If there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s visiting NGS gardens. There’s always been an element of voyeurism – at last we can see what is going on over this wall – but that was more present when I lived in London. And there what was over the wall could sometimes be quite startling, particularly for some reason in Putney, and not always in a good way.
Happily, it’s not the same here. For one thing, you often know the garden or the gardener, and NGS day is a chance to see the garden at its best. And then you can often see into a garden beforehand; there’s not the same tendency to high walls topped with razor wire and broken glass that you find in south London. This is true of one garden near here, and it was open under the NGS on the same weekend as the Crug Farm Plant Fair – an embarrassment of riches.
It’s located between the road and the estuary, down in a dip with a stream running down one side. When you’re driving along you can see the tops of trees and some tantalising glimpses of cultivation, but when you actually visit Tanybryn you realise that there’s a lot more to it than that. For me, with my meadow and tree-shadowed areas, this garden was inspirational. And it did leave me with a deep desire to grow a tree heather…
The movement was what sold it to me, even if it did make it difficult to photograph. Still not tracked one down, but I will. I will.
And then there was the wild planting under the trees:
and the meadow areas which included some Solomon’s Seal as well as spreads of wood anemones. The latter may not take with me, but boy have I got some Solomon’s Seal I can shift about. There were also areas with a stunning combination of euphorbia and daffodils, which really worked.
I particularly applaud the lack of obsessive neatness, and I certainly plan to follow an example of tree management I saw here – removing lots of lower branches on the silver birches. It makes seeing the bark easier and, as P pointed out when I told him about it, it will make mowing the paths in the meadow a lot less painful. I’m not sure my budget would extend to planting the ground below with trilliums, though. But there was another idea I plan to adapt:
I have quite a few tall slate slabs (left over from path removal – not removal by me, but by the Western Red Cedar that came down last year), and this got me thinking about how we might use them. Not like this – I’ve only got four – but maybe in the beds. Not informed P of this idea yet (guess who’ll be doing the lifting), but I will. I’ll have to, now I’ve said it here!
And then I found some lovely things in the more formal beds. This particular delight was on a steep slope, where it ended in a wall. Lovely. And that’s from someone who doesn’t like pink.
The garden is open again under the NGS at the end of the month. I will definitely be going…
And then there was the weekend just past.
Very frustrating, what with one thing and another – a complete contrast to the last one. Partly this was due to the weather and the return of winter, complete with hailstorms and thunder, and partly due to – well, one NGS garden.
I set off to visit a couple of nearby gardens quite early as the weather was supposed to deteriorate (and it did). Found first garden, uphill and along single-track road – but car park shut. Garden definitely open – could see plants sales area, signs, etc – but not car park. Single track road. Cannot park in passing places. Dumped car in road, tried to open gate into field signposted as car park. Gate not shiftable. Rain start. Return to car, drive down to main road, turn round and try from other direction, in hope someone lovely has opened gate. Hope unfounded. Rain worse. Gate even less inclined to respond to physical violence. Boots leak. Drive to other garden. Feet steam in warmth from car heater. Rain now so heavy have to use double-speed windscreen wipers. Give up completely and go home.
Now I do appreciate that the NGS cannot control the weather (bechod – shame), but I do think that if you advertise a car park, you should at least make sure it’s accessible. Grr. Oh, enough already – there are many more weekends to come to make up for it, and it can’t rain on all of them, can it? I’ll be there anyway, no doubt…