Yellow Book Gardens 1 – Bury Court Farmhouse

Our first National Garden Scheme’s Yellow Book garden of 2015 was to Bury Court Farmhouse in the Herefordshire village of Wigmore. We always look forward to our visits to other gardens which open to the public under the auspices of the NGS because of course we open for the Yellow Book too. We were particularly keen to see what other gardens looked like in April as our first opening this year is on 16th April.

To celebrate our first NGS garden of the year the sun came out and the temperature shot up to 17 degrees way above anything we have so far experienced in 2015. We drove down through the beautiful Shropshire Hills and into Herefordshire a county with such beautiful villages among beautiful countryside. We were directed into a rough grassed car park riddled with muddy puddles. We had to seek out a space for our car among dead farm machinery slowly decaying and being taken over by Mother Nature. A cheerful welcome awaited us at the garden gate. Spot the horse shoe hanging from the NGS sign.

2015 04 05_0370

We passed through a five barred gate into a courtyard with narrow borders around its perimeter and a rectangular bed in the centre all planted with cheerful spring bulbs and early flowering perennials and shrubs. Hyacinths, Vincas, Celandines, Doffodils and Tulips.

2015 04 05_0371 2015 04 05_0372 2015 04 05_0373 2015 04 05_0374

We were amused by the owl family and the bird bath.

2015 04 05_0375 2015 04 05_0376

The garden boasted a small productive patch with leeks and broad beans already growing well and cloches warming up soil for future crops. A lawned area alongside was bordered by a tall hedge which allowed woodland plants to grow in its shade.

2015 04 05_0377 2015 04 05_0378 2015 04 05_0379 2015 04 05_0380 2015 04 05_0381 2015 04 05_0382 2015 04 05_0383

At the front of the house was a large sunny lawn with island beds full of brightly coloured spring flowering plants. Primroses, Primulas and bulbs especially Hyacinths and Narcissi.

2015 04 05_0385 2015 04 05_0386

This beautiful bronze statue of a hare was basking in the sunshine among blue Anemones.

2015 04 05_0387

The borders around this sunny lawn were truly mixed borders with herbaceous planting, shrubs and trees giving interest at every level.

2015 04 05_0388 2015 04 05_0389 2015 04 05_0390 2015 04 05_0391 2015 04 05_0395 2015 04 05_0396 2015 04 05_0397 2015 04 05_0400 2015 04 05_0404 2015 04 05_0405 2015 04 05_0406

Right in the centre of this lawned area was a clue to the original use of the imposing stone built building in the centre of the garden. It had originally been a farm growing apples to make cider. The photos below show the mill stone that would have been used to crush the cider apples. Ponies were used to pull the stones around a groove.

2015 04 05_0409 2015 04 05_0410  2015 04 05_0412

2015 04 05_0413 2015 04 05_0414 2015 04 05_0415 2015 04 05_0416 2015 04 05_0392_edited-1 2015 04 05_0411

So our first Yellow Book garden of 2015 was certainly worth a visit with its cheerful planting and it served very nice tea and cakes!

 

 

Posted in colours, flowering bulbs, garden design, garden photography, gardens, grow your own, hardy perennials, ornamental trees and shrubs, spring bulbs, spring gardening, The National Gardening Scheme", trees, Yellow Book Gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Seaside Town at Night

We often visit North Wales and the island of Anglesey. It is an area with beautiful countryside, long quiet beaches, tiny villages and seaside towns. When we stay for a mid-week break we sometimes use a hotel in the seaside town of Caernarvon, enjoying the walks along the sea front, the quay and the marina.

This post is a gallery of shots taken on a wander through the town and along the sea front as light fell. The temperature was slowly falling as the evening crept in. The atmosphere of the place reflected the changing temperature and light levels. Come and share our wander with us! Fresh evening air and the sounds of the sea lapping at the sea walls trying to drown out the harsh cries of the sea gulls.

2014 08 13_2516 2014 08 13_25182014 08 13_2522 2014 08 13_25172014 08 13_2510 2014 08 13_25132014 08 13_2507 2014 08 13_2506 2014 08 13_2514 2014 08 13_25052014 08 13_25042014 08 13_2509 2014 08 13_2508    2014 08 13_25012014 08 13_2503 2014 08 13_2502   2014 08 13_2521 2014 08 13_2520 2014 08 13_2519 2014 08 13_2515   2014 08 13_2512 2014 08 13_2511 2014 08 13_2524

Great memories that make us yearn for a few more days by the sea!

 

Posted in architecture, buildings, Church architecture, colours, light, light quality, outdoor sculpture, photography, the sea, the seaside, the shore, townscapes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside – Part Two – The Great Orme

For our second reminder of autumn we return for our next bout of sea air. This time we made our way over more Welsh hills, moors and mountains to the northern stretch of coast. We stopped off in Llandudno for a wander along the pier before taking the driving tour of the Great Orme.

The sky was blue and the sea matched it. The pier seemed all blue too and on this bright day it looked so cheerful. The odd splash of yellow and red added even more drama.

2014 09 27_5266 2014 09 27_52672014 09 27_5269 2014 09 27_5270

In the next shot you can spot the Great Orme looming in the background, with its strata lines of limestone clearly visible in the bright light. Isn’t it inviting when you spot it there?

2014 09 27_5271 2014 09 27_5272 2014 09 27_5273 2014 09 27_5274 2014 09 27_5275 2014 09 27_5276 2014 09 27_5277 2014 09 27_5278  2014 09 27_5280 2014 09 27_5281

Jude enjoyed the sight and sound of the sea as we reach the end of the pier.

2014 09 27_5279

Having enjoyed our walk out into the sea along the old blue and white pier we went on to start the second part of our day out, a drive around the Great Orme following the toll road.

2014 09 27_5286_edited-1 2014 09 27_52822014 09 27_5304

The single track road winds in and out of the inlets and headlands closely  following the line of the coast. The track is enclosed within limestone walls, laid as dry-stone walling.

2014 09 27_5301 2014 09 27_5285_edited-12014 09 27_5283 2014 09 27_5284 2014 09 27_5287 2014 09 27_5288 2014 09 27_5289 2014 09 27_5290

One feature of the Orme is a unique herd of wild white goats. We have driven up to the summit of the Orme and around the edge plenty of times in the past but rarely even caught a glimpse of these strange creatures. This day was our lucky day! Their white coats glowed against the deep blue sky.

2014 09 27_5293 2014 09 27_5294 2014 09 27_5295 2014 09 27_5298 2014 09 27_5299 2014 09 27_5300 2014 09 27_5296_edited-1

We took a diversion to the summit when we were almost all the way around the perimeter road. Our eyes were immediately drawn to this bronze statue of a wild white goat.

2014 09 27_5304 2014 09 27_5302

As well as its white goats the Great Orme is known for its ancient mines and its Victorian tram line. While wandering the summit we discovered near the old mine that visitors had used fallen limestone blocks to write their names on the close cropped grass.

2014 09 27_5305 2014 09 27_53072014 09 27_5310 2014 09 27_5308

We just had to have a go!

2014 09 27_5309  2014 09 27_5311

We enjoyed a wander around the summit, discovering a little wildlife garden and wild meadows surrounding the quarry and the tram terminal.

2014 09 27_5315 2014 09 27_5316 2014 09 27_5317 2014 09 27_5318 2014 09 27_5320 2014 09 27_5321  2014 09 27_5319  2014 09 27_5324

We enjoyed wide views across open pastureland on our drive back down into Llandudno.  What a great day out at the seaside!

2014 09 27_5323 2014 09 27_5322

 

Posted in countryside, landscapes, meadows, the sea, the seaside, the shore, Wales | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside! – Part One – Newquay

I thought as we are now in early spring and the weather is improving a little it would be a good time to look back to the early autumn when the sky was still blue and the temperatures more comfortable. So let us reminisce and celebrate two days at the seaside.

It was the week of Jude the Undergardener’s birthday so as she loves to be beside the sea, two visits to the coast of Wales were the order of the day.

So for our first seaside day we headed off over the mid-Wales mountains towards Aberystwyth and then when we got near the coast we headed southwards to Newquay. Neither of us could ever remember visiting before even though we both holidayed in this part of Wales as children. We were surprised how colourful the village looked when we first saw it. We soon discovered Newquay to have a great sense of pride and a community feel to it.

2014 09 25_5162 2014 09 25_5163 2014 09 25_5164 2014 09 25_5165

After a quick look around the village we wandered down the quay and on the beach.

2014 09 25_5224 2014 09 25_5225 2014 09 25_5167 2014 09 25_5168 2014 09 25_5169 2014 09 25_5171  2014 09 25_5172 2014 09 25_5174

We were mesmerised by this amazing land form, with its domed strata, peeled away in places like the layers of an onion by the powerful erosion forces of the sea.

2014 09 25_5178 2014 09 25_51792014 09 25_5180 2014 09 25_51812014 09 25_5182 2014 09 25_51842014 09 25_5185 2014 09 25_5188 2014 09 25_5189 2014 09 25_5191 2014 09 25_5192 2014 09 25_5193

Whenever we are at the coast we get involved looking at the geology and geomorphology of the cliff, wave cut platforms and all sorts of patterns and forms.

2014 09 25_5194 2014 09 25_5195 2014 09 25_5196 2014 09 25_5197 2014 09 25_5198 2014 09 25_5199 2014 09 25_5200 2014 09 25_5202 2014 09 25_5201 2014 09 25_5203

Enjoy sharing our wander with my camera back around the quayside and back through the village with us.

2014 09 25_5226 2014 09 25_5232 2014 09 25_5231 2014 09 25_5234 2014 09 25_5235 2014 09 25_5236 2014 09 25_5237 2014 09 25_52382014 09 25_5240 2014 09 25_5241 2014 09 25_5239 2014 09 25_5242 2014 09 25_5243 2014 09 25_5244 2014 09 25_5245 2014 09 25_5246 2014 09 25_5247 2014 09 25_52482014 09 25_5249 2014 09 25_5250 2014 09 25_5251 2014 09 25_5252 2014 09 25_5253 2014 09 25_5258

Blue was definitely the colour of the day! What a great day it was too!

2014 09 25_5256 2014 09 25_5257  2014 09 25_5259 2014 09 25_5260 2014 09 25_5261 2014 09 25_5262

Posted in architecture, buildings, colours, landscapes, light, light quality, the sea, the seaside, the shore, townscapes, Wales | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Croft Castle month by month – part three – March

2015 03 25_0152_edited-1

So back we went for the third of our monthly visits to the Herefordshire property of theNational Trust, Croft Castle where we had a wander to see what had changed since our visit in February. As usual we began our tour by checking out that the coffee and cakes were still up to our high expectations! To get there we walked past the parkland which features the ancient Sweet Chestnuts. These old trees were still showing no signs of spring, their buds tightly closed.

2015 03 25_0066 2015 03 25_0068

Suitably refreshed we cut through a meadow area on our way to the walled garden, and in that meadow little patches of colour shone out, white Wood Anemones, the purple of Fritilleries and the yellows of Celandines and Dandelions. Amongst these the patterned leaves of Arum Italicum, our native Arum Lily clothed the ground. Fritilleries although dramatic flowers with purple chequerboard patterned petals were remarkably difficult to make out among the grass.

2015 03 25_0071 2015 03 25_0072 2015 03 25_0073 2015 03 25_0074

The long, deep mixed border was showing colour too, mostly primulas and bulbs.

2015 03 25_0077 2015 03 25_0078 2015 03 25_0080 2015 03 25_0081 2015 03 25_0083 2015 03 25_00842015 03 25_0085 2015 03 25_0087 2015 03 25_0089 2015 03 25_0090

We walked quickly along the long border trying to avoid the biting wind and reach the protection of the walled garden. When we caught the first glimpse of the doorway into the walled garden we were amazed to see that the little section of cobbled path the gardeners had recently discovered had now been exposed and restored right across the lawned area.

2015 03 25_0067_edited-1

Passing through the little doorway you can see in the photo below at the right hand end of the wall gave welcome relief. There was no wind within the walls and the temperature was so much warmer. It made the day feel comfortable to wander in so we slowed down and took time to look.

2015 03 25_0091

The long border beneath the wall had a scattering of blooms such as these Pulmonaria and Muscari and the buds on a few of the shrubs were beginning to burst. The vineyard however was still deep in its state of hibernation.

2015 03 25_0092 2015 03 25_00932015 03 25_0070_edited-1 2015 03 25_0069_edited-1 2015 03 25_00942015 03 25_0095

As usual we were tempted to go through the blue gates into the working heart of the walled garden. We discovered a newly created fruit garden and close by a Rhubarb plant waited patiently to take its place.

2015 03 25_0107 2015 03 25_01012015 03 25_0100 2015 03 25_0102

In the greenhouse plants had been potted up ready to be sold later in the season, including this array of Pulmonarias.

2015 03 25_01032015 03 25_0104 2015 03 25_0105

Back out in the main walled garden we found more Rhubarb and this looked well on its way to being ready for harvesting. There were signs of spring everywhere in the protected environment within the wall, fresh greens and reds of newly burst buds on willows and roses.

2015 03 25_0108 2015 03 25_0114 2015 03 25_0115 2015 03 25_0116

We noticed as we wandered around the comfortable grassed paths that whenever we caught a glimpse of the garden buildings they seemed to be framed by trees and hedges.

2015 03 25_0124 2015 03 25_0125 2015 03 25_0130 2015 03 25_0142

Leaving the walled garden behind we followed cobbled patterned paths beneath old fruit trees underplanted with Primroses and Daffodils.

2015 03 25_0134 2015 03 25_0140 2015 03 25_0141 2015 03 25_0121

The enclosed courtyard garden was full of the contrasting colours of Primroses and Chionodoxa. A cheerful sight!

2015 03 25_0146 2015 03 25_0147

We seemed to be at Croft on a day when many volunteer gardeners were working on site. They seemed to be enjoying their work and their time was punctuated with laughter and chatter.

2015 03 25_0167

Bees, hoverflies and a few butterflies were out enjoying the early spring sunshine and a little unexpected warmth.

2015 03 25_0157_edited-1

2015 03 25_0162_edited-1 2015 03 25_0161_edited-1 2015 03 25_0160_edited-1 2015 03 25_0159_edited-1 2015 03 25_0158 2015 03 25_0158_edited-1

Our next visit will be in April when we expect to see Spring in full swing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in flowering bulbs, fruit and veg, garden buildings, garden wildlife, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, grow your own, hardy perennials, National Trust, ornamental trees and shrubs, spring bulbs, spring gardening, The National Trust, trees | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Winter Wonderland at Dunham Massey – part two

2015 02 27_9737_edited-1

Welcome back to the National Trust property Dunham Massey in Cheshire where earlier this year we enjoyed our annual exploration of their wonderful Winter Gardens. No winter flowering plant can have more presence than Cornus mas, the Cornellian Cherry.

2015 02 27_9725_edited-1

Better known perhaps are the Witch Hazels with their flowers of yellow, orange and red which glow like fire in the slightest brightness of the winter sun.

2015 02 27_9774 2015 02 27_9727_edited-1

Deep inside their brightest of ribbons of petals deep secrets hide, revealed only when the petals fall.

2015 02 27_9775 2015 02 27_97762015 02 27_9777_edited-1

In part one of this two part visit to Dunham Massey I shared with you my love of the biscuits and browns, the last of life from the previous seasons. Now I will share some more beautiful details in close up, using a close-up attachment on my Nikon. It really brings out the importance of structure and the richness hidden in these modest colours.

2015 02 27_9771 2015 02 27_97722015 02 27_9729_edited-1

Amazingly exactly the same colours are there to be found in the bark of a winter garden’s trees.

2015 02 27_9773 2015 02 27_9722_edited-1 2015 02 27_9750_edited-12015 02 27_9723_edited-1

On some old flowerheads from last year, especially the Hydrangeas, the dominant colour is bone white which does look good too!

2015 02 27_9744_edited-12015 02 27_9746_edited-12015 02 27_9745_edited-1 2015 02 27_9747_edited-1

As we wandered around the Winter Garden paths which meander among the borders we kept getting glimpses of a shrub which looked to be still in its Autumn coat. We couldn’t get close enough to see what it was so before leaving we sought it out and discovered it to be a Mahonia of the japonica/bealii type but we were not sure which one and it wasn’t labeled. Below is the photo I took to show its bright “autumn” colours against the intense dark greens of surrounding evergreens.

2015 02 27_9785

Naturally I must finish off this double dose of winter beauty where I began, singing the praises of white barked birches! Singing their praises through the lens of my camera!

2015 02 27_97832015 02 27_9718_edited-1 2015 02 27_97882015 02 27_9780 2015 02 27_97862015 02 27_9715_edited-1

 

Posted in Cheshire, colours, flowering bulbs, garden design, garden photography, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, light, light quality, National Trust, ornamental trees and shrubs, shrubs, spring bulbs, The National Trust, trees, Winter Gardening, winter gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Winter Wonderland at Dunham Massey – part one

We are in the habit of visiting the gardens of the National Trust property, Dunham Massey, especially since their Winter Garden has matured. We tend to visit in February. This year we made our annual pilgrimage on a sunny, mild day right at the end of the month.

The new visitors centre of glass and wood gives a fresh new welcome and these beautiful etchings in the glass feature throughout. They set the atmosphere to prepare you for the wonderful winter garden.

2015 02 27_9709

On the walk to the garden we passed this dead tree now cut down and the wood used to create a wildlife habitat. Brilliant idea!

2015 02 27_9710

As soon as we had taken our first steps in the garden we could see what we could expect, with this border of coloured stemmed shrubs, Cornus “Midwinter fire” and Rubus thibeticanus against a background of ilex crenata and a mixture of conifers.

2015 02 27_9711

A few paces further on and the large numbers of white stemmed birches, Betula utilis “Dorenbos” appeared like a ghostly forest, with a carpet of Snowdrops adding to the atmosphere. You must know by now how much I love Betulas so you can imagine how planting them on this scale impresses me deeply. They enticed me to try out my new wide angle attachment on the Nikon. Not too sure about the vignetting on this one though!

2015 02 27_97142015 02 27_9713 2015 02 27_9717

There was much more than white coloured plants to look at! And some lovingly selected plant partners.

2015 02 27_9719 2015 02 27_97202015 02 27_9769

Not all the trees here in the winter garden were Birch either, there was plenty of room for others like this Prunus serrula and Acer griseum.

2015 02 27_9751 2015 02 27_9721 2015 02 27_9728

As in any well-designed winter planting coloured stems are very potent, especially Cornus and Salix.

2015 02 27_9734 2015 02 27_9733

But of course there were plenty of flowering plants to give us colour in the gloomiest of months, flowering bulbs, shrubs and even a few perennials.

2015 02 27_9730 2015 02 27_97312015 02 27_9732 2015 02 27_9736

In some areas we  stopped to appreciate the beauty of an individual plant or even a single bloom but in others it was the sheer mass of planting that impressed.

2015 02 27_9740 2015 02 27_9741 2015 02 27_9762 2015 02 27_9770

Other fresh growth provided interest without any colour other than browns and biscuits.

2015 02 27_97382015 02 27_9739 2015 02 27_97482015 02 27_9757

Of course it is more natural to think of these lovely warm biscuits and browns when we consider the growth that was green or brightly coloured last year. And I love these colours when they are a result of decay and age as much as any other colour in the garden. Enjoy this little collage of brown and biscuit!

2015 02 27_97422015 02 27_97492015 02 27_97522015 02 27_97532015 02 27_97542015 02 27_9758

 

Thinking about winter of course we mustn’t let the berries in their gaudy reds and oranges get missed out.

2015 02 27_9759 2015 02 27_97602015 02 27_9764

Sometimes the beauty was hidden behind a haze. In the pictures below you need to look through the thin mist and the reflective surface of water.

 

2015 02 27_9761  2015 02 27_9763

 

Posted in Cheshire, colours, flowering bulbs, garden design, garden photography, gardens, gardens open to the public, irises, light, light quality, National Trust, ornamental trees and shrubs, shrubs, spring bulbs, The National Trust, trees, Winter Gardening, winter gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,