mention that my companion for the weekend is very interested in exotic gardening.  This becomes relevant soon.
So, where to start, well at the front door seems best.  The container planting makes a dramatic entrance.  I was impressed already.  I am not going to show you all the garden, but I am going to pick out some of the bits that I want to share with you.  I do this because I think it is a garden to be visited and I would not want to spoil it by showing too much.

Going around to the rear of the house there is the Twist', such a beautiful yet simple sculpture.
I loved this verbena/grass edged path.  It was soft and romantic and just perfect.
I paused to admire Brugmansias in pots.  Mine is much smaller but one day I am hoping it will look this good.  I also paused to look at the size of pot it was in.  Checking that I am not out of line with the size of my pot against the experience of another gardener is always a good thing. Yes it is a case of size matters.
The exotic planting in the farm yard is just wonderful.  The box edging is precise and the plants overspill with gay abandon.  I really wanted my friend to see this as I knew she has an exotic garden of her own. We both walked around this area several times, admiring the planting, asking Philippa the name of some of the plants and generally being more than a little bit in awe.
I was delighted to see my favourite dahlia, Waltzing Matilda, making an appearence.
There are lots of places to sit and enjoy the garden.
and a wise owl keeping watch over the Pink Garden.
I really liked the Pink Garden.  Again I am going to use the phrase soft and romantic, it is beautifully planted and the colours work together very well.
The devil is, as always, in the detail.  These Cobea scandens were just perfect on an archway between garden sections.
and I stood in front of these topiary twirls in the White garden and thought about how I needed more topiary in my garden.
We stood for a while and pondered the perennial meadow.  It was so peaceful, I had the strange urge to go and eat a cadbury's flake in the middle of it and hope that it didn't start gently raining.
The black barn walls make a perfect backdrop.
It is a great setting for a garden and this is a great garden.  It is also very much Philippa's gardens.  As we walked around and even as we sat and drank tea, Philippa was removing the odd dead-head here, pulling up a weed there.  To say that she is hands-on is an understatement; whilst Philippa does have a gardener, there is no doubt about how much work she personally puts into this garden.
I genuinely think this garden is something special.  I will definitely be returning to it as it is well worth the journey.  I predict a visit at tulip time......

A big thanks to Philippa for being so welcoming.

Episode One: A visit to Beth Chatto's

Episode three:  Lullingstone Castle

Episode four:  Great Dixter

Friday, 2 October 2015

The Malvern Autumn Show - of long carrots and rabbits

I have never visited the Malvern Autumn Show before.  The timing of it is quite tricky for me to get to but this year I decided it was time I went.  I went expecting to see large vegetables (more of later), but there was a lot more going on.
I loved seeing this carousel.  I grew up in Nottingham and so every year we used to go to Goose Fair and every year we used to have to go on the galloping horses.  I cannot remember now the name of the one we used to have to try and get on,, I know it was my Grandmother's favourite and it was important to find that specific horse each year.
There were various penned in machines where visitors leaned over the barriers and made appreciative noises.
This machine was eating trees at a great rate.  It had a sort of strange fascination about it as I swear the trees could be heard screaming, but it was hard to take your eyes off it.
Then I found myself where the animals were being displayed.  I had not expected this at all.  I did not go and look at ferrets, though I am sure they are fine animals.
But I did go and look at the rabbits, this one is very long.
and I got very smug at correctly identifying a Manx Loaghtan goat.  Ok, it is the only goat I can identify and it is rather distinctive, but still I was pleased with myself.
There were lots of displays going on, I am not sure what this was about, it appeared to be a cowgirl on a horse.  It was a very fine horse and she looked wonderful upon it.
There were also many vintage cars.  I had to take a picture of this mini cooper as I used to drive them back in the day.  I used to have a red one very similar to this one, mine was called Sharon.  I still miss mine.....
I then wandered into one of the show tents.  Now I have to say that I am not someone who completely understands the lure of showing large veg, but when you see it displayed like this it is rather wonderful.
These carrots were magnificent.
as were these leeks.
There were rows of dahlias,
and prize winning roses.  I know this one came third, but I liked it best.
There were also rows of cactii.
and I fell in love with a fuchsia.
Further on into the RHS space I found more giant veg.  These looked a bit wrinkly I thought, I was not sure if they were deflating.
But in a world where size matters, these pumpkins must matter.
I glanced quickly at the floral arrangements, this was in the Hallowe'en category.
and I admired the asters and other plant stalls on display.  I have to say here though, I was a little disappointed that the plant area was not larger.  I don't think I had appreciated that it is more of a county show than a plant/flower show (despite it making no claims to be a flower show).  I did however enjoy my afternoon greatly and found all the different aspects of the show fascinating.  It is a little churlish really to say I wanted more plants.  I always want more plants.  I came away with a few chrysanthemums and some happy thoughts.  It was a good day out.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

End of Month Review -September 2015

September has been and gone already and Autumn has arrived with a whoomp of falling leaves.  If I had written this a week ago I would not have said this, but suddenly it is here.   We now have misty mornings and thankfully some beautiful sunny days.  The equinox has been and gone and the days are getting shorter and shorter.  The darkness is upon us.

It has been a busy month for me and I have spent a lot of time (too long) away from the garden.  The garden, however, seems to have coped fairly well with this neglect.
I shall start with a rare view of the front hedge, which is now giving an equally rare view of the house.  It had got very tall (out of control) but after a few good attempts at it, it is now still a bit too tall but getting there.  I need to make sure I keep at it more often but birds do nest in it so for most of the summer it is left untouched.
In the Knot Garden the cypress trees are looking a bit scratty, but I am hoping they will settle in ok.
The Rhamnus that lives under the magnolia is growing suddenly really well.  It needs a bit of a prune now.
I am still pleased with this coreopsis and Petunia exserta combination.  It is now past its best and I need to collect some petunia seeds from it for next year.
The Brugmansia is about to flower.  This is very very exciting.
and I've been thrilled to bits with these fuchsia berries.
The pot collection on the table has got smaller as some have now moved into the greenhouse.  I am not expecting frost just yet, but it is soon now.
The pots in the Courtyard have made me very happy this year.  This area almost looks like I want it to.  Almost.
A look over the formal lawn in the late September sun.  On the day I am taking these photographs it has been a gloriously sunny warm day.  Not many of those days left now I fear.
The borders are looking Autumnal.  The pond border is dominated by this thuggish but beautiful perennial sunflower.  I shall be digging a lot of it out this winter, there will still be plenty next year.  The sedums are also flowering well now.  I divided them earlier this year and planted more along the Pond Border.  The more I grow them the more I like them.  They give good colour, the bees love them and they make fantastic winter structure.  What is not to love?
They just buzz this time of year.
The asters are now flowering well and making their presence known as I look along the Long Shoot.
The Four Sisters have grown really well this year.  The Edgeworthia has probably put on nearly six inches.  This gives me hope that it might get through a cold winter.  I shall be anxiously watching it as usual.
The Tree Lupin border is looking good in the late sun.  The banana plant is shining well and whilst the dahlias have been a bit disappointing this year, I am relatively happy with it.  However I have big plans now for this border.  More will be revealed later......
The Woodland Border is looking quite full and I have been fairly pleased with it this year.  It is coming together quite well now.
The Wild Garden has had its first cut of the season.  I only cut it a few times a year and it always looks rubbish after the first cut.  It will need another cut in a few days time, I have to cut it long and then slowly reduce the height of the lawnmower blades.  It never looks like neat lawn, but that is not my aim so it is not a problem.
The short grass allows the Sorbus cashmeiriana's white berries to gleam in the sun.
The Cercis candensis is still standing to attention and looking better for a bit of staking.
and the Davidia is very much alive.  It is only a foot tall after having a tree fall on it last year, but it is alive.
The Aldi acers are calling Autumn, they have begun to turn,
and this eucalyptus, bought several years ago as a twig, is starting to look like a tree.
In the borders the dill, which has been wonderful this year, is starting to set seed.
and the crocosmia are providing sparks of colour.
I have planted out the Rosa Margaret Merrill, bought from the National Holocaust Centre, into the Pond Border.  I have left the label on for now but it will be removed.  I want to make sure it it properly labelled as it is a rose about not forgetting.
The vegetable borders almost look like I know what I am doing.  I have broccled!  I am harvesting broccoli, which is still a slightly magical concept in my world.
The courgettes have been well mannered this year and the cabbages are coming on well.
There are also some flowers on some late planted broad beans.
The greenhouse is sheltering my tenders: the purchases from my Southern Weekend and my little (they are small and they are not many) agave/succulent collection.
I end as is traditional, and not so shameful as last month, on the pond.  The heaps of parrot weed need removing but the water is visible and after some welcome rain the pond is refilling well.  I am so glad that I have finally sorted it out.

Thanks to Helen as ever for hosting this meme.