Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hidcote Blooms

This is what I did today! I was at Gordon and Mary Hayward's garden clearing up the winter debris, but only in little islands where there was no snow. It felt completely normal to rake and cut back on the little island, but then it felt completely insane when we were trudging across ice slicks and snow banks! We were definitely enjoying ourselves and having a wonderful time back in the garden- yeah for spring!

Below are pictures that a took a few days before leaving Hidcote.

This is a view of the courtyard at the entrance gate to the garden. The afternoon light was so summery that day.

This is a view from the Old Garden looking back up at the Manor. The large bay window was the common room and I would sit in that window every morning for breakfast and lunch and look out on the garden. I do miss those early mornings watching the light come up over the garden.

This is a view of the Acid Border. Many of the small blooming plants that I have documented this early spring were found planted here.

Corylopsis labrescens
A beautiful tree in full bloom directly across from the Acid Border.

An amazing flower I watched slowly emerge and come into bloom this spring (also on Acid Border). It is Bergenia like, but the leaves are not evergreen.

Rhododendron fragesii
This is the same Rhododendron that I have photographed numerous times previously, now you can see it in full bloom!

Pusatilla vulgaris's soft feathery buds.

Another one of the great Anemones! This one is Anemone ranunculoides (meaning like ranuculous, i.e. common buttercup) and is scattered throughout the Old Garden.

Hellabore foetidus

Brilliant blue Hyacinths blooming in the Maple Garden.

This Lathyrus vernus (a perennial pea!) is found throughout the garden. I loved watching it emerge with its little tendrils unfurling. It formed deep, luminous buds and then tentatively it started to flower. I watched it for a week or more not knowing what it was or what was going to happen. What a wonderful way to get to know a plant!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Early Spring in Vermont

Before I go on with the many other glorious pictures of Hidcote in the last week of March, I thought I would interject with a few images of what I came home to. It is a bit grim, but any true New England gardener will see that there is some hope- first of all, notice lack of total snow cover! This is the same Rhododendron that I photographed back in February before I left for England. At that time all you could see were three buds sticking out of the snow bank.

Here again I took a photograph back in February and all you could see were a few grass stems sticking above the snow. Now a greatly improved view!

Looking south to the view. Beautiful sunny day, not too cold actually!

The first snow drops! Long over and done with in England, but just the beginning here. It is funny to re-live spring all over again...
I am now going out into the garden to cut back all that 'winter interest' that was completely smashed under the weight of the snow. It can only get better from here on out, right?

Gordon and Mary Hayward's Garden, Blockley

I have arrived home in Vermont! It was VERY difficult pulling myself away from Hidcote, just as everything was really starting to happen, but it is wonderful to come home. Honestly, the state of the garden at home is not as bad as I anticipated. In fact, there were a few signs of life poking through the ground (which will be heavily featured next post, I am sure).

These following pictures were taken on Sunday when I met Paul Williams (English gardener and designer) for a tour of Gordon and Mary Hayward's private garden in Blockley (an adorable village very near to Hidcote). Paul Williams and his co- gardener friend Colin, met me for coffee at the little cafe in town and they were extraordinarily friendly, generous, and extremely excited about gardening!

The garden was very small, but perfectly maintained and every square inch counted! It was packed full of little treasures and it was wonderful for me to finally see this garden that I have seen photographs of and heard so much about.

Beautiful Calla lily foliage.

The beloved Fritillaria melagris in bud!

I loved this combination of plants, the peony stalks coming through the speckled leaves of the pulmonaria with the yellow-green Euonymus (fortunei?) behind it.

I asked Paul for the name of this plant because I have been noticing it everywhere, but had not come across its name! He told me and I promptly forgot. It has beautiful feathery foliage that is pinky-lime colored and I think it is marvelous.

After working with Gordon today, he informed me that it is Sorbaria sorbifolia AND there is one planted in his garden in Vermont, which I have always admired and thought so exotic!

I could not resist this little Aubretia blooming in the walls across for the house. This plant is blooming on every wall in all of the Cotswolds and it is stunning enough to nearly make me drive off the road every time I pass it!

There is that lovely combination of Euphorbia and Brunnera again.

A view of a Cornus (not Acer as I initially thought). It was a lovely garden and I was so happy to see it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Barnsley House

After visiting The Courts, I stopped by to see The Barnsley House of the world famous gardner Rosemary Verey.

Above is the famous Laburnum Walk, which I have seen photographs of and it looks stunning. Yellow flowers like wisteria hang down from the arbors and purple alliums bloom up through them.

Looking in the opposite direction.

There was a lovely collection of Hepatica's. These two I had not seen before.

I am heading out for one last garden walk because I am heading back to Vermont tomorrow! It is hard to leave, but I am very excited to come home. I will continue to post about Hidcote over the next week or so.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Courts

I have been negligent in my posting these past few days, but I have been trying to pack everything in. The last work week at Hidcote was fun with varied tasks and the weather was absolutely perfect, one warm sunny day after another. Saturday I headed south to visit The Courts Garden (thank you Gordon!) and Barnsley House and I absolutely loved both gardens, but especially The Courts. I think I will continue posting for a week or more about Hidcote- there is just too much to still share.

Above: The Courts House and Garden

Dynamic topiary yews- I LOVE the shape and movement of these trees.

Kitchen Garden

These irregular box shrubs were playful and irregular, and they felt very three dimensional. You really got a sense of depth and space with the various heights and layered planting.

Akebia vine in flower! I remember these from Washington State and I always thought they looked like little glass beads strung up.

I liked this combination of plants, with the strong yellow Euphorbia, the blue Brunnera, and the pale yellow Epimedium.

Another great combination where the yellow Epimedium flower pokes up through the silvery oriental poppy leaves.

This picture does not do this view justice, but on the other side of the lawn, straight through the center, there is a soft yellow green Phlomis planted on top of the wall. My eye was so drawn to the glow of that soft silvery foliage.

An amazing iris (it reminded me of the soft ears of my cat Patrick.)
It is Hermodactylus tuberosus.

There were all these under plantings of Fritillaria melagris in numerous places and they were blooming! A garden after my own heart.

The red twig dogwood was a nice contrast to all the green.

Another thing that I loved about this garden is that the gardeners deliberately left up old seed heads and plant stalks (such as the above Perovskia stems). It takes a very restrained gardener to not cut down the seed heads because this time of year it is all about being tidy and new. The winter interest has carried on into the spring and I thought that was incredibly exciting to see.

I was very drawn to the old seed pods left up in the garden.

An obscenely large flower of the Fritillaria imperialis.

The function of the gate has been given over to the tangle of the clematis!

Pulsatilla vulgaris (Pasque flower)

Lovely water features throughout the garden.

There were a pair of ducks floating up and down the little channel.

A nice view of one of the borders. In front is a yellow Physocarpus planted in front of the deep burgundy Berberis. The deep yellow gold and burgundy red was an electric combination.