Monthly Archives: October 2017

End of month view – October 2017

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Today’s ‘End of Month View’ features photos actually taken on Friday as it was such a beautiful day I was compelled to capture it.

This first view is over the statuesque Ricinus communis ‘Carmencita’ to Bembridge harbour beyond.  Amazing to think that, as a half hardy annual, the Ricinus was just a seed eight months ago!IMG_3637

Walking across the decking there are still blooms on the Pelargonium ‘Surcouf’

as well as in various other pots.

Round to the Strawberry Bed you can see the Agapanthus are rather taking over.  I have now chopped back the seed heads, but I fear the strawberries are being squeezed out.

The  Swing Beds still have a bit of colour, largely from the Salvias, but also the Verbena bonariensis and a few asters and rosesIMG_3651

The pergola is luxuriantly draped in Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’, but surely the amazing thing about this shot is the colour of the sky!IMG_3653

This Grass Bed photo is one of total chaos, and is in fact is no longer representative as I spent Saturday afternoon pulling out all the spent annuals and rediscovering the Stipa tenuissima at the back, which give the bed its name.  Dozens and dozens of Nasturtium seeds fell onto the bed as I was clearing, so next year they’ll be back with a similar vengeance unless I’m very determined.

I finally got my bulb order in last weekend and this bed is destined to be one of the beneficiaries. Last year the vast majority of bulbs planted here were eaten by some critter or other, so I’m hoping next year will be more successful.

In the left hand Lavender Bed I’m delighted that my little silk tree Albizia julibrissin ‘Ombrella’ is doing well –

it’s already come a long way from this twig (see to the left of this photo from April).  I wonder if next year it will flower?IMG_2355

Walking round the house to the western end of the garden takes you first past the Flower Carpet roses, looking ridiculously perky,

and then the old tin bath, also full of summery Gazanias and Osteospermums.

Once round the corner things take a definitely autumnal turn, 

but you’ve got to love that Cercis – talk about bonfire night!

Back round to the greenhouse, and you have to admire the continuing blooms of the greenhouse pots.  These have been blooming non stop since June and have been an absolute joy. 

The greenhouse, however, has not been such a joy.  It’s latterly suffered an infestation of whitefly, so I’ve hoiked nearly everything out, discarding all the tomatoes and cucumbers

and leaving pretty much everything else outside like a mad ‘bring and buy’ plant sale.

Fingers crossed the whitefly expire before the temperature drops – and anyone with any whitefly tips, please do share!  

With thanks to Steve, at Glebe House Garden, who now hosts End of Month views.

Hauser and Wirth

It was only seeing Hauser and Wirth on Gardeners’ World recently that I realised I’d never blogged beyond my Wordless Wednesday teaser last month.

Although a rather grey day, this was another bucket list garden, and despite it being the OH’s birthday weekend, I was indulged with a visit (although I did have to pay for lunch!)

Hauser and Wirth is a fabulous arts centre near Bruton in Somerset and was created from a number of historic farm buildings a couple of years ago.

Sadly, the gallery itself was closed on the day of our visit, but there was still amazing art work around the venue to enjoy.

Behind the gallery, Piet Oudolf has designed a 1.5 acre perennial meadow.  The garden exhibited the classic Oudolf approach to design, relying on contrasting forms and textures for interest, rather than clever colour combinations.

The view back to the gallery shows these interesting circular ‘plats.’  I really like these – they add a novel (and child friendly) dimension to what would otherwise have been a featureless path.

Looking the other was you can see the birthday boy himself!

There were numerous planting combinations that were just that bit different, and, as with another Oudolf garden, Scampston Hall (which I visited a couple of years ago), there was a comprehensive plant list, so it was good to be able to identify less obvious plants.

And of course, there were plenty of grasses.

So, thanks Hauser and Wirth, not only was it a great garden, but we also had a truly delicious lunch.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild – what a gem!

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The second garden visit I managed to slip in during last week’s French sojourn was the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild overlooking the Bay of Villefranche and the Bay of Beaulieu, about 10 kilometres from both Nice and Monaco.

The Villa is situated on the Cap Ferrat peninsular and has spectacular views in all directions.

Béatrice de Rothschild bought the land in 1905, having recently divorced her husband (a banker, Maurice Ephrussi) and lost her father and consequently inherited a tidy sum.  At the time, the plot was just a rocky outcrop and she set about both building the villa and landscaping the beautiful gardens.

Maybe it was the weather, or maybe the views, but I really do think this was one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve visited.  Not only was the site incredible, but the design, apparently designed to echo the prow of a ship (to fit the peninsular’s shape), led you on a wonderful journey through different gardens from Spanish to French to rose and exotic. What an adventure!

The entrance, to the western side of the house, took you past this rather glamorous display featuring, yes, marigolds!  However, the thing that intrigued me were those marvellous Asparagus ferns.  What a gorgeous fresh colour and funky shape!

Through to the Spanish garden and whilst I’ve seen Brugmansia (previously Datura) before, I’ve never seen them in such a gorgeous soft peach, never planted as an avenue lining both sides of a pool, and also never such an astonishing display of glorious, pendulous blooms.

The sign suggested this one is B. x candida and I’m so taken with it I’m tempted to see if I can get it to grow here.

As well as exotic blooms, there were plenty of plants you could grow in the UK – this rose and perfectly matched bizzy lizzy for example,

or striking Salvia

(maybe) Cuphea and Hibiscus

or a peachier Hibiscus.

This first view out of the gardens was looking north west towards Villefranche.

and here, in a similar direction, through a beautiful iron gate,

and again, through an arbour.

Here, looking due west

and again.

I loved the extraordinary colour of this plant –  I think it’s an Iochroma

The Exotic Garden had a similar array of plants to those at Eze, but (to me) not quite as successful, perhaps because they were amongst non exotic trees as a backdrop?

Next came the Rose Garden, covering quite a significant area, and still smothered in a restrained palette of rosy blooms.

However, what was extraordinary was the fact that the very ‘English’ Rose Garden was smack bang next to the Exotic Garden.  So much for ‘right plant right place’ – amazing what an irrigation system will allow!

The Rose Garden was the furthest (south) from the villa so we started to make our way back, through the Provencal Garden, past Leonotis leonurus planted with lavender

a stunning Salvia

and yet more views, firstly, almost south towards Paloma Beach

and then looking east towards Cap-d’Ail

Back to the gardens, the final ‘hurrah’ was the French garden, clearly seen from the villa and consisting of a formal arrangement of beds and pools, where, according to the website “To add to the fairytale feel, musical fountains spring from the large pond like a grand aquatic ballet.”

Beyond icing and beyond cake, just wow  🙂 

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Thanks Béatrice, it was an absolute joy.

In a vase on Monday – Moody loos

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So I popped into the garden at lunch time to pick some blooms and it really looked like the end of the world.  The light was a deep orangey/black, apparently caused by Saharan sand whipped up by Hurricane Ophelia.  Weird!

This equally moody amalgamation consists solely of blooms from the mid century bed – Dahlia ‘La Recoleta’

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Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’ (just seen bottom left) and Salvia.  Not sure which this one is, but it has a delicious blackcurrant scent to the leaves.IMG_3623

And why the title?  I think you can guess..

With thanks to Cathy who hosts all our vases, wherever we put them!

Taking it Eze-y on the Cote d’Azur

We’re just back from a last minute walking holiday to the Cote d’Azur, blessed with absolutely fabulous weather.

Aside from walking around 9 miles a day, I was delighted to squeeze in two garden visits.  The first was Eze which turned out to have a wonderful Exotic Garden (Jardin Exotique d’Eze), perched on a rocky pinnacle.  Not only were all the plants in fabulous condition, but the garden was enhanced by elegant sculptures of rather elongated ladies by Jean-Philippe Richard,

as well as stunning vistas in every direction, both inland

and out to sea.

Oh, and see the umbrellas below?  They turned out to be on the terrace of the Chateau Eza Hotel which served a very good cup of coffee with the best ever biscotti.   Worth every one of the 24,565 steps it took me to get there!