Sunday, 24 February 2013

Snowdrops and wheatsheaves

It is the time of year when going to wander around snowdrop gardens is a very civilised way of spending a day.   I had never been to Easton Walled Gardens before, though I have bought their sweet pea seeds previously and have read much about the gardens.  Add to this a nice afternoon chatting with a friend met through twitter that resulted in a conversation about how wonderful the garden is which in turn led to a not-needed excuse to go and visit the garden together when it was snowdrop time.
So Karen and I met up there on a very cold afternoon, snow was threatened but thankfully it had held off so far.  Unusually for me I had not read-up on the garden before I visited so I knew very little about the history of the place at all.
The main thing you need to know is that the great house is no more, it was bulldozed in 1951 and the gardens left to pretty much their own devices from then until 2001 when restoration work began.  When you see the photographs of how much it had overgrown, the progress made in such a short period of time is impressive.
They have a slick operation at the Gardens.  A nice plant sales areas, a history room, a workshop room where they were having snowdrop talks at the moment and a couple of gardeny-gifty places.  In fact rather nice gardeny-gifty things and plants and I did well not to buy too much from there. However it is apparently against the law to go there and not buy sweet pea seeds and some snowdrops.  I am a law-abiding person so I bought both.  Oh and a couple of other plants too....

Now this time of year the Garden is about snowdrops, there are many and they are beautiful.  I am not a snowdrop fanatic, I grow what I would term 'pleb snowdrops' and they make me happy.  I can appreciate the subtleties and differences between snowdrops and I love the promise of Spring that they bring to the garden but I am not someone who is going to spend more than £5 on a single bulb.
There is more in the flower than just snowdrops, there are some wonderful swathes of winter aconites, some daffodils already in flower and hellebores.
Amongst the beautiful white of the snowdrops there is colour.
The gardens are, I hope it not considered unkind to say, currently a shadow of what they once were and clearly what is hoped they will be again.  There is much new planting and new areas being developed.
I loved the views that were possible of the garden, the perspective was fascinating.  The walled garden itself reminded me like something from Alice Through the Looking Glass, from a distance it looked on painted on the landscape.
The yew tunnel in the walled garden is incredibly overgrown, on the old photographs it was once a well pruned piece of growing sculpture.  it would take a lot to restore it to what it was as now they are massive trees.  Whether they could survive the brutal pruning they would need I would not like to think.
There are many steps, they are good steps and create good eye-lines up and down the landscape.  They remain a key structural part of the garden and it is good that they were able to be restored.
A good bridge too, you can't beat a good bridge.
At the moment there are many white dots at the gardens, the dots of the snowdrops and the larger dots of the sheep grazing in the surrounding parkland.
I would say you need to be careful not to mix them up, but to be honest if you get confused between sheep and snowdrops then I would worry.
but just in case, this is a sheep....
these are not sheep.  (sorted).
I think I have mentioned previously that I like a good pointy tree garden, there are some good pointy trees.
This is the area where the sweet peas will be in the summer, I definitely have to visit again when they are in flower.
The wheatsheaf mentioned in the title of this post the symbol of the Cholmeley family.
There is a also a turf maze in the wheatsheaf design.
There are also some well planted pots around the Garden.
This though is my favourite pot.  It is a good pot but more to the point the framework is beautiful, it works as a structure in itself without a plant growing on it, though I believe they have clematis on them later in the season.  This I will also want to see.  I did leave having framework envy.

So, a good visit, many snowdrops were witnessed but not counted.  Lunch was good and the cake good.  We had a lovely day wandering around chatting and setting the world to rights and I have found a garden that I want to see in later seasons, which in my world is the test of a good garden.

9 comments :

  1. I must see this garden! It looks magical.

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    1. It is worth a visit and a revisit as it is so much work in progress.

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  2. I've never been to this garden....but it looks well worth a visit.Perhaps later in the year...I fancy seeing ...and smelling the sweet peas. Mr Thinkingofthedays is allergic to them...they set off the worst hay fever type symptoms and sometimes asthma....as I found out to my cost when I planted by the doorway in our first house ! So I have to get my sweet pea fix elsewhere....

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    1. Oh my - well yes, visit without Mr T maybe :)

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  3. I'm still waiting for my snowdrops to come up, but they're still asleep. Gosh.. this year's winter is so loooong!

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  4. Looks like a really lovely place! I particularly like the pointy trees!!!

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  5. Dear Papaver
    I have visited this garden before but not for a couple of years now, so it is really interesting to see the changes. I think it is very much a 'work in progress' garden, but I totally agree about the tea and cake - delicious! I must visit this Spring/Summer and re-acquaint myself with the gardens.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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  6. I'd have framework envy too, though thankfully I will no longer confuse sheep and snowdrops ;-) it must be a tricky business, working out what can be restored in such a garden and what needs a new start. Look forward to seeing it again through your camera lens later in the year.

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  7. Nice sharing, Thanks for share with us, I will be come back to your next post, Good luck!!!
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