Here are two gardens I visited on the same day in late June of this year. Both were in glorious bloom.
Let's start with Wakehurst, which is managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and under the care of the National Trust. The gardens are part of a 465 acre estate including ornamental gardens, woodlands, a nature reserve, and more, all surrounding an Elizabethan mansion. source Although I did not visit it, the very important Millennium Seed Bank is also housed at Wakehurst.
There are lots and lots of pictures coming up, so please sit back and enjoy yourselves.
I was really taken by this clever use of planters, which afforded a modern take on the herb garden in an otherwise blank, paved space ~
It is simply stunning Bixa! Was part of it a 'Walled Garden'? The archways into the various sections make it so attractive and just lend themselves to photo opportunities. Your photos of the irises are lovely. The trees were my best pick - absolutely gorgeous! I am really looking forward to England next year - wont be going at the height of gardens at their best but I find English gardens lovely right up until late September.
Thanks, Tod! Yes, parts of the gardens are old walled enclosures, although you can see that there are huge open spaces. I do love the way that the enclosed spaces were used there. Obviously I was also carried away by the trees and the irises. I note that Brightwater (the tour company for my trip) has a Sept. 1 visit that includes Highgrove House and Hidcote, both of which I'd love to see.
Well, I hope you all will stick with this report, as I still have one more post to make on Wakehurst before moving on to the romantic glories of Nymans.
September 1st 2017 is a Friday and is Grandparents Day at the boys school. I have delayed flying off until 5th September because of this special day for them. I have no idea what will happen in 2018 but suspect they will hold it on 31st August and 30th in year 2019. Looks like I must join a tour in May, June or July! Thank so much for the information - Highgrove being the home of Prince Charles & Camilla. Could be very interesting but I'm sure the couple will not be home!
Tod, wouldn't it be fun if we wound up on a tour together?
Bjd, I grew the wild yellow irises (Iris psuedacorus) in my yard in Louisiana. They were big with big bold yellow flowers. I read that they cannot be shipped by growers to some states because they can be so invasive.
On we go to other parts of the garden as we wend our way back to the house ~
Mindblowing. Stunning. I'm completely speechless. We could make and grow gardens very much like that here but don't. The nearest I can think of to something like that is Van Deusen Garden in Vancouver, and it really isn't even in the same league frankly.
Thank you so much, Fumbobici. I said this in one of my other garden threads, but it bears repeating: as an American gardener who'd mooned for decades over pictures of English gardens in books and magazine, I realistically thought that the real things couldn't possibly live up to the photos. How wrong I was! If anything, I am even more starry-eyed now about the glorious English gardens and their oh so deserved reputations.
I googled Van Deusen Garden and have to say I was extremely impressed by the pictures. But yeah, in real life I've never seen any place in the US that has that all-out look to it of the English gardens I saw. Who knows if it's a matter of funding, or of consistency of staff and philosophy, or what.
Well, let's see what you think of the next place. We're going to hop off that bus and plunge right in ~
"Nymans is an English garden in Haywards Heath, Sussex. It was developed, starting in the late 19th century, by three generations of the Messel family, and was brought to renown by Leonard Messel. ... Nymans is the origin of many sports, selections and hybrids, both planned and serendipitous, some of which can be identified by the term nymansensis ... Colonel Leonard Messel succeeded to the property in 1915 and replaced the nondescript Regency house with the picturesque stone manor ... in a mellow late Gothic/Tudor style. He and his wife Maud ... extended the garden to the north and subscribed to seed collecting expeditions in the Himalayas and South America. The garden reached a peak in the 1930s and was regularly opened to the public. The severe reduction of staff in World War II was followed in 1947 by a disastrous fire in the house, which survives as a garden ruin. ... At Leonard Messel's death in 1953 it was willed to the National Trust with 275 acres of woodland, one of the first gardens taken on by the Trust." source
Lonicera, but what kind? It makes a wonderful accent in this rose garden ~
Gunnera and woodland ferns ~
The sweet old fashioned beauty of hydrangea ~
Something that impressed me in all the gardens I visited was how much space was given over to trees and the subtle way they were planted, so that each stood out in all its splendor. This was particularly impressive given how much was lost during the great storm of 1987. Nymans lost 486 mature trees and many of its shrubs, but restoration is ongoing. More information about some of the trees at Nymans and how they can be used in the home garden: www.rhs.org.uk/Gardens/Partner-Gardens/articles/Trees-for-smaller-gardens/Nymans.
Here is a noble specimen. After reading the last link above, I don't know if it's a Halesia or a Styrax, nor if I identified the last tree with this sort of blossom correctly.
More "Wow" photographs. I can only think that these beautiful English gardens are the product of several things: a wealthy person or family interested in gardening and making a showplace out of a large estate + suitable climate (you can't have gardens this extravagant if you have to water them) + a mental attitude of recreating "nature" on a small scale. This might be due to the size of the country where a small scale image of nature is possible. In the States or Canada, even given a suitable climate like on the west coast, nature is too big and overwhelming.
What are the pink flowers you have several pictures of in #20 -- the 5th, 11th and then further down with a bee in one flower?
Another triumph Bixa! Nymans is certainly the place for wide open vistas judging by your photos. Your Bee pics are particularly fantastic! In one of the photos there is a long green stalk reaching skyward ( background is the ruin)...what is that plant called? The lovely peach rose called Port Sunlight is of course named after the model village built by Lever Brothers of Sunlight Soap fame. My mother's first job ever was with Lever Bros.
Did all your coach trips leave from a central point everyday?
Oh, thank you so much, bjd! You are right that all of these "great gardens" were fueled by money and intense interest in either gardening or showing off. In modern times, it's everyones great fortune that there are conservation organizations such as the National Trust to maintain them. As far as recreating nature, the English Landscape style is something that fascinates me, not least because it is adaptable to the size gardens most of us will have. Here is a very brief history. This article is much more in-depth, and this one ties the subject to specific examples. Finally, dear old Houzz gives pages and pages of designs using real private gardens in every size from estate to tiny patio. I find the examples inspiring because they come from a wide variety of climates.
I knew I should have gone looking for the name of that flower. It came up in the Great Comp thread also, and Lugg kindly identified it for me and even linked it to a photo by Cheerypeabrain. I have now looked again and it is Astrantia.
You are so kind, tod2 -- thank you! Ha ha ~ I was hoping that someone reading this thread would identify that tall mystery plant for me. If you copy & paste this link: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5498/30482250693_f2476a0eba_o.jpg and then click on the picture that will open, you can see it full sized & maybe figure out what it is. Imagine your knowing that fascinating fact about Port Sunlight -- I had no idea! I looked it up and now it's a place I'd love to visit. Yes, we stayed at a hotel where breakfast and dinner were provided. The trips left from there every morning except the first, when we visited two gardens after leaving London & on our way to the hotel. It was actually in Surrey, although the gardens were in Kent and Sussex.
Beautiful photos of beautiful plants. Spectacular photos, really. Bixa, this particular report was too short! Please tell me there are more English garden photos to come.
I think the tall leaner might be echium vulgare. We can't grow it here but I asked about it at a garden in France and the owner wrote down the name for me.
Also the photo marked Halesia I think is more likely a Styrax.
I have several memories of Nymans. The roses in the walled garden weren't in bloom yet, but I saw a fox dash through the area. A fox sighting is always a thrill for me, but I see from your photos, bixa, just what I missed by being too early.
At Nymans I overheard a woman saying "When we were lost here..." and then realized she said "last." We saw a baby in a stroller with his sunhat pushed up in front. His dad pointed at him and laughed and said "Gobby Eyes!" Later I figured out he was saying Gabby Hayes.
Thanks to cheap starter plants from Forestfarm, we have a Magnolia Leonard Messel that survives in our colder climate and flowers nicely but many years the flowers get killed by frost. I've coveted some plants with 'nymansay' in the name but they are too tender for us.
I have loved all your garden photos, bixa, and hope you can go back to England.