Monday, June 17, 2013

Manor Farm, Hampreston - Part I

The very first private garden that we visited on our current vacation in England immediately won us over with its beauty and diversity. The Manor Farm, located in Hampreston in the charming county of Dorset invited the public in the context of the NGS (National Garden Scheme).

The Open Gardens, organized by the NGS, are quite well received events in the UK, where private gardens are opening to the public for charity on one or more days of the year. You pay a reasonable fee, usually between 3 - 4 pounds per person, and get to see the most beautiful private gardens of the UK. Very often tea and homemade cakes are sold as well. It is just so much fun to visit a lovely private garden and afterwards (or any time in between for that matter!) sit down and enjoy tea and cake in a beautiful surrounding. The homemade scones and cakes are so delicious that they truly add to the appeal of the events!

According to the NGS brochure, what stands out about the Manor Farm is that it is designed and cared for by three generations of the Trehane family, which are celebrating 100 years of farming and gardening this year. You only can congratulate this family to this major achievement!

There were many different areas and rooms to see in the garden and in this post I would like to show you one big herbaceous border and a bog garden surrounding a pond, which impressed me the most.

We began our tour of this gorgeous garden by checking out this long double herbaceous border close to the entry of the property. For me this border represents the quintessential English border for which English Gardens are so famous for. And rightly so might one say! The massive yew hedge to the left and the other tall green hedge at the end of the border are building just the right background for the abundance of flowers spilling over the boundaries of the beds.

I love the informal form and subtle color shading of this rose bloom.

This and the following photos are showing close-ups of some of the plants which, as far as I remember, the border was filled with and I liked best. Unfortunately I don't know the common names of most of them, let alone the specific variety that was planted, so I leave it at just presenting the photos to you.

This plant was repeated in different colors and I really like the lightness of the flowers. It adds such a beautiful airiness to the bed.

Here is another one blooming in white that was not quite open, yet.

There were many different varieties of hardy geraniums, also called cranesbills, planted in this border and also all over the garden. To my surprise I just discovered this year how well at least one variety of hardy geranium called 'Rozanne' is growing in my own garden in Southern California and after this vacation I am determined to try some more.

I already admired this dark colored, yellow flowering heuchera when we visited the UK last year and like it even more this year.

The right end of the border was marked by this beautiful white flowering shrub with a light colored rose in the front.

Here are the white blooms of the shrub seen a little bit closer. Could it be a hydrangea?

Small fraction of the border. I was fascinated by all the different leave shapes and colors of the leaves themselves. Hardly any flowers are needed to make this part look interesting.

Glancing back into the left corner at the beginning of the border.

Another lovely plant that I really would like to know the name of. Are any of you dear readers familiar with it?

Bearded iris, caught in perfection!

The image above shows one side of the same double border from "the outside". Isn't is fascinating how different the color scheme is... comparison to when you are walking straight through the double border like the photo shows above?
Even though I had a hard time leaving this section of the garden, there was so much more to see. Next we were heading to the pond and bog garden area.

Isn't this planting scheme just amazing? I think design-wise the gardener outdid him/herself in this particular part of the garden.

In parts the colors were so vivid it just reminded me of a jewel box. 

Same area photographed from the other side.

Again, I found some of the plants surrounding the pond directly or being in close proximity so stunning that I want to show you close-ups of them,... for example this bleeding heart in front of a big bronze-green leaved plant. Absolutely breathtaking combination!

Or how about this dainty beauty?

Not to forget her sister...


Emerging fresh, new, dark, bronze-green leaves showing the power of spring.

They seem to sprout from an understory of the same colored leaves but those have a very different form. Could it be that these two different leaves shapes are emerging from the same plant?

I just loved the many alliums growing in this garden.

Lush light green big leaves, they are almost a "squeaky" green.

The pond scene as a whole. I think this bed is coming as close to perfection as a garden can be.

I will try to write a second post about the Manor Farm soon. If you liked this one, please come back to have a look at other areas of this inspiring place!

See you in the garden!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In England, Again!

My husband and I are on vacation in the charming rural county of Dorset, England right now and I couldn't be happier anywhere else in the world even though today it is grey, cold, and rainy here. Our traditional annual England vacation is definitively one of the highlights of the year!

I don't know what it is with me and England, but I just love being there. The moment I set foot on this island I am cheering up delighted by the architecture, the history, the landscapes, the gardens (public and private), the "greenness" of everything, the culture, the dogs, the Cream Teas, the way of living and the (mostly) friendly Brits, always having a funny comment about the weather on their lips. But if you follow my blog for a while you know all that already.

My regular readers also may have noticed that I haven't been blogging for a while as life has been crazily busy in the last couple of weeks, but I hope that I can write up some posts while we are here as rainy days like this one deliver a good opportunity to do so. Imagine me sitting curled up on a sofa with a cup of tea in reach to my right, in a cozy cottage with views of the sea, happily typing up this blog post.

On our first day here the weather was splendid though and I would like to share with you a couple of scenes, which we encountered. After the first night at our self catering cottage we set out in the afternoon to explore Worth Matravers, the little village, where we are staying and our closest surroundings, and it took us only a few minutes to find the local Tea Room.

Just the sight of the charming buildings made me swoon and we couldn't wait to go in and have our first Cream Tea.

And certainly we weren't disappointed. Having tea outside in a lovely little garden of a Tea Room, it doesn't get any better than this!

While admiring sumptuous paeonies accompanied by lady's mantel...

...the scones enhanced by clotted cream and delicious jam just melted in the mouth.

Inside the Tea Room had a nice collection of tea pots, all in use for the guests. If you are in the area and love tea I would highly recommend this place! The Worth Matravers Tea & Supper Room, at Worth Matravers, near Swanage, Dorset BH19 3LQ is right opposite the duck pond of the village. You can't miss it! Phone (01929) 439368. They also serve light lunches daily and suppers, but the latter only on selected days of the week.

By the way, even the ducks at the local duck pond seem to have a happy life. 

Having their own little duck house almost as charming as many of the cottages here, they certainly can't complain.

Right below the duck pond we came across a very small public village garden, where we were greeted by the most charming plantings of flowers.

The day of our excursion coincidentally was also a day of Open Studios of local artists and we visited a studio displaying pottery, aquarelle paintings, and prints. The art was lovely, but I was equally fascinated with the surrounding private garden, which I got permission to take some photos of. The picture above shows the entrance of the garden adjacent to the studio adorned by an arch, which was  planted with an abundantly flowering clematis.

Close-up of the clematis flowers.

Picture perfect scenes out of that garden...

...promising many more gardens, which we are about to see on our trip.

However, that evening we went for a spectacular walk through the countryside towards the sea.

Passing by free grazing sheep,...

...lovely yellow flowering shrubs that seem to be typical for the area (My dear British readers, any ideas how this plant is called?),...

...and finally reaching the spectacular coastline.

We enjoyed the sight of the iconic sailing boats and...

 ...more enticing views,...

...of the Dorset coast.

On the way back we encountered another herd of sheep with plenty of lambs...

...and a little rabbit, whose thin ears were lit up by the evening sun so that you almost could see through them.

One last look at the central place of the village complete with the obligatory English red telephone booth and we were ready to go home and fall into our bed. Not bad for a first day in England, don't you think?

See you in the garden!