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Showing posts from May, 2013

Dalliance with Dorset - Gourmet garden at Cranborne Manor

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When you're lucky enough to step through the garden gate at Cranborne Manor in Dorset, you'll realise you're somewhere special. First glimpse of the ancient house is across a flower-filled meadow where you encounter 'Druid' (below), a life-sized bronze bull by Nicola Toms, who gazes over summer displays of cowslips, ox-eye daisies and orchids. And this is just one of many delights in a garden that was originally laid out by John Tradescant (the Elder) in the 17th century.  In medieval times the manor of Cranborne and all hunting grounds associated with neighbouring Cranborne Chase belonged to the Crown and it was King John - a passionate hunter - who first built a hunting lodge on the site. This was rebuilt by Robert Cecil (who later became the Earl of Salisbury) at the beginning of the 17th century, and he engaged Tradescant to help with the layout of the garden and the planting of trees. But little remains of his original plans, save for the area known as The Moun…

Wordless Wednesday - Gardens to come ...

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Brilliant blooms at Bowood House in Wiltshire - A Capability Brown landscape at its best

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For spectacular views of a truly English landscape, punctuated with some of the finest rhododendron displays in the country, head for Bowood House in Wiltshire as quick as you can and enjoy a blaze of colour in the 60-acre woodland garden currently in full bloom. An unusually cold winter combined with the late arrival of spring and temperatures still failing to make the norm for May means that this year's crop of rhododendrons are more spectacular than ever.
Bowood is one of several English country houses where Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was employed as the landscape architect and Robert Adam was involved in the design of part of the house and interiors. The mausoleum at the heart of the woodland garden is regarded as one of Adams' finest early classical-style buildings. It is this area of the estate that opens separately from the main house and garden in May and June for the rhododendron walks. Opening times are 11.00-18.00 and entrance is £6.50 for adults (children a…

What makes a winning garden at RHS Chelsea? Let the people decide!

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As RHS Chelsea opened its doors to the public for the third day of the centenary Flower Show, it appeared that all was not well among the horticultural fraternity when Christopher Bradley-Hole, creator of this year's Telegraph Garden, questioned the RHS judges' decision over the coveted Best in Show award presented to the Trailfinders Australian Garden. Readers may wish to read the full article here.
The crowds this week at the world's most prestigious horticultural event are a testament to the popularity of the annual Chelsea Show and it will be interesting to see who they vote for in The People's Choicecompetition, organised by the RHS and actively promoted on its web site. If the queues to see the Trailfinders garden are an indication of public opinion, could it be that the Mr Bradley-Hole's recent comments about the "ugly" solar panels and the "unsubtle" planting are not shared by the hordes of visitors trying to get a close-up view of the Au…

Small is beautiful at RHS Chelsea - don't miss the Artisan gardens!

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If you're visiting Chelsea this week, make sure you visit the eight Artisan Gardens, hidden away in Serpentine Walk - a cluster of small gardens that will give you ideas for your patch at home and where you can get close enough to see the finer details of the planting. Overall winner is the Alcove Garden (above) designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara, which also won a Gold. Right next door is "Get Well Soon", which won a silver medal. Sponsored by the National Botanic Garden of Wales and designed by Kati Crome and Maggie Hughes, this garden emphasises the ways in which plants can improve your health, and reflects many of the design features of the sponsor garden in Wales. The Hebridean Weaver's Garden (above), designed by Jackie Setchfield and Martin Anderson to reflect the solitary life of an island inhabitant in the 1950s, trying to eke out a living from the land, also won a Gold medal. This is a delightful garden, that makes you realise just how far removed we are from islan…

Medal winners announced at RHS Chelsea Centenary Show - Australians awarded Best Show Garden

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The Australians have taken top prize at this year's RHS Chelsea with Trailfinders Australian Garden by Fleming's winning the coveted Best Show Garden and a Gold medal. If you're off to Chelsea this week, you'll love this innovative garden, designed by Phillip Johnson, which showcases native Australian plants, set within an urban setting, while demonstrating the possibilities of sustainable landscaping. 
To see the rest of the gold medal winners in the Show Garden category scroll down through the pictures below. They are The Arthritis Research UK Garden, designed by Chris Beardshaw (above); the Brewin Dolphin Garden (below);  the Laurent-Perrier Garden; the East Village Garden (below); The Homebase Garden - "Sowing the Seeds of Change" in association with the Alzheimer's Society; The Wasteland; the M&G Centenary Garden; the RBC Blue Water Roof Garden and The Telegraph Garden, designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole.
There are 15 Show Gardens this year at Ch…

Ready for RHS Chelsea 2013? Gnomes to make their first (and last) appearance at centenary show!

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This year's RHS Chelsea promises to be more closely scrutinised than ever by the media and, on the eve of the Centenary show, exhibitors and eager ticket holders are anxiously watching the weather forecast. It's not looking good for the first day, but later in the week there may be clearer skies. Good news for all those who managed to get tickets this year, since they sold out sooner than ever before.
     Gnomes are being allowed to make their debut at the show for the first and last time in this centenary year. In the past they came under a ban covering "brightly-coloured mythical creatures", but they will be there in force at Chelsea this week because they are playing an active role in the £1 million RHS Centenary Appeal, with more than 100 well-known personalities including Sir Elton John and Dames Hellen Mirren and Maggie Smith using their skills to decorate the little people, which will then be auctioned on e-Bay. The 15 show gardens normally attract the most int…

Galloping Gardener Walks © - Catch the best rhododendron displays in Britain

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An exceptionally cold winter here in Britain means that even the rhododendrons and azaleas are blooming later than usual this year, but there are many wonderful gardens around the country where you can now see stunning colour displays as the weather begins to warm up. But what is the difference between the two plants? Millais Nurseries, one of the UK's leading suppliers, says that: "All azaleas are actually rhododendrons, but not all rhododendrons are azaleas." And, if you're confused, rhododendrons are a genus (a group of plants with shared characteristics) whereas azaleas are a group within that genus, but all belong to the Ericaceae family.
The best display in London (and you might want to drop in on the way to Chelsea this week) is to be found at the Isabella Plantation (top). This is undoubtedly one of the capital's best kept secrets, hidden away behind a wrought-iron gate in the heart of Richmond Park and quite apart from being spectacular, the blooms cost n…

Wordless Wednesday - Whichford - potty about the planting!

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The photographs can tell the story here - I dropped in at Whichford Pottery last week and was absolutely potty about the planting - a real source of eye candy and ideas for your own garden. Definitely worth making a detour for if you're visiting Brook Cottage, Hidcote Manor or Kiftsgate Court.