Back in February I visited the stunning 4 acre winter gardens at the Sir Harold Hillier gardens in Hampshire, and at that time vowed to return to see the Centenary Borders looking rather better than they were then:
Fast forward six months and they were absolutely magnificent. At over 250 metres long, they’re the longest double borders in the UK and comprise over 30,000 plants. The aerial photo below is from the garden’s website and shows the incredible scale of the endeavour.
The planting was all still looking fresh and vigorous which I think is impressive as we head to late August.
And there were some lovely plant combinations like the salvia and perovskia with the dahlia
and the amaranthus with the grass.
There were a couple of similarly coloured sedums, Sedum ‘Marchants Best Red’ and
Sedum Red Cauli. I particularly like this latter one and wonder whether I might find room for it in the Mid Century Bed.
Whilst many of the agapanthus in the borders were finished, this incredibly dark one, Agapanthus Black Magic was still in perfect condition and really striking. It’s so dark it was actually quite hard to photograph and you’d have to be very careful where you placed it to provide a contrasting background.
And back to the dark red theme, there were a number of these Ricinus at over a metre tall. I grew Ricinus communis ‘Carmencita’ from seed earlier in the year and now have four or five in 9cm pots. The question is what on earth am I going to do with them now? Whilst one might look good in the new Mid Century bed, sadly I don’t have 250m of double borders to fill, so don’t really think I’ve got the space for them. Perhaps Hilliers would like a couple more?
From the Centenary Borders we walked on to Jermyn’s House, the previous residence of the Hillier family, the site of February’s lovely snowdrop display, and most importantly the location for my coffee and cake stop.
However, it wasn’t the cake that stopped me in my tracks, but the fabulous planting against the house.
It was absolutely stunning. Many of the flowers I’d grown either this year or in the past (Nicotiana Lime Green, Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy, Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’) but they’d also succeeded with Zinnia Queen Red Lime (the one Zinnia I failed with this year) and brought them all together to produce a bold, brilliant whole. One of my favourite borders EVER!
I definitely predict some Jermyn’s House inspired revisions to my Bronze Bed next year.
And to finish, one plant I didn’t know, this gorgeous, simple dahlia. I was so struck with it I asked a member of staff what it was and she confessed it was a ‘rogue’ – not the dahlia they’d ordered and so she couldn’t identify it.
However, she explained that it had been bought from a local supplier, and that let to a whole new adventure….