Friday 29 August 2014

Garden visit: Renishaw Hall Garden

Renishaw Hall Gardens is an Italianate garden on the edge of North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, rather close to my home in Sheffield. I'll confess at the outset that I've never been overly fond of Italianate gardens. Past experience has led me to gardens that focus more on the landscaping, lawns and hedging and less on plants. However, yes, there is an however. I was pleasantly surprised by Renishaw Hall Garden. The flowering borders and vista's were lovely, and in some cases quite brilliant. Take a walk with me through the garden...

Oh, and by the way, I've lost my map of the garden, so the 'labelling' is my own.

Looking back from the pond and fountain towards the house.

The planting next to the house. I thought it made the house look quite snug, which is saying something given the house is quite grand.

Main lawn and borders.

View from the shady walk towards the long border.

I loved this kind of double Hollyhock.

A shady walk

The Long border, from each end.

This planting was inspired. I love the different shapes of the leaves, combined with the airiness from the fennel(?) and the flow of the plants following the sun.

I thought the pink and yellow worked really well, which kind of surprised me. Having since read Helen's (aka @patientgardener) post on the importance of yellow in a border, I think it might be because the yellow lifts the other planting.

I would love to know what this plant is - that is, the one with the thin leaves with pinkish-red and yellow flowers. Very pretty. If you happen to know, please leave the info in the comments  :)

Such a wonderful deep yellow petals contrasting beautifully with the purple-dark green stems and foliage. Rudbeckia, I believe.

Foliage. Great shapes and textures.

Another flower I don't know, possibly Campanula or Gentian? Such a gorgeous blue.

It was a day of temperamental weather, however the late summer flowering of these sunflowers contrasted rather splendidly against the dark sky.

Vistas. It is rather excellent the way the yew hedging mimicked the turrets and chimneys on the house.

 The variegated box border on one side of the house. I think the box and trees against the light-dark sky looked really moody and invited your attention.

Alternative view of the box border. With further yew hedging around this garden, it made for an intimate and peaceful space.

Renishaw Hall Garden did have a bit too much lawn for my liking, although that's my prejudice. To me lawns are just planting spaces waiting to happen. It's borders and vistas are delightful and it was a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

I should mention for the garden & cake connoisseurs out there that Renishaw has a great cafe, including cream teas and puddings with lashings of custard. Finally, although I didn't get to see it this time, Renishaw Hall has a vineyard which until 1986, it was the most northern vineyard in the world. You can take tours of the vineyard, and also the Hall, which I plan to do on a return visit in the future.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Peak District: Stanage Edge and summer heather

The heather in the Peak District is flowering. There is a pink tinge to the landscape.

Stanage Edge
 A section of Stanage Edge

 Stanage Edge from the top of the ridge

Stanage Edge, heather and weather

Burbage Rocks
 Towards Burbage Rocks

From Stanage Edge to Burbage Rocks

Looking South and towards Hathersage
A sheep searching for food amongst the heather

 Landscape, wild and 'tamed'

Looking South 

Heading west, Overstones Farm

Bamford, Edale, westwards


Monday 18 August 2014

Garden visit: Easton Walled Gardens

We often make journeys between Sheffield and Cambridge to visit Kevin's mum. It just so happens that along this route, the A1, sits Easton Walled Garden. We had visited in late Spring 2013, so this was our second visit to the garden.

The garden is in Lincolnshire, and the site was originally covered in trees. In just 13 years the garden has grown to the space that is loved by many, including Kevin and I, today.

Some areas are more intimate, such as the Pickery (cut flower garden) and Vegetable garden. Alternatively, the Main gardens give a gracious sweep that includes meadows, the Long Border and the Orchard, mixing formal and informal, and situating the garden within context of the house, and the countryside in which the house and garden sits.

Take a stroll around the garden with me now...

The Pickery, with a large selection of cut flowers. All flowers in the Pickery are grown from seed each year.

The Pickery includes over 80 varieties of sweet peas. Although the peak time for sweet peas was over, there were plenty still in flower and giving fragrance. Here are my favourites of the day, of which I availed myself of seed  :)

Lathyrus odoratus 'Black Knight'

Lathyrus odoratus 'Pluto'

In the Pickery, out of the corner of our eyes we thought we saw something flash past us into the hole in a door. It took a while to work out what bird it was as they were very fast, but finally we saw it was a swallow. Blurry photograph, as they are so quick!

I thought this staging was very pretty. It reminded me of Helen over at Patient Gardener, who has a staging that changes with the seasons. This is an idea I plan to copy in my own garden at some point in the future.

The Vegetable garden food is harvested and used in the cafe. The cafe has lovely food and you can eat your lunch or afternoon tea whilst looking over the Pickery.

I loved these brassica cages, different sizes for different brassicas. Although short now, those Brussels Sprout or Purple Sprouting Broccoli plants will increase in size considerably over the coming months and will be protected from wood pigeons and the like. It made me realise I really should separate out my own brassica growing into cages/coverings that suit the type of brassica growing. Of course, my garden is considerably smaller, so not as easy.

In one of the greenhouses I spied these brown paper bags hanging from the ceiling. This is sweet pea seeds drying out for sowing and selling next year.

In the other greenhouse, we were both taken by these very long podded plants. It's Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis and it's common names include: yard long bean, cow bean and snake bean. I'm curious to know how it tastes. Cow bean?!

The other green house had very happy healthy cucumbers and tomatoes, both trying to get out the windows!

From the Greenhouses you can get a wonderful view over to the Main Garden.

The terraced meadows are just wonderful. In many ways this was our favourite part of the garden. You could hear the grasses swaying in the wind and see butterflies and bees on the wildflowers. It is so pretty, and so elegantly executed. Views from and back towards the terraced meadows also reveal how well the garden is situated within the landscape. The farmed land complements the garden, and vice versa.

View of the meadow terraces from the Long Border.

The Long Border was very peaceful. In that I mean, though there were some shouts of colour from orange daylillies and others, on the whole the colour palette was quieter, with lots of lighter purple tones and white. Very peaceful on the eye.

I was particularly taken with this splash of colour in the Long Border. It is Linum grandiflorum 'Rubrum' - the crimson flax flower and I'll be ordering some seeds of this to grow in my garden next year.

View from the other end of the Long Border. The relaxed planting style meant that plants like Nepeta (catmint), were allowed to do their thing and not be rigorously cut back as they spilled over onto the pathway. 

More splashed of colour in the Long Border from pink roses. And you can see the Yew walk, well, the Yews at least, behind it.

We didn't explore the Orchard or Woodland as I was too tired to go further. We did manage to stop by the cafe again, for cake. Well, it was on the way back! Nearby the cafe is this wonderfully espaliered pear tree. Those pears looked quite fine. I wonder if that means pear in cake in future? Yum.

I loved the blend of formal and informal together at Easton Walled Garden, they do it beautifully. We will be dropping in again on one of our future trips to/from Cambridge.