I have enjoyed a productive week of visiting some really varied and impressive gardens, mostly during a trip up to Northumberland. After seeing some impressive sights I thought it represented a perfect chance for me to do one of my, admittedly now only semi-regular, Six on Saturday posts. I have included one from my walled garden at work, as well as two pics for one of my chosen subjects. Hope you enjoy!!
I saw my first wild orchid – and not where I expected. At Bamburgh we saw an information board pointing out that orchids grew on the sand dunes. So we eagerly investigated, but to no avail. Then to our amazement the next day we spotted one, growing in the hazardous place of the Cragside gardens car park. Not by the car park, or around the car park, but literally in a car parking space. Then we saw more, all risking their lives of being squashed by cars and visitors by choosing to grow in such a busy and treacherous place.
The first visit of our Northumberland jolly was to Wallington, a National Trust garden near to Morpeth. It was a fantastic place, with woodlands, ponds and a really great walled garden complete with glasshouses. It was a purely ornamental walled garden with lots of borders and a range of plants. One that really took my eye was this Lilium pyrenaicum, or Pyrenean lily. As the name suggests, this striking lily originates from the Pyrenees and I think it looks so impressive with its big, bold head of yellow petals with dark markings. Wallington was a great garden, and somewhat surprising as it’s not a hugely famous place, and this lily stuck with me from the trip.
We also visited Cragside, a more well-known Northumberland garden famed for its huge steep rock garden and huge rhododendron collection. We were there for peak rhodendron season, with them and azaleas providing dazzling splashes of colour up and down the steep Rocky hillside the house is built into. There was a wealth of colours on show but I particularly liked this unusual ‘Sappho’ rhododendron, a large shrub with white flowers featuring a dark purple flare. It really stood out, both on its own and complimenting the reds around it, as seen in the second picture.
One a much less grander scale I really enjoyed seeing the small walled garden that Gertrude Jekyll created on Lindisfarne. This unassuming garden was designed over 100 years ago – in 1911 – and restored to its original plans in the early noughties. Sitting on what was a veg patch for soldiers houses in the nearby castle, Jekyll turned it into a tiny oasis on an otherwise rugged island. It will provide colour and scent on even the greyest day when the North Sea winds are striking at its walls. Luckily we visited on a glorious day and really enjoyed sitting and taking in all this enchanted walled garden offered.
Once back from my trip up North, I visited Oxton Organics, a wonderful organic market garden at Fladbury in the Vale of Evesham. It runs a veg box scheme and also sells veg wholesale from its garden. I was lucky enough to go on a tour and also chat with the farmer. The place was awesome, bustling with produce across its beds and polytunnels. And the garden was spotless, really neatly organised and incredibly weed-free. It was really inspirational, they are using a no-dig approach and utilising biodynamic farming techniques. I would love to have a market garden like this of my own, maybe one day.
Finally, with the weather being grey and wet for the last few days I take joy from seeing the first tomatoes growing. These are on the plants I grew and got planted in the tunnel at work, and the first fruits are a great sign. Here’s to a summer of juicy delicious tomatoes!!