Back From the Far East

IMG_5217Well, not that far really – ‘just’ down the A5 and A14 to East Anglia where have enjoyed a few days in our campervan. Highlights of the visit were seeing those wonderfully ghostly Himalayan silver birches at Anglesey Abbey (and the embryonic planting in the adjacent new grove which will supplement and regenerate the existing area as it ages) and the most effective planting of Allium christophii amongst the meadow grass at the same place:

IMG_5227Not surprisingly for an English garden on a warm and sunny day in June the roses (including several of the varieties I now grow) looked and smelt divine. We had planned to look round the house too but failed to realise the house wasn’t open on Mondays – another time, perhaps when the famous snowdrops are blooming….

IMG_5234At Places for Plants I was intrigued by the large number of varieties of Cornus kousa around the largely wooded garden:

IMG_5238And also those fantastic candelabra primulas of course:

IMG_5242I couldn’t fail to be fascinated by the dry gravel beds (and the reasoning behind them) at the Beth Chatto Garden (and the ducklings):

IMG_5256IMG_5251The salvia shown below was clearly the plant of the moment at Hyde Hall and I strongly resisted the temptation to buy one, already having a collection of salvia from Hayloft that were waiting patiently at home to be planted out. Just like Anglesey Abbey, the roses in the Modern Rose Garden, Rose Rope walk and Shrub Rose border were pure aromatic lusciousness.

IMG_5261IMG_5271The real highlight of the trip and the indeed the purpose behind it, however, was meeting up with fellow bloggers Julie (Peonies & Posies) and ‘Chloris’ (The Blooming Garden) on their respective patches. It was like meeting old friends and we could easily have outstayed our welcome, chatting for hours, if time and other things had not prevented this. It is SO exciting and such a privilege to finally meet bloggers with whom one has built up a friendship over the last few years, albeit online, and to see their gardens and put those into perspective too. Thank you both for making us so welcome and to the Pianist for helping to keep us entertained (sadly not on the piano – but I am sure he would have done!). It appears we are gradually working our way around the UK so where will it be next, I wonder…?



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27 Responses to Back From the Far East

  1. What a wonderful post! I loved seeing the Anglesey Abbey, especially the rose garden. What a treat to read the history of the house. I understand your pleasure at meeting fellow bloggers. I’ve only been able to do that a few times, and had just the experience you did: like old friends meeting.
    What a lucky girl working your way around England. Sounds like something I’d like to do, after jumping across the big pond-:)

    • Cathy says:

      When I say ‘working’, I mean gradually visiting bloggers here there and everywhere, just in case you didn’t realise πŸ˜‰

  2. Dina says:

    What lovely impressions from my favourite NT estate around Cambridge! πŸ™‚
    I have been there several times, but still haven’t seen all of the garden. Can you believe they are actually washing the birches twice a year to keep them silvery like this?
    Great that you got the chance to meet your fellow bloggers, it’s always a special moment, isn’t it?
    Best regards from the North, Dina

  3. homeslip says:

    How exciting to meet Chloris and Julie and to see their gardens in the flesh! I have only visited Anglesey Abbey once and the walk through the winter garden was wonderful and the house, which I remember as vast and strange, was open too. I think it was after that visit that I planted Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ which looks so good with snowdrops at its feet. And Beth Chatto’s garden too! Deep blue salvias are definitely the plant of the moment, I saw a clump today growing with bright red poppies and yellow achillea and it looked great. I wonder where you will go next? And how good is the golfer to accompany you on these extensive rambles.

    • Cathy says:

      Ah well, the secret is in the number of golf courses we also visited so the Golfer could pick up the scorecards that he collects… πŸ™‚ ps yes, I have been so excited (and a bit nervous) about meeting other bloggers

  4. Brian Skeys says:

    We had wonderful holiday a few years ago visiting gardens in the east, it was lovely to be reminded of them. They have such different growing conditions to us here in Worcestershire.
    If your camper van ever comes this direction Cathy, we would be please to see you. There is an excellent site nearby.

    • Cathy says:

      I shall indeed do that, Brian – I am sure there are several gardens in your neck of the woods that we haven’t visited, and it is near enough for a one night stop…watch this space!!

  5. Gina says:

    Lovely pictures. I love Cornus Kousa and have been lucky enough to have had two in my garden. Unfortunately my husband has managed to kill them both. I will be buying another one but not sure how to keep him away from it though

  6. rickii says:

    All of these photos are enchanting, but especially that first one.

  7. rusty duck says:

    Fabulous, I’ve been wanting to visit the Beth Chatto garden for so long.

  8. Hannah says:

    I’m replying to your comment on my blog, I googled the fireweed and “Rose Bay Willow Herb” is a common name. It seems to occur in Europe as well. Apparently it was common as a Russian tea. The fireweed name comes from colonizing burnt areas, so it has also been called bombweed in Europe from springing up in bomb craters. The Anglesey Abbey garden looks interesting. I’m trying to grow some similar Salvia this year, it remains to be seen if it will bloom the first year from seed.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for letting me know about the fireweed – fascinating! I am beginning to regret not getting one of those salvias, so perhaps I will look out for seed myself…

  9. Kris P says:

    I’ve always loved those candelabra primulas but, unfortunately, they won’t grow in my area of the world. The ducklings are darling. It’s wonderful that you had an opportunity to meet Julie and Chloris too.

  10. Such a lovely walk through the garden…It is something I now need to see for myself. I loved the gorgeous photos.

  11. Chloris says:

    I’ m glad you enjoyed your visit to the Far East. It was so lovely to meet you and the Golfer and to have a chance to chat.

  12. wellywoman says:

    Sounds like a fab trip. Anglesey Abbey is on my wish list, as is Beth Chatto’s garden – I’m slightly obsessed by gravel gardens at the moment. Opposite side of the country though so it’s a bit of a trek. Hopefully one day I’ll get there. Isn’t it lovely to meet up with people? I’ve been so lucky to have met some fantastic people via the blog and Twitter. If you’re ever in south Wales/Wye Valley just let me know. πŸ˜‰

    • Cathy says:

      I will indeed let you know if we are heading in your direction. Sorry about the second rate Beth Chatto picture – realised too late how few I had taken πŸ˜‰

  13. Anna says:

    Sounds as if you’ve had a great time Cathy in the lands of my birth. I don’t miss the East Anglian winds in the least but there are some beautiful gardens in that neck of the woods. Would like to see Anglesey Abbey in snowdrop time! Hope that the campervan is all that you hoped it to be. Looking forward to seeing you soon πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      Had no idea this was your original neck of the woods! Yes, the van is perfect for us and we are so pleased with it

  14. *sighing over the gorgeous primulas*….. πŸ™‚

  15. Amy says:

    Oops, I missed commenting yesterday… I’ve always loved white-skinned birches; a wood of them must be fabulous! It’s so great you could meet Chloris and Julie – and their gardens πŸ™‚

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