A week of beautiful sunny weather and good temperatures. We’ve been out and about visiting gardens for inspiration and relaxation. On Monday was National Trust Knightshayes Court where we always head straight for the huge walled kitchen garden. The gardeners and volunteers do a terrific job managing such a big space and we are invariably impressed. There are useful little boards dotted in the beds with information about what’s growing and what’s problematic and how they are dealing with it. The veg was looking good – especially the broad beans and brassica, and a huge bed of rhubarb with a note saying that they pick it until midsummers day and then leave it alone until the following year. In the middle of the garden is a round pond with raised sides – it was probably designed as the dipping pond for the garden, but it has been planted up and the water level is very low. Nonetheless, a female mallard was busy encouraging her six ducklings to climb out and disport themselves in all their fluffy, stripey cuteness on the grass paths. On the other side of the house (Victorian gothic) the herbaceous borders were full of peonies and iris, and hardy geraniums, with great billowing clouds of gypsophila drawing the eye. Lovely.
Later in the week we visited another favourite of ours, the much less well-known Burrow Farm Gardens hidden in the Devon countryside between Honiton and Axminster. This is a garden that fits perfectly into the landscape. There are beautifully planted gardens; we were very taken with roses climbing through trees – a scarlet rose through an acer was particularly striking – a garden of grasses dotted with perennials; a long slope with shrubs leading down to a pool alive with dragonflies and damselflies like jewels over the water; a quarry garden and a glorious wildflower meadow noisy with bees and studded with orchids. There’s also a collection of cornus trees that are magnificent at this time of year. It’s an absolute delight. Do seek it out.
At home we are still working hard in the garden – weeding mostly, but also finding space to plant one or two unusual things that we have picked up from our favourite local(ish) nursery – Plant World.
This is digitalis ferruginea or the rusty foxglove. The bees absolutely love it and the small browny-pink flowers with a creamy yellow interior are really sweet.
And this is silybum (yes, really) marianum or St Mary’s Milk Thistle. Common enough but usually rooted out of gardens. That variegated foliage is stunning and I can’t wait to see the purple flower.
There’s more but I don’t have decent photographs yet. More good weather is promised next week so I’m sure we will be out and about and I’ll have more to share.