I go through periods of wanting to stay at home, potter in the garden and avoid the whole world.  However, I then bounce to the other extreme and am itching to get out and about, visit gardens etc.  I have always been a person of extremes.  Anyway, this weekend I had my out and about persona on and decided that I needed to visit some gardens and that I fancied some private gardens opening under the NGS.

Whilst I live in Worcestershire I have visited the majority of the NGS gardens in the county and to be honest I prefer going out to Herefordshire and towards the Welsh borders.  I love the scenery in that part of the world and I have noticed that when I go out for the day I generally end up on the road to Leominster.  Anyway, a scout through the NGS book showed that two gardens I had wanted to visit were open and they were within a mile of each other – result.  I decided to invite my Mum along as we needed to spend some time together and I have been very bad in that respect recently.

I did warn Mum that we might get lost as the directions seemed to me to be Ok if you knew the area and I don’t have or want a SatNav.  We had a backup plan of a known garden to visit which did cake if it all went wrong.  I needn’t have worried we found the gardens without getting lost.  I shall start backwards as I liked the second garden best – Aulden Farm.  The first section of the garden was right up my street – a woodland garden with lots of wonderful spring flowers.  I love Honesty and this part of the garden had wonderful drifts of both purple and the white variegated varieties.  This was particularly interesting as I have both in my garden and I want them to self sow but I wondered if they would cross-pollinate and I would end up with more purple than white but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

The middle part of the garden was dominated by a stream and pond.  Sadly the water level was quite  low which isn’t surprising given the lack of rain we have had over the winter.  The signs about slippery bridges seemed somewhat redundant.  As with many gardens at this time of the year most of the garden was just gearing up for the summer so lots of emerging shoots and neat mounds of perennials.

I was particularly taken with the plant above.  We thought it might be fennel but I’m not sure so if you know do let me know as I definitely want to grow some.

Needless to say we forced ourselves to have the obligatory tea and cake – rich ginger cake with icing but it is all for charity.  We also had to force ourselves to buy some plants.  This wasn’t that hard given that there is an established nursery at the garden and the selection and quality of perennials was excellent.  I resisted the bearded irises and instead went for an Aster divaricatus which apparently was a favourite of Gertrude Jekyll and having just written an essay about her for my garden history course this seemed apt.  I also bought an Anthericum liliago (St Bernards Lily) which is great as I have been trying to grow these from seed for several years and failed.

If you are in the Hereford area and love perennials then I would recommend a visit to Aulden Farm which is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from April to August.  We also visited Ivy Croft but I will save that for another post.

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