Today I went for a mooch into Herefordshire, my favourite county, to visit The Nest which is opening this Bank Holiday weekend for the NGS. What a wonderful country garden full of all those plants I love, exuberant, floriferous and fascinating.
The property is adjacent to the old Stourport to Leominster Canal which we learned had never been completed and had been out of use for many decades. The owners divert some of the water through the garden to form a wonderful gully where ferns and other moisture loving plants grow.
Aside from the ferns the real draw at this time of year is a large square bed divided into quarters by a brick path with a water bath in the middle. The planting is dense herbaceous and was positively buzzing with bees and even an untrained eye such as mine could spot at least three different varieties of bee.
As with many gardens around here at the moment there was a variety of irises including siberian (above) and some lovely bearded irises which the owner had for so long that the name was but a distant memory.
The Rosa Stanwell Perpetual made its presence first with scent before you even noticed it but when you did see it the flowers were quite overwhelming. Apparently this rose just gives and gives so is now on my wish list though goodness knows where I have space for it.
I decided to go on the wildflower walk around the owners wildflower meadow. I bit of a departure for me as my knowledge about wildflowers has faded since I was quite good in my teens. I have been becoming more and more interested in finding out more about our native plants but have been a little intimidated by the very knowledgeable people. Anyway, I needn’t have worried we went for a walk through the meadow up mown paths. The owner explained how the meadow had not been cultivated for some 200 years and how they had worked so hard to reduce the fertility of the soil to allow the flowers to predominate and the yearly routine that they applied to maintain this amazing spectacle.The highlight of my visit was seeing my first wild orchid – the Heath Spotted Orchid.
A beautiful garden indeed even on a grey and damp day with the darkening clouds threatening overhead.