Showing posts from June, 2018

NGS Preen Manor

Today at the recommendation of a work colleague, (thank you Andrea) we visited Preen Manor in Shropshire .  It was a bit of a drive to reach our destination which seemed to go on for ages and involved lots of ups and even more downs via some windy country roads out in the middle of nowhere.  I'd like to take this opportunity to thank our Tomtom for getting us there in one piece. My partner loathes tardiness so obviously we arrived far too early having overestimated the journey time.  We were first mistaken for volunteers and directed to the staff car-parking space (yes, we really were that early) and when the error was noticed by a man in delightful tweed, flat-cap and wellington boots we were taken to an enormous empty field.  All we had for company was an empty Landrover  several strategically placed cow-pats and the most amazing view over the farmland and out towards Wenlock, Bridgnorth and the Shropshire countryside.  We waited in our inappropriately equipped city car for a

Gardeners' World Live 2018

Last year we didn't attend this show as we went to the disastrous RHS Chatsworth Show.  You will notice I didn't blog about that visit because frankly I had nothing positive to say.   This was our 5th visit to GWL and we thoroughly enjoyed it, spending a record 4 hours at the event soaking up the sights and sounds.  I am sure we will return in the future too. My heart sank when I read a tweet from Monty Don that he wasn't going to be in attendance on the day we were there.  He had been the day before and was going the day after, well thats just rude.  However, the lack of horticultural royalty did not detract from our enjoyment as we wheeled our trusty green Trug around the NEC arena grounds in the sunshine with our lovely friend M. We are always on the lookout for a bargain or something unusual and although we did not purchase any, this delightful item caught our attention, can't think why. Also an ornamental Chinese rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) w

NGS Styvechale Coventry

Another year and another visit to this group of gardens dotted around south Coventry in the West Midlands - this is where I spent most of my youth.  As I walked the streets again in the sunshine I remembered that ill-fitting school blazer (that I never quite grew into despite the promises) those gold aviator glasses and that Beatles haircut that collectively formed the introverted geek -look I was going for.   Retracing my steps around familiar streets it felt odd to be entering gardens hidden from my view for so many years.  I found myself wondering if these spaces always looked this manicured or has this love of gardening come with retirement. Last year when we visited we brought the car and went to those gardens surrounded by woodland on the very outskirts of the area.  Sadly this year we stayed in the central vicinity missing out my favourite space in this group of gardens altogether.  We were also disappointed to see Wilf's gorgeous rose and vegetable garden not open and a

NGS Festival Weekend

Last month we took advantage of the National Garden Scheme Festival Weekend. This came in the form of a visit to two gardens close to each other on the same street.  One of the spaces we had once seen on Gardeners' World.  It is quite local to us in a Wolverhampton suburb so we took advantage of its proximity and paid a visit.   We were lucky to find it as the NGS search engine seems to think that most West Mids based gardens are in Staffordshire...thank goodness for Google Maps!  Anyway, we arrived to the garden and found it overcrowded with people sitting on the large terrace taking in the view with tea and cake, we always find we are well below the average age of the usual NGSgoer but this doesn't normally put us off.   These Royal Ferns were huge, we hope ours reach this enormity too A quick walk down the side of the building and you reach a lawn and wide border all around, for us this was the highlight of the garden - lots of colour and structure with the regu


As it is #Pridemonth I thought it  would be good to celebrate some of the diversity visiting the garden. This female Greenfinch visited on the same day that a Great-spotted Woodpecker came to peck insects from tree bark (unfortunately a missed photo opportunity).   This Goldfinch comes every day to feast on Nyger seeds usually as a pair.  Pretty little things and so sociable chatting away in the tree canopy. This Longhorn Beetle feeding on the nectar from a Rogersia was a lucky find as they live as adults for just 2-4 weeks. This Speckled Wood butterfly sunning itself by the pond is a regular summer visitor to this part of the garden.  I love sitting watching them circling around in pairs above the water. A new adult Dragonfly emerges from its Nymph discarded on the stem to the right.  Soon it will open its wings and find the courage to make its first flight. A Small Red Damselfly (we have lots of blue ones too) relaxes on this Hosta leaf. So much to see