Windy Ridge 

Windy Ridge, Little Wenlock
There is a faint possibility that my gardening mojo may be within faint sight of the horizon, it certainly has been away somewhere for most of this year. However, I am spending a few days with gardening friends visiting gardens largely based in Cheshire, last year we went to Essex and Suffolk, and there is the twinkle of inspiration forming somewhere in my mind.

Our journey north today was broken up by three gardens, all very distinct from each other not only in size but in style and it was the second one, Windy Ridge that I enjoyed most.

As you might suppose from the garden’s name it is located on a ridge and is windy according to the owners. However I think any wind is mitigated by the wealth of trees, hedges and shrubs in and around the garden.

This is a plantsman’s  garden but one that benefits from having at least one of its owners with an eye for colour, texture and form. The owners, Fiona Chancellor and her husband, whose name I strangely didn’t get, have gardened the two thirds of an acre plot for some thirty years. As you can see the quality of then horticulture and maintenance is exemplary but whilst the quality of the lawn may have impressed me it was the planting around the pond and also the gravel border that I really enjoyed.

I love gunneras but have never had a garden big enough to accommodate it. Here at Windy Ridge you push past the gunnera to find your way down a path to the back of the pond. I love planting that grows in volume as the season progresses bringing with it a temporary feeling of mystery and surprise to the garden. In any case I am a bit of a foliage nut so all the ferns, bamboo and oversized gunnera leaves were bound to make me happy.

More sumptuous foliage, there is hardly any colour in this picture except for green and yet it is alive with interest from the tall vertical leaves of the irises to the round shiny discs of the water lilies, one texture building on another giving depth and interest.

I’m not generally a fan of topiary and have a perverse dislike for box purely because it seems to be what everyone grows; the more people rave about something the less likely I am to engage with it. However, I did like the box at Windy Ridge. I liked the way the box ball give structure and rhythm to the planting. Their presence allows the surrounding planting to be freer and almost more informal; I suppose the balls anchor the planting.

So there was lots to learn from Windy Ridge, things to mull over in the future which is a nice feeling.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Yvonne Ryan says:

    JMY thouhts over topiary also altho I did think the end of that path would looks etter with a full stop to take yu eye alog. A;; looks ery ludh and summery. We ae in for a cold week as snow falling in south island so skiers will like.We will just get the et over of he dold southerly coming up the north island after snow dopped on central moutains.

  2. cavershamjj says:

    By the time I’m finished gradually nibbling away at my lawn (to increase space for plants, naturally) it will look like the one in your final picture!

  3. It does sound as though you feel more hopeful about gardening ideas, and Windy Ridge looks gorgeous!

  4. Tracy says:

    What a treat to have your blog in my email box this morning. I agree with you on box, I hate it but it is done so well in this garden.

  5. Anna says:

    Your gardening mojo must be gently simmering Helen if you are on a garden visiting holiday 🙂 Windy Ridge looks like a green and tranquil oasis. It can’t be so far away from me so I will investigate forthwith. Which Cheshire gardens are you visiting? Enjoy the rest of your break xxx

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      The trip was booked last October and I nearly cancelled but glad I didn’t. Arley Hall and Bluebell Cottage today

  6. The gunneras are amazing! I am growing a gunnera for the first time and I am looking forward to when it gets to a similar height. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Cathy says:

    Good to read about your visit, Helen, and interesting that you nearly cancelled it. I wonder how you will feel about your garden and gardening by the end of the trip…

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