John's Garden (Ashwood Nurseries)

Today we were in luck, having read an article listing independent garden centres we decided to pay a visit to Ashwood Nurseries.  This is somewhere we have wanted to try out for a while.  

Coincidentally we arrived on a day when the nursery owner had his private garden open for a charity event.  It is open to the public for just 8 days a year (all on Saturdays between February and September) so we couldn't miss out on this rare opportunity.

There was the promise of entertainment to keep people occupied (Male Voice Choir, Iron Monger and stalls selling random floral painted bits and pieces that someone somewhere must be buying).  As usual we sailed past all of this just to enjoy the garden - we were not disappointed.

At the entrance you reach a large lawn area that curves around the Nursery to the left and the River Stour to the right.  The garden which is almost banana in shape curves behind you too.

To the right and behind us we could make out a seated crowd enjoying a choir.  We walked in the opposite direction to the woodland area.  

Birch & Acer lining the walk towards the woodland are
A short walk through a narrow grassy pathway past various tall narrow Birch with their almost bleached white trunks and Acers with their unmistakable peeling red bark took us to the woodland area.  Then you are out the other side to a large wildflower meadow.  

View across the Wildlife Meadow 
You realise that you are up quite high, the steep steps through the woodland probably have something to  do with this, you have great views across the surrounding farmland.  We walked around the meadow taking time to absorb the native wild plants and many opportunities to spot wildlife.  After we were done we traced our steps back to the main garden. We passed some fine examples of handwoven fence panels - something that we would like to try constructing at some point.
River Stour backdrop
We were back in the main garden with its manicured lawn and curved borders enticing us around the outer circumference.  Despite the number of people enjoying the choir the space felt serene and peaceful.  We continued exploring the wide borders and generous planting schemes taking in a central pond area and rock garden with the usual margins enhanced with Gunnera manicata and Persicaria bistorta. 

The Long Border
The soft gentle foliage of ferns juxtaposed with the spiky and fierce looking upturned root system of felled trees of the appropriately named New Stump Garden is one of many highlights.   

The New Stump Garden

Reflecting on the visit is a reminder that there is an lot of differently themed areas packed into a relatively small space and there is a lot to take in - it is definitely worth a visit.

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