Saturday, 19 June 2021

Westbrook House, West Bradley Visit

 On the same day that we visited Batcombe House, it was to Westbrook House, near Glastonbury that we spent the afternoon.  Gertrude was at the front gate to welcome us, and Mr S felt immediately comfortable and looked forward to having this self assured lady as companion for an hour or two.  Her owner and the designers and owners of this magnificent garden made us feel most welcome, and the drinks and home made lemon drizzle cake very much appreciated.

The front garden retains its original layout, but with new planting, now maturing nicely.  Right down to the middle of the turning circle, in the front garden where  the yellow helianthemum 'Wisley Primrose' struck me as a great summer colour, one felt that this garden would work at any time of the year.

Garden gates again caught my eye, and on entering the side garden, my gaze was drawn to the geraium house.


Each area showed what  a great eye for design and knowledge of plants David and Keith have.  


One particular geranium, which looked like a green and white leaved miniature, was covered with numerous stems of single coral blooms. Sadly there was no name, but if you have any idea, please do leave your suggestions in the comment section. 


On our way through to the back garden, the shady corners had magnificent pots of hostas.



The lawns were marked with great tree planting


Seating was position around the garden and here flanked by large pots of geraniums, 



Or maybe a different view across the lawn...



Or somewhere more private in amongst the orchards and tree collections






Even the log store was placed and arranged to maximise the esthetic of the garden.




I shall certainly want to visit this garden again....


Six on Saturday - 19 June 2021

 There is nothing quite like the week when the roses are out ,to mark probably the best Summer week in the garden, and it all just about coincided with garden visitors last week.  

1. I was not surprised that the Chiastophyllum oppositifolium also named Umbilicus oppositifolius attracted attention.  One of the visitors had already beeen given some plants a few weeks ago, and now I have several more people wanting pieces.  As in all small gardens, plants need resizing and I like to share, so it is a win win situation.


Chiastophyllum oppositifolium also named Umbilicus oppositifolius

With its shiny fleshy leaves this hardy shade plant was lighting up the shady border. I found there was a variegated form called Jim's Pride. I am however quite satisfied with this one which originally came from Liz's garden in Kenilworth. 

2. Also along the shady border, another carpeting plant was in full flower, though it is also very attractive when it is only showing its rosettes. There were a few takers for this one too.

Saxifraga stolonifera

3. Roses Grace of which I have two plants in the Conservatory Border are bursting into bloom.


and just above the Saxifaga, Rose Ghislaine de Feligonde is full of large bunches of small blooms.  Those are open and much loved by bees...

Rose Ghislaine de Feligonde

Further along, now with many stems of simple open roses is Rosa Open Arms. At least one visitor will be returning in a few weeks time to take some cuttings.

Rose Open Arms
I have greenfly on the rose buds this year, but am leaving off spraying as we also have lots of emerging predators, we shall see if a reasonable balance emerges. There are of course lots of ants farming their little colonies.  

4.  Because the flowers were dripping nectar, this conservatory succulent has been moved to the hot sunny table.  A winter of low, but frost free, temperatures may have encouraged every branch to flower.  This is form of Cotyledon orbiculata has a heavy bloom with gives it a silvery colour. 


The coral coloured flowers are an added early eye catcher this year.  

5. Over in the small veggie patch, the courgettes are settling in nicely, female flowers are forming early this year.  Maybe it is the cultivars I am growing, or maybe the weather conditions.  One of our favourite chutneys is the courgette one I developed some time ago.  I do like to pick them small, so four plants two each of yellow Atena Polka and compact Patio Star, both from Moreveg.


I dug up one of the garlic bulbs, but I felt there was at least a couple more weeks of swelling up requited. The tall white sugarsnap pea growth started to look a little unhappy, so I have made picked all the pods and ditched all the plants.  The little row of dwarf peas were completely unaffected. 

The chive border also is having a revamp.  I've cut down all the growth, and will be replanting smaller sections. I have dwarf french bean and runner bean seeds germinating in pots and ready to take up vacant spaces as they occur.  

6.. The Nasturtiums are out, including some new 'Orange Jacket Pocket' ones.  Some of them may well be from Nasturtium Orchid Flame, but aren't they magnificent and summery. Our salads are going to be very attractive this summer. I pick them early in the morning as a kitchen posy, and add to garnish our lunch time salad.



As usual I am linking in with Jon, along with some others, to share six from our gardens.  He still seems to have a shed load green house full of plants ready to go out into the garden, he'd better get trotting with those.  However since he has been running for miles and miles, I'm not surprised at this. 

Monday, 14 June 2021

Batcombe House Garden Visit

 Organised by the Hardy Plant Society, this was the first garden we visited on our two garden visit last week.  Had we known what a picturesque village Batcombe is, we would have arrived much earlier in order to explore the deep valley with the pretty stone houses.

Batcombe House is an impressive former Rectory, round which designer Libby Russell has developed a fine garden so very well suited to the impressive sloping valley.  It is a garden of two halves divided by an old wall through which pretty doors allows one to move from one to the other.






This gate at the top of the garden leads from the floriferous meadows to another large garden, at the top of which is a long curved bed with two aspects: one looking uphill and opposite the top bed of this garden, and the other side facing the grass terraces which tumple down towards the house. 



As well as established shrubs, and many old roses, the many herbaceous plants are testimony to a well managed and frequently refreshed selection of additional planting of interesting short lived perennials. 





Looking down towards the house the large expanse of lawn tumbles in a series of cressant terraces with the very tall Cedar Tree dating from the Georgian Period.  Either side has deep glorious borders, sadly keeping this admirer to the edges, which if no one had been looking, I felt like running to the top and rolly polling down! But I acted my age, and just imagined some small children doing that instead.


Up against the house, well clipped topiary balls as if rolled down themselves, settling on the level area give structure, whilst on the other side up against the outer extension wall, a fine white wisteria was in full bloom.


The arch here leads one back to the Kitchen Garden,




At the far end of the lowest level, of the Walled Garden, is the Pointillist Border, again with pretty plant groupings from which inspiration can be gleaned and adapted for the smallest gardens.


Looking along a wide border from the corner of the crayfish tank, one paticular plant which appealed to me, was one very similar to my almost too tall Thalictrum delavayi.  Gardeners Tom Price and Sue McCardie who showed us round were very happy to help, and I found out that it is Thalictrum aquileigifolium. 



Various large tubs were interestingly planted with a mixture of plants and young salvia plants, which makes for an attractive way to display up close salvia cuttings which have just gone through the winter.


Up one level to the Potager, where the individual beds were planted diagonally with a mixture of edibles and flowering plants.

I noted that Libby Russell the garden owner and designer,  has placed her clumps of chives slightly further apart, and this I will copy when I come to replant my chive border this year.


It seemed that in every area there were unusual shrub roses, some of which have been in the garden a long time, and had no name such as this one.



Some of the plants that caught my eye were labelled such as this one which light up the border with its silver leaves and clear white flowers.

Omphalodes linifolia


Argentinian Forget-me- not or Venus's Navelwort grey green leaves and spires of small petalled white flowers. Sue had a few of the packets of seeds they had sown this spring, and as if a magician, had a packet secreted in her pocket.  Small patches of Linaria maroccanna 'Licillia Violet' added zing in the herb garden and were much admired by the party.

Leading up from the Potager through up to the Swimming Pool and still further up beyond the tennis court levels, the banks are full of wild flowers, which were just full of insects. 




There is so much that I missed out, but also I can just imagine how lovely this garden is later when all the roses are out, and come to it, at any time of the year, there would be more than sufficient to please visitors. 





In a Vase on Monday - 14 June 2021

 We are fast approaching mid Summer and here temperatures have been soaring.  The flower which says Summer is here in the garden is the Nasturtium.  I've always liked these.  As well as the ones that come up around the place they were last year, their seeds having overwintered wherever they fell, I have a few plain green leaved plants, which I grew from the finds a few weeks ago in the 'Orange Jacket'...


These are staying in the kitchen, and a few of these pretty blooms will end in our salad today.


The peppery flavour of flowers and leaves garnishing a beetroot and walnut, and sheep's feta cheese salad will be just the thing on a hot day, sat somewhere in the shade.

These are firsts and very fiery which tie in pretty well with Cathy's leading post this week: Keep the Home Fires Burning. 

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Six on Saturday - 12 June 2021

Things are romping away, staking is paying dividends, or should I admit I could have done more.  Jon the Prop who is currently helping others, is gathering us as usual this Saturday.  Lovely shrubs and plants there and no doubt on other posts from fellow bloggers.

 1. After the success from a taste point of view of growing only a few peas, this yearI have grown something new.  This is the white flowered sugarsnap pea Deliket. The seed supplier describes this variety as compact, but I'll eat my hat sorry peas but these are nearly as tall as I am! 




2 The second variety is a 'Mangetout' called  Carouby de Maussane which also is as tall as I am, 



with beautiful flowers which with their mauve and purple hues are exceptionally decorative, and would grace any potager whether small and humble like mine or in one of the many beautiful walled vegetable gardens of great houses. Though I think their mode of support would be far superior.  I shall certainly be growing these again, and will work on something more decorative for next year.


Between the two sets of two tall peas I have a row of Meteor first early as grown last year and those are living up to their description regarding height.

3. Rose Open Arms is in full swing operating as the go to place for all the bees and other insects.


4. Rose Munstead Wood is stronger in its second year in this spot: a deep and rich fragrant red...



5. Grace too is looking wonderful...


6. Phuopsis Stylosa has been doing its thing of forming a dome topped all around with its pretty small blooms again another favourite of the bees.  This plant with its attractive foliage is growing on a dry sunny patch and is perfectly happy with a good cutback, and comes again for a second or even third time in the year....Think of it as a Lady of the Causcasus's bedstraw, in a way similar to Ladies' Bedstraw, of the same family, but with an exotic touch, as decorative as any Persian rug.


Today I shall be having friends from my WI visit the garden in groups of up to Six, and we have several gardens open.  I've given the garden a great tidy up, and Mr S has joined in picking up leaves, sprucing up the seating area etc.....It just makes us appreciate what other owners do to get their large gardens ready.  I'm going to go through my long spread sheet, and print off the names of all the plants which may be of interest at the moment...wish me luck!

I may contemplate, but also need to seriously consider when to harvest my garlic:  I'll be reading up about this for my home work next week, and report then.