Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tatton Park (It's a sin - No. 4 - a little bit of envy)

I've only ever visited Tatton Park before for the RHS flower Show and for the Cancer Research UK Run 10K, so a visit from SomeBeans' mum was an ideal opportunity to go and visit the gardens.
They have a walled vegetable garden (sin number 4 - envy!), but there was a certain amount of schadenfreude, as we viewed the giant slugs that they were breeding, and the rather ineffective scarecrows.

Giant slug!

One of many scarecrows

Brassicas showing efficacy of the scarecrows

As I get older, I'm starting to see the importance of structure in the garden. Our garden currently is a riot of herbaceous perennials, absolutely buzzing with foggie-toddlers and currently elegantly peppered with a range of butterflies. What it doesn't have (despite some evergreen shrubs such as Pittosporums) is a good year round structure. So, I have started to see the attraction of a more formal evergreen structure.

The Italian Garden, designed by Sir Joseph Paxton

The Tower Garden

Echinops against yew hedge

What Tatton Park is really well known for is its Japanese Garden. It is only open to enter occasionally, to reduce wear and tear, but you can get a good general view from the outside of the garden. It is beautiful.

The leaves of the acers were jusr starting to turn - in a few weeks time, the colours will be so rich.

Stepping stones leading you from the dark into the light

The tea house, the window of which faces eastwards, towards the Shinto shrine.

A pair of cranes. apparently they represent age, and add 1000 years to a garden, as well as to anyone gazing upon them.

The almond eye bridge

An Inari Fox - the fox is the messenger of Inari, the god of rice and food. The fox wears a red bib to protect against evil forces.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's a sin 3. Sloth

Sorry, too sloth-like this evening for a proper post.

PS David Attenborough for Ruler of the Universe!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's a sin 2. Gluttony

Ahhhhh. The first sweetcorn of the season, with slatherings of butter.
No photos, just a greasy keyboard from the remains of the butter.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's a sin

1. Pride
One of my first few blog posts showed what a fantastic grower of red cabbages I was.

The shame!

But yesterday ...

I rode back from the allotment with the cabbage swinging in a plastic bag from the handlebars, which brought to mind 'Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia' - a film I've never seen but which regular listeners to 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue' may recognise.

They say pride comes before a fall but in this case, pride came before some very nice braised red cabbage made with home grown onions and cooking apples.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

GBBD - August 09

I've been neglecting the blog a bit lately, as well as my fellow bloggers. I have a lot of catching up on blog reading to do. The garden, luckily, does its own thing and carries on regardless, whether I intervene or not. And so, some stars of August chez Mouffetard...

I've had a bit of a 'thing' about Crocosmias over the past couple of years. The devilishly handsome 'Lucifer' has just about gone over (and I failed to do a GBBD in July, so his chance has gone for this year). But here are:

'Zeal Tan'

'Solfatare' - beautiful bronze foliage

'Zambezi' - bought at Tatton show.. I can't look at the flowers without thinking of Boring Bob Grover.

So many other plants are flowering in the garden, and so much ORANGE!!!!!

Not room for too much subtlety in August, but here are a few...

Tricyrtis ‘White Towers’ - bought at Arley Hall a fortnight ago, and my first toad lily.

Cornus canadensis

Kniphofia 'Bees Lemon'

GBBD is hosted by Carol at May Dream Garden. Thank you Carol, and head over there to see what is blooming in other bloggers' gardens.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Arley Hall and Gardens

A day off work, so, expecting the worst of weather having listened to the forecast, I decided on a trip to Arley Hall gardens, near Northwich in Cheshire. The rain mostly stayed away, and I managed to lower the average age of the garden visitors this afternoon by a few years. The gardens have been developed over 250 years and are made up of several discrete gardens as well as parkland and an arboretum. I've not visited that many gardens, so it was a real "Eureka" moment, standing at the end of an avenue or between a gate and seeing what people mean by creating a view in a garden.
The Fish Garden

The sundial circle, with view leading through the Ilex avenue to the walled garden
And I finally understand what a fantastic idea the ha-ha was.

Plants, of course, make a garden:
An artichoke in the kitchen garden. This garden area was full of cutting flowers as well as fruit and veg. It was nice to see that their kale had a bit of pigeon damage too.

A view down one herbaceous border

The shrub roses had mostly gone over, but the hips were round and red and nearly ripe.

Aeonium 'Zwartkop' complete with a few raindrops - luckily the rain stayed off.
Clematis heads in the Flag garden
Sculpture is something that I would like more of in our garden...

'Bulb' - a sculpture by Rachel Ramchurch. I enjoyed looking at different views through the hole in the sculpture.

This strange looking chap was in the walled garden, guarding the waterlily fountain with three colleagues.

The waterlily fountain in the walled garden.

Along with all the big views, and obvious statuary, it was also good to search out small and interesting details...

Not a very good photo but the cast iron pipework in the Vinery was good to see - proper engineering.

Moss on stone in the Rootree

Moss on one of the urns in the walled garden.

At the end of the Fish Garden were headstones in memories of pets, mostly horses. The originals were in faded stone but had been transcribed onto plaques.
Some were quite twee...
Others rather more graphic...
This devilish chap has an amazing view over the herbaceous border from the top of the Alcove. I couldn't get a decent photo of the whole of the herbaceous borders as there were quite a few people admiring the borders, but I did manage a few photos of flowers and beds.

Oh, there's a house there as well.

The plant sales area is very good - lots of interesting plants.

I'll have to visit more gardens - it has really given me a different perspective on views and on features. I may not have 8 acres, but even so, there are some ideas I can use.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Ted - slayer of Stipa

We had wondered why the Stipa tenuissimas in the border had become a bit flattened. Then we found out why...

Stipa and Achillea 'Terracotta'

"Target identified"

"Kill, kill, kill"

"Right, what else can I disembowel?"

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Be sure to smell the flowers along the way. Well, most of them.

Emma over at Baklava Shed Coalition recently blogged about the Titan Arum flowering at Kew. It has, she suggests, the perfume of a 'fishbox'. This is to attract pollinating insects such as sweat bees. Perhaps not the sweet perfume you want to suffuse your garden on a warm, dry August evening (should we ever get one).

Having just been doing a little bit of pottering in the garden, I was reminded that other flowers, which are more likely to be found in the average British garden, can also have a bit of a stomach-churning smell to them. At least to me.

Calendulas (pot marigolds) are what made me think of this. I love their vibrant colours no matter what the weather throws at them and they have reliably self seeded since I sowed one packet five or six years ago. And I love photographing them. But when I deadhead them - yuk. A vague nausea rolls over me, and not in the sense of existential angst. Well, maybe a little bit.

Another plant which brings on this feeling is privet. The smell briefly reminds me of childhood and then starts to make me feel queasy. I try and hold my breath when walking past it when it's in flower.

Box allegedly smells of cat pee but I'm not daft enough to stick my nose anywhere near mine - our two cats do pee on it to mark their territory to marauding felines.

And lilies - I just can't face being cooped up in a room with cut lilies. At least in the garden I can stay upwind of them.

Are there any plant perfumes that make you hold your breath and hurry past?