Monday, 29 October 2012

Foggy Bottom

We're in Norfolk for half term, exploring what is basically unknown territory for us. Except for today's garden visit to Bressingham near Diss, which we've visited twice before. Bressingham is home to a working Steam Railway, but more interestingly for me it's the home of the Bloom dynasty of gardeners and their nursery. Adrian Bloom was a key contributor to the rise in popularity of the conifer in suburban gardens of the 1970s. His first plantings in 1966 were on the site of an empty meadow and a new house in the grounds of Bressingham; with his wife Rosemary, he was able to gradually develop a six acre (2.4hectares) garden which he called Foggy Bottom. Over the years Adrian has incorporated many perennials and grasses, adding to the year round appeal of the garden. Here are some snaps of Foggy Bottom:

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Autumn Paintbox at Sheffield Park

The sun came out today, hurrah! And I'd had a tip off that the colours at Sheffield Park Gardens, one of the National Trust's great treasures, were spectacular this week. So visit I did, along with several hundred other people, and managed to get the following snaps. Enjoy!

We all love a fairy ring.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Back to the Front

Oh how I love a project! And now it's the front garden's turn to get the makeover. We've been here for four years now, and the front garden has just 'been there' really. It's the traditional lawn with shrubs around the edge. Two large forsythias, lovingly clipped into spheres by the previous owner, a couple of box, a couple of evergreen viburnums and an Olearia.

The viburnums on the right are an essential windbreak, so they will stay.
The front garden takes the full blast of south westerlies coming off the English Channel, which is about 700 metres away. While it's lovely to see the sea, the downside is a pretty much constant attack from the wind, together with the salt it brings with it. Only the toughest plants survive. In fact it would have been far more sensible to leave it as it is. But that would be too easy - I like a challenge. So step one was to kill the grass, which we did in the spring.

The Olearia to the right was getting too large - it's now gone!
 Some of the shrubs have been removed - two cistus plants that had got too leggy and were beyond pruning, plus the Olearia above. Then by July we were ready for the next step - weed suppressing sheets and gravel.

Here you can see the gap in the windbreak to the left of  the viburnums

My Fascicularia bicolor, tightly packed in a pot, will feature in the new front garden.

The idea is to plant several beds of plants into the gravel. Most of the planting will take place in the spring, but I have made a start with some autumn planting, to give some plants a chance to settle in and toughen up during the winter.

These plants don't look like much at the moment but they are part of the big plan!

Nepeta and Centaurea from my mum's garden.

Griselinia will form part of the new windbreak.

I took this photo to prove the sun made it through the mist today, at last!
The rest of the planting can wait until March or April. Hopefully it will look decent when I open my garden for the Coastal Garden Trail next August- see here for more information.

And finally, here's my plan for the planting!

It looks a mess, but at least I understand it!