My Hosta Renaming Project

I’ve been a Hosta fan since the early 90’s, when I first discovered the miniature varieties which I planted around our first pond.

Upon moving to Marlborough House, I planted 2 varieties in my front garden – all around my new pond. Nowadays, however, they are swamped by a mass of Knautia and Linaria. Torchlight and Siashu Yahne Sito   had proudly survived slug & snailess in my pond patch for many years with only the addition of Tête-à-tête daffodils in the Spring. My ex-husband wasn’t one for flowers on a big scale, preferring symmetry and order to the romantic wilderness of my imagination.

The Hostas came from Mickfield in Suffolk – home to Mickfield Hostas ( who own the National Collection) and another grower whose name I have long-since forgotten after she retired from her business.

I’ve added to my collection since those early days – mostly buying from Mickfield Hostas at shows and by visiting their amazing nursery. I defy anyone with a love for plants to leave that place without at least half a dozen fledgling varieties …

My visit last year coincided with a couple who were definitely more ‘Hosta Mad’ than me. The floors of the various greenhouses were littered with their newly chosen additions to bump up a collection which already numbered over 300 varieties !

My purchase was more modest, although once home and repotting into my terracotta pots, I realised that I was running out of space for them.  I vowed to stick there and resist future additions, although I was guilty of buying a few new ones at a Helmingham Hall Plant Fair last autumn, where Mickfield Hostas had a stall which held me under a similar spell to that of my childhood sweet shop.

I now have 27 different varieties – small, medium and large, which sit in the shade nearest my house on the north-facing patio.

The pots have customarily been topped with pea shingle, which I gauged to be a perfect deterrent to leaf-munching pests and also set off the foliage well. At the end of last Hosta season, however, I bought some organic wool slug pellets to try. I’ve never had a major issue with pests, however this year I’ve noticed an increase in nibbling on a couple of varieties – so I think I will return to the shingle pretty quick. In fact, I’ve just found a baby snail on the underside of one of the leaves. Definitely a thumbs down for the organic wool pellets!

My major task for this season is one I needn’t have had. All plants had new labels written out last year and marked with a so-called permanent ink marker. Unfortunately, the labels have faded and my task today is to rediscover which variety is which and take photographs of them all. Establish a proper catalogue. There are one or two that haven’t opened their leaves yet – so I will have to add them later on.

Luckily, the Mickfield Hosta website is an excellent one – with detailed descriptions and photographs of all their varieties. That coupled with the labels, my list of names and the existing photographs should mean that I can be 100% successful. Only one of my Hostas lacks a name – I never knew it, as I picked it up for a snip at the end of a Suffolk Show when a fancy display was being dismantled. I could probably give a good guess – although I will never be entirely sure.

Time to set to work … First job is to look at my existing images and match up the most obvious ones. I have 10 photographs. Then I will see if I can read any of the invisible ink labels at all. I’m so glad that I wrote down all the names last year and I now know why so many gardeners at the village ‘Open Garden’ events cannot tell you the name of that wonderful variety you’ve just spotted for the first time in their garden.

2 hours later …

I’ve taken all my photos and I’m left with 3 mystery Hostas. One hasn’t come into leaf yet – and could be either Stiletto or Whirlwind. I’m thinking it’s the latter, as I seem to recall losing the Stiletto early last season.

That leaves 2 plants where it’s impossible to read the labels and I have stupidly forgotten to record them anywhere. My plan is to see whether Mickfield Hostas can identify them for me, so I have sent them an email with the photographs attached. Fingers crossed.

Tomorrow’s job is to give them all a thorough soak, remove the wool pellets, replace the shingle and set them out nicely on their display table to be admired.

Mission Complete !

Helmingham Hall Plant Heritage Autumn Fair

 

I was delighted to be asked by Maggie Thorpe, President & Chairman of Suffolk Plant Heritage, to take photographs at the society’s Autumn Plant Fair on Sunday 15th September.

A wonderful array of plants and garden accessories was on show, together with glorious September sunshine – all against the wonderful backdrop of Helmingham Hall; with its gabled, red brick facades and grand drawbridge across its wide moat.

One of the main aims of Suffolk Plant Heritage is to rediscover and reintroduce cultivated plants that are under threat of extinction – and there were many examples of such at the fair. Members ran a special stall from which I purchased some ‘Lucifer’ narcissi bulbs to pot up for Spring.

Keeping to tradition, there were 800 paper bags containing bulbs of Tulipa linifolia (Batalinii Group) ‘Bright Gem’ distributed to eager visitors as they arrived at the Suffolk Heritage Marquee. They will be my only example of early tulips – and my only ‘Botanical’ ones. Botanical Tulips are the ancestors of the Hybrid Tulip, the former having bred naturally and so focus on survival. This means they are able to bloom year after year and their study low-growing habit makes them more resistance to bad weather conditions. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how ‘Bright Gem’ compares to my fancy, hybridised varieties !

Visitors collecting their free bulbs

The marquee also had examples and information about some of the rare plants as well as listing the important National Plant Collections. I was thrilled to find that Mickfield Hostas ( who have the largest National Collection of Hostas in the UK) had brought along some potted examples of a beautiful and uncommon small Hosta – ‘Remember Me’. It’s a sport of my favourite Hosta ‘June’ – so was bound to attract my attention.  Needless to say, I was the 1st person to reserve my own plant to take home !

 

The National Plant Collection of Sir Michael Foster’s Irises was represented by Lucy Skellorn, Sir Michael’s Great-Grandaughter. Sir Michael was responsible for the first hybridisation of the Bearded Iris, back in the 1880’s. I would love to have purchased an example of Lucy’s 2 favourites – ‘Mrs Horace Darwin’ and ‘Mrs George Darwin’ – both delicate white flowers with purple veining. Perhaps I will have to visit her early next year when I replan my pond border.

Lucy Skellorn

As I had arrived early, I was able to wander around the stalls as the owners were preparing their wares for the public. There were many selling interesting garden ephemera, as well as a host of autumn plants. I was especially interested in the large number of galvanised buckets, tubs and troughs with the potential to display my planned tulip display next Spring.

There were several artisans working as they displayed to the public …

As well as ‘everything garden’, there were stalls selling vintage collectibles, clothing, bags and hats. This young lady and her friends caused quite a stir by sporting bright-coloured summer hats, which led to a succession of impressed ladies visiting the hat stall. They were soon to be seen throughout the fair. Unfortunately, my coveted pink version was not to be, because the stall only accepted cash.

This young lady started a craze for the colouful hats on sale …

Dogs are always welcomed at Helmingham – and here are a few of my favourites.

Helmingham Hall, owned by the Tollemache family since 1480, has Grade 1 listed gardens  – as well as its extensive grounds and deer park. Lady Xa Tollemache is responsible for designing the present gardens and conducted a special tour of them for a small number of visitors. It was extremely interesting to discover the reasons behind her design choices, both creative and practical; especially as the walled garden is one of my favourites.

Other entertainment was provided by musical performers, dancers and birds of prey. Suffolk Plant Heritage also held a number of informative talks throughout the day – such as Matthew Tanton-Brown’s on choosing the best shrubs for autumn colour.

There were many happy customers at the Fair, including myself – and the Plant Creche had an amazing number of purchases in its care.  My favourite purchase, a vintage potato fork, can be seen below.

Riverside Bulbs, with Imogen Long’s captivating smile and bubbly enthusiasm, succeeded in encouraging me to buy 5 more varieties of Tulip to add to my online orders – which sent me off in pursuit of yet another galvanised tub !

I had a fabulous day, surrounded by happy visitors and friendly stallholders, in one of the most picturesque places in East Anglia.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity given to me by Maggie Thorpe and extremely pleased with my purchases, as seen below – back at Marlborough House.


Boxford Open Gardens – 2019

The arrival of June heralded Open Garden Season with a flourish – and saw me visiting Boxford’s annual celebration for the 4th year in a row. It is always a highlight of my year !

The weather was sunny and very hot, as usual – and I knew that visiting 31 gardens in 5 hours would be impossible, especially as I wanted to ensure the quality of my images was kept to a high standard. I still had a thoroughly enjoyable time even though I only managed to visit 11 gardens.

The following images are my favourites from the day …

 

Chequers

Always my starting place for the day’s visits;  I am never disappointed.

The plants on show are always impressive – and this year I was particularly struck by the ferns and other foliage species near the stream.

 

5, Church Street

This courtyard garden had undergone a major transformation since first opening last year. The new owners have worked hard and created a delightful extension to their living space. I would be extremely happy to have such a wonderful garden for relaxing in.

 

Mary’s House

I always love to pop my head into the back garden of this little house. Preserved as a museum by the church and cared for by the village parishioners – it has a quaint backyard filled with cottage garden plants & vibrant colours.

 

Hendrick House

A delightful, large walled garden, where the owners have successfully blended several different themes together, providing plenty of interest for the visitor. Gorgeous roses, vintage touches and cottage garden plants. I was especially pleased to see the lovely irises – always a joy ( and challenge) to photograph.

 

17 Swan Street

I’m always pleased to see Guy’s potted Hosta collection, which was looking splendid, as always. His Constance Spry rose is late flowering this year, however, there were other beauties to enjoy – such as the warm orange foxglove working perfectly against the old brick wall. Hacker, the Norfolk Terrier, made a brief appearance to have his tummy tickled !

 

Weavers House

Maggie Thorpe’s garden is always one of my favourites. Although it is relatively small, she has designed it beautifully, with lots of more unusual plants. The cascading urn always looks splendid, as does the Carpenteria californica.

 

18, Goodlands

This was a new garden for 2019 and the owner was an artist; displaying her attractive lino cut artwork. My favourites here were the Clematis – especially ‘Ville de Lyon’, as well  her vintage rhubarb pots.

 

45, Swan Street

This was another new garden for me. It had a perfect cottage-garden feel to it, with Foxgloves, Lupins and Roses. Unfortunately, the owner didn’t know the name of the wonderful pale pink rose which rambled against the wall of the cottage, as it had pre-dated her move there.

 

2 Cox Hill

It was time to leave Swan Street and walk a short distance to Cox Hill. These were my favourite images from Ginny Budd’s garden. I have to admit that is was Ginny’s beautiful new dog, Gyp, who stole the attention this time !

 

Boxford Views

Time was passing by quickly, so I headed back to the car in order to make my way to Groton & Edwardstone. There were many pretty gardens in view on the way – and these were my 2 favourite images …

 

Crown House, Groton

I always look forward to my trip up to Crown House to see Chloris’ wonderful garden. I could spend the whole day just photographing the beautiful plants there. Always keen to expand her planting, there have been new beds created since last year with some impressive Irises. A mixture of Cedric Morris and new varieties created by Chloris herself. I never fail to fall in love with the impressive rose collection and ‘Phyllis Bide’ was looking wonderful on the archway in the secret garden.

The French Lavender ‘Papillon’ was my favourite plant this year  – looking wild & romantic, set off perfectly by its gravel bed.

 

Dormers, Edwardstone

My last garden of the day, which was luckily open until 5pm. I was the last person to visit this very special place – and there were many many views and beautiful plants to capture. This was my favourite garden of 2018 – and I have to say that I haven’t changed my mind for this year. The vistas, roses and especially the gorgeous Lupins were enthralling. The owners and their friends were very welcoming, as were their 2 dogs – Bella & Daisy. I would really love to own this garden, although I’m sure a great deal of hard work goes on behind the scenes to create the finished effect !

I will be writing a separate blog dedicated to Dormers because I so many images that I wish to share.

Time had unfortunately run out for my garden visits, however the heat of the day had made me feel very tired so it was probably just as well.  Although I should have liked to see more of the gardens, I was so pleased to have seen such beauty and creativity in the ones I did explore.  I suggested longer opening hours to the organiser as I left, although the village seemed deserted of all other visitors as I drove on my way home.

My own “Garden Awards’ for this year are as follows :-

1st Place – Dormers

2nd Place – Crown House

3rd Place – Weavers House & Hendrick House ( Jt)

Chelsworth Open Gardens 26/6/2016

Of all the ‘Open Garden’ events on my calendar for the summer months, Chelsworth was the one that I had been looking forward to the most. It had been 3 years since I last visited this wonderful event – in a village that I consider to be one of Suffolk’s most picturesque.

The characterful houses and cottages that line the main winding route through Chelsworth always catch the eye – and make me want to linger a while to soak up the atmosphere of a country village that seems unspoilt by the passage of time. 

The pretty 13th century church, the pair of narrow bridges that span the River Brett and the abundance of green open spaces, all add to the village’s charm – as does the Peacock Inn, which is a quintessentially English country pub, dating back to the 14th century.

The alluring prospect of wandering freely around the beautiful gardens hidden behind these gorgeous listed buildings was too hard to resist – and I was determined to visit as many as possible. There were 22  gardens in the programme and I was able to look around 16 of them. I started at the west end of the village -so I will just have to begin at the opposite end next year !

I was very excited to be taking photographs of the gardens for 2 reasons -:

Firstly, I didn’t have my SLR camera with its special macro lens on my previous visit, which prevented any close-up shots – and secondly, this year was Chelsworth’s 49th Open Garden event and they are running a photographic competition to produce a 50th Anniversay Calendar …

These are my favourite images from the wonderful selection I visited – each garden having its own special charm …

 

Garden 21 – Swifts 

Chelswoth Blog-1

This garden was of special interest to me, as I was hoping to see a rather gorgeous tabby cat who lived there. I had managed to capture a wonderful close-up photograph of her on my previous visit. Unfortunately, the garden was quite waterlogged after the excess of recent rain, so no doubt Tigger had found a dry, cosy place inside the house ?!

 

Garden 20 – Meadow Cottage

This was the first of the gardens lining the north side of the valley – with many of them lucky enough to have their own meadow land rising up behind them. Perfect for fruit trees, vegetables and wild gardens. I contented myself looking at the lovely cottage plants closest to the house.

 

Garden 19 – Woodstock Cottage

 

 

Garden 18 – Hope Cottage

This garden belonged to a modern cottage which had been blended in perfectly with the older properties surrounding it. The garden was also new and had been made out of a field that belonged to the owner when he had lived next door.

 

Garden 17 -Tudor Cottage

A very pretty cottage garden, where the owner had transferred her upper garden to neighbours since my last visit.

 

 

 

Garden 16 – Church View

Some of my favourite plants were growing in this garden, which was vast and divided into lots of separate ‘gardens rooms’.  My absolute favourite was the Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’  –  dancing like pretty ladies in the breeze …

 

 

Garden 15 – Oak Tree Cottage

A wonderful place for tea and cake under the shade of a glorious walnut tree – with an amazing Delphinium bed.

 

Delphinium Bed

 

 

Garden 14 – The Grange

A beautiful garden adjoining the church and belonging to an impressive Hall House originating from the 14th century. It had a walled garden, statuesque formal planting and lovely cottage-garden borders. The roses were beautiful and the atmosphere of this garden (which was also serving afternoon tea & cakes) was friendly and relaxing.

 

Garden 10 – The Summer House

This delightful garden belonged to an old house tucked neatly behind The Peacock Inn. There was a wonderful collection of beautiful roses – mixed with complementing cottage garden plants.

 

 

Garden 9 – Princhetts

A massive garden belonging to a grand old residence. It had a lovely walled garden with an inviting wrought iron gate at its far corner, leading through to a vegetable garden, trees and a wildflower meadow.

 

Garden 8 – Middle House

 

 

 

Garden 7 – The Old Manor

 

Garden 6 – The Old Forge

 

 

Garden 11 – Bridge House

As its name suggests, this house and garden sat just across the old bridges by the side of the River Brett.  It was an amazing garden, due in part to its wonderfully setting beside the river – although mostly because of the vision and hard work of its owners. I heard many people declare that it was their favourite of the day – and from my perspective, it was definitely in my ‘Top Three’. There was just so much to photograph …

To begin, there were the vistas –

…then the plants …

…structures and majestic urns …

… and finally, bridges …

With all of it beautifully illuminated in the late afternoon sunshine, you can certainly see why visitors adored this garden !

Garden 13 – The Coach House

My last garden of the day – I arrived almost as the clock struck 5 o’clock. The friendly owner told me not to worry or rush, which was a lovely relaxing way to end my visit. The garden, set behind an extremely attractive red-bricked house, was full of charm and delicate colours. It was surrounded by fields and had the sense of being miles from anywhere …

 

My ‘garden pilgrimage’ of Chelsworth was at an end – and to be honest, I was exhausted. My schedule to cover as many gardens as possible had meant that there was only time for one refreshment break – and so I felt that a well-earned cold drink at The Peacock Inn was the perfect way to conclude my visit to the village. The Open Gardens event had been superbly organised and the garden owners were friendly and enthusiastic. There was a lovely atmosphere amongst the many visitors to the village, who – like myself – were seriously impressed with the beautiful plants and garden designs, as well as the gorgeous old buildings.

Is it possible that this year’s event could ever be surpassed ..?

Something tells me that the gardeners and their friends will be doing their utmost to make Chelsworth’s 50th Anniversary Open Gardens in 2017 the ‘best ever’ !

 See you there …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bury St Edmunds Hidden Gardens – 19/6/16

After a successful visit to Lavenham’s Hidden Gardens last summer, I decided that it would be good fun to spend a day in Bury St Edmunds – to explore the hidden gardens of its historic town centre.

The event first started in 1987 and has been raising money for the local St Nicholas Hospice ever since.

It was a very hot and humid day with a mixture of sun and cloud – combined with a reasonable amount of walking around to see all the gardens. I managed to visit two-thirds of the gardens on show – and the following galleries highlight either favourite gardens or favourite plants that I discovered along the way …

Garden 1 – Chantry House.

This was actually the last garden that I visited and was right in the heart of the old town. Luckily by late afternoon it was cool, peaceful with few remaining visitors.

 

Garden 4 – 59 Southgate Street.

There was a long walk in the hot sun to get to this out-lying garden. The advantage was that it was much quieter than the central ones and there was some welcome cooling shade. It was very attractive with lots of cottage garden plants – including aconitums and geraniums.

 

Garden 5 – 6 Southgate Green.

This garden particularly appealed to me because of its mix of wild flowers with the more traditional garden species. It had beautiful herbaceous borders with wonderful colour combinations and areas of wild grasses with ox-eye daisies. There were lots of happy bees and other insects busily feeding – and many people ( including me !) feasting on Gabrielle’s wonderful home-made cakes …

 

Garden 6 – 32 Maynewater Lane.

A beautiful clematis with huge purple flowers caught my eye in this garden …

 

Garden 11 – 6 College Lane.

This garden had once been the exercise yards of the old workhouse and had the feel of a serene and peaceful cloister. There was plenty of room for sunny and shaded areas – and I was delighted to see numerous thriving  Astrantias – one of my most favourite plants.

 

Garden 12 – The Guildhall Feoffment Trust, College Square.

This garden was a real revelation to me, as I was expecting it to adhere to a certain formula – of bedding plants and conventional planting. I was pleasantly surprised at how imaginative the choice of plants was – and this ended up being one of my top gardens of the day …

There were wonderful beds of scented roses in blocks of colour for maximum impact, beautiful aquilegias with long graceful spurs, dahlias and Honey Garlic ( Nectaroscordum siculum) Anyone growing the latter two plants is always going to get ‘brownie points’ from me ! I imagine the residents really love and appreciate such a beautiful garden …

 

Garden 13 – Greyfriars

This was another beautiful walled garden with more interesting plantings – such as a majestic goat’s beard (Aruncus dioicus) and the most impressive and beautiful peony that I had ever seen.

 

Garden 18 – Turret Close

My final gallery today is from this massive garden filled with many different sections and types of plant. It was beautifully designed and cared for – and understandably appeared to be attracting ‘Top Garden of the Day’ votes from many of my fellow visitors. I prefer the more humble and understated – and this was reflected in the plants that I chose to capture from this garden …

 

I had a thoroughly enjoyable, albeit tiring day, exploring the gardens normally hidden from public view. The garden owners and visitors were all extremely friendly and there was a lovely atmosphere around the town.

I was glad though to have worked out a route that kept me away from the crowds that were swarming like bees around this beautiful collection of gardens, as I prefer to do my photography in a more peaceful setting, where I can truly capture the essence and atmosphere of the garden -without getting in anyone’s way.

My special awards for the day have been chosen with that atmosphere in mind – and are as follows :-

Runner up – Garden 4  Peaceful and cottagey.

Bronze Medal – Garden 12  Imaginative, perfumed and restful.

Silver Medal – Garden 11  Serene and secluded.

Gold Medal – Garden 5  Full of colour and wildlife with a wonderful feel of the countryside within the town.

A truly wonderful day in Bury St Edmunds – where the Hidden Gardens revealed Hidden Treasures …
Continue reading

Boxford Open Gardens – 5/6/2016

A beautifully sunny and extremely hot Sunday set the scene for a day of total indulgence for me – Boxford Village Open Gardens followed by a visit to the nearby Leaven Hall in Leavenheath.

The prospect of visiting the gardens of Boxford filled me with excitement and enthusiasm, although I knew that I would be restricted in the number of gardens that I could fit in to my limited time frame. I therefore decided to choose those closest to the centre of this picturesque Suffolk village …

There was a vast array of wonderful gardens to choose from – I only managed to visit 5 out of the 21 shown in the leaflet !  I took my time in each one, especially my 3 favourites, so that I could really concentrate on getting some special images – rather than rushing around madly with the photography suffering as a result.

The weather, albeit gorgeous, was not presenting the best lighting conditions for close-up flower photography, so it was necessary to choose plants in dappled sunlight or shade wherever possible. It was also scorchingly hot and I therefore moved slowly and tried to keep in the shade as much as I could.

Here is my gallery of images from each of my Top 3 Gardens …

 

Garden 17 – Swan Street

My choice for  ‘garden of the day’ – with lots of my favourite plants in – including the wonderful Nectaroscordum siculum. The bright sunlight meant that I could not really do the beauty of this garden justice. Luckily, the owner had a shady area near to his house, where he kept his wonderful collection of container-grown Hosta …

 

Weavers House, Swan Street

The second fascinating garden that I visited was that of a truly dedicated plantswoman, named Maggie Thorpe, who is president of the Suffolk Plant Heritage group. Her garden was full of unusual varieties and she was happily explaining about them all to her many visitors. The garden was a wonderful sun trap with little space for me to set up my tripod – so unfortunately I only have photos of the one flower that really caught my eye… It was a beautiful lemon-yellow Aquilegia longifolia – with its graceful spurs lending it an angelic quality.

 

 

Causeway House

My final featured garden was the last one I visited that morning. It was leafy, cool and peaceful with a stream running along one side. The planting here was different to the other two, with many shade-loving species. It was easier to photograph here with the light filtered and softened by the trees.

Despite not normally being a great fan of shade-loving plants, I was quite taken by the Brunnera, with its flowers so like Forget-me-nots, that I originally believed that the latter were growing through the perennial forming a perfect partnership with the cream and green leaves.

The other plant combinations that caught my eye were the bold and spiky Allium cristophii surrounded by the frothy yellow and lime-green flowers and soft olive leaves of Alchemilla mollis – and a beautiful soft pink peony set off against the dark-purple leaves of a Sambucus nigra or ornamental Elder.

Sad to be leaving Boxford with so many wonderful gardens unexplored, I nevertheless decided that I had done remarkably well in choosing such a superb small selection of plant havens. I certainly hope that my images convey the beauty that I found there.

Next year I will be a guaranteed visitor to Boxford Village on Open Garden Day 2017, with the mission to explore all of the gardens and take many more images ..!

Long Melford Open Gardens – 30/5/16

With RHS Chelsea under our belts, our enthusiasm for ‘all things horticultural’ awakened and our gardens burgeoning with the wonderful colours of Late Spring – what better way for me to start my new blog than with a pictorial account of my first Open Gardens Photoshoot of 2016  ..?!

Long Melford is one of Suffolk’s most picturesque villages, with its long main street of listed buildings and cosy cottages, rising uphill to give visitors a splendid vista of Holy Trinity Church beyond an impressive village green. With the National Trust’s Melford Hall to their right and its near neighbour Kentwell Hall ( both Tudor mansions) just beyond the church – the village is a Mecca for visitors wishing to immerse themselves in the grandeur and beauty of this former wool village.

The weather was disappointing for visitors, after a reasonable preceding fortnight of sun and light breezes – however, the cloudy skies presented me with the perfect conditions for my flower photography; despite a keen wind at times.

This was my first visit to Long Melford’s Open Gardens and I was extremely excited. There were 18 gardens on show (although one was the village cricket pitch !) and I managed to visit 17 of them.

I found all the garden owners to be very friendly, welcoming, helpful and immensely dedicated to their own special ‘patch’. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting each and every garden, although I did have my special favourites. I will reveal these at the end – in case anyone reading is tempted to visit next year, or if fellow visitors wish to compare notes against their No. 1 choice ?

I must say, however, that there was certainly a garden to suit everyone’s taste – from the modest to the grand – and enough inspirational flowers and planting designs to compete with the best of Chelsea…!

I didn’t visit the gardens in numerical order, however, I think it is easiest to list them that way. If I don’t have a photo for a particular garden – it is not because I wasn’t impressed – sometimes photos don’t turn out quite how you expect them to …

Garden 1 – Doghouse Cottage

A long walk was worth the effort – although the wind had started to blow with force by late afternoon. The Wisteria sinensis was looking glorious …

Wisteria sinensis
Wisteria sinensis

 

Garden 2 – Holy Trinity Church

 

Blue Cornflower
Blue Cornflower

 

Garden 3 – Fern House

 

Small but perfectly formed ...
Small but perfectly formed …

 

Garden 4 – Sloane Cottage

 

Terracotta Glory
Terracotta Glory

 

Geranium
Geranium

 

Dolly
Dolly

 

Garden 5 – Melford Hall

 

Crimson Lupins
Crimson Lupins

 

Garden 6 – Brook House

A wonderful display of Iris sibirica in the garden of this handsome ‘Hall House’ originating from the Elizabethan era.

Iris sibirica
Iris sibirica

 

Iris sibirica
Iris sibirica

 

Iris sibirica
Iris sibirica

 

Gate to Hall Hall Street
Gate to Hall Street

 

Periscaria bistorta 'Superba'
Persicaria bistorta ‘Superba’

 

Garden 7 – Number 10, Spring Gardens

Silly Moo !
Silly Moo !

 

Garden 8 – Number 2, Hanwell House, Spring Gardens

One of the many glorious Hosta on display in this wonderful walled garden.
One of the many glorious Hosta on display in this wonderful walled garden.

 

Garden 9 – Sun House

Shades of Purple
Shades of Purple

 

Gladioli byzantinus
Gladioli byzantinus

 

Yellow bearded Iris
Yellow bearded Iris

 

Aquilegia
Aquilegia

 

…and the ‘Piece de resistance’ …

Nectaroscordum siculum- Sicilian Honey Garlic
Nectaroscordum siculum- Sicilian Honey Garlic

 

Garden 10 – Eldon Cottage

A pretty cottage garden dedicated to Wildflowers and Wildlife …

Garden 10 - Eldon Cottage
Sweet Rocket – Hesperis matronalis ‘White’.

 

Garden 11 – The Posting House

An amazing garden – long & luscious, with many different plant habitats. A wonderful plant stall packed to the brim with gorgeous plants propagated from the lovely species on view.

 

This pale lemon Aquilegia caught my eye …

WC - LM-2

 

Garden 14 – Mia Casa

A smaller garden with the most amazing view of meadows, with willows and grazing cows. The foxgloves suited it perfectly …

Garden 14 - Mia Casa
View over meadows.

 

Foxgloves
Foxgloves.

 

Garden 15 – Bishops Rock

Although this was a more modern property, the garden evoked a sense of a bygone era – with its splendid herbaceous border and its cottage garden plants. I found my favourite Aquilegia of the day; along with Lupins, Alliums and an exquisitively-perfumed White Lilac …

My favourite Aquilegia
My favourite Aquilegia.

 

Lupin 'Manhattan Lights'
Lupin ‘Manhattan Lights’.

 

Allium trio
Allium trio.

 

WC - LM-13
Herbaceous Border Glory.

 

A wonderful colour combination of purple Aquilegia and Alchemilla Mollis
A wonderful colour combination of purple Aquilegia amongst Alchemilla mollis.

 

Garden 17 – St Mary’s Hall

Cottage planting and gravel path - a perfect combination ...
Cottage garden planting and gravel path – a perfect combination.

 

So here’s to a successful and thoroughly enjoyable day spent in a quintessential English village – I really hope you like my pictorial journey. Now for my own special awards …

My particular favourites evoked a sense of romanticism in me – either because they were filled with my favourite types of flowers, or because they stretched my imagination to envisage what could be possible in my own very modest garden.

Just out of the medals; my 4th place award goes to Sloane Cottage.

In Bronze Medal place is the garden at The Posting House.

My Silver Medal Award goes to Bishops Rock.

Gold for 2016 is Sun House – Just Awesome.

It was a truly special day filled with beautiful plants and the friendliest people you could hope to meet on a Bank Holiday Monday in Suffolk …

Continue reading