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Showing posts from November, 2009

RIP .... to blog awards!

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Now this is a really serious message to all of my fellow bloggers out there .... please, please, please, no more awards. You can mention my blog, you can put me in your side column links, you can follow me, but I'm really serious, no more awards..... no, not for anything ... not for best blog, meme, youyou, usus or hehe, or should it be hee hee...??
I want you all to know that I do this blog because I LOVE gardens, I love visiting gardens and, because I am lucky enough to have a camera when I am out and about, an ability to point the lens at things that I like and take pictures.
The rest is history. Once I've put my eye behind the camera, downloaded the results on to my computer and then got on to "Blogger" and published, it's all down to technology. I'm really pleased that so many of you like the results. I'm deeply flattered that you want to pass awards on to me, but I actually feel that I'd rather read what you all write about so well.... rather …

"I" for Iconic English gardens!

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In my last post I featured wonderful historic houses with gardens, and in this entry there are stunning houses, but I'm concentrating on iconic gardens with a capital "I"! Steel yourself though, because you're going to encounter some interesting road conditions reaching them, plus the odd tractor, but all worth the effort when you arrive! These are English gardens at their best - you won't find anything like them anywhere else in the world.
Iford Manor in Wiltshire (above) ranks as one of my top gardens visited so far. This is Harold Peto's garden - a magical place, where you'll encounter something more extraordinary at every corner you turn! It took me three years to get here, but when I did, it took my breath away, with the amazing Italian statues and the feeling that you have stepped back in time and become an actor on an empty stage. This garden is a masterpiece!
Filled with statues and urns that Peto shipped from Italy, it has a predominately Italia…

"H" for Historic Houses with gardens

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There are so many exquisite gardens beginning with "H" that I can't fit them into one entry, so I'm concentrating on members of the Historic Houses Association today, because you won't get finer architecture than this and the gardens are spectacular too! If, like me, you are interested in visiting gardens, this is a wonderful organisation to join - you pay an annual fee and you can visit most gardens free - you also get the quarterly magazine which gives you news about member properties.

Heale Garden near Salisbury in Wiltshire is heavenly! A fabulous house (above) provides the backdrop to a truly wonderful garden, designed by Harold Peto, which starts blooming in spring. You'll really enjoy the endless vistas of daffodils here, with a tributary of the River Avon flowing behind. This is one of my favourite English gardens - there's always something to see and the grounds are beautiful. There's even a Japanese garden, complete with bright red bridge …

Some really gorgeous "F" and "G" Gardens

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Today, I've got some really special gardens for you on my alphabet tour! From Forde Abbey in Dorset to Greenbank Garden in Scotland - they are all favourites of mine - and places that I return to whenever I am in the area.
Forde, a former Cistercian abbey (above), started in the 12th century, has wonderful grounds extending to more than 30 acres, complete with lime and walnut avenues, a large lake and a backdrop of stately buildings; plus impressive bog and walled kitchen gardens. There is something enchanting about this place, dotted with statues and sculptures, and you'll enjoy a remarkable sense of peace when you're walking around. Open year round, and really spectacular in February with its displays of crocuses and daffodils.
The Garden House, which I reviewed earlier this year, is another great favourite of mine and is home to a ruined abbey, which makes a wonderful backdrop to the gardens. The creation of a retired schoolmaster - Lionel Fortescue - it is a plantsman…

Delightful gardens beginning with "D" and "E"

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Delightful gardens beginning with "D" and excellent gardens starting with "E" are featured here today, starting with Denmans Garden in West Sussex (below) - created by well-known designer, John Brookes. This garden is a secluded paradise and is home to many fine foliage plants, which provide year-round interest. The planting here is luxuriant and you feel that the site is much bigger than its four acres, because there are so many different species. An added attraction here is that the garden is open all year and has a wonderful nursery.

Dyffryn Garden in Wales is worth making a detour for because of its fine borders, interesting statues and series of themed garden rooms - also open throughout the year, so there is always something to see. There are deep herbaceous borders in summer; croquet lawns fringed with Irish yews; a rose garden; fernery; Mediterranean and Pompeian Gardens; and all set against the backdrop of a house built at the turn of last century. The o…

Needs must ... so thank you all!

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Yes, you guessed - this is me, with camera in hand!
Yes I'm travelling, but still blogging, and wish to thank all three fellow Blotanists who gave me the HSA (Honest Scrap Award) - I have to say that I'm not too sure about these awards because although I'm honoured, I actually have very little to say about myself, so I'll concentrate on those who nominated me and those I'm passing the award on to.
First let me thank my fellow bloggers - in the order in which the award arrived - first to Jean with her delightful blog Jean's Garden, then to Drew of Baneberry Garden Blog and most recently to Jack of Sequoia Gardens. Please don't think I've ranked you, because you are all favourite Blotanists of mine and I always enjoy reading your posts.
Now comes the problem of passing this award on, because so many Blotanists deserve praise that it seems impossible to choose just seven and on that basis and having seen how many of you have already received the award, I&#…

Choicest of "C" gardens

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A glorious mixture of castles and spectacular camellia collections make up my choices for "C" gardens today, starting with Caerhays in Cornwall, which has some of the best camellias and magnolias I've ever seen, together with colour displays that will leave you speechless if you visit in the spring! Hidden away on a peninsular overlooking the sea, Caerhays Castle (below) is only open early in the season because that's when the azaleas, camellias and magnolias are in flower. Well worth going out of the way for and you can, of course combine it with some of the other great Cornish gardens.
And no trip to Cornwall would be complete without a visit to Carwinion, near Falmouth (below) - home to one of the best bamboo collections in Britain, and cream teas to die for! This is a wonderful garden with acres and acres to explore and bamboos, particularly the blue ones, that will leave you amazed. You can also stay, since the owners offer bed and breakfast, so base yourself…

The best of the "B" gardens!

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In my ongoing alphabetical posts, I'm looking today at some of the best gardens I've visited beginning with the letter "B". And we start with Bateman's in East Sussex (below), one-time home of Rudyard Kipling - an enchanting place to visit, with its formal lawns, working mill and riverside position. Kipling was a keen gardener and the property retains much of his original planting, including his famous pear tunnel. Open mid-March to October.

Benmore Botanic Garden(below) is a must if you get to Scotland, with it's incredible collection of trees (particularly good for autumn colour) and ornamental shrubs. Plants are grouped either by geographical location or type and you could easily spend a whole day here just looking at the extensive collection. The stunning location makes it even more enjoyable for walks. Open from April-September, but check website for times.
Beth Chatto's garden (below) is famous the world over and deservedly so. This is an incredib…

A look at some A* gardens!

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As the days get shorter, I thought I'd reflect on some of the wonderful gardens that I've seen in the last couple of years and post in between the new gardens that I visit while abroad. So here's to some of the magnificent "A"s on my list - some have already been featured in my blog, but others will be appearing here for the first time. First, and one of my favourites, are the Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wilts (right) - a stunning 5-acre garden set around a Tudor house beside the abbey. Although famous for its spectacular displays of tulips and roses, this is a garden worth making a detour for at any time. Open March to October, daily.
Aberglasney Gardens in Wales make it into my A* list because of the painstaking restoration work carried out here to transform what was once considered "lost" into what is there today. These gardens are quite unique and as you wander through the different areas, you feel as though you have stepped back in time.…

If you're a Piet Oudolf fan, you'll love this!!

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I really, really wasn't going to write another post before leaving on my travels, but I visited such a magical garden yesterday that I just HAD to share it with you all! It's amazing, fantastic and the stuff that fairy tales are made of, so I decided to sneak in just one more post before getting on that plane ... especially as it's gone straight to the top of my list for the best garden I've seen this year!! And here it is .... the Sussex Prairie Garden ....
Owned and run by delightful husband and wife team, Paul and Pauline McBride, this six-acre garden is a dream - even in early November - and reminiscent of Piet Oudolf's "naturalistic" style that we all love so much. The McBrides are an interesting couple - they worked in Luxembourg for 12 years and for part of that time with Piet - and then returned home to create the Sussex Prairie Garden - which they've managed to do in just under two years! Pauline describes the garden as a "big sharing e…

Almost wordless Wednesday!

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We've had a wonderful autumn here in England and these are just a few of the wonderful sights I've seen. I'm off to America later this week and then on to my foundation in India, so my next posts will come from abroad. And, thank you all for your fantastic response to my recent berry entry.

I shall be visiting the much-awaited new garden in Naples, Florida next week, so watch this space.... After that, I'll be back in India, where work is progressing well on our hospital project, so please feel free to check out our progress at The Raven Foundation - building has begun and each day sees change - and I shall also be busy at work on our garden there, so will be posting pictures.