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Showing posts from May, 2014

Dazzling spring colour displays at the Dorothy Clive Garden

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A charming garden to visit at any time, but The Dorothy Clive Garden near Market Drayton on the Shropshire/Staffordshire borders, provides real eye candy early in the season, with its spectacular woodland displays of rhododendrons. This 12-acre garden was created by the late Colonel Clive in memory of his wife, Dorothy who had Parkinson's Disease, so that she could enjoy the woodland walks. Today it is run by the Willoughbridge Garden Trust, which continues to extend and improve it. The gardens are divided into two main areas - The Quarry Garden (above), with its central waterfall, which is cut into into a steep hill and filled with a fine collection of rhododendrons and azaleas - and the Hillside Garden (see below). There is also a Gravel Garden, added in 1990 to commemorate the garden's 50th anniversary. But it is the Quarry Garden that's in full bloom right now, so head there first if you want to see every colour in the rainbow. 
Colonel Harry Clive started the garden in …

Powis Castle - spectacular terraces and home to Britain's Hanging Gardens of Babylon

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Powis Castle enjoys a spectacular hilltop position overlooking the undulating Welsh countryside. In the past it served as a fortress, built for the Welsh Princes of Powys, but today it is something of a phenomenon, akin to the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon, with a series of terraces perched on the side of a hill and spectacular views over the Severn Valley. It is certainly one of the most unusual gardens in Britain and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The garden at Powis is a series of terraces filled with extravagant planting, ornate Italianate balustrades and statuary, as well as ancient, oversized, clipped yew trees that add drama to the stage here. The castle dates back to the 12th century, but was added to and extended some 500 years later. The garden there today has its origins in the late 17th century, when William Herbert, 1st Marquess of Powis, employed architect William Winde to create a series of terraces below the castle. But work was never complet…

RHS Chelsea 2014 - People's Choice garden - Hope on the Horizon for Help for Heroes

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As Chelsea Flower Show draws to a close for the 101st year, visitors from all over the world have had a chance to see show gardens that most of us can only dream about, wonderful horticultural products that we want to take home and plants that we long to have in our own gardens. There were few surprises this year on the medal stakes, and as always the big names were there, alongside several newcomers. But it was the Hope on the Horizon garden, designed by Matt Keightley that captured the public heart and won the BBC/RHS People's Choice Award.    Designer Matthew Keightley is just 29 years old and this was his first show garden. It was designed as a contemplative garden for Help for Heroes, the charity that supports those soldiers who have sustained injuries and longer-term illness after serving in Afghanistan, together with their families. The charity was founded by Bryn and Emma Parry in 2007 and today H4H has a network of recovery centres for veterans nationwide. Matthew was well…

Wordless Wednesday - Through the lens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

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The 101st RHS Chelsea Flower Show continues in London until the end of the week -  to see all the Show Gardens, click here.

RHS Chelsea 2014 - The Show Gardens and medal results

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A hidden Arts & Crafts gem in Birmingham - Winterbourne Botanic Garden

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Winterbourne House in Edgbaston, Birmingham is one of the finest Arts & Crafts houses in Britain - worth making a special pilgrimage to see if you're a fan of this decorative movement - and set in seven acres of gardens with many fine features associated with Gertrude Jekyll. The house is filled with an exceptionally well-preserved collection of furniture, textiles, ornaments, curtains, wallpaper and carpets and the garden boasts a pergola, crinkle crankle walls, Jekyllesque borders and other features from her book, "Wood and Garden", published more than 100 years ago. Winterbourne House was built for John Nettlefold, a prosperous Birmingham-based industrialist, who moved here with his family in 1904. And although he only remained here until 1919, two further families lived here before the outbreak of World War II. it was the Nicolson family, who arrived in 1925, who made a substantial contribution to the garden and grounds. John Nicolson was the son of a Scottish cro…