Tag Archives: Phormium.

Whistlestop Hyde Hall


Following our Beth Chatto visit on Saturday we made a whistlestop visit to the RHS garden at Hyde Hall.  Fortuitously, one of our class mates has volunteered there for more than a year, and kindly offered to give us a private tour.

Hyde Hall is another garden I’ve visited just once before, again, over twenty years ago, and I’ve been entertained with both this visit and Beth Chatto’s as to how little I’d remembered.

One thing I’d definitely forgotten at Hyde Hall was the ‘borrowed landscapes’. Unlike say,  Wisley, where the only vistas are within the garden, at Hyde Hall there are broad, expansive views over the surrounding Essex countryside.

Because of our assignment topic, our focus was the Dry Garden, but getting there (and back) we managed to glimpse most of the garden’s 360 acres.

Firstly we walked up through the Australia and New Zealand garden, filled with grasses, Phormiums, Pittosporums and tree ferns.IMG_0388

The Pittosporum, just seen in the right hand corner above, P. tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ was repeated throughout this area and all were showing zingy new green growth above the deep burgundy.

On to the Dry Garden, where the ‘gravel’ mulch is a significantly larger grade to Beth Chatto’s, and gives a very different effect.IMG_0407


There were also many plants in common with Beth Chatto’s, including this attractive Geranium malviflorum –  I like the way the flowers are held proud of the foliage –IMG_0400

and Libertia peregrinans ‘Gold Leaf,’ here with Euphorbia myrsinites.


There was a broad range of silver foliage plants including this soft and woolly Salvia argenteaIMG_0403

contrasting with the fierce, spiky Galactites tomentosa.IMG_0408

These glaucous leaves look like a scaled down Melianthus major, but are in fact the leaves of Sanguisorba canadensis and only about a foot tall.IMG_0422

and I love the curls and furls of this sea kale.IMG_0402

As well as foliage there were some diminutive bursts of colour, here an Erigeron aureus ‘Canary Bird’IMG_0412

and this firey Helianthemum ‘Henfield Brilliant’IMG_0417

Leaving the Dry Garden we walked through the Rose Garden and Herbaceous Borders, but it was, of course, too early for any real interest.

At the far extreme of the garden we also saw the area of the new ‘Global Growth Vegetable Garden’, currently under construction.  We looked down from above at the ‘Big Sky Meadow’ where a three year project in conjunction with James Hitchmough of the University of Sheffield is developing a massive area of meadow planting.  Whilst it’s an ambitious project which will look stunning once (if?) successful, at the moment it’s clearly early days and there’s little to see.

Making our way back to the entrance, I came across this gorgeous Erysimum ‘Red Jep’. What a colour!IMG_0424

And lastly, the Modern Country Garden and then the Cottage Garden and we were back at the start.IMG_0429

So thanks to Hyde Hall, clearly you haven’t stood still in the last 20 years, and thanks also to Clive for being our tour guide.

End of month view – January 2015


A rather sorry end of month view, but then it is January so perhaps I shouldn’t fret.

The old tin bath above was new (in a second hand sort of way) towards the end of last summer. I painted it to match the house and initially filled it with a bit of a quirky mix, including a number of Aeoniums and some Diascia which provided a jolly show to greet those arriving up the steps at the front of the house.

For the winter, I’ve changed its look to a dark red and silver combination of Cyclamen, pansies, Cineraria and Euphorbia mysinites.  Unfortunately I hadn’t read the crucial advice for winter containers, which is to cram in the planting from the word go as the plants won’t really grow and spread in winter as they do in summer.  Consequently my pot is a little sparse, but still, it provides welcome colour at this time of year.

The rest of the garden looks a lot like it’s ‘resting’.

The Drive Bed, below, has a few hellebores (worryingly I think fewer than last year) as well as one of the two Garrya Elliptica.  The strap like leaves are the Sisyrinchium striatum I moved from the Swing Beds in the autumn, the idea being that their flowers should match with the pale yellow flowers of the climbing rose ‘Snow Goose’, later in the year.IMG_5917

The right hand Lavender Bed is not showing much apart from the Phormium, Euphorbia and clipped LavenderIMG_5921

whilst the left hand Lavender bed is a little fuller with Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve‘, Anisodontea and a low conifer (front left) which I’ve forgotten the name of.IMG_5920

The view of the Grass Bed is rather disturbed by all the workmen’s kit.  Whilst the grasses are still looking good, the rest of the bed is pretty empty apart from the Forget me knots.  The numerous spring bulbs are still to raise their heads.IMG_5923

I had a little tidy of the two Med Beds in front of the greenhouse, and cleared away many leaves which had blown into the bed.  The two most obvious plants here are the Euphorbia mysinites (front left) and Agapanthus plants which I planted out last year and were grown from seed two years earlier.  I don’t know whether the Agapanthus will flower this year but I live in hope.IMG_5938

The picture of the two Swing Beds shows the Salvia and Phlomis italica dominating the foreground.  Both need cutting back so they don’t get too leggy this year.


The photo below is of the Oak Bed, which spends most of the year shaded by the Over-the-road-Oak.  There are a lot of Spring bulbs to come in this bed which take advantage of the better light before the Oak gets its full canopy.  And there are already a number of Hellebores flowering towards the front of the bed.

The Viburnum Tinus is rather overwhelming here and also needs to be cut back.IMG_5913

And to finish, a little more colour.  Sadly this isn’t in my garden, rather in my neighbour’s, but it’s their lovely Mimosa, flowering bravely in the January chill.



With thanks as ever to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting this End of Month meme,

Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day – January 2015


Anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time will know how much I love my Melianthus Major (above).  And seeing it in the sunlight today prompted me to join Christine at My Hesperides Garden with her Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, even though I’m a day late!

I’ve used my Macro lens, so these photos are close ups, deliberately concentrating on individual leaves, rather than the whole plant.

It’s been interesting to look at foliage rather than flowers today (and just as well at this time of year!) and I’ve been interested to see how much blue/silver toned foliage I have,  including this tiny Pachyveria succulent,IMG_5825

Phlomis italicaIMG_5844


young Digitalis foliage, IMG_5846

Euphorbia mysinitesIMG_5871

Lavender IMG_5853

and Olive.  IMG_5841

The only red at this time of year is the Cornus and the inherited Phormium below.  I’m not really a fan of phormium and I’ve inherited four.  One I think I should really have out, but the rest provide good structure, so I’ll probably leave them alone this year.IMG_5832

My lovely Stipa tenuissima grasses are looking quite dead, but they will return!   Meanwhile they’re still providing lovely movement along the back of the grass bed.  I’ve combed them through but don’t usually cut them back.  They should start regrowing fairly soon.IMG_5849

One plant I don’t think I’ve ever featured before is another inheritance, a bottlebrush, Callistemon citrinus.  This has got quite large now but I’ve read you can’t prune too severely as it won’t regenerate from low down (a bit like lavender) so I think I should give it just a light trim this year, immediately after flowering, to try to keep it in check.IMG_5864

And to finish, I guess these catkins are strictly flowers, but somehow they sit better here than on GBBD!  These are the lovely catkins of Garrya Eliptica, also known as the Silk Tassel Bush.


With thanks again to Christina for hosting this lovely meme.