open gardens


White Siberian iris in front of Kolkwitzia

Its been a little bit busy here-on two consecutive weekends in June we first hosted an Open Garden to raise money for the local Village Hall and then a Garden Party complete with marquee on the meadow for 85 guests to celebrate some very special anniversaries in our lives. Both events were incredible fun. And organising both has occupied us for the first 6 months of the year.


The gravel patio with unamed blue geranium

The Open Garden in the middle of June is an annual event in our village and this year 11 gardens were opened for two afternoons in the middle of June. It has been looming on our gardening horizon for quite some months, but the very idea of doing this quite crazy thing proved to be both mind focussing and rewarding. Many of the visitors were from the village but some came from the further ends of the county and over the boundary into Shropshire.The indifferent weather of the Saturday afternoon was surpassed by the very pleasant Sunday and as we were also selling ice cream and had a plant sale, people did arrive in numbers.Over the 2 days we had just over 120 visitors and I had  enjoyable conversations with many of them.

Kolkwitzia peak flowering

Kolkwitzia peak flowering in the Kitchen border

In plant terms, the azaleas were finished and the roses had hardly started-it was such a late season, but the foxglves, lupins and astrantias were at their most magnificent and they filled the borders beautifully. The kolkwitzia  and spirea arguta in full bloom were spectacular and enough of the irises were making a show for the absence of roses to be hardly noticed.


Tall and stately exclamation marks-foxgloves and delphinium grown from seed and lupins

It has been a good year for lupins and delphiniums. The cool weather has kept the lupins going for ages and kept down the numbers of slugs  but in a short week between Open Gardens and the party, the weather warmed up and the roses and  most of the delphiniums came out in a rush. I will put up those pictures next time as otherwise i will never finish this post and you will all be bored reading.

Would I open the garden again? Maybe, but not next year. Having the 2 events a week apart was the spur we needed but we have spent many, many hours getting to the point of being ready in our own minds to share what we have.We love the garden and the setting but are oddly still thin-skinned about what other people think, even though we do what we do for pleasure. Having said that, people couldn’t have been kinder in their comments. But it has given me a new insight into the work involved and people who do chose to open their beloved private spaces on a regular basis, well I  admire them enormously.


The South border with thalictrum, aquilegias persicaria and centaurea

mid month flowers

The garden ran out of steam last summer after the early June flush, so this year we have begun to plant perennials for  late summer colour, as well as growing plants from seed.  The verbena is seed raised, and plants survived last winter and have grown much more sturdily this year. I sowed verbena rigida too and that is also much better in its second year.

cleomeThe penstemon I bought at Hidcote some years ago and have propagated it successfully. It is looking good this year, together with Garnet, Sour Grapes and Heavenly Blue. on the left it is backed by the gorgeous spiny seed raised flowers of Cleome .

I’m fond of blue flowers and the Salvia is a wonderful dark purple blue with deepest indigo buds, now 3 feet high and with many buds to come. I’ve taken cuttings as an insurance, in case we have a hard or very wet winter and because I want a big clump next year, to combine with that orange helenium.


Some of the seed raised dahlias, Bishops Children, have come almost exactly true to the Bishop of Landaff. They flower in their first year but like the verbenas, second year plants really bulk up. I recommend the seed as a good way of building a collection of these dark leaved beauties. I bought mine from Sarah Raven. I have been really pleased with all the seeds I have bought from her.

eryngiumOne of my other half’s favourite plants, a joy he shares with the neighbours bees, is Eryngium planum. It has enjoyed the sunshine this summer, as I think we all have. It has certainly been the best one for warmth and sunshine for some years.

The borders are still quite pastel whilst the new perennials begin to bulk up, and some of the stars we put in for high summer are also on the feminine  side. I just adore this combination of Clematis Crystal Fountain and Justa with Gertrude Jekyll rose. It took Crystal Fountain a long time to establish after I bought it from Raymond Evison directly but the £1 purchase of Justa from a supermarket has been much quicker.fondant-fancies

I’m joining in for the first time with Garden Bloggers bloom day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. It’s great to see what is in flower all around the world.