The Frustrated Gardener said the other day “if a garden doesn’t look merry in May, there’s a problem” and although I’m thrilled mine has survived our recent absence (thanks to the dogsitter’s kind ministrations) it’s not ideal that it’s so merry now, as it will doubtless be looking rather exhausted by the garden opening in four weeks’ time! Ah well, at least I can share with you.
So, this view is the Mid Century bed looking across the Lavender bed to the incredibly flowery Leptospermum beyond. Here it is with an invasion of self seeded Valerian keeping it company.
In the right hand Lavender Bed the peonies are just about to burst
whilst in the left hand one (aside from miles of Convolvulus) there is my ‘old’ Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ and new E. ‘Red Jep,’ lots of pinks and my little Silk Tree.
Conversely, the Grass Bed is in a sorry state, with little to entertain except tatty forget me nots and self seeded Nasturtiums and Poppies. This is due a big clear out and will be planted with annuals, hopefully next weekend.
The Veg Patch has moved on from this picture, as I’ve now planted out runner beans and sweet peas. I’m intending to plant further flowers for cutting here, so have only erected two sets of bamboos this year.
The fleece to the right is to protect the strawberries in the lower bed, but we’ve now moved it off the wall as it was forcing the Agapanthus flower heads into such awkward twists I felt compelled to liberate them!
The Pat Austin roses in the Bronze Bed are doing their cantaloupe thing, and will hopefully soon be joined by Achillea ‘Terracotta’ with Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’ to follow later in the summer.
I’m still planting up pots, with the troughs by far the largest. The plan here is a trailing sweet pea ‘Cupid’s Pink’ at the front together with a shorter Cosmos ‘Antiquity’ behind, but there seems to have been a bit of a mix up with the Cosmos lables, so I could end up with any one of four different varieties. Oops.
Other pots which have largely overwintered are looking far more established – Pelargonium ‘Surcouf,’
I love ‘In a Vase on Monday’ because it’s full of beauty, warmth and a sense of community, and, reading Cathy and Christina‘s posts this morning about their meeting (which sadly I missed as I was away) only reinforced how wonderful warm hearts and like minds are. Sadly, this was something so brutally missing a week ago in Manchester.
Consequently I’m sharing flowers which, whilst deliberately dark, I hope convey both life and beauty, things we all need to pause to appreciate in these tricky, tricky times.
Wishing you all a peaceful, beautiful Monday.
It’s a garden I’ve been meaning to visit for ages as I read they had fabulous tulips. Sadly, unlike Gravetye, only a few miles away, the majority of the Parham tulips were past their best, but there was so much else to admire, not least some glorious walls and structures.
Oh, and did I say there was a fabulous nursery?
I wonder if I can make it back for your Garden Weekend?
I’ve just looked back at my GBBD post from a year ago and it’s all tulips with a few Narcissi – today’s is roses, poppies and pelargoniums. What a mad spring!
The rose above is ‘Pat Austin’, the one below a bit of a family joke as I’m not a fan of red and so, when a builder chopped it back to ground level a few years ago I didn’t mourn. However, since then it’s come back bigger and stronger, so I’ve given it a grudging acceptance.
And here’s ‘St Swithun,’ finally looking well established on the pergola.
There are a few more roses already in bud so I’m starting to fret they’ll all be long gone by the garden opening at the end of June!
This little Cistus is also looking more summery than the calendar – but then so was today’s sunshine.
Having rested for only a couple of months the Leptospermum is back again.
By the front steps I’ve popped some bought Osteospermums into the big bath. I like how the centres pick up the colour of the Pelagoniums behind.
Another daisy flower is the Erigeron karvinskianus growing in the crack at the bottom of the steps.
Two Alliums flowering now. The one on the left is called ‘Violet Beauty’ and was planted in the Drive Bed to flower with a similarly coloured tulip. Not only did they not flower together last year, but this year only about three of the tulips returned, and not many more of the Alliums.
The one on the right is good old ‘Purple Sensation’ (being apparently strangled by the foliage of Allium Sphaerocephalon)
I bought a new Geum recently, ‘Prinses Juliana’ (the one on the right), to go in the Bronze Bed with ‘Pat’ (the rose). I was perfectly happy with it until I read Sarah Raven talking about G. Totally Tangerine (the one on the left, which I had already in a pot on the barrow). From these photos they don’t look that different, but she’s right, Totally Tangerine is a softer more subtle colour, and definitely a better match for Pat. Darn!
More orange from this lovely little plant we brought back from Madeira just a week or so before I started this blog. It hasn’t flowered for years but I’m delighted to see it blooming again. I did find the name at one stage but have now lost it again. Any clues?
Looking across the Lavender Bed to the Mid Century bed beyond I like how the Gladioli spires are repeated by the Foxgloves.
I love this little poppy. I’ve gone a bit mad for them and have planted plenty, some grown from seed (including this one) and some bought as plugs. Let’s hope it works!
At the back of the Swing Beds these Nicotiana mutablis are now over a metre tall. I’m still a bit confused as to whether they self seeded, as they seemed to get going so early, it’s more like they overwintered, There a definitely a few kicking about in seed trays that seem to have survived, so I’m thinking I should plant them out too.
And this is another favourite – Surcouf, in the twin pots on the decking. They’ve gone mad this year!
In the greenhouse the Sweet Peas are also going bonkers and I’ve picked a proper big bunch this weekend.
To finish I think my favourite bloom today. This is Erysimum ‘Red Jep’ which I fell in love with when I saw it at Hyde Hall. I found just one supplier and bought them online last year, but I note this year Sarah Raven has them too! I’ve taken a few cuttings but I really must take more as already they’re looking a little woody at the base so I’m not sure how long they’ll continue to look so good.
With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts everyone’s GBBD.
This is another vase based around the sweet peas. Finally I’m able to pick a real handful so I thought I use them to christen my new glass trough. (I’d already ordered it before I admired the one at Gravetye, but it’s nowhere near as large as theirs).
The sweet peas have been joined by the Antirrhinum majus ‘The Rose’ again, as well as the stalwart Cerinthe major purpurescens. I actually found the vase a little tricky to use as the top heavy Antirrhinum and Cerinthe kept dropping back out again as there’s no lip to keep them in. I cut them a bit shorter and put the sweet peas in first and it was fine, but it has made the arrangement quite ‘dense’ as I wasn’t able to have the Antirrhinum poking out as I’d envisaged. Also, I didn’t sear the stems of the Cerinthe and after a night in the kitchen with the Aga still on they’re already drooping, so they’re not ‘poking’ either.
Anyway, drooping or not, it certainly smells divine!
And to finish a silly extra arrangement prompted by photographing the red and amber roses for GBBD – I thought adding in a stem of Aeonium would make a traffic light!
With thanks to Cathy who hosts this lovely meme.
None of these beautiful vases are mine this week, but they were all on display at Gravetye Manor which I visited at the weekend and blogged about here, and I thought the lovely IaVoM crowd would enjoy them as much as I did,
The gardens are glorious and happily there were also flowers everywhere within the hotel. The ones above were in an intriguing circular but flat vase. It struck me as a clever design as it provides that wonderful arc of flowers, but doesn’t take anything like the volume of blooms required to fill a similarly sized gold fish bowl shaped vase, and, if it’s to be placed against a wall you don’t need an all round arrangement.
I asked at reception what proportion of the blooms came from the garden and, whilst understandably they said the proportion is higher in the summer, it was clear from my walk around the garden and from the lovely natural feel to the arrangements, that many of the blooms, and particularly the foliage, had been cut from the garden.
This fabulous pair of vases were in the dining room, and, whilst I’m sure the lilies were brought in, and I imagine the Molucella too, I know the beautiful Dicentra were from the garden as I saw a whole bank of them.
This vase also made use of another round/flat vase. I can’t think what the blue flower is (any clues?) but this too I saw growing in the garden.
And finally, I think perhaps my favourite, so simple and yet so charming, just a lupin bud, and some foliage, including a little bud of Alchemilla mollis.
The head florist at Gravetye is Chelsea award winning Sue Flight, who’s quoted on the website saying “It really is a pleasure to work with the flowers at Gravetye. The ability to have specially grown cut flowers is fantastic and I am able to recreate the garden inside! Gravetye has been an amazing place to work where you feel a sense of belonging to a special family; a family that works together to provide exceptional hospitality for our wonderful guests.”
It turns out she runs monthly Flower Workshops at the hotel. Anyone tempted? I know I am!
With thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the garden who hosts this lovely meme.
This weekend saw the OH and me celebrating (a month early) our 30th Wedding Anniversary having decided just a few days ago to go to Gravetye Manor.
Gravetye was the home of William Robinson, who bought it in 1884 and lived there until his death in 1935. At Gravetye he established the idea of the English natural garden, eschewing the ‘blobby’ Victorian bedding planting and, instead pioneering sweeping, painterly drifts of herbaceous perennials close to the house, but also establishing wonderful ‘wild’ areas of naturalised bulbs and wild flowers.
As the website says “The variety and charm of the arrangements of trees and shrubs and the layout of the different types of garden at Gravetye is still his creation and memorial. Even when very old and partly crippled he would go out in his wheelchair and scatter bulbs and seeds from a bag on his lap; the garden room he built at the end of the formal garden provided him with a shelter from which he could watch his beloved flowers and trees from a fresh viewpoint.”
I’d read about Robinson and Gravetye in The Garden magazine a couple of years ago and it’s been on my list ever since. Following the hotel changing hands in 2010 significant redevelopment work has taken place in the garden under the careful eye of Tom Coward (who had previously spent three years with Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter).
The gardens surround a wonderful hotel and aren’t available to just wander into, consequently our stay was planned as a special treat – to stay a night and enjoy the gardens as part of the visit.
Exiting through the bar you are greeted with the view above. The view is north westerly across the flower garden.
The timing of our visit was pretty much perfect with not only the tulips at their peak, but the Azalea Bank too. And you have to admire the backdrop of remarkable mature trees.
Further absolutely stunning displays surrounded the Flower Garden
Walking around to the orchard and then on towards the glasshouses, we passed this glorious sight
and we weren’t the only ones enjoying it! Can someone identify it please?
On to the glasshouses and there was a mixture of large scale production,
as well as rather more glamorous endeavours. Look at these fabulous peaches!
From the glasshouses we entered the astonishing elliptical 1.5 acre Kitchen Garden. Not only is this the first kitchen garden I’ve ever been in that wasn’t square or rectangular, but it’s also on a proper slope – the whole thing slopes really significantly towards the south east.
At the back of the Kitchen Garden we came across this beautiful ‘Allium Gate’. Apparently it was only made three years ago by a local female blacksmith. I haven’t been able to find out the name of the maker, but isn’t it wonderful?
All in all it was an amazing garden, so thank you Gravetye Manor, Tom Coward and William Robinson. Genius!