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A Wander Through The Canal Garden

August 10, 2020

‘Wharf House’ was indeed built, in 1794, as a wharf. It served as the eastern end of the Leominster Canal. Coal was loaded onto barges where we now have our Spring Garden, White Garden and Canal Garden. Almost every time we turn a spade in these parts of the garden, we unearth bits of coal. The canal is long since defunct but very clear evidence of it remains. The Canal Garden is our nod to this industrial heritage. The main feature of the garden is a long, rectangular pond, which calls to mind the canal itself. The front of the house is entirely in the Canal Garden and the planting seeks to compliment the mellow pinky red 18th Century bricks.

Then And Now …

July 28, 2020



We’ve always been very bad at taking photographs of the garden before we undertake big jobs. We also took almost no photographs of the garden when we first moved in, in Autumn 2012. We’re delighted therefore recently to have been sent some photographs of the garden from July 2013. This has enabled us to do some ‘then and now’ pictures. In many cases the scenes are completely different, not least because there may now be a hedge obscuring the view! We’ve really loved seeing the differences of the last 7 years. The picture above shows our covered dining area and its former incarnation as a greenhouse.

The new Scented Bed in July

July 11, 2020

Back in March, we dug out and entirely re-planted the long narrow bed in front of our outside dining area. We planted it up entirely with plants renowned for their strong scent. I blogged about the plant list a couple of weeks ago. We had very low expectations about what an entirely newly planted, immature Bed would look like. We’re pleasantly surprised by how good it’s looking. See what you think.


The Cut-Flower Bed

July 8, 2020


Three years ago we made two new large raised beds. One as a ‘Nursery Bed’ to grow on immature plants and one as a bed in which to grow flowers for cutting.  We chose two rose bushes recommended as good for Cutting ng,  a bloom from one of which can be seen in the photograph above. For early interest we have some spring bulbs, particularly narcissi. We have several dahlias but in high summer, much of the flowers are from annuals: sweet peas, cornflowers, calendula (‘Porcupine’), zinnias, sunflowers and targetes (‘Burning Embers’). Right now, we’re getting new vasefuls of flowers to spread around the house, every day. Few things we’ve done in the garden have given us more pleasure.

The White Garden At Midsummer

June 24, 2020

We’ve taken you to the White Garden a couple of times already this year. We thought it deserved another visit however, not least because the rambling rose ‘Rambling Rector’ is looking really stunning growing through our old cherry tree.  The roses are also looking really good at the moment and with sweet peas, phlox, lilies and penstemon yet really to get coming, there’s still a lot more pleasure to be had from it.

The Veg Patch

June 22, 2020

We dug our vegetable patch in the old orchard, next to the garden.  We naively dug it by hand. Not an easy job! We now have raised beds and have improved the heavy clay soil. Here’s a short video explaining what we’re growing at the moment.

Successful Plant Combinations

June 12, 2020


Achieving successful plant combinations is the nirvana many gardeners strive for. The idea of course, is to achieve the same harmony of colour and form that a plant arranger can achieve with cut blooms but in the border.

We are very much enthusiastic amateurs at this. To some extent, we cheat in our garden by having areas themed entirely around a single colour. We have the White Garden and a large bed devoted entirely to yellow bloomed plants, for example. Even here though, one needs to think about planting. As Vita Sackville West famously observed, the dominant colour in a ‘white’ garden is green and we try to lift the green using plants with grey or glaucous foliage.

Occasionally, we do achieve little glimpses of successful planting combinations. Here are two. Leptospermum ‘Electric Red’ and Rosa ‘Scarlet Red’ in the Bright Garden and Nigella,  Campanula and a little Geranium in the long borders.


Tawny Owl Chicks

June 9, 2020

There’s an old canal that runs alongside our house. It is long since defunct and was drained in the 19th Century.  The old canal now has lots of quite mature trees growing in it and alongside it.

About a month ago, we started to hear loud, unusual bird calls, from as early as 5pm and continuing all night. We recorded them and friends identified the calls as those of tawny owl chicks.

A week or so ago, the chicks’ calls started to move about a bit. Then we had our first sighting. It has been very difficult to get any decent footage of them but finally we got this. The chick looks directly at the camera before flying away. Our first close encounter with a tawny owl chick.

Another stroll up the long-borders

June 8, 2020

The long-borders are really starting to perform now.  Geraniums have supplemented lupins and polemonium. Delphiniums are just starting and some of the roses are absolutely smothered with buds. See what you think!

The Scented Bed Plant List

June 5, 2020

Over the winter, we completely overhauled the bed in front of our seating area. It was infested with wild garlic and wild strawberries and the planting was chaotic.  So, we had a completely blank canvas for a new border.

We decided to plant up the bed with plants known for their scent. A bit of reaseach and having chosen a colour theme, we made our plant choices.

We have 3 x Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’; 15 x Geranium ‘Wargrave Pink’; 12 x Aster Sedifolius Nanus; 9 X Suponaria ‘Alba Plena’; 3 obelisks of Sweet Pea ‘Matucana’; 1 x Cistus ‘Brushing Peggy’; 9 x Phlox Maculata Alpha; 22 x Lavender ‘Hidcote’ and lots of Night Scented Stocks as a filler.

It’s early days but the sweet pea scent in the evenings is amazing and Gertrude Jekyll is a stunner!


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