Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Parham House and Gardens, England - II

Today I will continue my series of posts about Parham House and Gardens in England, which my husband and I visited in May last year. If you would like to view my first entry about this gorgeous estate please click on the link Parham House and Gardens, England - I and it will take you there.

In this post I would like to focus mainly on the plants that I saw around the area of the fruit tree meadow and another huge double border. There were many of them that looked so beautiful, lush, and healthy, I just wanted to transplant them to my own garden right away.

I was completely smitten with these beautiful blue flowering plants. I assume they are the famous English bluebells that you can find blooming in masses in England in early spring. In this garden there was only a small patch of them and they were beyond their peak, but still so lovely to look at.

The contrast between the white flowering shrub and the old stone wall is quite attractive, don't you think?

The peonies were almost done, but there was one sumptuous red variety that still had some of its gorgeous flowers left.

The simple beauty of the lichens on the old fence post, which was part of the fence surrounding the fruit tree area, was quite fascinating to me.

I assume, that for many of my readers aquilegias are very common plants and therefore there is nothing special about them, but they are very hard to grow here in Southern California, I guess because our climate is too hot and dry, so I can still get quite excited about them. This one has found a nice niche to live in by a wood fence post close to a fruit tree.

Check out this very charming mixture of plants. Usually I feel that lilac and clear red don't go so well together, but I think the alliums with the tulips are forming a quite interesting color contrast.

A simple but very alluring plant - at least to me.

And then there was this plant, which totally blew me away. I asked a gardener, who was working in a bed close by and she told me the precise name. I jotted it done on a small piece of paper and, of course, I lost it. As far as I remember it was an ornamental artichoke, but I might be wrong. If anyone recognizes this plant can you please leave a comment on my blog? The plant had a wonderful effect in the bed where it was growing, but I also can see it being an extraordinary companion plant to white roses, if you have the space for a companion plant this big, that is.

Here is a shot of a part of the second double long border that we saw. Roughly in the middle of it, on the left side, you can see the big silvery leafed plant that I showed you in the photo above. I think this photo gives you a better idea of how huge this plant really is. The border is equally impressive size-wise and they actually used this plant repeatedly, even though you can't see it in this image, because it shows only a limited part of the beds.
I am sure, that as the season was progressing, there will be a lot more in bloom in this border. I would have loved to see what color scheme, if any, they have chosen for these humongous beds. 

Can't help myself and have to show you one more of the silvery leafed plants. I think it is such an incredible beauty and an eye catcher as well. By the way, I love the putto in the background!

This is one of the old fruit trees I believe. How artfully they have espaliered it!

 More lovely alliums together with my favorite silvery leafed plant.

While my husband is still standing hesitantly in one of the exits of the walled garden - it was quite hot and humid that day and he was a little tired - I had already slipped past him in my ongoing excitement into another area of the gardens. Even tough I was a bit tired myself, I couldn't resist to explore the more informal park-like landscape, that was opening up in front of us.

We decided to take a brief rest on this bench in front of the beautiful statue and then continued to check out the vast parts of the estate that we still hadn't seen, yet. I will post about it another time!

See you in the garden!



  1. Christina, the silvery plant is a Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) and it is closely related to the globe artichoke. It is really a huge thistle, and will produce enormous electric blue thistle flowers. Even though it is a grey-leaved plant, those huge leaves mean it needs more water than many others, in order to look its best.I have trouble keeping them looking good through the hot weather, and you may too, but I still grow them in spring (they grow form seed and also produce new plants at the base)and then just cut them down to the ground once they have flowered and are looking a bit tatty.
    In good conditions they'll grow to 2 metres tall and wide. If you want foliage rather than flowers, water and feed them well. If they are stressed, they'll go straight to flower very quickly.

  2. How lovely to see bluebells and and English spring on this cold winter day in Maine. Thanks for taking us on a tour of Parham gardens. I was delighted to find your peonies profile pop up in my followers, as it's one of my favorite blooms. Did you find me though one of my garden blogger buddies? It's so nice to connect with you!

  3. Hi Christina, I, too, believe the large silver leafed plant is cardoon. And the blue flowers could be Spanish Bluebells "Hyacinthoides hispanica'. I planted some from a bulb packet last year and they were very pretty. I heard that they can be invasive, but I think they will be ok in my zone 9b climate. I saw today that they are just coming up. I love your posts on those gorgeous estate gardens!

  4. Christina, I love aquilegias, I grow them near the pond in my Northern garden, they are nice near water! Thank you for sharing your interesting thoughts and photos, and for following my blog!

  5. Lyn, thanks for identifying the silver leaved plant and sharing your experience with it. I am very tempted to try it out myself, but I am afraid it will be a little bit too tall for my garden. Growing one cardoon would mean planting one rose less and that is a very tough decision to make for me ;-)!

    Sarah, welcome to my blog and thank you for becoming a follower as well! Sorry to disappoint but the flower in my profile picture is a rose called 'William Shakespeare 2000' not a peony :-). But you are right in the sense that the flowers of this rose look very peony like :-)! Yes, I found your nice blog through another one. The snowball system in blogland is really great, isn't it?

    Dorothy, thanks for answering to my request to identify the silver leaved plant! - Now you get me really exited. You think we can grow the same bluebells here in our climate that they grow in England?! I thought the "English" bluebells need much more moisture than we have here... Hmm, I have to google the bulbs that you named immediately after I am done answering to theses comments. I am very glad that you like my posts about gardens in England! It is a lot of fun to write them!

    Nadezda, thanks for visiting my blog! I can imagine that aquilegias like to grow by a pond. They look like plants, which love a lot of moisture.


    1. A rose by any other name would be peony. I'm a fan of Shakespeare and roses too.

  6. Love bluebells and aquileia, they may be common, not so flamboyant maybe, but they both do well in our wet, shadowy garden and that makes me love them even more.