Piet Oudolf’s Millennium Garden at Pensthorpe

Described on the website as “One of the most inspirational gardens in Norfolk, the Millennium Garden offers an acre of floral delights, creating a lush tapestry of colour and texture.  A stunning cascade of mixed perennials and grasses, designed by the renowned plantsman Piet Oudolf, the bold, colourful drifts and the naturalistic planting style make the Millennium Garden a particularly popular display with both garden and wildlife enthusiasts.

Flourishing with colourful butterflies and insects during the Spring and Summer months, and providing essential nesting materials and seeds for birds throughout the Winter, this fine Norfolk garden is worth a visit even after its mid-August peak, with the Autumnal colours of the perennial foliage providing a rich spectacle well into the Autumn.” Continue reading

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A visit to Hyde Hall

This is the first of several posts showing some of the gardens I visited when in England to celebrate my birthday.  We arrived on 31st August; collecting the hire car was a bit of a nightmare as the one they wanted to give us didn’t have a large enough boot. In the end they gave us a larger car 4 wheel drive and comfortable so all was well; the time spent arguing plus lots of traffic on the way to the Dartford tunnel meant we almost didn’t get to Hyde Hall in time. The woman at the entrance said “we’re open until six but last entry is 5.00, it was 5.02! luckily she was kind and let us in, phew! Continue reading

GBFD Foliage and structure at Sissinghurst Castle

It is hard to believe that a week ago today I was praying for the rain to hold off long enough to be able to fully enjoy my visit to Sissinghurst Castle.

The forecast subjected that if we visited as soon as the garden opened we might be lucky; I so wanted the American friends we were visiting with to see the garden at its best and not be miserable in heavy rain.  As it turned out we were very fortunate and the rain arrived very late in the day after a very interesting visit to Bodium Castle too!

So you’re thinking what has this to do with GBFD!  Well, when I think of Sissinghurst I think of flowers and especially roses but on this visit even though the garden was still full of colour my belief that foliage and structure are THE most important factors in a successful garden was reinforced by the beautifully clipped box and Yew.

The White Garden, Sissinghurst, Beautifully clipped box

The White Garden, Sissinghurst, Beautifully clipped box

I’m not sure I am correct but I think the box hedging in the White Garden has been pruned differently; I need to find my old photographs to check.  Now the hedging seems narrower and taller which I thought looked much better and was probably initially done for safety reasons as before the hedges were shorter and wider, possibly a trip hazard now they make a definite statement and also I thought they were more elegant.  Do let me know if you think there has been a change or if it is just my imagination playing tricks on me.

The Yew alleys with focal points had also just been trimmed and were crisp and sharp creating wonderful shadows as hedging does in Italian gardens becoming an architectural feature and not just planting.

These long narrow spaces give a rest to the eyes from the intensely planted borders and create wonderful long views that stimulate exploration of the garden

These long narrow spaces give a rest to the eyes from the intensely planted borders and create wonderful long views that stimulate exploration of the garden

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I love that the spring walk is left almost empty as it would have been in Vita and Harold’s time; when each garden room had its moment of glory and would perhaps be left unvisited for the rest of the time – something that is not feasible today when thousands of people make the pilgrimage to the garden from all over the world and expect to see most of the garden looking perfect.  I have always coveted the pleached limes bordering the spring walk and am hoping to plant some myself this winter and create a little spring walk myself at the back of the garden.

Pleached limes in the Spring Walk, Sissinghurst

Pleached limes in the Spring Walk, Sissinghurst

The beds are ready for the mass planting of bulbs which will fill this space with colour all spring.

I am late posting today (I apologise) so I thank Pauline and Susie who have I know already posted for joining in.  Do add your own post about what foliage is interesting or stunning in your own garden this month.  Autumn tints are already beginning in some parts of the world; I especially love seeing those as we don’t really experience that here in Lazio.  Just leave a comment with your link and leave a link to this post in your post; I look forward to reading them all.

Nature Notes – A surprise visitor

This is the first time I have joined Ramblingwoods for her weekly meme about nature.

I have written about some of the wildlife in the garden from time to time; I gardenin an  environmentally friendly way; I don’t use any chemicals in the garden to allow beneficial insects to do any pest control for me.  I leave plant debris for creatures to hide, hibernate and nest.

I had no idea what I would share with you today until I went outside to put the washing line away and saw a creature I’d never seen in the garden before!  I had seen them in other people’s gardens but never, never here, quickly I dashed inside to get the camera; I know they are famous for not moving very quickly but that isn’t actually always true.  So what was my visiting creature? Continue reading