Devon Odyssey 6 – the story continues
I had a little rest from this series of posts as I needed a bit of variety in what I was writing about. Also it felt a bit too much of one theme and I needed to break it up a bit.
Anyway, where was I – oh that’s right, Devon.
Following the Gnomish adventure I went to RHS Rosemoor. I now only have one RHS garden tthat I have not visited, which is Hyde Hall in Essex, one day I will get there too.
I have been a member of the RHS for over a decade now. I enjoy the benefits of being a member when getting my Chelsea and Tatton Park Flower Show tickets and sometimes use my free entry to gardens as well. I have been to Wisley about three times and Harlow Carr once. Living in the Midlands means that all RHS gardens are a bit of a trek for me. (hint – find a Midlands venue please RHS) My relationship with the RHS gardens is however a little complicated.
Let me explain: these gardens are beautifully gardened, expertly gardened, they are incredibly well gardened. You rarely see a petal out of place, a weed daring to show its face or a slightly bent blade of grass. The grow things I would never dream of tackling and they make it look effortless. All this shows great skill and dedication and it is a wonderful thing. Except it makes me feel a bit inadequate. I look at all this perfection and I look at my own very imperfect garden and I know I could never achieve such precision. I also think that I do not want to, you see I find it all a little regulated, a little too precise, a bit too perfect. I am sure this says more about me than it does about them, but there it is, when I wander around one of these perfect spaces I feel like I should be walking in time with everyone else, taking copious notes in a properly indexed fashion and learning how to make all my plants stand to attention (which actually if I was better at staking this would be no bad thing).
So did I enjoy Rosemoor? Well yes, even after saying the above I really enjoyed my afternoon there. I saw some beautiful areas of the garden. I particularly loved this enclosed seating area created by topiarised Sorbus Thibetica ‘John Mitchell’. This tree has the most amazing leaves and was just simply stunning when used in this way. It was quite a large space that it occupied, but was definitely achievable in a lot of garden space (though it would depend if you wanted to do anything else in the garden of course).
I thought that Rosemoor had nicely divided and delineated space. The use of hedging created definite areas but did not feel enclosed or too artificial either. The pathways were generous and led you through well but also enticed you to look into different areas. I had to keep wandering back to go down a certain path that I had missed as I had wanted to complete the bit of garden I was looking at. The Spiral Garden is a particularly good example of use of hedge and path.
There was also a wonderful buttercup meadow area that almost took my breath away it was so beautiful. There was also a nice lake and a good woodland walk. It was quite a warm day when I was there (ah, she sighs wistfully, I remember warm days…..) and the woodland walk was some welcome shade.
I also have a complicated relationship with labelling. I am the first one to grumble if I cannot see what a plant is and part of the whole point of this type of garden is to inform and educate; telling people what plant they are looking at is obviously a key part of that. Yet they are sometimes ugly and can detract from the overall planting in the garden. Also if you walk along a wonderfully labelled border but cannot find the name of the one plant you are desperate to know more about then that is more frustrating than if there were no labels at all. Of course people move the labels and plants grow over them, labels are their own minefield! Am I saying don’t label? No, I wrote down the names of plants as I wandered around and an educational garden without labels would be a bit daft.
It was a good afternoon, I behaved myself and did not buy any plants from the plant centre but I did have a rather nice bit of cake, it said on my ticket it was obligatory to have some (written on the back in biro in my handwriting I admit, but it said it nonetheless).