Wednesday, April 22, 2015

RHS Garden Wisley

This was one of my favourite gardens the first time I visited England.  When Aunt Carolyn suggested we take a garden tour, I was delighted to see that it was included.  As anyone who is lucky enough to live close to a large public/botanical garden knows - everyday you visit, you're going to see something different.  The last time Kevin and I were there, it was at the height of summer.  There were delphiniums - and with me as a human gage at 5'6" or so, you can see how tall these beautiful specimens in the trial gardens were.  Delphiniums don't do as well in this part of Ontario - my mother had no problem in her Pointe Claire garden in Quebec - but here they often live only for a couple of years.


Such a beautiful vegetable:


Look like a real tourist here - the hat, the camera, the backpack, the brochure - never mind, the plant looks spectacular, and that's all that matters!


This time we saw Wisley in its spring glory.  Here's part of the pathway through the woodland section.


And, here's Aunt Carolyn with one of the largest Rhodos I've ever seen.  You'll find large specimens on the east and west coast in Canada, but nothing like that here.  So very beautiful.


It was Iris and Peony blossom time:



Closer to the entrance is a brick-walled garden with so many interesting specimens.  What great shapes and forms these two plants make:


Cool ferns:





And one last shot of Aunt Carolyn with the Wisteria - so very pretty:


The weather at the moment is unpleasant.  They're talking a bit of snow sometime this week.  Am still banging away on residential sales statistics for Kevin's newsletter - all I can say, is that I'll be glad when I'm done. Kevin's computer was limping along so badly yesterday that we broke down and got a new one - it seemed unable to hold information in the "cut" basket in order to put it in the "paste" position - sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, sometimes it almost did.  Not very helpful when you're trying to put together statistics.  Fortunately I double-checked my numbers - had written totals by division on a piece of paper to make sure that everything copied over into Excel.  Alas, no.  Oh well, will start again today with new tools.

If nothing else the discouraging weather makes it a little easier to be tied to my desk rather than being outside in the garden.  It truly is a year when the garden seems to be waiting patiently for my attention.  Thank goodness.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Later That Afternoon - Hampton Court Gardens & Castle - Actually - Hampton Court Palace

Many thanks to a reader for helping me with my geography!  I'd confused Hampton Court Gardens and Castle with Hampton Court Palace - the only thing I can think of as a punishment is to be sent back for another trip to England.  While I wait for my travel money jar to refill - I've made the corrections below:

My own garden continues to be sadder than sad, so I'm pleased to bring you more of my trip to England last year and some of the most spectacular gardens I've ever seen.  A couple of years before I had been to the Hampton Court Palace Garden Show - a quick way of describing it would be that it's the Summer 'Chelsea' show with the distinct advantage of being on the spectacular grounds of Hampton Court Palace.

We arrived later in the day, and practically had the place to ourselves.  Have a look below, isn't that old tree wonderful.  Here in North America, I can hear the home owners saying, "Gotta Go!".



It is beyond my realm of comprehension just how rich you would have to be to build and maintain this magnificent treasure for all these years.  You really have to shake your head, the Queen really has a lot of good stuff, and fortunately (for a price) she let's us all come have a look-see.


Both Aunt Carolyn and I had seen the castle before, so she agreed that we should "do the gardens", with the exception of the oldest grape vine - which the two of us both agreed was the dullest display we'd ever seen.  However, if you like grapes, and want to see how the most pampered grapevine in the world lives, be our guest.  (Spoiler alert:  it lives in an enormous glasshouse and the field next to the glasshouse is covered in compost for the roots.)

So, first off to the series of Edward Scissorhands gardens.

Here's my Aunt Carolyn giving scale to one of the many clipped cones in this spectacular formal garden:

Even the clouds seem to organize themselves in an attractive fashion:


Repetition + Unlimited Budget + Lots of Water + Sharp Clippers = Very Cool Vista


You should always consider how your house looks from the street:


And, now onto the garden.  Unfortunately there weren't any gardeners around, and I had so many questions.



Sisyrinchium striatum above.  Good soft yellow almost Verbascum like flowers.  Had the gardener been there, I would have asked about how the colours of the border changed throughout the year, and what their favourite time was.



Obviously some damage that they're letting grow back in:



The biggest Allium I've ever seen with some Geum.  Not a combination that would work here I'm thinking.  Allium much earlier than the Geum.  Oh, and I've never met a Geum that would live for more than a month or two, so cool combo, but sadly not for me.



Not a single mark on these rose leaves:


The poppies were bigger than my hand:


Wouldn't you just kill for a nice old wall for your garden:



Again, something that wouldn't happen here I don't think.  Digitalis would be long gone before the Kniphofia started to perform.  More apt to see the Macleaya cordata and the Kniphofia together.  Is this what really happens, or were the Kniphofia forced?


My biggest question, was, "How big is this border?"  When I thought I was about halfway, I took a picture one way:



and then spun around to take the 180 view:


With everything else that needs to be handled in a garden this size - thought this was a really good idea - when the tulips are fading these wallflowers take over.  I even like how the tulips make a great texture in the purple.  And when the wallflowers are done - it all can come out and be replanted.


and then we were off the bus once again.  You can see Aunt Carolyn as a little tiny dot on the bench.


This is what you'll see when the flower show is on.  Without a doubt, flower show or not, the Hampton Court Palace must be on your list if you're planning a trip to England.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Last Year's Best Gardens - Kew Gardens

It's impossibly grey today - rain and snow.  It's that time of year when I'm holding onto the hope of spring and flowers with my fingernails.  So what better time to show you some photos of my and my Aunt Carolyn's trip to England last year.  The focus was gardens.  This, our second day was a 3 hour visit to Kew.  Believe me I could have spent all week there - so many plants - and so little time. Anyway, Aunt Carolyn and I did the speed-walk tour of as much as we could, and saw so many lovely things.

Like this, yet another of the Queen's houses - Kew Palace.


Aunt Carolyn and the Laburnum - I know there are those folks who can't abide by chartreuse....


but when you look up to the sky and see this - how absolutely beautiful.


Some golden coloured Heuchera 'Caramel'.    I don't know about you, but I find this an odd colour to find in the shade.


The perfect walled vegetable and fruit garden by the palace:


No, not my knees, but pretty close, Eucalyptus 'Spinning Gum':


Prancing on the petals at the Arboretum:


Such a pretty rhodo 'John Coutts':


I wish I had space to do this with Primula:




Cornus alternifolia variegata - one of the many things I wish I could grow in my garden.  Actually I can and I did, but it looked like the stunted sad troll version.


Pinks in purple, red, violet, vermillion, white and a dozen other colours.  Old fashioned and so pretty - more people should enjoy this great plant in their gardens.


The Kew arid landscape:


One of the many delightful workers who were only to happy to say hello.  Kevin was tasked with the responsibility of doing the shade-garden fix-up.  Most of these early bloomers would have finished with their big show.


One of the things they really don't concern themselves with at Kew is signage - oh, there is some, just not everywhere, after all, only foolish Canadians would be seeing the place on a 3-hour drop, run and go tour.   Aunt Carolyn and I were not lost - we knew we were in Kew Gardens, but had no idea how to get to the bus at this point.


It is a fine place to wander.  The Queen must enjoy her walks here.


Lupins are such wonderful plants.  Unfortunately they can be short-lived in this part of Ontario.


Now, if you didn't care for the chartreuse, how about these scented pastels?


This is one of the few plants that does equally well in London as it does in Oakville - enormous Allium really are a marvel aren't they:


I've got to move onto my next project:  it's finishing up taxes (yes, hand in the blender time!) and onto my newsletter prep - will be sure to take breaks and share more of our trip to England with you in the weeks ahead.  

Until then.