Search Results : bradford » Through The Garden Gate

May 292015
 
Bradford-on-Avon

Bradford-on-Avon

I know I’ve talked about Bradford on Avon several times before, but I’m about to do it again. We had a wander around there last weekend, and the two rows of houses above the Newtown area, Tory and Middle Rank, were looking as gorgeous as ever. Their main gardens are across the footpath, but most houses have planting outside too. Everything seemed way ahead of my own garden, presumably because the houses face south and are in a sheltered spot. Christian’s garden there is tiny, but for a small moment I could see us living there, instead of at my house, enjoying the pleasant lack of wind. But what would we do without any gardening to do? I’m not sure I can imagine it…

It’s the Bradford on Avon Secret Gardens Festival on Sunday, and it is well worth a visit – there are clearly many green-fingered types in the town. I’m not sure if any gardens in Tory or Middle Rank are taking part, but you’ll see plenty if you just wander up there – and the view is spectacular, too.

BOA-Iris

Jun 022015
 
Judas tree

Bradford on Avon

You don’t see Judas trees much in this country, so I always like to stop and admire one when I see one – this one was in Bradford on Avon last week. Now I finally have one of my own, bought cheap at the plant sell-off at West Kington Nurseries a month or so ago. It’s a little multi-stemmed number and I’ve planted it in the widest area of my border, replacing a Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’, which has now been relegated to a large pot on the patio.

The Public Sale Days at this wholesale nursery are famed locally – a wide range of perennials, climbers, shrubs and trees are sold off at bargain prices. Perennials are a few quid, roses are £10. My neighbours have got the sale down to a fine art – get there when it opens at 9am (the all-important wheelbarrows run out pretty quickly), head straight for the expensive stuff (trees and shrubs), know exactly what you’re looking for, and don’t get sidetracked. It’s hard to not get carried away, stuffing everything you can get your hands on in your wheelbarrow. It’s odd what people walk out with – lots of people were buying big pots of daffodils in flower, which would have gone over in a few days.

As the morning wore on, the wheelbarrows ran out, and people were picking up each other’s by mistake. It was a thoroughly British affair – there was some loud tutting at wheelbarrows blocking routes to the plants, some pointed querying as to whether someone had jumped the queue to pay, and some light stalking of people heading back to their cars with their purchases in order to get their wheelbarrow. But it’s all good fun and well worth it – for about £70, I picked up the Judas tree, a decent-sized Hydrangea paniculata, one of my favourite roses, ‘Compassion’, and around ten perennials. The next sale is on 4 July, and while I’ve got little room left in my garden now for anything new, I’ll definitely go back.

Jun 052014
 
A border at Belcombe Court

Bradford on Avon

I’ve cycled past the big, ornate gate of Belcombe Court several times, and never really given much thought to what might lie beyond it. But the other day I spotted a sign that said that the garden was going to be open for one day only, as part of the Bradford-on-Avon Secret Gardens Festival. It listed the all the delights that visitors would be able to see, including a walled garden designed by Arne Maynard. I knew I had to go.

As we strolled up to the house after visiting some other gardens, we soon noticed that there were a lot of people milling about. Parking had spilled into the field opposite and lots of folk were making their way through the gates. The place must, I realised, must be quite a big deal.

cloudpruned-hedge2

… And it is. The grounds cover 65 acres and are simply stunning. They’re a mix of parkland, sweeping lawns, woodland, wilder areas and garden rooms. It’s got an octagonal pavilion, a tennis court, a grotto and a cloud-pruned hedge (from Arne Maynard’s Chelsea 2000 garden). In fact I can’t think of a garden feature it hasn’t got.

Tiered lawn at Belcombe Court

My favourite part was definitely Arne Maynard’s walled garden. I loved the six tiers of lawn (that lots of kids were happily rolling down), the clipped box and yew, and the ebullient planting in the borders – lots of roses and perennials. I especially liked the cordon apples against the walls, and I’m now convinced that I want a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ in my own garden.

Belcombe-Court-bench

As we wandered around, I observed that it was a bit odd that the place didn’t have a swimming pool. ‘Nah,’ muttered my boyfriend, ‘There’s definitely a pool.’ And of course there was – an infinity number that the great unwashed could just get a glimpse of, over the hedge. 

belcombe-pool

By the end of the afternoon, I felt quite inspired by the garden’s awesomeness. My boyfriend, however, felt envious and inadequate. When we got home, we Googled the owner. It turns out he’s a director who has worked on a Mr Bean film and lots of adverts. And Belcombe Court is just his weekend residence! That left me feeling rather envious and inadequate too.

Jun 032014
 
Bradford-on-Avon

Bradford-on-Avon

There are rich pickings for nosey garden bloggers in Bradford-on-Avon at the best of times, let alone when it’s the Bradford-on-Avon Secret Gardens festival. We had a jolly afternoon ogling at gardens large and small, many finding clever ways of dealing with the steep slopes that are a feature of this part of the world.

I really liked this unusual parterre in a front garden, planted with alliums, heuchera and sedums for a long season of interest. It was originally lined with box, but that had to be replaced with yew thanks to box blight. It will darken with age, making it look even more contemporary.

The Secret Gardens festival runs on four weekends and you can still catch the last two, on the last Sundays of June and July. The gardens vary each time, but they’re well worth a visit.

 

 

Jun 022014
 
Succulents in a trough

Bradford on Avon

I’ve recently fallen hook, line and sinker for succulents. This is mostly because they are some of the most undemanding plants you can grow. They’ve pulled through a winter in my conservatory (unheated, so with some big extremes of temperature) and the benign neglect that I have bestowed upon them. In fact they’re even flowering now – proof that if you treat them mean, they become even more keen.

These aren’t my succulents (pic to come) but a container I walked past the other day. I liked it so much that I’m planning something similar. My neighbour and I have gone halves on three big plants that we can get tons of baby plants from – succulents are dead easy to propagate. I will bring you the results of our labours soon.