Sunday 27 July 2014

Garden visit: Burton Agnes Walled Garden

It's hard to resist a walled garden. Well, I cannot, anyway. Just the idea of a walled garden, a place of adventure and beauty. All very 'Secret Garden'. Kevin & I wanted a day out, Kevin wanted to visit the seaside, we decided on the Bridlington area (East Yorkshire), and I wanted to see a garden. So I got out my Good Gardens Guide and there was Burton Agnes Garden listed. I didn't know much other than what the book said. In fact I barely got past 'walled garden' and decided that was where I wanted to go. And it happened to be on the way to the seaside...

Entrance walk at Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens

Like a good 'secret garden', the walled garden at Burton Agnes didn't give much away from the outside. Beautiful but formal yew topiary and too-perfect lawns.

As you come to the entrance, the planting gets brighter, though still a little formal with the perfect edging, but then, the top of the stairs and the doorway through...

VoilĂ ! Colour, crops and exuberance.

A path to lead us on, what's around the corner?

A kitchen garden filled with fruit and vegetables, flowers for cuttings and flowers for the bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.

The Hall looks rather grand sitting beyond the walled garden. In the greenhouse, tomatoes were bursting through the shutters.

Plants spilling onto paths allowing you to get up close and personal.

Like with the sweet peas all over the garden. Bliss. And I wasn't the only one to enjoy the sweet peas.

Brushing past herbs and fragrance. I found I frequently photographed the garden with the hall as a backdrop. It was nice of them to build the hall to give the garden a pleasant vista, wasn't it.

Gardeners of all sorts.

The garden is a great place for children to run around and explore. So many hidey holes, such as behind the tall plants in the Yellow Garden.

They even have some larger than life board games for children of all ages to play. The chess set is below; we played Noughts and Crosses in another part of the garden.

We then discovered the Jungle Garden. Lush, twisty and turny.

What has Kevin discovered?

Ahhh, a bee restaurant. The flower is Inula magnifica.*

There were quite a few seats placed around the garden, and from this seat, I think my favourite view of the day. Light and shade. Oranges and reds. Many types of foliage rustling in the breeze.

All over the garden you could hear a humming of bees, and even more so in this area close to the greenhouse. You can see the dots of bees on and near the Echinops below.

It was like the sound and movement of a busy hive with all the bees on these Allium sphaerocephalon.

We finally found our way back past the kitchen garden area to the entrance. Another view of the hall beyond the garden. I was envious of their healthy sweetcorn plants. Just need butter...

But it was the blue of the cornflowers that took my fancy. And one last view over the walled garden.

Kevin and I both loved Burton Agnes Walled Garden. It had everything we thought a walled garden (secret garden!) should have. Crops to eat, flowers for us and the wildlife, fragrance and the exciting twists in the paths culminating in gorgeous new vistas and discoveries around each corner. It won't be too long before we return.

*Thanks to @botanicalmartin for identifying the plant for me.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Garden visit: Clumber Park Walled Kitchen Garden

Last week we visited Clumber Park Walled Kitchen Garden, which happens to be not far from us here in Sheffield, being on the edge of Nottinghamshire & South Yorkshire near Worksop. I'll let the pictures to the talking. Well, mainly, a little chatter from me too :)

 The most wonderful grapevine ever, growing in the greenhouse. Plus old gardening related tools.

The brilliant joy of Californian poppies en masse

Sweet peas and broad beans

Double red poppy. Pretty, but harder for the bees? 

 My Morello Cherry has quite a bit of catching up to meet the age of this beauty. #Envy

That's some fine pruning & shaping

Yellow-themed planting in the long border

 Exotic planting next to the greenhouse. And what is that phallic plant?!
It really does make a statement. Not sure what kind of a statement though.

Phallic plant, close up of flowers.

Mmmmm, more food growing. And arse end of the scarecrow!

 Loved the mixing of reds, purples, pinks and yellows in this border.

 I loved the trees as a backdrop to the planting in this section of the garden.
I thought they looked really majestic.

 I gave my heart to this Rudbeckia, 'green wizard' I believe.

Above & below: rubarb, rubarb rubarb (blah blah blah). Plus cute cow.

 Blue-themed planting in the long border

 Allium Christophii seed heads

 Orange & red-themed part of the long border

Silky and velvet-like, a Hemrocallis

Overview of back area of the Walled Kitchen Garden

Overview of part of the greenhouse end of the Walled Kitchen garden

A fine walled kitchen garden, tis Clumber Park.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

End of Month View: June 2014

The garden at the end of June

June saw the garden mostly get along without me, as I had other things that took up my time for much of the month. I guess the attention in previous months helped as it does not seem to have suffered from my absence.

In May's End of Month View post I mentioned problems with water logging in one part of the Long Shady Border. Thanks to readers suggestions and a call to the RHS I quickly dug up the Acer Palmatum 'Sango-kaku' as it does not like being damp for long at all. I plan on replanting this further up the boarder where it doesn't suffer this problem.

The part of the Long Shady Border that suffers from water logging

So upon removing the acer, the above is what is left. Well, apart from the plants in pots that I've added as I've been thinking through how to plant the area now!

From Longstone Hardy Plants, I picked up Ligularia 'The Rocket', soapwort Saponaria officinalis 'Rosea Plena' and Astilbe simplicifolia 'Sprite' to plant in this area, and will also move the Darmera peltata which is further up the border and is happy to have it's feet wet. I cannot decide whether to move Primula 'Guinevere' or not; this is the small straggly purple leaved plant in the above photo. Some Primulas can go a bit straggly for a while after they have finished flowering I have found, so I'm not sure if is the water logging or the normal post-flowering state of the plant that is making it look like this. Hummm.

June did see me finally taking my first harvests, these being of Strawberries and Broad Beans. My strawberry patch isn't large but has been very fruitful, just in time for Wimbledon too.

Some of the 'not yet eaten' strawberries under the flowering lavenders

I started and completed harvesting the broad beans in June. In a 1m square patch I harvested nearly 2.5kg of (shelled weight) beans, which I think is a pretty good harvest in that space. I'd be curious to know what other vegetable growers think of this. The variety that performed the best was 'Imperial Green Longpod', which was so laden with beans that I needed several stakes and lots of string to hold it up!

The long-suffering garlic that remains after the broad beans were harvested

However, a big learning point came out of the broad bean harvest. The garlic that I had sown between the broad bean plants suffered very badly. This was an attempt at inter cropping which failed. The broad beans smothered the garlic and severely limited their growth. You can compare the crop in the bed on the left, which had nothing growing with it and looks large and healthy, to the poor remains in the right bed. Because all the varieties of garlic I grow are not easy to get hold of, I've given the failing garlic a feed and am hoping they recover a bit so I can at least save some cloves to try again next year.

Morning view from the pergola, where I eat my breakfast and enjoy the garden

Crops in the rest of the kitchen garden are doing well. You can see (above) that the climbing french beans have taken off and are quickly climbing up the canes, and the perennial Kale is filling out nicely. And below, as well as on the obelisk in the top photo, Pea Lativan is flowering and fruiting, Lettuce Bronze Arrow, and the Dwarf French Ice Crystal Wax, after a slow start, are looking healthy. I plan on saving seed from all of these.

Pea 'Lativan', Lettuce 'Bronze Arrow' (both from Heritage Seed Library) and
Dwarf French Beans 'Ice Crystal Wax'

The beautiful flower of Pea Lativan

The plants around the pergola area finally started taking off in June. The grape has been slow to get going, but it was only planted in March. The evergreen honeysuckle, Lonicera similis var. delavayi, only planted in April and growing up the middle support has, however, raced ahead to spread not just up the support, but now curling it's way into the beams. And it's already got hundreds of flowering buds which I expect will flower in July. I'm looking forward to that scent.

I'm planning on editing plants in the shadiest part of the Long Shady Border (below) in July. The Darmera peltata is being moved down to the area that gets water logged, Acer Palmatum 'Sango-kaku' will be added. Some of the Epimediums, grasses and ferns will be moved to be better placed than they are now.

The shadiest end of the Long Shady Border

The Cornus Border, below, is going to be left alone, I hope. I'll try. I'm facing up to the fact that sometimes you have to stop trying to fill every space and let the plants there to have time to fill out.

Cornus border

A lot of soil is showing at the moment, but the plants there, such as Cornus canadensisAnemone multifida 'Annabella White' and Veronica gentianoides need time to get going. I was planning on adding some autumn flowering cyclamen and I think will add a few, but otherwise I need to hold my breath and leave the plants to themselves for a while.

The same goes with the Herb Border and around the obelisk. I am going to remove the grass Deschampsia cespitosa 'Goldtau' as I don't think it works in the space at all and just leans all over the Golden Oregano and French Tarragon. I will fill that space with Valeriana officinalis, but otherwise, apart from adding, once again, autumn flowering cyclamen to the area around the obelisk, I think I need to leave it alone. Oh, I do want to add more tall alliums too, but then that's it. Right.

Herb border and obelisk with Pea Lativan

I will finish the June end of month view with some of the flowers I love that were flowering as the month ended.

Geranium, possibly Midnight Reiter or Midnight Blues

I love the colour and the way this poppy shimmers in the sun. Self-seeded in one of the veg beds.

Polemonium caeruleum, flowering well despite suffering from waterlogging

Overview of the garden from the study

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End of month view is hosted by Helen Johnstone, aka @patientgardenerVisit Helen's blog for her Jun 2014 EOMV and links to other bloggers EOMV posts.