Monday, August 1, 2011

A rare treasure

Liriodendron tulipifera
A very tall specimen had become hemmed in amongst other mature trees at Orchards.  Any flowers - given their subtle colour - were difficult to see in the higher canopy.  One year at eye level these two flowers were captured on camera.  Days later a wind ripped through the lower garden and tore one third of the tree down like a huge heel cutting.  Such were the challenges of gardening at Orchards.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Verdant confusion

I loved this walk to and from the selling nursery.   I loved all the greenness, the textures and structure of the different herbaceous plants.  Any flowers were a bonus to this verdant confusion. 

A Stalwart Salvia

Salvia nemerosa 'Amethyst'

This salvia was one of the best cultivars that we grew at Orchards; flowering over a long season even without judiscious deadheading.  Loved by bees and other nectar-seeking insects; the plant hummed throughout the day.  The dun-coloured seedheads gave added attraction to the winter border.  Its placement on the widest curve of the Yew border meant that it could be viewed from several angles.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Textures and shades of green

By late May the rush of herbaceous planting overtook the fading forget-me-nots.  The borders at Orchards were full of this delightful little flower - a pleasant relief to all the yellowness of spring.  The spent plants were stripped from the ground - shaken lightly, their glossy black seeds ensured plants for the following year - and taken by the barrowload to mulch around the apple trees in the orchard.  Pools of blue for the following spring beneath the pink buds and white flowers of the apples was guaranteed.

The rough textured foliage of Geranium gracile is softened by the mottled leaves of an aquilegia seedling and pinnate leaves of Polemonium 'Lambrook Mauve'.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring time

This is a childhood memory of the garden at Orchards; the daffodils not yet in flower were late flowering 'pheasant eye' narcissus.  The large cherry on the left an early casualty to honey fungus which became rampant in the garden. In the immediate foreground heathers which Gay planted for low maintenance!
These were removed in the late 1970s and in the early 1990s Philip built two gravel terraces with wide steps to the lawn and more borders for a grey garden, later a grassery. On the lower terrace a long wooden bench was placed against a bank of early rhododendrons, with a view across a shady border down the vista.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A busy time for Arthur

This picture shows Arthur in the 1950s taking a break from his writing; cutting the grass around the sea of daffodils which were planted on the south facing slope at Orchards.  Arthur and Gay planted all the daffodils in the garden in the early 1930s for the cut flower market except for the few native daffodils struggling in the scrubland that was evident when they purchased the land.  Note the small dark 'blob' - this Cryptomeria japonica Elegans Group - grew into a small colony - and became my one of my favourite trees.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I prefer handling photos

For the last week I've been going through numerous cd's - reminding myself - as if I needed to - of the beauty of Orchards.  The main structure of the mature trees further enhanced by the lush herbaceous planting introduced during our time there. How much nicer I think to curl up on the settee and browse these images at leisure rather than at a desk - staring intently at the photo and seeing if any improvement can be made to the light or contrast etc.

Oemleria  cerasiformis flowers in the background of the photo it has various common names; Oso Berry/Indian plum & Oregon plum.  An underrated plant with tiny insignificant bell-shaped flowers which fill the winter/spring garden with almond scent.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Editing the manuscript

I was told this is where the hard work starts and it's true.  Critiqued and encouraged by a professional writer who on the whole had nothing but praise for my writing; the errors found this morning after a dozen read throughs outloud and further editing by my husband Philip still reveals errors.  Which proves that we read a word as we want to read it!