Garden Portrait: Hergest Croft

Hergest Croft is unusual in having been gardened continuously by three generations of the same family over the past one hundred and thirteen years. It lies in the heart of the Welsh Marches with stunning views towards the Black Mountains. The gardens contain a unique collection of rare plants, trees and shrubs and over 90 “Champion” Trees.

The six distinct areas are Hergest Croft, the Azalea Garden, the Maple Grove, the Kitchen Garden, the Park and Park Wood.

My visit took place in late September not long before the gardens would close for the winter. In the Conservatory, many tender plants grow including a wide variety of fuchias and pelargoniums.

In the conservatory

We walked through Maple Grove into the Azalea Garden, which of course at this time of year lacked the beauty of these flowers. Instead paths were lined with hydrangea of a variety of colours.

Hydrangeas

It is dominated by a massive avenue of blue cedars planted in 1900 and many other champion trees.

Coming out onto the former croquet lawn and tennis courts, now enclosed by a large yew hedge, that contains vases of sweetly scented lilies in summer, you get a sense of the beauty of the house and its views over the parkland. The lower terrace border is filled with white galtonias and blue agapanthus.

A pretty rockery leads to a pool covered in waterlilies.

Following the path you reach the sculpture of a fir cone by Joe Smith which forms the centrepiece of the Slate Garden formally edged with five species of box.

The Kitchen Garden contains a traditional vegetable and fruit garden with many rare varieties. The wide herbaceous borders, and a double herbaceous border contain roses, sweetpeas, marigolds, daisy type flowers, achillea, sunflowers and echinops.

Hot colours in the Kitchen Garden

There was so much colour in the kitchen garden. Hollyhocks, agapanthus and Japanese Anemones mingled among the spikes of the artichoke.

Pinks and Blues in the Kitchen Garden

If you want to have a much longer walk then Park Wood has a secluded valley hidden deep within an ancient oak wood containing over 12ha (30 acres) of giant hybrid and species rhododendrons and exotic trees creating an almost Himalayan scene.

Size:  70 acres (28 hectare)

  • Street:   Hergest Croft Gardens
  • Postcode:   HR5 3EG
  • City:   Kington
  • County:   Herefordshire
  • Country:   United Kingdom

If you like a walk, long or short, then please visit Jo for her regular strolls in the UK and the Algarve and maybe you would like to join in too. She’s very welcoming.

Friday Fountain Challenge: June

One of the more unusual fountains I have come across is in the Water Gardens of Westonbury Mill in Herefordshire. I am claiming the water tower as a fountain because it works on the same basic principle. Water is drawn up to the top and then flows down – in this case forced out – through various openings.

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There are several follies in this garden and well worth a visit if you are in the area.

If you’d like to join in with the fountain challenge then please pop over to Polianthus for the rules

This month she is looking for unusual details on fountains/unusual fountains. I’m sure she would love to see you.

Garden Portrait: Croft Castle Walled Garden

I love visiting Croft (Herefordshire). There are nice walks around the parkland and even longer walks through the woodland or up to the iron-age fort at Croft Ambrey. My main reason for visiting though is to see what is going on in the walled garden and have a stroll through the ancient trees. The walled garden lies behind the castle and slopes gently uphill towards the old glasshouse which is currently being renovated.

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Every time I visit I see new additions and improvements and this month (late October) I was surprised to see the vineyard looking very well established. We have been here before – last time in spring – when the frogs in the pond were feeling frisky. But let’s have a look at the beauty found here in late autumn.

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Not only are there the expected browns and greys and tawny swathes of grasses and seed-heads, the fading greens and yellows of dying foliage, but unexpected pops of vibrant colour. Rudbeckia, verbena bonariensis, chrysanthemums, sedum, the stunning autumn colour of Rhus typhina (stags horn tree) and the hot splashes of the glory vine tumbling over the old red-brick and creeping through the denuded foliage.

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Borders are still full of flowering annuals such as the sweet-peas, roses, dramatic hardy autumn flowering lilies (N. bowdenii) and deep crimson thistles usually seen in July and August.

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Not many were taking advantage of the deck-chairs and elegant benches scattered around the garden, it was a little too chilly for simply sitting, and on the day that the clocks went back, it would soon be dusk. But the lady by the pond is still relaxed. And I will leave you with a bench I rather fancied.

More lovely walks can be found over at my friend Jo’s place.

Garden Portrait: Berrington Hall Walled Garden

I mentioned the walled garden, which is near the mansion house, on my recent walk in Berrington Hall’s parkland . This walled garden has been transformed over the last few years and at this time of year is full of vibrant colour as well as a heavily laden orchard.

Step inside

Pathway with perennial borders

Behind the potting shed is a productive potager (an ornamental vegetable or kitchen garden), interspersed with annuals such as sweet-peas, marigolds, nasturtiums, everlastings and nicotiana. Often flowers (edible and non-edible) and herbs are planted with the vegetables to enhance the garden’s beauty.

In the Vegetable Garden, a fragrant tunnel of sweet-peas

I always find strolling around a garden makes me happy. The glory of nature combined with the skills of the gardener helps to calm me down when life and its curve-balls come crashing my way. It’s been a bit like that lately.

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas

Garden Portrait: Stockton Bury Garden

A last look this year at a lovely garden which is about 9 miles from where I live, before it closes for the winter. A bright early autumn day and a new camera, what’s not to love?

Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Herbstonne’

The most dominant colours in the garden at this time of year are yellow and orange, though there are plenty of pinks still to be found. In contrast to the spring when photographing flowers means crouching close to the ground, this time of year enforces you to look up. The tall brilliant yellow rudbeckia (above and below) make quite a statement.

rudbeckia

rudbeckia

Down in the dingle everything is quite overgrown, with massive gunnera leaves, perennial grasses and crocosmia, hydrangeas and astilbe enjoying the cool shade and where I spend a good deal of time watching giant dragonflies waiting patiently for one to land. In the end I attempted to capture one in flight with only a modicum of success.

Diasca personata

Diasca personata

The light at this time of year seems clearer and brighter and the blooms are happy to show off their beauty before the cold and wet ends their run. Not to mention the delicious fragrance of candyfloss or burnt toffee that wafts from the cercidiphyllum japonicum. As autumn creeps in with golden russets and lots of seedpods I will leave you with this fuchsia-bright perennial sweet pea.

Lathyrus rotundifolius

Lathyrus
rotundifolius