Catching up in more ways than one, I’m afraid. We went to Parham House Gardens, on Saturday before last (2nd July) and I have been slow in writing this blog post.
Parham is only a 20 minute drive and we visit often, so this time we were sensible and bought a season ticket, it comes with the added bonus of 10% of plants from the plant center – what more could you want!
My last visit to Parham was early May ‘Trials at Parham Garden’. Two months on it was interesting to see how it had come on, and boy it had grown!!
The sweet pea trials, which in May had tiny little plants at the base of tall willow wigwams, were ablaze with flowers of every colour. I particularly liked Bouquet Pink, the sweet pea in the top right in the above photo. Actually I say flowers of every colour, the majority were pink and purples. Only a couple were red, and I wonder if these colours were deliberately chosen as favourites of Lady Emma Barnard who lives in the house.
Before you reach the sweet peas, the first part of Parham Garden is entered through wrought iron gates and the Entrance Borders are ahead of you looking very lush. My only criticism here is there were a lot of Honesty which had reached the tatty stage, I know you have to go through this stage before they reach that lovely silvery papery look, but there was a little too much of it, for me anyway.
It is the Vegetable Garden where I always spend more time. Unlike vegetable gardens in other large houses which are usually enclosed with stone or brick walls, this garden has squares enclosed in box hedging. In previous years there have always been cut flowers growing but recently it is becoming more for growing vegetables. Each square seems to be colour co-ordinated, white in one box, yellows in another and reds in yet another – very clever and well thought out design. I liked the way the carrots and onions are grown diagonally it makes a change from straight lines.
The hidden gem at Parham is the glasshouse, bursting with all sorts of beautiful and interesting plants. I fell in love with the little white geranium with it’s tiny love hearts on each of the two upper petals. I did look for a label but to no avail. Twitter and Instagram are great places for seeking information about plants. Within 24 hours I was reliably told it is called Pelagonium Echinatum ‘Album’.
There is plenty to see at Parham with an abundance of colourful borders, a Rose Garden, Herb Garden and Exotic Garden as well as an orchard, complete with ducks and some very large hens wandering around. As with most big houses, there is also a lake.
When you visit Parham take a camera and note book because you will come away with lots of great planting ideas. Tom Brown, the Head Gardener and his team have a lot to tend to and do an excellent job. You can tell I am biased, I have a very soft spot in my heart for Parham.
The plant centre is well stocked and if you have seen a particular plant in the garden and need to know a bit more, the staff are always willing to assist.
Parham House and Gardens are open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday with various events throughout the year including a Harvest Fair on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th September.
Parham Park, Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 4HS
http://www.parhaminsussex.co.uk Twitter: @parhaminsussex