We have been out and about in the last week or two, starting with a visit to RHS Harlow Carr where last week’s Six on Saturday’s sculptures were. The above view shows the part of the iconic streamside garden which looks as if it is currently being replanted.
Following this, a few days were spent in the Isle of Wight, with garden visiting a priority (for me, that is). First up was the former royal residence beloved of Queen Victoria, Osborne House, where the parterres on the terrace have been restored to their original appearance. A great variety of bedding plants were used in Victoria’s time and this year the beds were bright with bidens, verbena, canna and what I thought was a dark coleus but which a helpful sign identified (for puzzled visitors) as ‘Perilla nankinensis lacinata’. Through Google I find that perilla is used in Japan and Korea as a herb, has a strong aroma and flavour and is popular for flavouring raw fish, tempura and pickles. It certainly also made an attractive bushy foliage plant.
I have been to the model village at Godshill before and it was a must-see on this visit too. Not in the least bit ‘twee’, the village is a masterpiece of model building and landscaping.
Not only do 1/10th scale models faithfully reproduce the cottages, shops, pubs, churches and railway of Shanklin and Godshill villages and their environs as they were in the 1920s, but it is also an unexpected place to find a huge collection of niwaki and cloud pruned conifers and trees. Over 3,000 trees and shrubs are used in the display, sculpted individually for maximum effect to create the right atmosphere to offset the models. Some of the trees are over 40 years old and have been shaped to retain their scale to the model houses; I found the attention to detail riveting.
The UK’s ‘hottest’ garden, the Ventnor Botanic Garden, has an unrivalled subtropical and exotic plant collection, with plants normally found in protective glasshouses thriving and naturalising out of doors thanks to the mild climate and sheltered setting. The garden is a proponent of ‘landscape immersion’, presenting landscapes or ‘portraits’ of ecosystems, showing plants in association with each other as they would be seen in their native, wild environments. With an axe hovering over our own fig tree at home we were intrigued at the scale of their ‘fig tunnel’:
Although somewhat past their best, the double herbaceous borders at Mottistone were still a treat, especially framing a view of the Elizabethan manor house:
And last but no means least was meeting up with blogging friend Jenny of Duver Diary – if you have read her recent IAVOM post you will already have heard about the assignation and the obligatory (in fact not obligatory at all, but this is what always happens when blogging friends meet up!) plant swap. “You will recognise the greenhouse”, she said, when giving directions, and we did! After looking round the garden, she and her own Golfer provided us with a lovely lunch and a most enjoyable few hours were spent chatting as if we had known each other for years, as of course we have, albeit in a virtual blogging realm. Jenny is the 17th blogging friend I have met and this meeting was every bit as delightful as the others – thank you, Jenny, for your hospitality as well as your plants!
If you get the opportunity to meet up with blogging friends do take it; it will invariably be a most rewarding experience and will enhance the friendship still further. In the meantime, please make a virtual visit to Jon the Propagator to view his Six on Saturday and those of other blogging friends and acquaintances around the world.