We went away recently to Cheshire to stay in an old manor house now hotel. The manor house was a Victorian re-work of an older house but was rather charming for all that. it was done – one can hardly call it architecture – in the cottage ornee style, which popular, whereby they stole a bit of this and a bit of that to make up a whole. so there were Georgian bits, Gothic bits and Elizabethan bits and so on with some rather fine fireplaces too… a grand hall with a gallery was also still there. no garden to speak of just a haha – now falling into disrepair and a golf course beyond that. but the hotel was about to undergo massive works and new garden was to be created. we stayed in a converted barn on the corner of a delightful courtyard but the flowers were that did exist in some beds around the edge of this, were under grand attack by the busy bunnies who came right up to the rooms..
Being deprived of a garden at our hotel, of course we went visiting others…
On our way we stopped at Bridge Nursery near Napton, Warwickshire. they have a heavy clay garden where they trial some plants which had been under water for around 3 months in the winter they told us. it was quite high up and the plants were still showing the effect of the cold and wet and not very far along as yet, but it was delightfully laid out and should look good later in the year. we did succumb to their nursery and bought 3 lovely plants from them including a stunning small grass with vibrant green leaves – Deschampsia. We both fell in love with this one and it is now planted in our new front border right by the path where it is easily seen.
We also went to see a garden called the Dorothy Clive Garden. this is 12 acres of steep hillside in Willoughbridge, Shropshire.
This garden has nothing at all to do with Clive of India even though the original owner was a Colonel Clive!
He originally built the garden for his wife who was a keen gardener in 1940 and the at the centre is a disused quarry. Now we do find that quarry gardens are often amongst the best and this was no exception. This garden is linked to the RHS and RHS card holders obtain discount during the summer months – but not the month we visited!
It is built on 2 levels or 2 sites almost. There is the quarry part and the lawns with formal beds. The formal beds had Crown Imperials with tulips and
There was also a delightful walk up on the top of the quarry which had primroses and daffs in the grass and trees with woodviolets – even pink ones not just the usual purple, wood anemones including lilac ones, bluebells and dicentra.
Down in the quarry itself were some lovely rhododendrons already in full bloom and magnolia but the camellia were past their best. Underneath were lots of mysotis and some of that lovely yellow dead nettle that I had acquired a few cuttings of last year but didn’t know the exact botanical name. It turns out to be: – wait for it: – Lambium gleobdolen Mont. florentinum variagated ‘Yellow Archangle’…! Well what a name for lovely little nettle that thrives under trees – so under our hedge it has now been planted. there was also a small pond at the bottom of the quarry.
The grassy banks of the front of the house were laid out to lawns and formal beds with crown imperials and mysotis and daffs and a small lily pond at the bottom of the hill with a viewpoint over.
To help us enjoy the sunny afternoon even more the house had a small cafe attached where we ate lime curd iced sponge and chocolate and morello cherry sponge cake. And could look over the lawns and the country views.
Photos of the garden below and more garden visits to follow.
Oh and by the way, this is the season of the comfrey – Symphytum officinalis and my almanack says soot is useful to keep slugs off borders – personally I am using coffee grounds which works as well. The days of the 3 ‘Icemen’ St Pancratius, Servatius and Bonifacius all fall on the 12th, 13th and 14th May. gain at this period comes the late frosts and they are more feared than any other weather event as fruit bolom is at its tenderest as are many newly sprung shoots.
Yes, I have already had some damage to shoots from some cold nights but hopefully the weather is keeping up to its low figures in the night 4 degrees is Ok but would prefer it a little warmer but the wind is very cold and quite fierce at times…