Sometimes less is more

The other week I took a couple of blogging friends to Bryans Ground in Herefordshire, my favourite garden.  I had raved about this garden so I  was a little nervous about their reaction – you can read Victoria’s view here.

I haven’t visited this garden at the start of the season before so this was the first time I had seen the mass planting of Iris siberica in flower.  It was really quite breath-taking and definitely a lesson in being brave enough to have a restricted colour and plant palate.

There is an argument to be made that these Iris do not flower for that long and so to fill such a large area, and the area is about the same as many small suburban gardens, with one flowering plant means this part of the garden will only have a sort period of interest.

However, this is not the case at Bryans Ground.  The formality of the beds with grass paths in between and the regularity of the trees, one in each bed gives a strong structure which carries the area through the rest of the year.

This is the same area in July last year and as you can see it still looks glorious even though the majority of the flowers have gone over.  I think the trees are apple trees but to be honest I was so distracted by the rest of the planting that I didn’t look.

When I visited the garden last year I was a little perplexed by this water feature and the strange shape.  It made no sense to me and seemed to jar.  However, visiting with friends suddenly makes you see things differently.  Victoria pointed out to me that if you stand on the drive and look along the paths that cross-section the irises the structure of the feature gives the impression that there is a round pool between each section.  It is quite clever really but I still struggle with the view above.  Maybe once the brick work mellows more it will seem more part of the garden.

There is much more to this garden, the Irises are just one section but they are just so stunning and I have never seen this type of planting before in a private garden I wanted to share it.

I plan to visit the garden at least one more this year, or if time permits more and I can’t wait to see what other gems I discover.

Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

8 thoughts on “Sometimes less is more”

  1. That view with just the iris foliage, grass path and trees is glorious. Funny, I don’t think it would work if it wasn’t a strict grid and if the paths weren’t green, but as it is, beautiful. Thank you for sharing the same part of the garden at different times of year, its something I find really helpful.

    PS I’ve not stood in the space so probably shouldn’t say, but I find that undulating water feature irritating! Still, full marks for trying I guess…

  2. This property is beautiful planted so liberally with the iris. The water feature is DARING. I happen to like the idea, but it does seem out of context with the architecture. I would have to see more and in person. The concept seems intriguing.

  3. Helen do you know the garden is in the May issue of Country Living?
    thank you for showing the Apple trees (yes apple) when the Iris are finished flowering like you I wondered about the limitations, according to CL the Iris seedheads give summer interest and it is all cut by hand in October, apparently it was an orchard originally but cut many decades ago, replanting was one of their first projects they chose 30 different varieties of local or Edwardian provence apple trees,
    the only thing it says about the canal is ‘ ….digging out the main drive through the orchard in preparation for the serpentine canal that extends more than 150 feet.’ that is the one as there is a photo naming it, weird, perhaps it is meant to be viewed from the new drive but CL didn’t include a photo of that view,
    it sounds like there is plenty of colourful planting else where on this large estate garden so lots for you to explore later, Frances

  4. I believe I do like the water feature. I am inclined to the natural look however there is something about the curvy forced edge that appeals. Perhaps because it is incongruous with the feel of the place. Looks like a lovely place to visit.

  5. What do you see looking AWAY from the house, where you are standing? This seems to end as an afterthought at a little wall with a window, seems to need a focus at the house end, or quiet green, or something. Across Victoria’s ’round pools’ is fascinating.

  6. I love the irises and I would love to see Bryan’s Ground. I agree with you that the iris beds when not in flower still make a satisfying sense.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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