Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Salisbury Museum

The garden tour ended in Salisbury with a visit to the British Art: Ancient Landscapes at the Salisbury Museum. I'd read the description of the exhibition and was keen to see it:
'The British landscape has been a continual inspiration to artists across the centuries and particularly the landscapes shaped and marked by our distant ancestors. The megaliths, stone circles and chalk-cut hill figures that survive from Neolithic and Bronze Age times have stimulated many artists to make a response. In this major new exhibition curated by Professor Sam Smiles, these unique artistic responses have been brought together to create a new discussion. Featuring the work of some of the greatest names in British art from the last 250 years, see John Constable, JMW Turner, Eric Ravilious, John Piper, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Richard Long, Derek Jarman and more, as their work records and reflects on some of our most treasured ancient landscapes.'
It's as good as it sounds it would be, but no photography of the exhibition means I can't share any of the delights here.
I rather liked their signage outside the museum:
And I do like these Shell prints, this one is the Old Man of Wilmington by Denis Constanduros. I've found out more about Denis on the blog: by a blogger called Crownfolio.
After looking round the museum, we had lunch on the lawn in front with a perfect view of Salisbury Cathedral
And with that view ended the 2017 garden tour.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

 The garden was created by Elizabeth Fox-Strangeways in 1765 as a kitchen garden for her nearby castle. It has developed since then into a 30 acre garden filled with rare and exotic plants.
Abbotsbury Subtopical Gardens apart from being an RHS partner garden and an award winning garden, has been described by Alan Titchmarsh as 'one of the finest gardens I have ever visited'
High accolades and I wasn't disappointed, it's a fabulous garden.
This was the first view of the garden:
There was a great selection of mature perennials
and beautifully trained honeysuckle
Shrubby clematis
beautiful Alliums
and Iris
If you look through the trees, you can just see St Catherine's Chapel, a 14th century, it once held a beacon that was lit to ward off sailors from the treacherous Chesil beach.

Below is the pocket handkerchief tree, it's not easy to see the white leaves.

There was a chain link bridge over a stream
with subtropical foliage around it
Huge Echiums
Carp filled pools with food to feed them
A perfect Aeonium
and this fabulous Chilean Puya Alpestris
At some stage I was surprised to hear the sounds of a beach, not realising quite how close Chesil Beach was to the  garden.
It was glorious to walk along the beach after the delights of the garden.
When I got home, I discovered I had 3 small rounded pebbles in my socks.

Forde Abbey

Forde Abbey was built almost 900 years ago by Cistercian monks, set in the most beautiful countryside, it seems miles from anywhere. We followed directions, but had the feeling we were driving round in circles when Crewkerne got nearer, then further away, then nearer again!
We were greeted with these beautiful Alliums and a welcoming sign.
We looked round the plant sales first
There was an excellent choice of plants to buy
We were told when we arrived that if we hurried out into the garden, we'd be in time to see the fountain, reputedly England's highest powered fountain.Despite the rain, it was a lovely sight, we didn't run in and out of it because we were wet already. This what the website says about the fountain:
'The Centenary Fountain celebrates 100 years of the Roper family at Forde Abbey. Powered by a pump from the strawberry farm on the estate, it reaches a height of 160 feet and is the highest powered fountain in England. Running in and out of the spray is a great sport for younger visitors to the garden and if you stand at the top end of the fountain, you’ll often see a rainbow.'
I had chance to take a photo of the lovely border, and
took another photo of the fountain, was it higher now?
We got fairly wet and had tea in the renowned medieval vaulted Undercroft tearoom after having a really good look round the gardens. I decided I'd like a Sambucus, the scent from theirs was just magnificent.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017


Montacute is a small village 4 miles west of Yeovil with a population of 831. At the centre of the village is a large square around which are grouped cottages and a pub, The Phelips Arms, all built in the local hamstone There's a second pub and hotel called the Kings Arms. There's also a medieval church and a conically acute hill dominating the village to the west called St Michael's Hill.
We stayed in Montacute museum which was situated almost adjacent to the Phelips Arms and a great location from which to visit gardens and of course climb the hill. Be warned though if you visit Montacute, despite its small population, the 2 pubs get booked up; the first night we were unable to eat at either place.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Montacute House, we had a guided tour of the house and gardens, and I took a few photos:
This piece of glass was beautiful, and had at some stage been discarded. It displays the coat of arms, and there's a fascinating story behind it.
There's a fascinating tapestry
and glorious old coloured glass
So beautiful
I love the slightly different colours of the glasses. Montacute House has been linked to the National Portrait Gallery for 40 years, they have a remarkable exhibition of portraits in the long gallery at the top of the house
In the garden there were some lovely structures
and gate houses, in this one a visitor had amazing dropped a can of fizzy pop.
Montacute village, it's surroundings and Montacute House are well worth a visit.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Tintinhull Garden

Tintinhull Garden was the fourth garden of the day, normally I'd feel that 2 gardens per day would be an absolute maximum, but in Somerset, there are so many gardens to visit, and I didn't want to miss too many out.
The garden was created in the last century around the 17th century manor house, the garden is divided into rooms by clipped hedges and walls, with each room having its own character and identity. Included are The Pool Garden, Fountain Garden and traditional Kitchen Garden, the planting schemes are carefully thought out and the effect is charming.The garden is largely the creation of Phyllis Reiss who moved to Tintinhull with her husband in 1933, later on Penelope Hobhouse moved in and managed the garden in the 1980s
There are many long vistas, this one was to the seated area at one end of the Pool Garden, I would like to have sat in it, but a group stayed in there chatting for the whole time we were walking round the garden
This is the vista seen when walking through the middle garden towards the fountain garden.
In the kitchen garden, the lavender edging the bed was stunning
Did it look more like this? I'm forever trying to catch the mood and the colours, I think ti may have been in between the two photos
The sweet peas were glorious
and these lettuces were fabulous
A very healthy Datura
and since it was past 5pm, we gave up trying to sit down in the Pool Garden and took this photo from in front of the cabin.
The garden is very tranquil and as commented elsewhere a gardener's garden.

Lytes Cary Manor

Lytes Cary Manor is a National Trust property, surrounded by a beautiful garden, photographed on their website from the same position as I chose, although theirs is taken nearer the building and the colours are brilliant. They say this:
'Lytes Cary Manor is an intimate medieval manor house with a beautiful Arts and Crafts garden where you can imagine living.
Originally the family home of Henry Lyte, where he translated the unique Niewe Herball book on herbal remedies, Lytes Cary was then lovingly restored in the 20th century by Sir Walter Jenner.
The garden rooms contain a magical collection of topiary and herbaceous borders, while tranquil walks on the estate take you along the River Cary.
To complete your visit, take a stroll among our community allotments and discover their creative and colourful designs'.
The planting in the garden complements the house beautifully.
These Aeoniums were glowing in a corner of the garden, brightening up an area. How do they get them to grow so large?
Lavender and Alliums were beautiful along beside the house
This area was protected from visitors, because the west wing is rented out for holiday makers.
What a glorious place to stay.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Midney Gardens

Between East Lambrook Manor and Lytes Carey we found Midney Gardens, although the gardens were only begun 8 years ago, they gained the accolade of becoming an RHS Partner Garden this year and it's easy to see why when you visit.
The gardens are divided into several distinct sections: Seaside Garden, Plantsman's garden, Vegetable Garden, World Garden, Grasses, Woodland Walk and Wild Life Garden, Herb Garden and long views and glimpses garden. We started with the Seaside Garden
which has a wonderful beachy feel
From there we walked into the Plantsman's Garden
From one end of the garden, we walked back through the seaside garden to the other part of the garden, through interestingly arranged vegetables and herbs
on either side of a path
These Alliums were beautiful
as were the special arrangements in the middle of the path.
At the far end of the garden, there's a Labyrinth with a standing stone at the centre. The information on the board about the Labyrinth encourages the visitor to experience the calmness achieved by walking to the centre and back again. There were large numbers of butterflies and birds in the garden, obviously a haven for wildlife.

There's also a polytunnel with fascinating and wonderful arrays of plants from around the world
This was a lovely arrangement of Echeverias and Aeoniums
and more in another part of the polytunnel
I bought 3 plants and put them in a pot together; I took a photograph which I must find and add.