Stocktonbury – A Campanula Cacophony


I haven’t been to Stockton Bury for a month and the borders seem to have exploded with campanulas. For the first time I took my mother to the garden. She has been having a rough time with sciatica so I thought a trip out to a garden and some cake was just the thing.  I don’t think I have been to Stockton Bury at this time of year before, I certainly don’t remember seeing the mass of campanulas before.


We particularly liked the way they were used in contrast with bright coloured flowers – I think contrasting colours work so well. Pastels and subtle colour combinations are all very nice but there is nothing like the zingyness of bright yellow against the cooling blue.


Or the blue of the campanulas against this Lychnis chalcedonica.


but I especially like the blues against the chartreuse green of the euphorbia and the emerging flowers of the soldiago.


But it’s not all campanulas.  Mum really fell for the eringiums, especially eringium alpinum superbum which were smothered in bees. IMG_0744A seemingly bland statement but my mother has always been a gardener who likes neat and short plants, never anything tall or leggy so the fact that she was smitten by the eringiums is quite fascinating.  In fact since Dad died her approach to the garden has completely changed.  She has a small garden which was predominately shrubs with some small perennials but over this year some of the shrubs have been removed and the whole garden is starting to feel more cottagey and is suddenly quite feminine.  I find it fascinating as Dad was never really that bothered by the garden although he did the lawn and pruned the shrubs but I was never aware of him really influencing the planting.  She is really getting a sense of enjoyment and achievement from the garden and every time I visit there are new plans, plants to move and replace  and she is thrilled with learning about new plants – not bad for a 76 year old.


What about this for an electric combination? I really like it and must make a note to try it next year although I have never done very well with Monardas in the past but its worth a go.


This is one plant I will never convince Mum to consider growing as she thinks they are really creepy!! I, on the other hand, love them.


I leave you with one of the many paths at Stockton Bury which lead you in gentle curves around the garden.

Mum loved the garden and how she was constantly surprised going round a corner to come across another bank of flowers.  The outing was a complete success, including the delicious coffee and walnut cake, so much so that she picked up a leaflet with a map on it so she could find her way back with her friend.


18 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda says:

    Sounds – and looks – like a lovely day. I remember my 88-year-old mother-in-law calling me one day to ask me about fennel which was called for in a summer bean salad she was making. She had never cooked with it before. More inspiration for us about the good things of growing older!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Linda
      Just shows you are never too old to learn or try something new

  2. Julieanne says:

    Some lovely colour combinations there. That yellow and blue are gorgeous, and the red and blue is so striking. I have that or similar Sempervivum (is it?) flowering just now. I’m with you and think they are wonderful.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Julieanne
      Yes I think they are sempervivums, think they are fab

  3. Diana Studer says:

    was looking at an about to flower spike on my Echevieria today

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Diana
      I really like succulent flowers as they can be so strange looking

  4. Thank you for such a magnificent walk through the garden…I am off to the kitchen to make a bit of tea from the herbs in mygarden and to sit a spell on the porch swing. Thank you for creating such a wonderful afternoon for so many of us.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Charlie
      You are welcome, hope you had a relaxing afternoon

  5. rusty duck says:

    Lychnis chalcedonica. Thank you Helen. I have it and didn’t know what it was. Glad you had a good day out with your Mum and that she is enjoying her garden again.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jessica
      I knew it was a lychnis but luckily it feature in Lloyd’s Colour for Adventorous Gardeners

  6. Yvone Ryan says:

    He Helen – what’s this about your Mum being 76 and changing her ways? I am 76, widowed, major previous health problems – pancreatic cancer 12 years ago – had to find somewhere to rent as my husband lost all our money – settled in Yvonne’s Resort at Matakatia just north of Auckland – tropical garden of 1 acre to help with – went on line for Internet Dating and with much trepidation found a lovely man who spoils me and keeps complementing me! I even made a speech/story in from of 150 people in Q Loft about Internet Dating and was the ‘star of the night’ Had never spoken on sage before, loved the applause! My grand-son had asked me to do it! So there – there is life in the old girl yet! Plan on making the most of the next 20 years – even if no money!!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Yvonne
      Well done you talking on stage, what an achievement. What I meant was that you are never too old to learn new things or change your approach to something, just as you have demonstrated.

  7. Brian Skeys says:

    Well done Mum and Stocktonbury, she could be getting her inspiration from you now.
    I must try growing the Lychnis chalcedonica from seed, the ordinary red and white one does well here.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Brian
      I think I might have a go at that lychnis too

  8. Alison says:

    Sounds like you had a fun day with your mum, what a sweet daughter you are to share a visit to this garden. Thanks for sharing some lovely, bright combos of flowers, I prefer bright colors over pastel subtlety too. I love Semps, but they are kind of creepy when they flower.

  9. Some of the older people I know are more experimental than the younger ones – never underestimate the 70+!

  10. Some very nice combinations to try. Glad the outing was such a success.

  11. I’ll have to add that one to my bucket list. The mixed border with the monardas is really fun!

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