Had a lovely weekend visiting someone else’s garden (Saturday), then playing around in mine (Sunday).
I visited Old Buckhurst garden in Markbeech, near Edenbridge in Kent (http://www.oldbuckhurst.co.uk/index.html). The garden opens several times a year as part of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). If you like visiting other people’s gardens then I recommend getting hold of the NGS ‘Yellow book’ for your area. Under the scheme, people open their gardens and charge a small entry fee which goes to charity. There are often plants for sale and home-made cakes to be had too! You can search for gardens open near you on the NGS website: http://ngs.org.uk
Anyway, Mr and Mrs Gladstone have a lovely garden that’s right up my street. It’s full of perennials and it’s not too tidy, if you know what I mean. The garden is about an acre in size, enclosing their old farmhouse. I like the fact that the different ‘garden rooms’ look like something the average gardener (me) could reproduce at home.
I particularly liked all the different clematis they had growing up walls, through shrubs and over pergolas. I want to introduce more clematis to my garden, so I was pleased to see a variety of clematis that are flowering and looking good right now.
There is a little plant nursery area in a corner of the garden where I had a very interesting chat with Mrs Gladstone. I asked her for advice on plants for my shady white bed under the apple tree and she was really helpful and knowledgeable. She made a few suggestions and I bought a few plants: a white oriental poppy (I have a couple of red ones in the garden already that I grew from seed a few years ago); a white malva; a Solomon’s seal; and a white foxglove (as my attempts at growing these from seed never seem to work). None of them cost more than £3 each (bargains!). Will let you know how I get on with these…
I love the way that gardeners are so generous with their time and knowledge. Mrs Gladstone really couldn’t do enough for me. She even looked up the name of one of her clematis and wrote it down for me, along with pruning and feeding instructions (which I hadn’t asked her to do).
I’ll definitely be back to Old Buckhurst garden – maybe at a different time of year to see what other plants are in bloom. And no doubt I’ll be unable to resist the temptation to buy more plants I don’t really need, for spaces that don’t exist.