Category Archives: Garden visits

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.

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!

 

The Old Rectory, Kinston – just dreamy

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The weekend before my own garden opening I gave myself the afternoon off to visit my friend Louise’s garden which was open for the NGS.

The Old Rectory is a wonderful garden, continually developing and always an absolute delight.  This visit was further enhanced by a spectacularly beautiful day.  The meadow above was added a couple of years ago, a second meadow to this longer established one below.

Louise loves roses and was definitely the inspiration for the number I’ve now planted chez Duver Diary.IMG_2729

There are always lovely planting combinations and new varieties to admire.

Thanks Louise, it was just beautiful.

As my neighbour said, who visited for the first time – “Best £4 I’ve ever spent!”

Tardy Parham post

The same weekend we visited Gravetye Manor, we also visited Parham House and Gardens in West Sussex.IMG_2453

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.IMG_2399

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Oh, and did I say there was a fabulous nursery?IMG_2451

Thanks Parham, IMG_2392

I wonder if I can make it back for your Garden Weekend?IMG_2388

Glorious Gravetye Manor

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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.IMG_2476IMG_2483

Further absolutely stunning displays surrounded the Flower GardenIMG_2462IMG_2520

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To the south of the Flower Garden is a huge Wildflower Meadow but there wasn’t a great deal to see at this time of year, but there were some lovely poppies!

Walking around to the orchard and then on towards the glasshouses, we passed this glorious sight

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and we weren’t the only ones enjoying it!  Can someone identify it please?IMG_2489

On to the glasshouses and there was a mixture of large scale production, IMG_2492

as well as rather more glamorous endeavours.  Look at these fabulous peaches!IMG_2493IMG_2494

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.IMG_2496IMG_2502

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?

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All in all it was an amazing garden, so thank you Gravetye Manor, Tom Coward and William Robinson.  Genius!IMG_2501