A Happy Bank Holiday Visiting Gardens

I had a lovely day yesterday, Bank Holiday Monday, with a good friend of mine, she is not a gardener, but is always happy to come garden mooching with me and my camera. We set off, like Thelma and Louise, in her newly purchased silver sports car, first to Denmans Garden for lunch and a wander around the garden. The food at Denmans never fails to hit the spot, the menu is varied and interesting. It would seem that fish finger sandwiches and chips, for a long time a homemade delicacy, are the latest thing to appear on restaurant menus, and it was this dish I ordered; my friend had fish cakes, salad and chips. We found a table outside and enjoyed the warmth of the sun.

Denmans is a 4 acre garden owned by John Brookes the garden designer. The garden had an unkept look about it, and looked as though it was in need of a little loving care, although when you read about the garden it does claim to have a “casual effect” and a “tamed wilderness”. When we entered the Walled Garden, with its gravel path, the first thing that caught my eye were the Aquilegia.

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There were some very pretty yellow and white iris in the opposite bed which contrasted well against the tall blue spires of…sorry, forgive my ignorance but I don’t know what they are.

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I almost missed the Wisteria, which is growing at the back of a flowerbed as a twisted and gnarled tree. The flowers were so high up we were unable to get near enough to smell the perfume, and it wasn’t wafting about in the warm air either which was disappointing.

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I have been to Denmans at various times over many years, but have never noticed the swathes of Nectarosordium. The sheaths that cover the knobbly flowerbuds before they burst out look like something from outer space. I found just one bulb that had broken through, and I suspect anyone visiting next week will see a mass of lovely flowers. I’ve never had much success in growing this plant in my garden, and this year just have one solitary stem.

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After our walk around the garden, we headed off to Upwaltham Barns, a garden that was open for the National Garden Scheme. (NGS). I last visited this garden the same Bank Holiday weekend in 2011, on a very cold day, so was looking forward to seeing it again on a warmer occasion.

It was very obvious from the entrance that the garden is far behind this year, a problem that we are all experiencing. I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast the photos taken in 2011 against the ones I took yesterday. In 2011, the entrance flowerbeds were packed with poppies, Nepeta and other colourful plants.

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In 2011, I was blown away by the masses of beautiful blousey peonies and tall spires of Delphiniums. This year, the peonies are still in tight bud and there was no sign of the Delphiniums. Everything looks very green and lush but there is no colour.

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We then headed on towards the vegetable garden. Here, again, it was clear how behind everything is. When I looked at the 2011 photo, I noticed how large the strawberry plants were, and you can see the soil between all the vegetables whereas you will see how abundant everything was.

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The tulips were just about over, and the alliums were taking over, although they were not in their full glory. My last photo shows how the tree lined avenue, with a garden at the end with box edged flower beds. Again the trees are looking sparse, yet to fill out, and the flower beds, which in 2011 where bursting with height and colour, you can hardly see the flowers above the box.

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It’s been difficult for everyone who opens their gardens for the general public, either on a regular basis or through the NGS. with visitors wanting to look at flowers rather than beds of foliage. Fingers crossed for a lovely summer when everything will bloom in its full glory and make up for lost time.

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  1. That’s very useful to see those comparison photos from previous years. Only been gardening for 3 years so I have been rather crestfallen at the lack of colour. Glad it’s not just me! I realise from your photos that my aquilegia would have looked better if I had planted them more densely or in a bigger drift…not that pleased with how they are but so little room…


  2. What a wonderful day to walk through and enjoy gardens in the sun. I loved the wisteria you found. I have not trained mine into a tree, but have it coming up two sides of the porch on an arbor so that it hangs over the swing. I love the smell of wisteria and can’t image not being able to enjoy the scent fully. The pictures are amazing, what a wonderful day; thank you so much for sharing.


  3. sounds like a fan day out. It is interesting to see how much difference there is this year with previous years, though I do wonder whether in recent years things have been a little ahead but then again we always compare with the previous year


    • yes, you are probably right, I do seem to recall that we had a couple of really warm Marches and that brought everything on. This year things are late because of the cold spring, so maybe next year it will find a middle mark.


  4. Hi Ronnie,

    Beautiful photos and looks like a glorious day you had 🙂
    I think your known might be Camassia, but I can’t quite tell from the photos. It is blooming here right now and looks similar at least.

    What an amazingly glorious Wisteria, oh I wish I had enough room for such a beautiful tree!


    • I almost missed the wisteria as it was growing high up and right behind the other plants, certainly not trained to catch the eye, which is a pity because it is a magnificent tree and flower.


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