Still Gadding About

CIMG1625After dropping in to Coughton Court yesterday we also took in a visit to Nuffield Place near Henley-on-Thames, the home of William Morris, Lord Nuffield, founder of Morris Motor Cars and one of the richest men in the world at the time. The property, not in the least bit grand, gives an insight into the lifestyle of this modest millionaire and philanthropist and displays everyday objects reflecting the taste of the 1930s – including a copy of Beverley Nichols ‘Down the Garden Path’ in his bookcase! The garden is undergoing restoration, but we were treated to a display of Morris related classic cars in the courtyard.

Today, Elder Daughter and I braved the continued heat to visit RHS Wisley (barely half an hour’s drive from her house, depending on the traffic) and spent considerable time discussing whether we might have visited before. She herself has been with her partner before, but there were random bits that also seemed familiar to me (namely the glasshouses and the toilets!) and in the end the Golfer and I decided we must have called in passing on a cold, unseasonable and colourless day when we were pushed for time as there are other parts which I surely would have remembered if we had seen them! We were certainly impressed today, but it was perfect timing for catching the borders and rose garden at their best, their colours enhanced by the blue skies and the sunshine, and so many areas seemed to be at their peak I would be hard pressed to pick out only a few photographs to add to the post.

The pool with neat groupings of water lilies and a fountain is the main feature most people would see when they first came in and was a good way of showing the many different sizes and colours that can be grown, although I was a little puzzled about the fountain as I thought water lilies were not meant to like moving water:

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There was a two month Focus on Fuchsia in the glasshouses, with dozens of different fuchsias, all very lovely of course and impossible to choose favourites:

fuchsiasIn the borders, we were fascinated by Hordeum dubatum, a spikey and almost spidery grass – very tactile:

Hordeumand the strange behaviour of the tips of Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’ – fascinating indeed:

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It was interesting too to see the various trial beds, where nurseries submit plants for assessment to see if they are suitable for an RHS merit award – the seemingly impossibly huge delphiniums, unusually tall clumps of campanula and a wide range of sweet peas particularly stood out:

CIMG1665trialbedsI was unsure whether I would be retaining my RHS membership after this year and the gardens are expensive to visit without this privilege (free for member and guest), but after having seeing Wisley as a showcase of what they do and what they have achieved I feel I shall probably continue with it whether I am able to visit any of their gardens regularly or not.

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11 Responses to Still Gadding About

  1. I have ‘Inspiration’, which appears to be quite similar to ‘Fascination’.

    • Cathy says:

      I will look that up, Jason. I realised when I got home that I didn’t think to look in the RHS shop to see if they had a plant to buy. Shame…

  2. islandthreads says:

    Cathy glad to see you are rambling away again and rambling in other peoples gardens, a change is as good as a rest so they say, that veronicastrum is weird at the tip but fasinating as well, the spikey grass looks like the type that used to get stuck on our socks as children, lots of beautiful blooms, Frances

    • Cathy says:

      I don’t know if that grass grows in the wild – I meant to look it up but haven’t done so yet. It really was tactile – and the veronicastrum was amazing. I shall be posting another picture tomorrow…

  3. Pauline says:

    I feel the RHS membership is worth it, not just because of the 4 flagship gardens, but all the other gardens that are free for members to visit. Wisley, in your photos, looks just as good as it always does, glad you had a good time there.

    • Cathy says:

      And now I realise it is so close to Elder Daughter’s it would be good to see it at other times of year. We seem to get so many vouchers for 2 for 1 visits to gardens – does anyone pay full price?!

  4. Annette says:

    It’s actually called “fasciation” which is very beautiful in Veronicastrum and I’m delighted to see that one of my ex-pats is starting the same thing here in my new garden. Wisley has a lot to offer, pity all these gardens are so far away as I’m also a member πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      This variety actually WAS called ‘Fascination’, as a pun on the fasciation! There was an article in the newest RHS magazine that showed it, but I had forgotten this until I got home. I suppose it’s a matter of ignoring the magazines you don’t always have time to read or the gardens you can’t get to and supporting a worthwhile organisation..

      • Annette says:

        Oh no, it’s not a pun, haha, it can happen to any Veronicastrum and to many other plants. It’s just coincidence but a beautiful one as I’m much more intrigued by fasciated flowers at least as far as this perennial is concerned. πŸ™‚

        • Cathy says:

          Not entirely true Annette, as this one was named because it was particularly prone to it (or so it says in the RHS mag!), and indeed the whole clump was a mass of fasciated flowers πŸ˜‰

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