Sunday found me in York, and in need of distraction having dropped my daughter at uni in Durham the day before. So, as well as lunch with a girlfriend, I had a flying visit to Scampston Hall Walled garden, created by Piet Oudolf in 1999, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for years.
And was it worth waiting for? Well, yes and no.
The plan of the garden shows its complexity, and for me, not many of the numbered areas really worked. There was a huge amount of ‘structural’ planting in yew and box, which I hadn’t expected at all, and found a bit overwhelming.
3, on the plan was the Cut Flower Garden and this was a bit of a mess. Admittedly some of the beds had been given over to a local school to plan and maintain, but when I think of the cutting blooms I’ve seen in your Monday vases, these weren’t too inspiring.
There were two areas with a symmetrical layout either side of the centre, called the ‘Spring Box Border’ (6) and the ‘Summer Box Border’ (10), and to my mind they were rather a waste of space. That’s an awful lot of box when you could have flowers!
In the centre of the garden is the Perennial Meadow, which was sadly looking rather past it.
Interestingly, the Sussex Prairie Gardens, created by Paul and Pauline McBride, who previously worked with Piet Oudolf, and have created a fabulous garden with a ‘twist’ on perennial planting, have managed to keep their garden looking good at this time of year. Check out my post from their garden, Sussex Prairies, from 14th October last year.
The one area I absolutely loved, however, was the ‘Plantsman’s Walk’, which led you on a route around the circumference of the garden. Although you were inside the walls, you weren’t within the garden ‘rooms’, and here the planting was both fantastic and fascinating.
The interesting shrubby planting was looking really striking, and included over ten varieties of Hydrangea and eight of Viburnum (not shown) but also Cornus kousa var. chinensis
and Actaea ramosa.
I also loved this Comptonia peregrina, which had coloured up from bright green earlier in the year.
And one of my favourite shrubs, Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, beautifully placed with the cloud pruned box and the Hakonechloa macra grass.
And to finish something they definitely get a gold start for – a nineteen page plant identification list. Now that’s a keeper!