Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Shhhh! Don't tell anyone....

In West Sussex there's a garden so lovely, so intimate and charming, but not everyone knows it's there. And that's one of my favourite things about the place! It's always so peaceful, and you are never tripping over others in an attempt to view the borders. This is partly because the gardens and parkland are large, but I can't help feeling more people should be there - a bit like Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex if you know it - strangely undervisited. Of course I want the gardens to be busy so that they can earn money and stay beautiful, but there's something special about visiting a garden and feeling you're the only person there - you can even pretend it's your garden! Nymans, not too far away, is awash with colour in the summer but unless you are a professional photographer with an out-of-hours pass, your photos end up full of people not plants. So I urge you to keep it to yourself - Parham is a true gem of a garden - please don't visit, just send them some money so they stay open! And you can always enjoy these snaps of my visit on Sunday:

Could a September border be lovelier than this?

Are they humans at the end of that path? Get out!

Why don't I have a toad lily in my garden? Everyone should.

Highly toxic Aconitum

Chard looks too good to eat!

Pucker up, it's mistletoe time!

Is this a Salvia anyone?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


I'm not a vegetable grower, but having been given some courgette plants by a pupil in my class in June, I felt I should at least pop them in the ground and see what happens. What a lovely crop I've had, they've been coming thick and fast for over a month now and showing no signs of stopping. Luckily I like courgettes, and I've made good use of them in my cooking. Now I think I will grow them next year. Thanks Olivia!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Back to Skool

Oh well, the summer holidays can't last forever, so it's back to work for me. At least it's still light enough at the end of the working day to pop into the garden and have a quick look around. 
My sweet peas were planted late hence the still-impressive display

My Marguerites are on their second flowering

I bought some Arctotis for 50p each in July

The new apple tree has borne fruit - three, to be exact

A Eucalyptus looks caringly down at a Gaura

This late-flowering Scabious has been great value

Sedums enjoy the company of Stipa tenuissima, which I grew from seed four years ago

Dahlias are just getting going

This Dahlia is choosing its time carefully

Have you seen a cuddlier sunflower?!

I will have to take some cuttings of this lovely Lantana

I just love Cosmos.

This beauty is growing on the same plant but has a different colouring

Like the children in my class, my foxgloves are still putting
their hands up and shouting 'Me! Me! Me!'
This is the third flowering for the Centaurea
Pampas flowers are unfurling like horses' tails
Yuk! Not a pleasing colour combination!
That's better, Verbena bon. and Rudbeckias make a classic combination

I think that for September there's quite a bit of colour in the garden. Still to come are the Asters and lots more Dahlias. Just hope the evenings don't get too dark too soon so I can actually see them!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Welsh Wonders Part 4

At Aberglasney, I was surprised and delighted at one of the new innovations installed since my last visit. In 2005, a unique garden was created within the ruinous central rooms and courtyard of the mansion. The remaining walls of the rooms were stabilized and the entire area was covered with a huge glass atrium. This area now contains a wonderful collection of warm temperate and sub-tropical plants including Orchids, Palms, Magnolias and Cycads.

The name Ninfarium was derived from the amazing gardens at Ninfa, which are situated south of Rome. The garden at Ninfa has been imaginatively planted within the ruins of a medieval village.

And here endeth my Welsh Wonders series. Hwyl fawr!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Welsh Wonders Part 3

As well as the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, last week's garden visiting also took me to the wonderful Aberglasney. This estate has a fascinating history that stretches back for hundreds of years. In the mid twentieth century the estate was split up and the garden, albeit practically in ruins, was nearly lost. Fortunately an American donor purchased the site so that it could be saved and restored. This restoration programme has brought the gardens back to life over the past ten years or so. I first visited about ten years ago, just at the start of the work, and I can tell you it has been totally transformed.

The famous Yew Tunnel

Penelope Hobhouse designed this part of the garden

In addition to the garden there is a lovely tearoom, and part of the house has been converted into a Ninfarium - more on that next time!