Thursday, June 9, 2016

More from the Garden House

Even though it means getting up at stupid o' clock to shower, eat breakfast, walk Polar bear the frog hunting terrier (we lost Pippa earlier this year at nearly 15 years old, advanced old age for a greyhound), and driving for 20 minutes or so it's worth it to get into the Garden House early on a summer's morning.  The air can be still, the light good - especially if there is some cloud cover - and the plants at their freshest.  It produces some inspiring images.

The Ovals Garden at the Garden House
This section of the garden links two levels with a set of steps and oval pathways constructed of drystone walling and high quality paving to produce a delightful meandering walk down a fairly steep slope.  Replanted this year, it will look better and better as it matures.  With shapes and curves to lead the eye to the summer house at the top it's a photographers dream - and, with the restoration of some of the old planting including a river of blue Corydalis flexuosa running down the centre of the Ovals, also a gardener's dream.

One of the areas it leads to is the Tennis Court Terrace and some idea of the drop can be gauged from the height of the backing wall.

Part of the tennis court terrace border and backing wall looking back to the house
This area comes into its own later in the summer, although lupins and Primula pulverulenta provide contrast with the Wisteria and Rhododendrons on the upper terrace.

Halfway along the tennis court terrace is a set of steps leading up the upper terraces below the house. Framed correctly, these, and the pathway leading down to the the lower part of the walled garden, present a very pleasing picture, inviting you to step in and up.

Tennis court terrace pathway and steps
The whole garden is designed to reveal itself slowly with different views and vistas opening up during a walk around.  The design is complimented with the planting.  Only the best is grown here, in keeping with the philosophy of the garden's founders.

For example, Morea huttonii, a slightly tender South African iris relative, thrives in the summer garden, starting the season with elegant yellow grace.

Morea huttonii produces yellow flowers on long stems in the Summer garden
Here it's given the space it needs to produce a dominant feature in its season, while still complementing the other, later flowering inhabitants of this area.  I admire the planting.  No wonder horticulture students go on from here to top positions in prestigious gardens.  I can see my hardest job will not be finding things to photograph but having the time to photograph everything that demands attention.  I look forward to the challenge.

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