Garden blogging, Garden visiting

Six on Saturday 15/09/2018 – Mottistone Gardens

In a bid to avoid repetition of previous Six on Saturday posts, I was delighted when I checked the participant guide that a six could include a garden visited. So here is my Six on Saturday following my coach excursion on Wednesday to the Isle of Wight. It was the only day that has rained for weeks! We visited Ventnor Botantic Garden and the colourful National Trust garden at Mottistone. Given the choice of the two gardens I am sharing six of my photos taken at Mottistone.

1. Monocot Border and Lower Garden

Following the garden plan, the first part of the garden you are guided to is the Monocot border and the Lower Garden. It is clearly quite sheltered and had a tranquil feel to it. The planting here consists of palms, banana trees, cannas and wonderful white and orange Ginger Lilies to name but a few.

2. The Steps up to the double border

I love Erigeron and the steps leading up to another part of the garden where covered with these delicate looking pink and white daisy-type flower. They flower from May to October and must be quite resilient growing out of cracks. Clearly a lot hardier than they look.

3. A blaze of colour

At the top of the steps, the orange just hits you with a sharp intake of breath. There were several varieties of orange dahlias, the information on the website tells us that the spiked orange dahlia is called ‘Ludwig Helfert’.

4. The double herbaceous border

The end of summer/early autumn planting was striking. There are lots of blues and purples with Michaelmas Daisies and Sedum which intermingled with bright yellows. I didn’t photograph them, but there were four very busy volunteers working hard in this part of the garden.

5. The allotment/kitchen garden

I always get excited to find a kitchen garden when visiting gardens. This one, on a west facing slope, was particularly interesting because it is being revamped. I had a lovely chat with the NT garden designer who took time out to show me the plans and explain what was going to go where. The cold frames in the middle will be replaced with a Mediterranean Garden, growing plants such as aubergines, and peppers. I will certainly look forward to seeing it when finished. The other interesting thing is that the compost area is in full view and not tucked away out of site, as they often are.

6. Border by the tearoom

Again, another border packed with autumn coloured planting including a beautiful Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’ . This border also had orange dahlias, enormous Nepeta which the bees were loving and at the front of the border are Gaillardia, which I think are Kobold Goblin. They really are that bright, no photo tweaking here.

Now please peer over the garden fence and take a look at everyone else’s Six on Saturday hosted every Saturday by The Propagator.

Garden blogging, National Trust Gardens

Autumn Colours – NT Property: Sheffield Park East Sussex

I am over a week late in posting this but several boxes of tissues, copious amounts of Vicks Vapour Rub and cough linctus I am now back in action.

Sheffield Park, East Sussex, is a National Trust property near Haywards Heath, West Sussex.   With its four lakes, Capability Brown and Repton influences and the River Ouse running through, it is a magnet at this time of the year for photographers.   The trees turn fabulous russets and on a still sunny day the reflections in the lakes are magnificent.

To appreciate it to the full, you really need it to be clear, no wind for the reflections and a blue sky for the contrasts of colour. Saturday the 1st of November was one such day when I went with my friend Kate to view the autumn shades.  We were there for several hours drinking in the views and colours, and in particular the Swamp Cypress which adds fabulous tones of rust and orange throughout the estate.

Rather than post a number of photos I have decided on this occasion to make a small movie for you to watch.  Somehow I believe it gives more of a feel of being there for you.   It’s just under 3 minutes long, so sit back and please enjoy.

The music is from the Ultimate Wellbeing Album and called “Fluorescent Glimmer” by Floetry Faction.

Garden blogging

The Courts Garden, Nr Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

Following a wonderful weekend with family in Somerset, after breakfast this morning we studied the National Trust guide book for a garden to visit on our way home – one that we had not been to before.  My eye fell upon The Courts Garden, Nr Bradford on Avon .  What a beautiful, tranquil gem we found.

This absolute delight of a true English Country Garden is tucked away in the village of Holt, between Melksham and Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire. Parking is  in the small Village Hall car park in the road opposite with overflow parking further along.

We were lucky with the weather, the sun was hot and the sky an amazing blue.  The first thing that struck me, despite the number of people in the garden, was the peace and tranquillity, the birds were singing loudly high in the trees and I immediately fell in love with The Courts Garden.


Created in the early 1900’s the garden is based on the model of  Hidcote and the subtle colour combinations, sense of flowing harmony and balance has a Gertrude Jekyll influence.   Major Clarence Goff and his wife Lady Cecilie purchased The Courts in 1922 and were instrumental for a lot of the planting.   Their daughter continued to live at Courts Garden after it was acquired by the National Trust in 1943 and she planted the surrounding arboretum in 1952.  The house is not open to the public and remains occupied by tenants.

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Courts Garden is absolutely charming with many interesting plants and excellent use of colour.  At this time of the year, as to be expected, almost every border is planted with tulips.  They were all cleverly coloured matched and contrasted, such as a very pretty pale pink and lilac Erysimum with sugary pink tulips as a backdrop.

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The garden and arboretum covers 7 acres but appears larger, because of the various “rooms” enclosed with Yew and Box.  There is one thing about the garden that I didn’t like that much and that was the border of cloud box hedging.   This type of clipped box hedging leaves me cold, mainly because I don’t understand the artistic nature of such a design.

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Back to what I did like.  I particularly liked the combination of dark, almost black, tulips dotted through the Stipa Ornamental grasses.

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The water gardens contain a rectangular lily pond with masses of waterlilies in the large pool and beyond, in a second pool, are Giant Gunnera.

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I understand from the lady in the ticket office that there is a team of 4 National Trust gardeners and 24 dedicated volunteers.   They certainly work very hard, the lawn edges were neatly trimmed and I couldn’t see a weed anywhere –  neither could I see any slug/snail damage!   The small vegetable garden is relatively recent and there are established peach tree espaliers and an apple orchard, with the blossom looking fabulous.

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In another part of the garden, there was a striking border of white and green striped tulips, which I believe are called “Spring Green”,  interspersed with a brilliant white tulip.

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I was loathe to leave this garden, and could have spent much more time just wandering around.  I know I would have found something new every time, but have promised myself that I will return in the Summer.  With the Spring planting about to go over in the next few weeks, there is a lot of Summer planting still to come through and I can imagine that the colours in the herbaceous borders will be magnificent.   With most of the Alliums and Peonies showing tantalising promises with their tight buds, I will leave you with a photo of one Peony that decided it was warm enough to flower.


The Courts Garden is open from 11:00 to 17:30 every day except Wednesday.  If you are in the vicinity I would thoroughly recommend that you don’t miss the opportunity to pay a visit.

National Trust Gardens

Westbury Court Garden, Westbury-on-Severn: Garden visit #2

I have just returned from a very restful break from work and day-to-day life in general.  My holiday was broken into two parts, the first was long weekend in Buckingham, where I visited Stowe Landscape Gardens, and wrote about on 19 September.  The second, longer break, was spent on the Welsh borders.  We visited several NT gardens during our stay and I aim to write about each of them on different posts, rather than lump them all together.   This is my post about Garden #2.

Continue reading “Westbury Court Garden, Westbury-on-Severn: Garden visit #2”