fEAsting, mEAndering, open gardens

‘it is the season now to go…

about the country high and low, among the lilacs hand in hand, and two by two in fairy land.’ 

          Robert Louis Stevenson

The Open Garden season is in full swing and our first of the year was a garden at Hognaston in Derbyshire a couple of weekends ago.  I chose this because the leaflet said the garden owners have a woodland garden complete with a pond.  Intrigued to know how they managed their pond in a woodland setting (as we have similar in our Scottish garden) I just had to have a visit so that I could quiz the owner.

Picnic Lunch

We set off with a picnic lunch (cheese and beetroot rolls, a mixed salad with chopped up left over veggie sausage and a Higgidy Feta and Red Pepper veggie roll) – it was a gloriously warm, sunny day – just nice for eating outside.

When we arrived at the garden it was really busy and many of the visitors seemed to be regulars and knew to head straight for the tea tent to get the best of the cakes on offer!

The garden did not disappoint – although on a much smaller scale than the Himalayan Garden we visited last weekend I felt it had more interesting aspects for me and a particular ‘casual wandering through a wood’  feel about it  – not too overpowered by planting if you get my drift.

Hognaston Open Gardens

As with the Himalayan Garden the Primula were out in force but a beautiful sight set against the tapestry of greens.

Primulas

Like our garden in Scotland they have a natural stream running beside their garden – only a bit wider than ours – you can just see a glimpse of it in this photo below.

They also have a pond that fills with water only when the water table is high – there is no membrane, the pond is purely a part of the garden that has heavy clay that acts as a liner – at times there is no water in there at all.

Woodland Pond

It was so natural and delightful surrounded by bog loving plants and a network of crunchy gravel paths with one of the paths forming a modest bridge over the two ponds (unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the bridge).

Being under a canopy of trees like my little pond in Scotland I was curious to know how the gardener maintained the pond after the leaf fall.

He told me there is no magic answer to keeping the pond clear  – you can try covering them over before the leaves begin to fall – but mainly it is down to emptying the pool every year and scraping out the sludge that collects. 

This was not what I wanted to hear but at least it confirms that it can be done and I couldn’t bear to part with our pond in the wood even if it is going to be an absolute pain to manage.  Anyone following this blog will know that I completely cleaned it out a couple of years ago – (see here) then covered it with netting over the Autumn / winter period.  I have pulled some sludge out this year and will aim to give it a good clear out next Spring.

The cover we made was a flat frame and the weight of the leaves made the netting sink into the water and the leaves rot.  Then recently I came across a handy universal cover for odd-shaped ponds on the internet from Agriframes which is raised in the middle to throw off the leaves – so I am madly saving up my overtime to buy one – sometimes all the overtime does come in handy!

Rubra

We spent a glorious 2 hours wandering in the garden – taking notes of course and collecting names of plants we had not come across before as well as taking time to leisurely sit in the warmth of the sun with a cup of tea and home-made cake…perfect!

It is a delightful secluded garden, peaceful and relaxing with the distant sound of running water and so much birdsong.  If ever you get chance to go I don’t think you would be disappointed.

We are headed up to Scotland now so there will be a break in transmission for a few days, no communication up there for us, but I will pick up any comments, should you care to leave one, on my return.

Have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend.  back soon x

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beach cottage, bEAching, cottage garden, mEAndering, out and about, sEAsons

Just an update…

and to say Hi everyone…I finally made it back to my computer and as you may have guessed by my absence life has not got any easier for me recently what with my bad back and now stiff neck – although they are on the mend I am trying not to spend hours bent over the computer.

As well as this my family keep me busier than ever, we have spent some weekends at my daughters decorating the nursery for our future grandchild which is due in July, as well as making the curtains.  We have had another trip to Shrewsbury to see my mum-in-law and this weekend we go off again to Yarm to visit my mum.

Over the Spring Bank holiday we had a visit to our cottage in Scotland for the big clear up now the roofers have finished.  We spent hours picking out tiny bits of slate from the gravel beds and borders around the cottage (something a bit of fore-thought and a sheet of black plastic might have avoided)!   There was plenty of sweeping up as well as clearing out the garage so that we could safely keep the rest of the slates under cover until we can return the ones we do not need to the merchant.

We didn’t have time for any gardening in fact we had a day out on the Sunday being hubby’s birthday and we ended up across the bay on the Machars (we are on the South Rhins) visiting some of the Artists Open Studios as part of the Spring Fling event.  I will post these pictures another day – in the meantime come and have a little stroll around the garden and see the view.

 Candleabra Primulas

The Primulas I planted last year around the pond are beautiful – they were just starting to burst into flower as we left and I am hoping they will go forth and multiply.

Planting Rogersia

Beyond the Primula is a ditch that separates the lower from the upper wood.  I cleared just enough of the weeds to plant my two Rodgersia plants (50p each) and these will be divided in the Autumn or Spring so that they form a drift along the banking and hopefully suppress the weeds – well that is the plan!

The Woodland Garden

This is taken looking in the opposite direction from the banking.

Wild flowers

I like to keep the wild flowers (within reason as they can take over at a rate of knots).   Here is some pretty pink Campion mingled with self seeded ferns and what I think is blue Pulmonaria (but not sure of this) can anyone confirm the name?

Hidden Trough

To my delight I discovered this little eathenware  trough when weeding one day.  The plant growing around it is creeping Campanula and will soon be covered in a mass of  purple blue flowers for the summer.

Cottage border

This is part of my dry border under the large Pine Trees.  It can be a bit hit and miss finding things that like to grow here.  You can see the leaves of various Agapanthus – they love it hot and dry so are well suited.  The bright orange flowers are Geums and goodness knows what those hundreds of little seedlings are beside them.  I expect I will soon find out on my next visit.

Daisy Path

This is the Daisy path – we always leave it as long as we can before we have to strim it as I love this natural look.

Nature

My little terracotta plant pot now gathering moss inside – it is like a mini nature table.

Cloud formation

We had glorious weather over the bank holiday and I captured one or two atmospheric pictures across the bay.

Cloud Formation 2   The cloud formation passing over was quite fascinating and there was hardly any difference between the silvery blue colour of the water and sky.

Evening across the bay

This was taken one very calm evening – the little boat out on the water is the Lobster Pot man checking his cages – probably seeing if he has any supper!

  Porch window view

Looking out of the window from our tumble-down porch on the seaside side we are sheltered by the Privet hedge and have a lovely uninterrupted view of the bay.

Seaside garden

At the moment this part of the garden is mostly covered in black plastic to keep the weeds down but I am hoping to start planting here soon with Coastal plants which for me will make a change from the woodland plants on the other side of the cottage.

Tree Crossing Road

Just thought I would include this picture – we had to stop on our way into town one day for a tree crossing the road!

I have to go now and do a bit of catching up with everyone again – please excuse any lack of comments in the past couple of weeks – no doubt life will calm down a bit soon.  Have a great week everyone.