Day 2 of our tour welcomed us with lovely sunshine and we set off optimistically to our first garden – Ultingwick, nr Maldon. I was looking forward to visiting this garden as I have been friends with its owner, Phillippa, on Twitter for a couple of years now. I know that Phillippa does not think this is the best time to visit her garden as she really focuses on mass tulips in Spring and then late Summer planting.
However, the roses were out in abundance and despite the torrential rain the day before they were looking very good and smelling heavenly. There was a very pretty yellow climbing rose over an entrance arch, which I didn’t photograph, but I was completely bewitched by its scent – apparently it is Goldfinch and it is on my wants list. Seeing all of Phillippa’s climbing roses, has reinforced my feeling that I need to add some to my garden – to the extent that one has already been planting at the front of the house.
Part of Phillippa’s garden is made up if a large meadow with mown paths through it. It was just beginning to colour up with scabious flowering and I expect it will soon look glorious. However, I did learn yesterday that due to the heavy rainfall in the area the river that runs along the boundary of the property has burst its banks and flooded the garden which is such a pity.
I was surprised that I didn’t have more photographs of the garden particularly the herbaceous borders but I think I was distracted by talking to my colleagues about the garden and how wonderful the setting is. What really interested me was Phillippa’s collection of succulents and other tender plants. You can see the pots around the front door in the top photograph but work had just started on placing the late summer planting now that the tulips have been removed. I was particularly fascinated by the way the aeoniums have been planted in the border above – a real gaggle of aeoniums all huddling together. On the other side of the central pot is a similar group of a different type of aeoniums, a much shorter greener variety, which had taken on a sort of organic shape.
I really enjoyed Phillippa’s garden, there was a lovely atmosphere partly contributed to by the listed buildings but also partly from the elegant and generous planting. I would love to visit again either to see the tulips or the late summer planting.
I have to say that I was disappointed with my visit to RHS Hyde Hall because I am annoyed with myself as it turned out later than I had missed quite a bit of the garden as I was talking to colleagues and ran out of time. So much so that I decided the next day to look around the garden in the first instance on my own before joining up with others. However, I did like what I saw. As you arrive there are newish plantings near the Plant Centre with block plantings of perennials in squares rather than the traditional herbaceous border. I particularly liked the colour of this delphinium but I don’t know its name.
As you walk up the hill to the original garden, not that I knew that was where it was, you travel through large generous sweeping borders which had a strong impact due to the limited colour palette and were a good example of how to incorporate grasses into a herbaceous planting. It did get a little samey though as you walked up the hill and I think that maybe different colour palettes could be used in different borders.
At the top of the hill is the Australian/South Hemisphere garden which I really enjoyed as I have a weakness for plants from this part of the world and it was great to see them grown so well and to be envious of the free draining soil which allows this success.
I would like to visit this garden again so I can see the rest of it, maybe I could incorporate it with another visit to Phillippa’s garden.
Our last garden of the day was a lovely surprise. A private garden of only 2/3rd of an acre which was a plantsmen’s delight and a demonstration that just because you collect plants it doesn’t mean you can’t have well planted borders.
Take for example this White Garden which is clearly white but actually there is little white in the garden. Avril, the plantswoman in charge, hasn’t fallen into the White Garden trap and filled the space with white flowering plants instead she has used white variegations with some white flowers and it just works.
My photos of the borders are over saturated so not that great but if you look at this border you can see how the heuchera picks up on the digitalis and the poppy and how the phormium picks up on the brown leaved plant at the front of the border. When you look closely at the planting the combinations are even more interesting.
Take this combination for example and look how the geranium palmatum picks up the pink tones of the Phormium leaves and in turn the heuchera picks up on the purple of the leaves. The colours trickle right down to the front of the planting with the pink flowers of the heuchera.
And this combination with the flowers of the grass, an annual that I don’t have the name of but an determined to find out, and how they work with the phormium leaves with the foliage of the artemisa also picking up on the silver tones in the leaves. Interestingly the majority of the combinations I liked were foliage ones with the flowers an added bonus.
For me this garden was one of the ones that made me think about how I plant in my garden and from which I learnt some really useful lessons. I really enjoyed it