Sonntag, 27. September 2015

Mini-Roadtrip: Avebury Manor Garden

Dahlias in the Monk's Garden
Whenever the weather on Sunday turns out to be unexpectedly glorious, Avebury is my go-to place. Being only c. 25 minutes from Hungerford along the A4, it offers multiple possibilities to pass the time. Sometimes I am in the mood to wander along the stone circle, sometimes I just want to pop into the Manor Garden or the house. Today I came for the tearoom in the library which turned out to be closed, however, I finally managed to see the autumn display in the Monk's Garden: masses and masses of simple dahlias at their peak of perfection.

Since visiting for the first time in 1997 on a family holiday I have loved Avebury. In 2011 I came back (the Manor was not open to the public then) and discovered the Manor Garden. It was sizzingly hot and the Half Moon Garden brimmed with the scents of cat mint, lavender and honeysuckle and I found myself charmed by the Topiary Garden, having never really cared for topiaries before.

Today I skipped both house and stone circle and just spent an hour in the garden, soaking up the autumn sun.

Much love,

Monk's Garden

Monk's Garden, Avebury Church
Side entrance. The bench is one of my favourite places to sit and read in the garden.

The Lion's Walk. The white phlox in the foreground had the most delicious, nutmeggy fragrance.

Half Moon Garden with cat mint beds

Topiary Garden, taken from the steps of the library

Library in the Topiary Garden with carp pond

Pompom and cactus dahlia in the Kitchen Garden.

Usually I prefer the simple dahlias but half-opened the showier varieties are quite interesting.

Sonntag, 13. September 2015

Roadtrip: RHS Garden Wisley and Great Dixter

The Sunken Garden, Great Dixter, near Rye in East Sussex

2 weeks ago my Mom came to visit me in Hungerford and we took the opportunity to visit 2 gardens both of us have wanted to see for a long time. My Mom always saw the signs to the RHS Garden in Wisley on the M25 but never was able to take a break and see it for herself. And after watching the BBC documentary Great British Gardens in Time and the first episode dealing with Great Dixter I had read several of Christopher Lloyd's book and desperately wanted to see the garden.

I loved both gardens and took gazillions of photos, especially of plant combinations. In Wisley I was really taken with the Glasshouse Borders which showcase prairie planting, but was completely smitten with Great Dixter and its bold compositions of colours, structures and the contrast between the massive topiaries and the fuzziness of perennials and annuals planted amongst them.

Much love,

Sunflowers and Rudbeckia, RHS Wisley

Glasshouse Borders, RHS Wisley

Glasshouse Borders, RHS Wisley

Sedums and yarrow, RHS Wisley

Display of potted plants, Great Dixter

Topiary lawn, Great Dixter

Long border, Great Dixter

Great Dixter

Tagetes and asters, Great Dixter

Great Dixter

Agastache, Great Dixter

Great Dixter

Great Dixter

Another view of the Topiary Lawn, Great Dixter

The Exotic Garden, Great Dixter

Sonntag, 21. Juni 2015

Roadtrip: Hidcote and Snowshill

On this visit I especially loved Mrs Winthrop's Garden in Hidcote with its yellow and blue planting scheme

I always wanted to return to Hidcote in June. In 2011 I had watched the BBC Programme Hidcote - A garden for all seasons and knew I had to visit. This first trip to Gloucestershire sparked my interest in the National Trust gardens and as I like to experience favourite places in different seasons or at least at different times I simply had to put Hidcote on my list for 2015.

I arrived early yesterday morning and actually when things were still quiet and I had the chance to be the first visitor in many of the garden rooms. Everything was saturated with dew and the rain that had fallen in the night and all my photos have a weird haze on them, as if the garden had been shrouded in mist.

After spending the morning in Hidcote I drove on to nearby Snowshill, where I visited the manor garden (also National Trust) and the lavender fields of Cotswold Lavender. The garden of Snowshill Manor lies on a steep hillside and - like Hidcote - is made up of several garden rooms. Really wonderful was the flight of white doves (according to you can use "a dole of doves", "a piteousness of doves" or "a pitying of doves" as alternative collective nouns for doves ...) which was busily getting on with life among the visitors.

Much love,

The iconic cedar at Hidcote Manor

The Old Garden, Hidcote

Rose in the Old Garden, studded with rain drops

Primroses in the Stream Garden, also one of my favourite gardens at Hidcote

The Pillar Garden, Hidcote

The Long Borders, Hidcote. Especially loved the Crambe cordifolia (flowering sea kale - small white flowers)

Topiary in the garden of Snowshill Manor. And doves.

More doves. And flowering cat mint

Snowshill Manor

Snowshill Manor

Long border at Snowshill Manor

Blue and white planting, Snowshill.

Lots of lavender. Different varieties in the display fields of Cotswold Lavender

Display fields of Cotswold Lavender

Sonntag, 14. Juni 2015

Roadtrip: Mottisfont Abbey

Roses and love-in-a-mist

The weather this weekend was undoubtedly weird, muggy and grey with occasional glimpses of blue sky. This morning it didn't really look promising but I set off anyway. Mottisfont is run by the National Trust and holds the National Collection of Oldfashioned Roses. I have been there before but later in the year, when the mulberries on the trees standing in front of the walled garden were ripe. I remembered that I was very impressed with the planting but always wanted to return when the roses were in full swing.

At the moment, the opening times are extended to 8pm and there were a lot of people so it was a bit difficult to take photos without them in. My favourite combination was love-in-the-mist planted among roses and pinks and on the photos you can really see the hazy effect this flower creates.

The fragrances wafting through the garden were quite amazing, I even teared up at one point because the scent was so strong. There were distinctive areas in the walled garden where certain fragrances were most prominent, on some corners it was the lavender, on some the roses but most surprising was the clove-like smell of the pinks which almost bowled me over. I bought 2 tiny pinks (Dianthus Mottisfont Pink) in the shop and planted them in the sunniest spot of the cottage's garden. Hopefully they will fill my garden with the same overwhelming scent next year.

Much love,

The house, still early and with overcast sky, later the lawn was filled with picknicking families

Moss rose 'General Kleber', 1856

Rose riot

Sonntag, 7. Juni 2015

Fast forward: January to June

Today: Open garden at Stockcross House. White wisteria and roses.

Finally I have a new card reader and am now again able to post photos online - so sorry about the silent months in between! To bring you up to speed, this post will feature a best of from January to June, including my April holiday in Southwold, Suffolk.

Much love,

January: Banbury Castle - Iron Age hill fort in Wiltshire

February: Snowdrops and aconites in Welford Park, Berkshire

Early April: Quay Hill, Lymington

Early April: Hurst Castle - fortifications opposite the Isle of Wight

Hurst Castle - remnants of brick columns

End of April: Southwold Pier, Suffolk

Southwold Harbour

Southwold Harbour

Southwold Promenade - a storm is coming

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

May: Old cemetery in Cirencester

Late May: Roman wall in Silchester, Hampshire

June: Avebury Avenue, Wiltshire

Today: Stockcross House, Berkshire

Today: Stockcross Church with bowling green