A Little Known Treasure – The Bishop’s Palace Garden, Chichester

Whilst The Bishop’s Palace Gardens, Wells, is well known, not many people know about the one in Chichester.   It is tucked away off South Street, behind the cathedral, surrounded by the City Walls.   I have included a couple of short videos in this post, if you have the time please don’t give them a miss, they will give you much more of a flavour of this treasure.

Like Wells, there is a raised grassy walk around the ramparts which gives a very different perspective to the garden you would see from ground level.  Although looked after by Chichester District Council, this garden certainly does not fall into the ‘Parks and Gardens’ category. 

There are two entrances, the one I prefer when introducing friends to the garden is via a door in the wall just behind the Bishop’s Palace.   Here, you find a tranquil, sheltered, formal walled garden.  

Above is a short video I took on Monday.  The birds were loudly chirping away and it makes you feel life is really beautiful, even if you are not religious, gardens such as this have a spiritual air about them.

I was really taken aback and somewhat envious to see the Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ in full bloom, especially when mine is just beginning to make an appearance this year and no where near to flowering.

The foxgloves were stunning – I adore the speckled inside of their flowers. 


Just beyond the Courtyard garden is the Wild Garden and here we found a magnificent iris display.

Just before the Wild Garden, on your left you pass a well kept allotment.  It is not included within the garden, but I assume it provides food for the the Clergy.

When you leave the Walled Garden, before you there is a much larger garden with parallel herbaceous beds planted with warm colours towards the east becoming cooler towards the west. 

The above plant is Phlomis Tuberosa ‘Amazone’ (Jerusalem Sage).  My friend, who is a gardener, was impressed to see this plant in a park garden – in fact he was totally impressed with the garden, full stop.  


This is another short video of the herbaceous garden, with the pergola and climbing roses,  Clematis and honeysuckle.   It was amazing to see how many of the roses were in bloom.

The garden is full of fabulous iris, and this dark burgundy, almost brown, variety really stood out. 

Just a few more of the flowers that were out in the middle of May.

As you make your way up the slope to the ramparts by the other entrance from Avenue de Chartres, there is the alpine garden.

We saw the above notice as we left the garden and extended a heart felt thanks to the volunteers who clearly work very hard and give a lot of love to the Bishop’s Palace Garden.

When I was looking for a bit more information before writing this post I discovered on the Chichester Cathedral website events page, there is going to be a Vintage Afternoon Tea with a jazz band to be held in the gardens from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday 17th July, tickets are £18.95 a head – I guess I might well be booking tickets! 

Parham Gardens on the Last Day of April

On Sunday 30 April, my friend and I dusted off our season ticket and paid a visit to Parham Gardens in Pulborough.  We are lucky that it is only 20 minutes away and makes for an enjoyable afternoon out, without much driving. 


There is a small restaurant called The Big Kitchen at Parham that serves a light lunch of soup, quiche and salad, with some delicious looking cakes.  So we tend to eat first and then wander around the garden.  There was a kitchen issue on Sunday, sadly only sandwiches and cake were on offer, but it didn’t stop it from being busy.  The little cafe just by the main garden entrance was also closed.


In the open entrance one of the building walls was covered with wisteria and a week earlier must have looked wonderful.  Sadly it had been caught by the frost, but those flowers that had avoided the frost looked spectacular.  


As we walked through the gate into the garden,  the purple tulips made a splash of colour, although they were almost over.   I love tulips at this stage, the petals are floppy and more colourful than when they are closed and the traditional tulip shape. 


It was here, it struck us as to the amount of frost damage which hit Parham.  We also wondered whether some of the wilted planting, especially the Buddleia, were also suffering from lack of water.  It hasn’t rained for weeks in our area so all gardens must be very dry, not what is needed during the growing season.  


Last year, May 2016,  I wrote about the tulip trials held at Parham (click here) and it was lovely to see the best of the tulips in flower beds in the walled garden.  Considering all my tulips are over, including the late varieties, it was so good to see these still in bloom. 


I managed to find the names for most of the tulips but the fringed orange one escaped me.  It is similar to my favourite tulip I grew at home this year called ‘Bastia’. 


There is a bed of Alstromeria with the tulips and that too had succumbed to the sudden frost last week.  It will recover but I wonder if this year it will flower as prolifically as it usually does. 

At this stage, my friend checked me in and I was told not to take anymore photos of frost damage, especially if I was going to blog about the garden, because it wasn’t fair, the garden is still beautiful and interesting, which of course it is! 


One very bright, striking border was the one above.   The black and orange tulips contrasted so well against the green.   These varieties are in my notebook for 2018. 


You will have already seen on the first photo of this post the meadow full of camassia.  Such an impressive plant and one I never think to have in my own garden.  This is probably because I first met camassia in this meadow and assume meadows are the place they grow.  There are also a lot of alliums planted here which will be in flower very soon.   


There is always a lull in the garden  between the colourful spring displays leaving a mass of green.  The clever planting of orange Geum breaks up the green until the alliums and peonies open, and they are not far off.


Talking about alliums, my one and only dislike are their leaves which always look so untidy.  I noticed in the Rose Garden (sorry no photos) that some of the alliums had their leaves stripped leaving just the flower stems remaining.  An interesting idea and one I might try.  

A season ticket is really good value if you are going to visit a garden regularly.  Ours cost £42 and weighed against the ticket price of £9 each for the garden only is excellent value, and has more than paid for itself, and you get 10% off plant sales!

Opening times:  Parham is closed Monday, Tuesday and Saturdays unless there are events, see below. 

House | 14:00 – 17:00
Gardens | 12:00 – 17:00
Big Kitchen Restaurant | 12:00 – 17:00
Last Admission | 16:30

Parham Nursery & Garden Shop open to visitors free of charge from 10:30am to 12 noon on standard open days and from 12 noon to 5pm for paying Garden visitors.

Parham always has interesting events, which you can find HERE.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – April 2017

There is a sense of nervousness around for gardeners at the moment.  In the South East it has been very dry and my water butt, along with many others, is now empty.  Pots need watering along with perennials now appearing with vigor due to the warm sunshine.  However, there is still an outside chance of ground frost, nipping at new growth.   I am waiting for the much needed rain to fill the empty butts and watch the nightly weather forecast hoping we don’t have frost.  However, there are lots of flowers in the garden to show off on this Garden Bloggers Blooms Day. 

 

The daffodils and narcissi are almost over, as are the early tulips.  There is a very pretty triple headed pale yellow narcissi that has appeared in the flowerbed which doesn’t match up with any of the packet labels, so I can’t name it for you.   The fading yellow tulips above are the last remnants of  Sweetheart and Yellow King.   A late pink tulip Synaeda Amor has made an appearance which is good, because it continues colour in the border, as the early tulips drop their petals.

Some combinations of colour are more by luck and judgment.  I am really taken with the peach tulips, no name (sorry) poking through the blue forget-me-nots.   These tulips are some of the few bulbs I left in the border from spring 2016 and have come back this year, but can’t remember what they are called.


At the end of the year, I bought a few bunches of bare rooted mixed wallflowers, on sale at half price to clear.   You know the sort, very wilted looking, wrapped in newspaper and a bit smelly!   I spread them around the garden, some didn’t make it but those that did are looking good.  I especially like the pale pink one.

If there was a test on how to prune clematis I would fail miserably.  I know the rules should be easy to follow but there are some things I can’t get to grips with.  In 2015 I over/incorrectly pruned the Montana ‘Elizabeth’ and had a dismal display of flowers in 2016, so I left it alone and this year, thank goodness, it is an abundance of flowers.  It does make getting into the shed a little tricky at the moment.

In past posts I incorrectly named this Clematis calling it ‘Josephine’ which if anyone knows their Clematis would know wasn’t right.  I know it’s not ‘Josephine’ so have no excuse to get it wrong.  It is in fact Montana ‘Mayleen’.  I have entwined it around the Sambucus Nigra (Elder), which is throwing up new shoots like there is no tomorrow.  

The Honesty (Lunaria) grown from seed last year have surprisingly produced both white and purple plants, although they came from the same seed packet.  They are in different parts of the garden, and the purple variety looks good in front of the Euphorbia. 

At the back of the spring flower bed, the lime green Euphorbia is giving a splendid backdrop to the tulips, and as I said above, the purple Honesty.  It’s looking a little unruly so may be the next thing on my list to give a bit of a tidy up.


The Choysia on the side patio is in flower and a lovely sight from the kitchen door.  I chop it back regularly to keep it tidy and in retaliation it continues to grow and if left to its own devises would take over the side flower bed. 

Even one of the best plants this time of year can disappoint, the Euphorbia ‘Fireglow’  in past years has always been so good, but this year it hasn’t spread its shoots about and there are only two or three stems.  The flower is not as vivid either. 

Another shrub I didn’t prune last year was the Flowering Currant Ribes.  It is a mass of pink flowers which the bees are loving.

The Bay Tree (Laurus) has lots of little greenish-yellow flowers.  This poor tree is usually ignored by me, but I have moved it to the edge of the back patio and another job for me is to repot it.  This is going to be quite some job, I have read it should be done every two years, and this tree has been in its same pot for over ten! 

I have always wanted a Tree Peony and last month I bought a spindly plant from a garden centre, deliberately choosing a pink flower and the only one that had a bud on it.   After deliberation as to whether it should live in a pot, or go in the flowerbed, I chose the later and this week it delivered the most enormous, beautiful pink flower. 

Under the spring bulbs, I planted a number of violas – the vivid colours are quite breathtaking.  I love these little plants, they have such smiley happy faces.

I have bombarded Twitter and Instagram with photos of my most favourite tulip and make no apology for including  Tulip ‘Bastia’ in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.   It may not to be everyone’s taste, but this double fringed tulip will appear in my garden again next year.

Thank you Carolyn at May Dreams Garden for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day monthly on the 15th.   Jump over to her blog and take a look at all the other blooms in contributors garcens from around the world. 

I’ve Gone a Little Daft about Dahlias

Is it my imagination or have dahlias come to the fore this year?  They seem to have a lot of  publicity appearing on garden programs and magazine articles, as well as people with lots of  ‘dahlia talk’ on social media.  I have always admired the dahlias in the cutting garden at West Dean Gardens, Nr Chichester  but only had one small yellow unnamed dahlia in the garden.   I certainly have been swept along on the dahlia train this year and spent the enormous figure of £9 on tubers from Wilko – a great provider of bargain garden ‘stuff’.   At £1 each I felt I could just about afford to take a loss and would be happy with even half of them grew.

img_1757
I am delighted, and proud that all nine tubers have thrown out shoots!   After avidly reading everything I could find about growing dahlias, I found Sarah Raven’s website and video provided all I needed to know as a complete amateur.  The biggest hurdle was (and still is!) protecting the shoots from slugs and snails.  Even with copper tape, a penny barrier, an idea from David Domoney, as well as my daughter suggesting supergluing pennies around the rim, plus a few strategically placed organic slug pellets, the pesky molluscs must have abseiled down to have a quick nibble.   Some dahlias, as you can see, have grown faster than others, albeit put in pots at the same time.

I am an impulse buyer and rarely, if ever, go with a plan when it comes to buying plants.  Rightly or wrongly, the dahlias I bought were chosen by name, and recommendation, such as Arabian Night, which is mentioned a lot.   To my surprise, rather than having a riot of unorganised colour, all my dahlias are the same colour range of white through to purple, apart from the pretty golden ‘Sunshine’ which I may grow in a pot.

For my future information and out of interest, I list below the dahlias I have along with photos of what they will look like.  Note the voice of positivity.   I must stress at this point I have NEVER grown dahlias before so fingers crossed they will all be successful and don’t succumb to slug and snail fodder.

Single Flower Variety

img_4937
Dahlia ‘Sunshine’

 

Decorative Variety

img_4938
Dahlia ‘Avignon’
img_4943
Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’
img_4945
Dahlia ‘Crazy Love’
img_4942
Dahlia “Le Baron”

Pom Pom Variety

img_4940
Dahlia ‘Franz Kafka’

Collerette Variety

img_4941
Dahlia ‘Teesbrook Audrey’

Cactus Variety

img_4939
Dahlia ‘Purple Gem’

Shaggy Cactus Variety

img_4947
Dahlia ‘Tsuki-yori-no-Shisha’

This last dahlia is my favourite, not only because of the name, I think it is going to be magnificent.  It is already the largest of all the new plants.  I have pinched out the tops of the bigger plants and will regularly be referring to the National Dahlia Society and National Dahlia Collection websites as well as Sarah Raven and the gardening folk on Twitter and Instagram for help and advice.

I have some weeks to go before planting out, so will take time plan the layout of the dahlias sensibly.   I am forward to have an impressive bed of dahlias to cut and have in the house and give to friends.   Watch this space!  Meanwhile, please leave advice and tips in the comment section as all help will be gratefully received – thank you.

Tulips from Worthing

Unfortunately my plans to tick a visit to the Amsterdam Tulip fields off my list went awry this year.  I have consoled myself with my tulips from Worthing.   I am more than delighted with the display and the thought I had gone overboard buying bulbs last year has proved me wrong.  You can never buy too many tulip bulbs! 


As well as using containers, I planted bulbs in the open border and these are Sweetheart, Purissima and Yellow King with a few pink Botanical mixed.   They have combined well with the white narcissi Botanical Thalia.


On the side patio most of the containers have tulips left over from last year – the pink are Angelique which are not as good this year.  The new bulbs are lovely red Tulip Kaufmanniana and you can see there is also a white one.   The yellow/white Tulip is Sweetheart and I think is a perfect partner with narcissi. 


 There is one solitary Grand Perfection left over from last year.  I like this one so will make a not to buy more for 2018.   I grew them in 2016 with Ronaldo and the combination was quite striking. 


This interesting tulip is a double fringed variety called Bastia – it isn’t quite open so as I write this on a Sunday morning I can’t show it to its full glory, but if you check out the link you will see what it will look like.  I suspect it’s a tulip equivalent of Marmite, you will love it or hate it. 


I found this year that the tulips took a while to open but once open, the petals fell quite quickly. Perhaps it’s because it’s been really quite warm this last week.   I hope you’ve liked what you see and would be interested in seeing your favourite tulips to give me some ideas for 2018.