Tag Archives: Buddleia colvilei ‘kewensis’

National Gardens Scheme – don’t you just love it?


The National Gardens Scheme, founded in 1927, now gives in the region of £2.5m to nursing and caring charities every year and has an incredible choice of 3,800 gardens to visit.  This weekend was their festival weekend, and although other commitments meant I wasn’t garden visiting this weekend, I thought I’d share photos three NGS visits I’ve made in the past week.

The first, above, was Mill Farm, in Bembridge, across Bembridge Harbour from where we live.  It’s a large garden which wraps around the property and its informal, cottagey planting blends beautifully with the stone walls.IMG_7633

The beds are generously filled and have a glorious abundance which contrasts with immaculately kept edges. IMG_7628

I’ve only visited Mill Farm once before, but one thing I’d remembered was an incredible array of aquilegias, and they certainly didn’t disappoint this year either.

And why Mill Farm?  Well, they get to see this from their garden. IMG_7641

From Mill Farm I returned to Nick Peirce’s garden, also in Bembridge but very different.  I wrote about it last year in some detail here, so this is only a glimpse.

Nick works full time but also breeds day lilies (see his website here).  Obviously it’s early for Hemerocallis, and whilst there were many waiting in the wings,


there was this stunner already in bloom.IMG_7622

Nick’s garden is long and thin and has a wonderful jungly feel, created with, amongst other things, numerous grasses.  I’ve been growing Carex from seed for my new Bronze Bed which I hope are as striking as these:


I’ve also got Libertia in the Bronze Bed but they’re rather weedy compared to these magnificent specimens.IMG_7624


Oh and I still LOVE his Buddleia  colvilei ‘kewensis’.IMG_7623

And the third one?  An evening opening at the private garden for the Brothers of Charterhouse in central London.  I persuaded a couple of work colleagues to join me and we had a very jolly time.  Perhaps the free glass of wine had something to do with that!2015-06-02 18.40.24

The site was acquired in the middle of the fourteenth century as a burial ground for the victims of the Black Death but as not all the space was used, a Carthusian Monastery was also established.

Do you think the burial ground explains these rather chilling stone carvings?2015-06-02 19.01.55

Under Henry VIII’s reign the monastery was suppressed and passed to the Crown, and then subsequently to Lord North, who constructed a Tudor mansion.2015-06-02 19.06.29

In 1611 the mansion was sold to Thomas Sutton, who used much of his wealth to endow a charitable foundation to educate boys and care for elderly men, known as ‘Brothers.’   Charterhouse School was moved to Goldalming in 1872, but the brothers remain, and get to enjoy this glorious oasis, tucked between Barts Hospital and the rather brutalist Barbican.2015-06-02 18.45.54

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So three very different and inspiring gardens in the space of three days, for a total of £11.  What a fabulous organisation.

Thanks NGS.

White Cottage wonderment


Another gorgeous June day and another garden visit.  This time to White Cottage Daylilies just across the harbour in Bembridge.

I first read about Nick Peirce’s garden in one of the posh gardening magazines a couple of years ago.  I was thinking what a stunning, intriguing garden, and was then absolutely stopped in my tracks to learn it was on the island.  Since then I’ve been a couple of times and was intending to go for Nick’s NGS opening earlier in the month, but got the day wrong. So bereft was I, I emailed Nick to ask if I could schedule a private visit and he kindly obliged. I was accompanied by my friend Louise from the Old Rectory and it was such a joy to introduce two of my gardening heroes to each other.  Both had heard of the other (from amongst others the Telegraph garden writer Jean Vernon, who’s written about both their gardens) but had not met and had not visited the other’s gardens before,


Nick’s cottage is terraced and so, when you enter the garden, the space is initially quite narrow.  However this initial confinement is only temporary, as the garden widens as you explore.  There is no lawn, so access through the garden is via a sinuous path which winds directly through the planting.  ‘Through’ being an accurate description, as by this time of year the planting is spilling out onto the paths, adding to the sense of discovery,


Nick admitted to us that whilst his first love was daylilies, he has since become intrigued by succulents, and more recently species fuschias, but there is a lot more going on in this garden than just those three genera.

Not only was yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday photo of Solanum Pyracanthum taken at Nick’s, but he introduced us to a host of other plants we were unfamiliar with including Buddleia  colvilei ‘kewensis’


Agapetes ‘Ludgvan Cross’IMG_3277

and a stunning grass, sorry, I don’t have the name.IMG_3268

Something more familiar, but which I didn’t recognise, were the seedheads of Salsify.  They had incredible golden colouring in the June sun.IMG_3274

So back to the first three genera.  Nick has been breeding daylilies for years now – just as well, as it takes three years from seed to flower and then another three years until potential registration.  If you look on his website you’ll see he has now registered ten daylilies, all with the prefix ‘Vectis’ to denote their Isle of Wight heritage and that they’re his introductions.  It was a little early in the year for the daylilies, but there were a couple more bred by Nick to admire.

Nick also had some intriguing species fuschia.  The only one of his I recognised was Fuschia microphylla, which I have and have previously written about, but this one was gorgeous – so incredibly dainty, Fuschia procumbens variegata.IMG_3295

And to finish, I always love an arrangement of succulents – but I think this one takes the prize:IMG_3282

With many thanks to Nick for being such a charming and informative host,  But also for being so outrageously generous to not accept payment for the many plants we staggered home with.