Garden blogging, Garden Visits

Parham House and Garden – Glasshouse

At the beginning of July we bought a season ticket for Parham Garden we only have one more visit and it’s paid for itself, then we can continue to visit for free!


We went again yesterday and having written several blog posts about  Parham I decided to go with a specific theme for this post.

Initially I was going to photograph unusual plants or plants that we may not use in a smaller garden due to their size.   The one above is an Eupatorium  which can grow to almost 7ft, far too big and overpowering for my small garden.


However, after walking into the glasshouse full to bursting with Pelargoniums, Plectranthus, Begonias and Heliotrope, a virtual bee heaven, I decided to concentrate on this part of the garden.  The temperature inside here was comfortable, and not that sticky humid heat you often meet in a greenhouse.   I did look up if there was any difference between a greenhouse and a glasshouse and apparently the only difference is in the name.


There was an interesting scent wafting about which, like a bloodhound, made me sniff around to locate where it was coming from.   I honed in eventually to the flower above.  We hunted under the leaves to see if there was a label but with no luck.  Maybe you can name it.image

This interesting, unusual plant is Brilliantasia Owariensis.  We continued in our dig around for the hope that some plants were labelled and luckily this one was.   I Googled it for a bit more information and was puzzled when searching using the full name only Spanish pages came up,  but when changing the search criteria, dropping the Owariensis part, lots of information on Brilliantasia Subulugurica, a plant from Zimbabwe, came up. It certainly was different.


Another pretty bluish/purple flower is Tibouchina urvilleana from Brazil.  This was the only glasshouse plant we could find for sale in the plant nursery.  That is how we know what it was called.


There are many fascinating fuchsias, one in particular is the above Fuchsia Boliviana ‘Alba’ from Peru.

This bright red flower is Begonia Fuchsioides it was such a bright red that the camera on my iPhone, usually great for photos, only managed to produce a slightly blurred pic.


As I leave the glasshouse, this is a photograph from the other end, with a very pretty salmon pink fuchsia in the foreground.


I couldn’t resist the temptation to continuing taking photographs after we left the glasshouse.   Rather than stray away from the sole purpose of blogging about the glasshouse, I am ending with just one pic of the garden.   The array of sunflowers was a sight to behold, from little bright yellow ones to the tallest bronze flowers you could hope to see.

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Bank Holidays until the end of September. In October Parham is open on Sundays only.

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

Parham Plant & Garden Shop is open to visitors free of charge from 10:30am – 12noon on standard open days (excluding event days) and from 12noon to 5pm for paying Garden visitors.

The next event at Parham is the HARVEST FAIR on 24th and 25th September from 10:30 to 17:00

Live cookery demonstrations, deer walks, gun dog displays, fungi talks, working horse cart rides in the Parkland, falconry displays, Tudor cooking demonstrations and Tudor dancing in the House. Wide array of stalls selling food, drink and country wares.

Garden Meme, In a Vase on Monday

In a Vase Monday – Colour, Colour, Colour

There is a lot of bright colour in the garden, so today I have made a small collection of orange, pinks and purples.

I’ve used:

– crocosmia

– cosmos

– calendula

– verbena bonariensis

Climbing on the small step ladder to look at the collection on the top of the kitchen cupboard I chose a bright Spanish vase.  I don’t use this very often because I think it detracts from the flowers but on this is occasion it compliments.

Thank you Cathy from Rambling in the Garden for hosting this Monday meme.  Cathy has also gone for bright colours lets see how many other bloggers have done the same.

Garden blogging

Hinton Ampner – National Trust

I have driven pass the National Trust property Hinton Ampner many times on my travels from A to B.   Yesterday I had the time and opportunity to call in, this was another NT garden I could cross off my list.

The NT website describe the gardens as follows:

“Beautifully manicured lawns lead the eye down avenues of sculptured topiary, past borders full of the heady scent of roses, to breathtaking views across the South Downs.”


Limited to time I only walked around the garden.  I’m more a garden than a house visitor.


Hinton Ampner’s history goes back about 700 years, and the house was rebuilt and remodeled over the years.   It suffered a large fire in 1960 and was rebuilt as it looked in the 1930’s.

We all have different agendas and expectations when garden visiting, I always hope to be inspired by design, colour and planting suggestions.

Before I continue I want to make it clear that this is my own personal point of view, and one man’s meat is another man’s poison.


As you enter the garden the first thing you face is the large partly walled kitchen garden.  I love kitchen gardens and was quite buoyed up with the thought this was going to be an interesting visit.


I found my way into the kitchen garden through the shop and a small entrance between tall trees.   I loved the ‘One man and his dog’ scarecrow, which is a popular photo and I can see why, they are quite fun.


I couldn’t walk by this little insect house on the wall by the greenhouses without taking a pic.


Greenhouses are a fascination to me.   Only a peek at the door was on offer with this one.


Anyone who gardens will sympathize with the peculiar weather we are experiencing.  It has had a tremendous effect on the growing season so maybe I am doing the gardeners at Hinton Ampner a great disservice. There seemed to be a lot of bare patches in the veg garden and I am not sure if there is supposed to be a dedicated cutting flower patch or just a few random flowers. The delphiniums were tall, strong and a magnificent blue, attracting lots of bees.   The sweet peas, although quite short, were flowering well and I particularly liked the striking bright red, a colour I’ve not seen before.  I couldn’t see a label to tell me what variety they were.

image image

Before my visit I read about Hinton Ampner on the NT website and that the plants in the garden have QR scanner plant labels.  I thought this was a great idea and I downloaded a scanner app onto my iPhone.

To the side of the house there is a large bed of very pale pink, almost white, roses.  I bent down with my iPhone and scanned the label.  It told me they are called ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’.  Unfortunately when I clicked on the URL nothing happened apart from a blank screen stating it was  loading, I gave up after a while.


The views over the South Downs are, quite rightly, magnificent and I could hear sheep bleating in the distance.  It certainly is a very tranquil English scene.


The blurb about the garden tells you it was created by Ralph Dutton (1898-1985) in 1930 and is an acknowledged masterpiece of 20th century garden design.  I was disappointed with the vast expanse of lawn and narrow flower beds that edged it and had a “So what’s masterpiece about it” feeling and a sense of  flatness.



Going down steps you enter a series of rooms. The first is called The Long Walk and has beds packed with roses flanked by Yew trees.

It was sad to see the rain damage on the roses.  I also wondered how much was rain damage and how much was they had been left, uncared for.  Some of the roses had lost all their leaves and with their bare stems looked very straggly.

What was even sadder was that so many of the roses are hidden behind the trees.  I found it puzzling and frankly more than a little strange.  Why would you want to make it difficult to see the planting of something beautiful like a rose?


At the other end of the Long Walk is the Sunken Garden.


I am not a lover of topiary  so  the peculiar shaped bushes did nothing to endear me.  Neither did the planting in the middle beds.  A few dahlias were in flower and I could just imagine what it will look like shortly, a mass of bright pink, edged with silver cineraria and ricinus a plant in the middle to give it height.  I recognize the leaf but as I write this I can’t remember the plant’s name.   The ricinus has a dark red flower spike, so I leave it to you as to whether you think those beds will look splendid later in the summer!  There were no QR scanner labels in the beds, although I did notice the occasional plant label on the side borders of this garden room.  It would be interesting to know if this planting is historic and in keeping with the original 1930 design.

With 200 hectares of woodland and parkland and 4 miles of trails, there is a lot more to Hinton Ampner than the garden I saw.  I came away with the impression that this is the draw for visitors.   The National Trust advertise den building, tree climbing and wildwood camping for children and suggest families bring picnics to eat in the grounds.   Had I come with my grandchildren and saw what fun they could have, I may well have left with a different feeling.  As it is I wouldn’t visit again (without children anyway) and not a garden I, personally, would say was a must to visit.  Sorry Hinton Ampner.

100 Word Challenge, Garden blogging

A Mid September Show of Flowers

The secret to good warm weather in September is to clear out your summer wardrobe and air the heavier tog duvet.  Once you have done all this you will then have an Indian Summer.   Yesterday and today have been glorious gardening days.   I have sorted out some pots that were looking tatty and this afternoon I mowed the lawn.   The garden looks spruced up and shipshape.   Although there is a lot of green, some colour remains in the garden and, armed with my camera, I fought my way through the plethora of spiders webs…my head is still itching… to take photos of the flowers gracing the flowerbeds.

Some of the pics were sadly out of focus so I have ditched the white Gaura, the Fuchsia and the Cleome along with a couple of others.  Oh, the Sweet Peas ‘Beaujolais’ were picked yesterday to take to my Mum so there were none left to photograph, I am hoping for one more picking.

Below are the flowers left adorning my garden in the middle of September.

Dahlia – Paula
Hardy Geranium – variety unknown
Japanese Amenome
Hydrangea – madame-emile-mouillere
A fading Zinnia – it was really bright at the height of summer – but still pretty
Phlox Lady – strawberry
The last of the Compassion Rose
Cosmos – ‘Pied Piper’ from Higgledy Garden
Amaranthus ‘Caudatus Red’ – Love Lies Bleeding. Also from Higgledy Garden
Yellow Dahlia – no idea of the variety, the tubers were given to me a few years ago and I don’t dig them up.
Scabiosa ‘Back in Black’ – Another successful seed from Higgledy Garden
Caryopteris – ‘Heavenly Blue’

I am busy now looking at bulb catalogues and planning my winter and spring planting which is always exciting.

Cottage Garden, Flowers in the Garden, Garden blogging

Come into my garden 

Welcome to my contribution to an English Cottage garden.  Today it’s sunny, warm and we have had some rain, which is much needed.  I am feeling really pleased  with my garden so am going to give you a little tour.   It maybe one of the smallest gardens in the garden blogging fraternity but it keeps me busy and there is a lot in it. 
It is west facing and surrounded on three sides by a Victorian stone wall.   I have lived here for 14 years and been plagued by the ivy, it is an ongoing battle.  I have a new neighbour to the left and I was more than delighted when he cut down the ivy on his side that had grown into trees!  The difference it has made is phenomenal, there is so much more light in the garden. 
The grass is full of clover, I did a feed and weed job on it earlier this year, leaving me with a lot of ugly black patches – at least the moss has died!  It is now very patchy with lush grass where I sowed ‘patch fix’ and a different coloured grass in other places.  No doubt it will settle down, it’s a patch of green anyway although far from being a lawn as purists would have it.
 This year I moved my garden table on to the little patio area at the back of the house.   It is quite cosy here sitting with the Compassion rose towering on one side and the Rasberry bushes and fennel on the other.  The Sweet peas ‘Beaujolais’ seem to be struggling, I was a little late in sowing them and they are taking time to catch up but will get there eventually.  
On the other side of the Compassion Rose is a small raised bed in which I usually grow vegetables.  This year because I had extra cucumber and tomato plants I decided I would grow some outside also.  The cucumbers ‘market more’ are doing really well but the tomatoes ‘sweet million’ are slow to flower so not sure if I will get many toms this year.
 Fortunately most of the ivy has gone from the north facing wall so the garden does get a lot more light on that side than in last years. The soil is heavy clay and despite years of adding compost etc it still gets waterlogged in the winter. This bed is full of Astilbe, Hostas, Achemila Mollis and a Hydrangea.  Although Crocosmia likes sunshine, it still grows happily at the back of this border.   The Potentilla is flowering well this year which is a first, it had always struggled in the past. 

I have a side patio which is south facing and a real micro climate, and sun trap.  It is looking exceptionally lush at the moment.  The white Agapanthus has graced me with two flowers this year and the Passion flower is just beginning to bloom.  I am growing a couple of cucumber plants in the greenhouse just to see which fair better, the ones outside or these.  At the moment it is neck and neck, I will report back in a few weeks.
 White agapanthus
Marketmore Cucumbers 
   Passion Flower
I haven’t blogged much in the last few months but I do hope I still have some followers and you have enjoyed this little trip around my garden on the coast in West Sussex. 

Garden blogging

Penstemons and Roses

Long before I became interested in gardening, my first introduction to Penstemons was via my father in law.  He grew all sorts of varieties, but I was young and paid little notice.  I had no idea how easy they are to grow and they are slug and snail proof!  A couple of years ago I bought Penstemon ‘Garnet’, I give it a hardy prune early Spring and it rewards me with an abundance of flowers.  It has made its way through the Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ which blends in well with Garnet.


Last year I bought three more Penstemons, ‘Sour Grapes’ which is an almost florescent bluish purple, the pretty pink and white ‘Vocano Fujiyama’ and a similar colored ‘Apple Blossom’ which had not flowered yet, hence only pics of the first two.


  In keeping with an Enlish country garden in June, the roses are looking magnificent.    The ‘Compassion’ rose never fails and was the first to flower earlier this month. 


 I love the ‘Peace’ rose, bought for me on my 60th by a friend as a ‘Silver Jubilee’ rose, it was clearly mislabeled but turned out to be a gem for the garden.

 This year the ‘Ballerina’ is doing particularly well, adding much needed color at the bottom of the garden.  This is always necessary at this time of year when the spring plants have died down and the summer flowers are yet to make a show.

 I have one rose without a label and can’t for the life of me remember it’s name.  However it’s vibrant color is a joy, although once it’s fully flowered, unlike the ‘Peace’, it doesn’t hold its blooms for long and the petals fall quickly. 


Not one to be deterred or beaten by the technology it has taken me a week to get this post correctly loaded.  For some reason the WordPress app on my iPad has been very unforgiving and has sorely tried my patience.  A bit of Googling and setting readjustments, along with a friend suggesting I upload the photos first and then add the writing I finally succeeded.