Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Wednesday Walkabout - Great Gardens of Scotland

En route to Glasgow - over the clouds, somewhere in the Lake District

The Pineapple - an extraordinary architectural feat, on the way to Edinburgh

Pitmuies - a captivating garden on the way to Aberdeen

Edzell Castle - a ruin with attitude, helped by the bright blue skies

Crarae - a Himalayan garden in the heart of Argyll and Bute - coming into bloom at this time of year

Benmore Botanic Garden - famous for its magnificent trees

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Garden of Cosmic Speculation open to public on 30 April 2017

Charles Jenck's Garden of Cosmic Speculation - the Holy Grail of Scottish gardens - is open to the public for just one day this year - next Sunday, 30 April - as part of the open scheme arranged by Scotland's Gardens
I've been lucky enough to visit twice in the last five years - once on an open day in 2012, and again last year on a garden tour with a very small group. The single open day means that it can get very crowded and although adequate parking is provided, it's advisable to arrive early to find a place close to the gardens. As parking is in a field, it can be VERY muddy, so do take suitable footwear!



Entrance to the open day is £10.00 (£5.00 concessions) and if you click on the Scotland's Gardens website link (above), full details are available about purchasing tickets in advance and on the gate. Well worth making a special trip for, even if it is very crowded on the day!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Wednesday Walkabout - Driftwood, East Sussex




Geoff Stonebanks' garden is definitely one for the "Wishlist" this summer - Driftwood is a tiny plot in Seaford, East Sussex, filled with innovative ideas and perfect planting. It opens from 1 June for groups, by arrangement and on designated days for charity (see website link above for details). Keep your eyes open and don't miss the finer details of this extraordinary garden. Every penny raised from openings goes to charity and Geoff has already collected more than £76,000.  You certainly won't be disappointed when you visit and you know your donation is going to a good cause. Happy visiting!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Wednesday Walkabout - Spring gems in Sussex and Kent - Great Dixter, Gravetye Manor, Michelham Priory and The Walled Nursery

Great Dixter in East Sussex is always worth a visit - it's a jewel garden filled with colour throughout the season
Spring is sprung and gardens around the garden are awash with colour. There's always an incredible display of tulips at Great Dixter at this time of year - which marks just the beginning of another season of extraordinary eye candy at this wonderful garden, where head gardener, Fergus Garrett reigns supreme to ensure that every visitor leaves ecstatic! He worked alongside garden guru and owner, Christo Lloyd for many years and carries on the tradition of vibrant planting established by his mentor. 
William Robinson lived at Gravetye Manor and created the original gardens - Tom Coward has brought them back to life during his successful seven-year stewardship here
And not too far away, there's another amazing Sussex garden, under the stewardship of Tom Coward, who worked alongside Fergus at Great Dixter, before moving seven years ago to another legendary garden - Gravetye Manor - one-time home of William Robinson. Tom has done a remarkable job of restoring and rejuvenating the landscape here and it's a must-see garden - a great place to have afternoon tea and then take a wander round. 
Geoff Stonebanks' garden is an utterly delightful micro garden overlooking the sea in East Sussex
Another Sussex gem that opens regularly for charity, thanks to the extraordinary energy and effort of owner, Geoff Stonebanks, is Driftwood in Seaford, but check opening dates below. This is a magical micro garden overlooking the sea, filled with interesting plants and quirky, interesting ideas - rest assured, you'll never catch them all in a single visit. Check out Geoff's webpage here to see when the garden's open. You won't be disappointed.
Michelham Priory is in the heart of the East Sussex countryside near Hailsham and well worth a visit
Michelham Priory, near Hailsham is flourishing under head gardener, James Neal's care and is alive this week with tulips. A really good choice for children over the Easter holidays as there is a number hunt to keep them occupied and masses of space to run around in, while the grown ups can enjoy the bucolic setting of the priory and its grounds.
The Walled Nursery at Hawkhurst, Kent has a wonderful cafe if you're out plant hunting
And if you're putting your best foot forward on the hunt for plants and want to follow an interesting restoration project that's underway, head for The Walled Nursery near Hawkhurst in Kent, close enough to combine with Great Dixter or Sissinghurst. There's delicious food at The Winery Cafe on site and some interesting plants.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Wednesday Walkabout - Wakehurst Place

Well worth a walkabout, especially in springtime - Wakehurst Place in Sussex - where you'll find ideas for your own garden: trees and plants to marvel at; the Millennium Seedbank (worth a visit on a rainy day); and wonderful walks throughout the year. This is Kew in the countryside at its best!
Get there as soon as possible to see all the magnificent magnolias in flower, rhododendrons and a lot more besides. The shots below are just a snapshot of what's in flower now.

Open daily from 10.00 -18.00 (Last entry 17.00). The Millennium Seedbank is a working scientific hub that aims to conserve 25% of the world's plant species by 2020. Admission is £12.50 for adults, free to National Trust members.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Silent Sunday - Postcard from Mallorca






In search of wildflowers in Mallorca, but just a little distracted by all the colours here! 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Magnificent magnolias for Mother's Day

High Beeches Gardens in West Sussex is a remarkable woodland garden
We're all getting ready for Mother's Day - buying flowers, arranging lunch or an outing, but why not take your mother somewhere really special this Sunday? Choose a garden, walk around and admire the magnificent magnolias in bloom - they are really special flowers that will leave a lasting impression! And there are some fantastic gardens in the South-East of England that are easily accessible.
High Beeches Gardens, south of London, have some of the best magnolias on display anywhere and offer the chance to take a woodland walk that takes in fantastic rhododendrons, swaying daffodils and views that will leave you astonished. Open from 13.00 this Sunday, specially for Mother's Day and it's well worth a visit.
You'll find more magnificent magnolias and rhododendrons at Borde Hill, with the former in flower and the latter beginning to bloom (and so early this year, that the garden has opened a week ahead of schedule to enable visitors to truly enjoy the visual delights on offer).
In Hampshire, there's the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, with its extensive magnolia collection close to the main house at the heart of the garden. 
And of course, there's always Kew Gardens, on the fringes of London, with its own collection of these wonderful trees and magnificent glasshouses. And if you're visiting, don't forget to marvel at The Hive - an amazing artform in the middle of the garden.
And look out for other spring marvels at all these gardens, including carpets of flowers
But let's not forget, if it hadn't been for the formidable plant explorers who travelled far and wide in centuries gone by, we would not have any of these magnificent trees here in the UK.

Happy Mother's Day and let's hope the sun shines!