We do like to cram as much as we can into any jaunts that we make, fitting visits to other places around a central purpose, in this case visiting fellow blogger Kate of Barn House Garden. We were made to feel very welcome by Kate and Hitesh and their friend Jackie from down the lane who opened her garden for the first time for the NGS in conjunction with Kate’s opening. It is always strange seeing a garden in real life that you have only seen photos of and I was completely disorientated as Kate showed us round and I now need to refer to the map of her garden to remind myself where I have been! What good friends we have all been making through blogging and meeting them in person is even better – thank you Kate for your hospitality and for all the plant related goodies!
The day before we met up we travelled to Ralph Court Gardens near Bromyard in Herefordshire, very much a ‘fun’ garden for adults and children alike, as Brian of Our Garden @19 confirmed, having taken his grandchildren there. As well as the water features I showed in the earlier post there were several other fantasy and culture sculpture gardens to keep visitors amused or entertained.
The private gardens at Hereford Cathedral, offered as a guided tour two afternoons a week during the summer, provided an oasis of calm amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy Cathedral city. Our elderly guide provided fascinating information about the cathedral as well as the gardens, which covered courtyard, cloisters, Vicar’s Choral, Dean’s and Bishop’s gardens, including a well-stocked bed of Bishop dahlias.
Sunday morning took us to Kate’s and then a whirlwind afternoon taking in the Wyndcliffe Court Sculpture Garden, Veddw House Garden and an NGS garden where we narrowly missed meeting up with Brian from @19 who tells us he was there on the same day!
Wyndcliffe Court Sculpture Garden surrounds an Arts and Craft listed house now owned by two artists and a range of sculptures from local artists are displayed around the formal gardens, all for sale and with prices ranging from an affordable £20 or so to £12,000. Although able to walk past plants for sale with barely a second glance, I did consider some of the artwork but instead left with more ideas of artefacts I could make myself…
It was interesting to read the philosophy behind the gardens at Veddw House, as Anne and Charles confess to be passionate about gardens but not about gardening, there being more to life than gardening, and they describe their garden as being about ‘patterns, shapes, colours, drama, sculptural hedges and views’ and that certainly comes across, the Pool Garden (enhanced with black ink) being a case in point:
I realised there was a problem with my camera part way through the day, with the settings inadvertently having been changed, and subsequently am missing some of the photos I thought had been taken, including most of the NGS garden and several taken at Kate’s too.
All sorted by Monday, where the first stop was Brobury House Gardens, with delightfully varied terraced gardens leading down to the River Wye, available for hire as a wedding venue and a brilliant location for memorable wedding photos. I really liked the planting here – it was honest, varied and unpretentious, and all impeccably labelled. I failed to find a gardener to whom I could express my pleasure but will email as I really felt they deserved praise for what they are achieving there.
On from here to Hergest Croft, very much between seasons and a little disappointing until we found the herbaceous borders within the kitchen garden which were a pleasure to inspect:
Missing out the nearby Westonbury Mill Water Gardens (where we would be following the coach party who were just leaving Hergest Croft!) we then moved onto Bryan’s Ground, where the ‘intimate garden rooms’ are enhanced by follies and and a range of what you might describe as ‘shabby chic’ planting. A recent article in ‘The Garden’ explains the slight shabbiness as a deliberate part of the design and for me it works, but I don’t think everyone would agree.
Final stop of the day was of course to my favourite garden, back home in our own after a very enjoyable few days away 🙂 There is such a lot to learn and enjoy from visiting other gardens and lots of ideas to take away, with different elements appealing to different people. I suppose it would a rare occurrence to happen on a garden that to us is perfect in every way – so perhaps the best we can aim for is to be content with our own…