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Historic Diary Entries

8th March 2019

March winds and April showers arrived together at the weekend and not before time.  Its amazing how the rain refreshes the garden and brings a sparkle to all the plants and emphasises the new growth.  Many trees and shrubs are breaking bud and the blossom is now showing on most of the Magnolias.  They will flower for many weeks and make a great show.


One of the reasons I would normally say February is my least favourite time of year is that most often it is the drabbest month. Coming out of winter the grass looks washed-out and yellow, especially if it has been under snow.  But this year the grass is bright green already: all that February sun and a bit of rain has worked wonders.


Work has continued on my landscaping projects.  A new edge has been put in along the first lake and construction of a new and safer path through the Stream Garden is half complete.  However, with just over a week to go until our first NGS afternoon, Friday 15th, time is of the essence and there is still plenty to do.



  










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20th March 2019


Every year I seem to forget how quickly Spring takes hold.  All of a sudden, leaves are appearing on trees and shrubs, everywhere millions of shoots are popping out of the ground and primroses, daffodils and magnolias at last fill the garden with colour.

We had our first NGS afternoon last Friday. The weather was kind to us and it was great to see the first visitors of the year enjoy the early Spring colour. Coupled with the bulbs and blossom is the terrific sense of anticipation of what’s to come.

Occasionally I am asked what my favourite plant is.  Impossible to answer – in any case it depends on the time of year – but without doubt one of the main contenders is our Leonard Messel Magnolia. It nestles in a sheltered part of the garden and is first glimpsed through the branches of other trees, but boy is it good?  A lovely soft pink that illuminates the garden around it.

We are open the next two Fridays for NGS from 2pm onwards, light refreshments available. The weather forecast is good so I hope to see you here.  Good gardening.



  










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27th March 2019


We had a good number of visitors on Friday enjoying the warm sunshine and the colourful early Spring garden. I expect no less this week as the weather I set fair and it is the last chance to see the garden for a few weeks.

The flowering cherries, Prunus shirotae, are now in bloom and look fantastic.  The way in which they hover above the banks of the stream and pond shows them to their full effect and looks magical.  The supporting cast of Amelanchier lamarckii and the still-flowering magnolias are not too bad either!


Down on the ground the narcissi are doing their thing, my favourite this week being N. ‘Silver Chimes’.  All of a sudden everywhere you look there is colour: the fresh green of new foliage and primroses, daffodils, and a million little jewels.

The good news is that all the landscaping projects are finished.  The new path across the stream garden is ready and is looking good. Yet another route to follow in the garden.

We are open from 2pm onwards, light refreshments available. I hope to see you here.  Good gardening.




  










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3rd April 2019


Last Friday was the third of our NGS openings and we were blessed with superb weather. It felt like the first day of summer so warm was it.  It was great to see so many people come along and they were rewarded with cherry blossom (Prunus shirtoae) and Juneberry (Amelanchier lamarckii) and the riot of colour from magnolias, narcissi and primroses and a whole host of bulbs.

I genuinely think the garden was looking the best I have seen it and it is a great pleasure to share it with visitors old and new. I really like it when people return to see the garden, whether to remember what is familiar about it or to see what has changed.

We are closed for a few weeks now (except for season ticket holders who can visit any afternoon) but that does not mean the garden is not rushing forward into spring.  The cherry blossom has only just begun and we still have Prunus ukon and P. shirofugen still to come.  Then will come the crab apples, clematis, bird-cherry, not to mention the spring-flowering shrubs and tulips, tulips, tulips.


The best is yet to come!





  










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()$

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-### -

 #%#


16th April 2019


I have just returned from a few days away, a busman’s holiday on the edge of Exmoor where Somerset meets Devon.  A lovely part of England where it was interesting to see the progress of Spring in a different part of the country. The wildflowers in the banks and hedgerows seemed to be a week or so ahead, although the gardens roughly matched home.

Thankfully we have had a return to seasonal temperatures and some much-needed rain. Good growing conditions, and don’t we know it!  The hedgerows are full of leaf, trees are breaking bud and needless to say weeds and grass are growing faster than anything.  It won’t be long before we are cutting grass twice a week. Although many would say that May is the best month in English gardens because so much is in flower, I would argue for April.  The new growth on trees and shrubs and those plants pushing up through the soil are such a range of bright and vivid shades of green, the very essence of spring. Each year I am amazed, as though I had forgotten, by the rapidity of spring: just how quickly the bare winter branches change to green and in quick succession the trees display their blossom and bare soil disappears under a carpet of flower and foliage.






  










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 #%#


23rd April 2019


As anticipated the growth rate of grass, weeds and just about everything else is phenomenal.  The ground has nicely warmed up and after the warm weather we are going to get some much-needed rain. From now on it’s full steam ahead.

In the garden the last of the flowering cherries are in bloom. The magnificent Prunus shirofugen which greets you as you walk towards the Court is simply stunning. Just beyond it are the flowering crab-apples Malus ‘John Downie’ making a great frothy cloud, matched further into the garden by the Japanese crab-apple Malus floribunda. These in turn are closely followed by the bird cherries, Prunus padus, along the side of the lake. All quite breath-taking.

And as well as the joy of what is in flower now is the anticipation of what comes next. The Wisteria flowers are unfurling and the buds on the early roses are getting fatter. Exciting times.

This week we open our doors for the season. The garden is looking beautiful and hopefully you can come along and see it for yourself.







  










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%#$"#/ #*. #

-### -

 #%#


3rd May 2019


Next Monday is the busiest day in our gardening year when we open our doors for the National Garden Scheme from 2pm. There is so much to see and appreciate: clematis festooning the house, blossom on the pears, apples and crab-apples, wisteria, wildflowers and so much more.

Believe it or not the very first roses are flowering and although no where near in flower the rose garden itself is looking fantastic with so much lush growth and colourful underplanting.

At the further end of the garden the wildflower meadow has sprung to life and the thousands of Camassia are looking like a carpet of posh Bluebells.

If you come along don’t forget to visit the Fernery in the ruined north chapel of the priory. It is in its second season and looking pretty good. I am always adding new ferns to it and they all seem to be loving the cool damp conditions.


All-in-all the weather forecast is promising so please come and enjoy the garden. There are plants for sale and plenty of tea and cake.








  










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