Tag Archives: Osborne House

Yearly round up – 2015

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2015 was the first time I’d planted dozens of tulips directly in the Swing Beds, having previously faffed about planting them in pots and then moving them in and out.  And, in classic gardening happenstance, they didn’t flower as I’d planned at all!  The tulips I’d planted as mids, ‘Pink Impression’ (above) flowered first, and on their own, and then these were followed by (supposedly) April flowering ‘Mistress’ and May flowering ‘Menton’ flowering together (below). The whole show was an absolute joy.

This year I’ve planted more tulips, but in the two new beds, so time will tell as to how perennial these three in the Swing Beds out to be.IMG_7022

As well as the tulips I also planted more Alliums.  I found the new Alliums ‘Violet Beauty’, a little disappointing, but the extra A. Purple Sensation I added, were fabulous as ever.IMG_7231

And the Diving Lady got a new, early bath in the form of Iris reticulata ‘Blue Note’.

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As well as new bulbs, 2016 saw the creation of two new beds, firstly the ‘Mid Century Bed’, below, named after the lovely metal structure the OH bought me for my big birthday.

The theme was supposed to be bruised, purply colours, but, as with the bulbs, there was a welcome ‘mistake’ to enjoy in the form of this Ranunculus, theoretically ‘Purple Heart’, but I rather think not.IMG_7715

I planted some roses for this new bed too, including R. Jubilee Celebration (no, not very bruised either!)IMG_7967

and Rosa ‘Falstaff Climbing’ to grow up the obelisk, but the plant that really stole the climbing show this year was the ‘Rhodochiton atrosanguineus‘.

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The second new bed has a bronze or orangey theme.

 

Many of the plants were grown from seed, including this Nasturtium ‘Caribbean Crush’ and the beautiful grass Hordeum Jubatum.IMG_8240IMG_7930

There was another new rose here too, R. Pat Austin.IMG_8906

And later in the year the ridiculously floriferous Dahlia ‘Happy Singe Date’.  This just went on and on and formed the basis of numerous peachy vases of flowers.

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In June I opened the garden for the third time as part of a village group opening, in aid of the island’s Earl Mountbatten hospice.  I had over 150 visitors and some lovely comments.IMG_7889

Also in 2015 I was lucky enough to visit numerous gardens both on and off the island, including the Sir Harold Hillier garden in February (and again in August)IMG_0411

Arundel Castle in May,IMG_7089

Mottistone Manor in June,IMG_7677

Osborne House in (March and) August

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and Great Dixter IMG_9124

and Bodnant in October.2015-10-29 11.28.44 HDR

As well as my own garden and garden visiting, I dipped in and out of Cathy’s lovely ‘In  a vase on Monday’ meme, including sharing the saga of the wedding flowers 

as well as this group of vases created in October when the OH became captain of his golf club.IMG_9349

And, on the basis that it’s a very rare gardener that ever stops learning, I went on courses at Great Dixter, Common Farm Flowers and West Dean.  And then, to top it all, in September signed up for a Level 3 course in Plants and Planting Design at Capel Manor college, which I’m absolutely loving.  Which reminds me, I really need to get on with my holiday homework!

Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2016, and thank you so much for supporting Duver Diary with your views, likes and comments.

Osborne House revisited

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Some of you may remember my previous visit to Queen Victoria’s summer residence, Osborne House, in March when there was plenty to see despite it being early in the year.  More importantly, there was plenty of promise to draw me back, so, on Saturday, back I went.

It really was the most glorious day and the walled garden was completely transformed from spring time.  Not only were the agapanthus stupendousIMG_8128

and the greenhouses groaning with potsIMG_8126

but what I’d really come to see were the annuals.

Remember this?IMG_6150

Well it became this:IMG_8136

Huge drifts of white Antirrhinum, Cosmos Purity, Molucella laevis, Ammi majus and white sweet peas.  Wow.

And in the opposite corner, a more colourful mixIMG_8120

of Cosmos, Echium vulgare Blue BedderIMG_8122

and Larkspur ‘Fancy Purple Picotee’.IMG_8123

Out of the walled garden walking north towards the house, I came across this magnificent cork oak, Quercus SuberIMG_8143

and look who planted it.IMG_8144

Round the house to the north side is the extensive terrace.  Here the planting was even bolder and the colours really sang on such a glorious day.IMG_8153

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Happily this time the Solent was much more visible than in March, so we decided to walk down to Queen Victoria’s beach for a closer look, taking in more agapanthus and pots on our way…

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On the way I noticed this bench I’d never spotted before:IMG_8186

Did you ever see the fabulous film ‘Mrs Brown’ with Judi Dench and Billy Connolly?  It was all about the relationship between John Brown and Queen Victoria after the death of Albert.  A lovely film, beautifully acted.

So to the beach and Queen Victoria’s bathing hut.  These huts were wheeled down to the water in the Victorian period so that the ladies could bathe without the indignity of having to wander down the beach in their (near) altogether.  Sounds pretty appealing to me, particularly if the beach is pebbly!IMG_8169

And here is the beach she swam from, looking particularly pretty with numerous yachts on the Solent sailing on the first day of the Cowes Week regatta.

I have to confess there was also a deckchair and an ice cream involved in my enjoyment of this view.IMG_8171

 

Osborne Mothers’ Day

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Like last year when I went to Mottistone, I do like to treat myself to a garden visit for Mothers’ Day, and this year it was Osborne House.  Osborne House is situated in East Cowes near the central northern tip of the Isle of Wight.  The property was built in the 1840s for Queen Victoria, her husband Prince Albert and their children.  According to English Heritage, who now own the property “It was built in the Italianate style in order to fit its setting on an island whose temperate climate and panoramic views over the Solent reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples”.IMG_6187

There are a number of areas of gardens, firstly the parkland area, both near the entrance and between the house and the Solent.  These areas are more informal, with many hellebores and spring bulbs:IMG_6133

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and some winter flowering shrubs like this Lonicera FragrantissimaIMG_6136

Edgeworthia chrysanthaIMG_6134and this fiery Berberis Darwinii.IMG_6117

In front of the house, to the north and overlooking the Solent, are formal terraces.  Although I’m not a fan of ‘park planting’ there’s something pleasing about the crisp layout as seen in winter. IMG_6185

And the pots are gorgeous!IMG_6177

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It’s hard to spot in such murky weather, but you can just see the sea in the two photos above. This is the Solent, the strip of water which separates the Isle of Wight from the south coast of England.

My favourite area of the gardens, however, is the walled garden.  There are many references to Victoria and Albert here.  Not only the V and A intertwined in the ogee arch in the first picture, but also V and A potsIMG_6166

and many plants named for them, like these two rhubarbs.

In the glasshouse are wonderfully exotic Datura

as well as Strelitzia reginaeIMG_6153

and a pair of magnificent matching pots.  I can’t think what this is.  Any clues?IMG_6158

Back outside I found this lemon, growing against a south facing wall and just protected by fleece.  I’m starting to see the Bay of Naples connection!

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And to finish, something to tempt me back!  Clearly the gardeners have been marking out large areas of the beds in the walled garden for direct sowing of annuals.  They’re really big areas so it will be intriguing to see what they plant.IMG_6164

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Hopefully when I return I can also visit the Swiss Cottage (near the coast) where Victoria’s children used to play.  They each had their own garden plot where they “tended fruit, vegetables and flowers using miniature tools and their own monogrammed wheelbarrows. The produce was assessed by the under-gardener, Mr Warne, and if good enough, Albert would pay market rate to the child who had grown it.”  Aaah!