Following our Beth Chatto visit on Saturday we made a whistlestop visit to the RHS garden at Hyde Hall. Fortuitously, one of our class mates has volunteered there for more than a year, and kindly offered to give us a private tour.
Hyde Hall is another garden I’ve visited just once before, again, over twenty years ago, and I’ve been entertained with both this visit and Beth Chatto’s as to how little I’d remembered.
One thing I’d definitely forgotten at Hyde Hall was the ‘borrowed landscapes’. Unlike say, Wisley, where the only vistas are within the garden, at Hyde Hall there are broad, expansive views over the surrounding Essex countryside.
Because of our assignment topic, our focus was the Dry Garden, but getting there (and back) we managed to glimpse most of the garden’s 360 acres.
Firstly we walked up through the Australia and New Zealand garden, filled with grasses, Phormiums, Pittosporums and tree ferns.
The Pittosporum, just seen in the right hand corner above, P. tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ was repeated throughout this area and all were showing zingy new green growth above the deep burgundy.
On to the Dry Garden, where the ‘gravel’ mulch is a significantly larger grade to Beth Chatto’s, and gives a very different effect.
There were also many plants in common with Beth Chatto’s, including this attractive Geranium malviflorum – I like the way the flowers are held proud of the foliage –
and Libertia peregrinans ‘Gold Leaf,’ here with Euphorbia myrsinites.
There was a broad range of silver foliage plants including this soft and woolly Salvia argentea
contrasting with the fierce, spiky Galactites tomentosa.
These glaucous leaves look like a scaled down Melianthus major, but are in fact the leaves of Sanguisorba canadensis and only about a foot tall.
and I love the curls and furls of this sea kale.
As well as foliage there were some diminutive bursts of colour, here an Erigeron aureus ‘Canary Bird’
and this firey Helianthemum ‘Henfield Brilliant’
Leaving the Dry Garden we walked through the Rose Garden and Herbaceous Borders, but it was, of course, too early for any real interest.
At the far extreme of the garden we also saw the area of the new ‘Global Growth Vegetable Garden’, currently under construction. We looked down from above at the ‘Big Sky Meadow’ where a three year project in conjunction with James Hitchmough of the University of Sheffield is developing a massive area of meadow planting. Whilst it’s an ambitious project which will look stunning once (if?) successful, at the moment it’s clearly early days and there’s little to see.
Making our way back to the entrance, I came across this gorgeous Erysimum ‘Red Jep’. What a colour!
And lastly, the Modern Country Garden and then the Cottage Garden and we were back at the start.
So thanks to Hyde Hall, clearly you haven’t stood still in the last 20 years, and thanks also to Clive for being our tour guide.