Wyken Hall Gardens

 

As my followers will already know, I have a very good friend & neighbour who inspires me to visit new gardens each year. Lisa is rather like my researcher, finding delightful places to visit and photograph – often well away from the ‘madding crowd’.  Wyken Hall, near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, is just that sort of place – an Elizabethan manor house surrounded by woods, fields and quiet lanes …

The estate is situated on land that has been occupied since Roman times and today is home to the Leaping Hare Vineyard, restaurant and country store – yet everything is tastefully low-key, resulting in a distinct atmosphere of ‘country life’ at its most peaceful. The house and garden are privately owned by the Carlisle family – Kenneth Carlisle being a descendant of the Mclarens of Bodnant Gardens in Wales. It is Kenneth and his wife Carla who have created the beautiful gardens here at Wyken Hall.

The Manor House is in itself an impressive sight, with its glorious chimneys, gables and woodwork bleached to a pale ashen. It originates from the 16th Century, appearing deceptively compact from the entrance – with its full extent only apparent from the rear.  Further wings were added in the following century, with a major face-lift in the 1920’s. A fascinating aspect for me was the copper red lime wash covering the exterior walls. Apparently, this is the original version of the ‘Suffolk Pink’ we know today – or at least how it was in Elizabethan times. Hardly pink at all !

 

The front of the house pays homage to Carla’s homeland – she was born in Mississippi;  and the blue rocking chairs amongst the espaliers of apples serve to create an english version of a southern state verandah.

My initial impression of the garden here was that it was wonderfully understated. The strong structural elements of flint walls, pergolas, hedging, fountains and paving did all the major work, leaving the planting to be romantic & relaxed, simple & pleasingly natural. The rose garden was beautifully fragrant and there was no hint of trying to fill the available space with variety after variety. Just a few choice plants grouped together to form a pleasing colour range – from delicate pinks to vibrant magenta. My favourite close-up shots of the day were those deep pink roses and the delicate lilac Wisteria flowers.

The main things I loved about the garden were the vistas – from one ‘garden room’ to the next – made possible by the classic structural elements. I really enjoy the lure of ‘the view beyond’ – it somehow conjures up a magical journey through the gardens; eliciting excitement and promising wonder …

Fruit played a prominent role with old apple trees, ripening pears and grapes – the latter being most apt for a house with its own vineyard. I especially enjoyed seeing the chickens roaming free in the orchard area – one of my personal dreams …

The Hot Border was also of great interest to me, as I have my own version in my front garden at Marlborough House. Vibrant, without being showy – Heleniums, Helianthus, Coreopsis and Achilleas blended together with scarlet Dahlias, Trumpet and stunning Mina Lobata Vines. Very inspiring …

The views and details continued to arrest my attention – yet the resulting effect was one of calm.

I have saved my favourite view and image of the day until last. The twin gates enclosing the lime tree avenue planted to commemorate Kenneth Carlisle’s father presented themselves to me as one of those perfect vistas – one I knew instantly would not be surpassed by any other from my visit.

Boxford Open Gardens 2018

Flowering Urn

 

 

Sunday 3rd June was my 3rd annual visit to Boxford Open Gardens.

A firm favourite with me (despite always being a scorching hot day with tricky light conditions) and so I was expecting great things from my journey around the gardens, even if I could only manage a small proportion in the 5 hours available. I actually managed to visit 19 of the 27 gardens and loved every minute …

I have a passion for my Flower Photography and hope that you will love my images.

I’ve collated my images in order to post my favourites – and most of the gardens have been included. There are new favourites every year – yet 17 Swan Street, Weavers House & Crown House are always eagerly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed. I do hope you enjoy my peek behind the back gates of the beautiful houses in this charming Suffolk village …

4, The Causeway

This was a lovely, natural garden with lots of wild flower areas and a beautiful Weigela.  A good start to my day !

 

2, Cox Hill

I was the first visitor of the day to this charming garden, which had a definite Plantswoman’s touch. It was lovely to chat to the owner, Ginny Budd, about her choice of flowers – especially the Cedric Morris irises. There was also a very attractive double geranium that I had never seen before. One of my favourite gardens of the day …

 

15, Holbrook Barn Road

The roses were magnificent back in early June, before the long dry spell kicked in – and this garden was a spectacular showcase for many beautiful examples. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit here, although it was tempered with sadness that the owner had recently lost his wife – who had been the driving force behind the garden’s creation. He had done a marvellous job keeping it in perfect condition and promised faithfully that he would learn the names of all the roses ready for my visit next year ! This was one of the loveliest smaller gardens that I have ever visited and I especially loved the views through the rose-clad archway !

 

21, Brook Hall Road

I was lucky enough to coincide my visit here with some beautiful singing by the Madrigalia Choir and enjoy some shade in this restful garden.

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15, Brook Hall Road

The houses along this road all back onto a brook ( hence the name) and the owners of this particular garden had taken full advantage of this feature, creating a wonderful series of paths & decking around the brook. It had involved a great deal of hard work and expense, yet the result was totally worth it. They had even unearthed some special friends who lived down near the water !!

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13, Brook Hall Road

Another peaceful garden with plenty of welcome shade and nature trees. I particularly loved the alpine sink with the pretty pink Lewisia.

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Chequers

I headed back down into the village towards the church to one of my favourite gardens from last year. I had spent ages in this garden then and was pleased to see that it held the same charm, even though the weather conditions of 2018 meant that there was a completely different display on show. This year I was also able to meet the owner, Sarah, who had been very pleased with my photos from last year’s visit.

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3, Church Street

This was my favourite photo from this small courtyard-style garden, recently taken on by new owners. A beautiful rose – and I can never resist bunting !

 

Rambling Rose & Bunting
Rambling Rose & Bunting

 

Mary’s House

I always stop off for a quick visit to this lovely property. The tiny garden is always brimming with colour …

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Hendrick House

This garden is always very popular with lots of interest, as well as a lovely view of St Mary’s Church tower. The plants on display were quite different to last year because of how different our weather has been – and the roses were especially pretty.

 

17, Swan Street

I was pleased to arrive here, as it is always one of my top gardens…

I especially love Guy’s Hosta display and the beautiful climbing rose – Constance Spry. Needless to say, these 2 were in stunning form, as always !

 

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Weavers House

Another firm favourite with me – with the added bonus of being able to chat to a wonderful Plantswoman, Maggie Thorpe. Her small courtyard garden always looks special and is filled with more unusual varieties. This year,  I was particularly taken with the Monkshood – this image being one of my best loved of the day …

Monkshood
Monkshood

 

Crown House

Time was passing quicker than I thought, so I decided to make my way by car up towards Groton & Edwardstone – as I had never managed to visit many gardens from that area. I started with an old favourite at Crown House – the home of another talented Plantswoman – Chloris of ‘The Blooming Garden’ Blog.
It was as beautiful as last year – with the Rose “Phyllis Bide” looking really splendid on the trellis & arches of the Secret Garden. The latter has really come into its own this year and looks established and luxurious with the heady perfume of Honeysuckle – Lonicera “Scentsation” and a very pretty double Philadelphus “Snowbelle”. I’ve included images of my other favourites of the day, including a wonderful white single rose with flushes of pink.
All in all; a truly inspiring garden …

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From Groton to Edwardstone and -:

8 The Winthrops

I had been recommended not to miss this garden if I liked roses –  and there were definitely some wonderful blooms here, as well as some delightful cottage-garden species.

 

Edwardstone Cottage

This garden had stunning Cistus purpureus with petals like crushed silk …

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Walnut Tree Cottage

By the time I found this delightful property it had just gone 4.30 and the garden was officially closed. The owners were extremely friendly,  however,  letting me have a look around and providing me with welcome refreshment ! It was a lovely garden with the highlights being a wonderful brick outbuilding adorned with climbing rose and a stunning deep-raspberry-red lupin – which gave me another favourite image of the day.

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Dormers

I had planned to visit Dormers as my finale because it was open until 5pm. It was a marvellous way to finish the day, as it was a stunning garden in a most favourable setting.
Being surrounded on 3 sides by open fields gave a perfect backdrop to the planting schemes, which had been cleverly designed to maximise vistas from all angles. Beds were planted up to be viewed both looking back into the garden from the field perimeter as well as to be admired with the fields and woods beyond.

There were numerous pathways around the garden which led me to new vistas  &  garden ‘rooms’. It would be difficult for me to choose my favourite feature of the garden – as there were so many-:

The gorgeously romantic pink clematis;

The pond area with views to open countryside;

The amazing selection of roses in the front garden …

Perhaps I would have to say that the vistas created by the rose & clematis-covered archway in the side garden were the loveliest aspect ?

 

Certainly my image below of this vista is my top photograph of the day …

 

Overall – and it is a very tough decision – this was my favourite garden of the day. You will have to visit Dormers next year and decide for yourselves ..!

Dahlia – Henriette

I captured these images of this gorgeous cactus Dahlia in my friend Lisa’s garden. It’s called Henriette and has the most wonderful blend of pinks & yellows to be refreshingly different. The fantastic shapes created by its spikey, yet delicate petals are a joy to photograph …

 

 

Wildcarrot Meadow

This year I was treated to an amazing spectacle – the most glorious Wildflower Meadow, over-flowing with my favourite Wildcarrots …

Chuch View Gardens are a wonderful source of inspiration for me – and there is nowhere better to spend a lazy summer’s afternoon soaking up Nature’s work at its very best. 2017 has been the best year yet for the Wildcarrots – and the meadow has really flourished.

The Wild Orchid Display in late Spring/early Summer was also the best ever seen here – so I can’t help thinking that it’s largely down to the careful management of the owners; Christine & Bob – who have been very sympathetic to the garden’s individual micro-climate and terroir – allowing Nature to take centre stage.

Here are some of my favourite images :-

East Bergholt Place Garden

I have always enjoyed taking photographs at this beautiful garden, so was looking forward to capturing images of the wonderful array of Hydrangeas on show this Summer …

After sharing some of my latest images with plantswomen Sue and owners Rupert & Sara Eley, I was thrilled to be granted some wall space in the cafe area of the garden centre to display some of my favourites and to offer them for sale to the public …

Chelsworth Open Gardens

I spent an extremely enjoyable day yesterday running my Wildcarrot Photography stall in the garden of  Church View, Chelsworth, as part of the 50th Anniversary of this special event.

Last year, I was pleased to secure 6 month’s worth of places in the 50th anniversary calendar – and in doing so, was fortunate to meet and get to know the owner of Church View’s beautiful garden.

It was wonderful to meet so many lovely people throughout the day, who thoroughly enjoyed looking around the garden – and were very kind & complimentary about my framed images and cards.

Thank you to all the people who came to visit my stall – and those who purchased items and/or expressed an interest in my work.

Most of all, thanks to Christine & Bob for all their support, help – and the most beautiful setting to showcase my work …

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Boxford Open Gardens – Sunday 4th June 2017

The prospect of another gloriously sunny weekend added to my eager anticipation of visiting Boxford Open Gardens in Suffolk – celebrating its 20th year.

In 2016, on a scorchingly hot day, I had to juggle my time between Boxford’s delights and the beautiful garden at Leaven Hall in Leavenheath – which had its doors open under the National Garden Scheme.
I was therefore looking forward to covering more ground at Boxford this year and definitely managing to visit some of the outlying gardens in Edwardstone & Groton.

Full of determination and excitement, I purchased my programme and made a start opposite St Mary’s Church – at Chequers, a former coaching inn …

Chequers.

My quest of photographing 24 Gardens in 6 hours seemed remotely feasible until I stepped over the threshold into this awe-inspiring garden, which managed to captivate me for well over an hour !

I started in the Walled Garden and was amazed to find that the land behind the house was far ranging. There were many beautiful flowers, arranged in an informal style – the borders flowing harmoniously from one colour to the next.

When I turned around to face the house, I was pleasantly surprised by the most picturesque view of St Mary’s church tower rising up behind the characterful Chequers itself.


I loved the gentle nature of Walled Garden. Nothing grand or showy – just charming … I found the palette of colours – provided by Geraniums, Veronica, Alliums and Euphorbia – to be very pleasing.

There were many individual flowers that caught my eye -:

A path from the Walled Garden led through a vegetable patch to a gate in a crinkle-crankle wall …

Once through, the garden opened up into an area of more greenery – trees, shrubs and a slope down towards a wooden bridge.
This bridge led me across the River Box (which flowed delightfully through the wider expanses of the garden) and took me onto a huge meadow area with trees, a pond and natural planting.

I was enthralled by Chequers, despite now being seriously behind schedule – yet couldn’t think of a better place to lose all track of time …

 

Mary’s House.

This was my first stop along Swan Street – a tiny, but quaint cottage garden. It belonged to a home bequeathed to the church by its owner and was a sun-trap full of colour.

 

Hendrick House.

The sun was at its hottest whilst I was visiting this beautiful garden, presenting me with some tricky conditions for my photography. It was a fun challenge to work with that in order to produce images which truly represented the beauty of the place.

The garden occupies a large area backing onto the River Box and the garden at Chequers. It has similarly beautiful views of the church.

The following are my favourite photographs, with a special mention going to the impressive delphiniums, whose bold blues & purples were still able to wow me even in the extremely bright sunshine -:

I mustn’t forget my favourite garden sculpture, which I remembered fondly from last year …

 

Number 17 – Swan Street.

This was my favourite garden from last year and it was easy to see why I had been seduced by its beauty. Smaller than the previous garden (which it abutted), this still had the wonderful feel & atmosphere to it that I had loved so much before. The look of the garden was quite different to last year, due to the flowers all blooming earlier. There were, however, most capable & beautiful replacements to step into the limelight. It was tricky to pick out individual areas as favourites because it was the overall planting design and combinations of colours that meant the whole garden worked for me as a delightful place to sit, relax and stare ( and take photographs, of course).

Mention must go, however, to the gorgeous climbing rose, Constance Spry (above & below),  which I had spotted eagerly from the previous garden.

The Iris siberica were coming to an end – yet were still as beautiful as last year.

I especially loved the owner’s new planting arrangement of Poppy, Geranium, Cerinthe and Valerian.

I was also lucky enough to catch a cheeky photo of Hacker the dog …

 

Weavers House.

Next stop was the garden belonging to Maggie Thorpe, from the Suffolk Plant Heritage Society. Always a pleasure to meet and so knowledgeable; Maggie has a gorgeous suntrap of a garden with an abundance of beautiful plants worked perfectly into a small courtyard area,  full of interest and attractive combinations and colours.

My favourites this year (as it looked quite different to last) were the dainty rose, Ballerina, and the exotic Carpenteria Californica – with flowers like Japanese anenomes.

 

Number 55, Swan Street.

This was a new garden of a recently-built property, a little further along Swan Street. Related to the family at Hendrick House, the owner had set out some very attractive landscaping & beds – ready for what will be a beautiful garden of the future. The owner explained that lots of plants had come from her family’s garden, so it is clear that it will be a garden with an excellent choice of species. Starring already were the striking delphiniums and lupins in the rear borders – as well as a lovely rose in the front garden.

 

I look forward to seeing how the garden has matured by 2018 !

 

Crown House, Groton.

My last garden of the day involved a trip out to Groton on the shuttle minibus. Maggie had encouraged me to visit – saying that Crown House was a garden not to be missed – and one to linger in for the remainder of the day. I was also swayed to venture up the hill by a message I had recently received, regarding last year’s Boxford article on my Wildcarrot blog.  A fellow blogger, under the pen name ‘Chloris’, had visited my post and sent her hopes that I would come to visit her garden this year. I had no idea which of the outlying gardens ‘Chloris’ had created, but was keen to see if I could find out. I was delighted to find that I chosen the correct one – and was able to meet ‘Chloris’ in person !

So many delightful plants, unusual varieties and a lovely serene, peaceful feeling about the garden, soon let me know that I had chosen well. There were lots of interesting elements – such as the beach garden – which inspired me and renewed my interest in getting my beach hut & beach area finally underway. It was especially interesting to see the horned poppy – which I will definitely be planting at Marlborough House.

There was also an interesting alpine gravel garden – with an eye-catching Rhodhypoxis baurii …

Here are a few of my other favourites -:

My overriding pleasure from this garden, however, came from the roses. Firstly the 2 tree-climbers: although one, Grace, is not a climber – it has just taken to its location superbly well and adapted to tree-living …

The single/semi-double roses were a joy and it made such a refreshing change to see them featured so prominently.

There were also plenty of beautiful doubles in a myriad shades of pink. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a lovely collection of roses in such a natural, cottage-garden setting – truly wonderful.

I’m so glad I finished my thoroughly enjoyable day here, as there was so much to see & photograph.

I would love to discover the name of every rose I’ve featured and I’m hoping that ‘Chloris’ will let me know in due course, so that I can update my galleries.

 

This is the longest post I’ve completed so far on my blog, which is a testament to the extremely high standard of gardens at this year’s event. It is much too tricky to pick a favourite …

 

Thanks to all the friendly, welcoming owners who were happy for me to spend a long time in each of their gardens, enabling me to get some amazing images. I do hope that you’ve enjoyed seeing your wonderful creations displayed in my post.

See you all – and hopefully a few more in 2018 …

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Snake’s head Fritillaries

Fritillaria meleagris is one of my favourite all-time plants. 

I think it’s because the Snake’s head Fritillary is essentially a rare wildflower of damp meadows and holds that same romantic fascination for me as orchids – although it has become more common in garden centres over the past few years. I have some gorgeous specimens in my back garden, which seem to thrive without the damp conditions.

I always look forward to the arrival of the fritillaries at East Bergholt Place (Place for Plants), as to me it seems the same as viewing them in the wild. They grow in a damp and sloped meadow area – in a random, wild fashion – and are as far away from a border plant as you could get. The individual nodding, chequered flower heads all seem to have their own distinct character and I adore photographing them. Here are my favourites from the first blooms of this Spring …