English Gardens Tour
Stone Monster - Angelsey Abbey
It's the English gardening summer of 1997, and I've been zooming around visiting open gardens, navigating from e.g. Oxford to Devon via the scenic B-roads. Non-Gardening Partner did start off with me, but he didn't last the garden-visiting distance!
Looking back at my notebooks, I'm haven't taken my garden reporting seriously. Some gardens have simply written up as 'OK' while others like The Old Vicarage in Norfolk have been embarrassingly dismissed, deemed unworthy of using up any film in the ancient Moosey camera! So did I like this garden? Who knows!
And all the time I've been missing my own garden back home... Anyway, I'll skip the details of the long flights over and get straight to the first garden visiting day.
Head Gardener in Dell Garden
Sunday 6th July
We are staying just out of Cambridge in a village called Cottenham. I've never been in this area of England before. It's great to see summer gardens - hollyhocks growing in cracks by the pavement, window boxes full of flower colour... I've even seen a couple of Cordylines, and lots and lots of yellow Corydalis. Cottenham is full of planning permission notices, with homeowners wanting to build extensions. Hmm...
Hee hee. I've started my garden visiting and just seen the tallest Delphiniums in the world - they live in the perennial borders at Anglesey Abbey. And the ugliest and saddest dahlia bed, whose edge is covered with chicken netting - to keep visitors off? Rabbits? Not deer in England, surely... Nice concrete monsters, though...
Cottage in the Dell Garden
Monday 7th July
Today we went to Diss via Thetford. Our first stop was Bressingham's nursery and the famous dell garden of Alan Bloom. Wow. It was inspiring. The Island Beds were all numbered and they were brilliantly crammed full of perennials. I only saw two roses. The terrain was gently lumpy, so at times you couldn't see the grass in between. I liked the garden. I can't 'do' hummocky plantings - I always put plants far too close together. And of course I couldn't buy anything at the plant nursery...
Dell Garden Island Beds
Tuesday 8th July
Our first garden visit today was to Peter Beales' rose nursery and display garden at Attleborough. It was really nice. I liked the rose Corylus - saw a few bushes of it. More details are definitely required.
There was an enormous Fritz Nobis with stems as fat as my ankles. I saw Agnes the lemon rugosa, but oh dear - she looked really scruffy. Naturally a lot of the low arching roses had wires to support them. I bought a glossy rose catalogue - light bedtime reading...