Month: May 2015

West Dean, a play in two acts

‘Ah ha, a piece of bindweed!’ That is what a lady said during the morning tour of West Dean gardens. Exactly where, and if it did exist I do not know, as I was too busy engrossed in all the garden theatre in the walled kitchen garden.  I say if too because these gardens are emmactulate. Lines are lines and swiggles are swiggles. There are no half measures.  The morning tour consisted of two acts. Sarah Wain, chief guide and host led a supporting cast of various lead fruit and vegetable plants and a dedicated supporting crew of volunteers. Lets not forget Jim Buckland now shall we! Then there is the props department. Glasshouses, terracotta pots, canes. They were all cleaned to perfection.     The iron curtain lifted to reveal an orchard setting in a walled garden. The ensemble sung in full part harmony. The baseline of fruit trees with fritillaries and cowslips providing undertones amongst the crescendo of Dandelions. (Dandelions you say.. well yes not the greatest meadow mix choice but alas are a …

The Working Garden

During April I was very lucky to able to visit a private garden in West Sussex. It was The Working Garden cared for by head gardener Benjamin Pope and team.    On arrival, the raked gravel drive to the house meanders via woody shady planting with shrubby structural greens and seasonal winter colour. The plant of the moment,  Disporum Night Heron was the star attraction with its chartreuse green against almost black tones. Fronting the the house, newly constructed feature raised block planters feature elegant flowering Cornus, each framed with Fagus sylvatica who’s marcescence will mellow its leaves to a classy brown and hide the blocks during the winter months. Continuing on, the curvature of the drive meets, matches and pics up the beautiful stone circular gated entrance leading to the main walled garden. Here you’ll find avenues of iterdispersed apple trees and box hedges clipped to a natural flow.      The borders within contain a multitude of goodies. Many herbaceous jewels revitalised softening the stuctural boundaries which frame them. The cutting borders and vegetable beds …