Tag Archives: national trust

Packwood revisited …

10 Jun

Back in February, I visited the kitchen garden at Packwood House. It was a great time of year to appreciate the structure and layout of the area and to spot all the lovely little details.


Above is a picture taken in February when very little was growing.

Now in June, the garden is starting to fill out.


Here the strawberries are flowering prolifically. Some plants were being grown in grow bags , on low tables – in order to avoid the slugs maybe ? But they would obviously need more watering. Others were grouped in hanging bags on short posts – easy to pick and decorative.



The box hedges are growing fast and are a beautiful saturated green. They must be due a trim – box is traditionally trimmed on Derby Day in the uk – this is a prestigious horse race and this year it was 6th June. There’s nothing scientific about this particular day but early June does give the plants plenty of time to recover from the trim and for new growth to harden off before any chance of frost in the autumn.


Peas are safe from pigeons under runs of chicken wire held above them by beautiful clay pots.



The herb beds are almost full with parsley, marjoram, thyme, lovage, fennel, dill,sage and many more I couldn’t identify. What I’d give for a herb bed this big !!


Vegetable planting becomes art here when even the potatoes are sown in neat patchwork patterns.




And the auricula theatre was still putting on a good performance ! Can’t wait for my auriculas to grow as large of these ones !

And finally I still had time to pop over to the main garden quickly.

The relatively newly planted herbaceous borders were growing apace. The planting was dominated with Allium ‘Purple Sensation‘ .



Normally I love Allium ‘purple sensation ‘, and I’d normally say you can never have too many ! But here I think they may have over done it ! They really do dominate the bed and as they’re all exactly the same height and same colour they rather smother the rest of the planting. In my view , half as many would have looked better. They will blend in better once they go to seed.
What do you think ??


Wildlife in the garden

24 Feb

A recent trip to the beautiful kitchen garden at Packwood House, Warwickshire highlighted some gorgeous little structures designed to encourage more wildlife such as ladybirds and lacewings into the garden.

A triangular pied a terre for visiting mason bees perhaps.


A beautiful arrangement of old terracotta pots and pine cones – the perfect overwintering spot for ladybirds.


A net of pine cones could be perfect for spiders.


Another welcome animal in the garden is the garden cat who helps keep the mice at bay.

There is however some wildlife not so welcome and this ingenious mole scarer looks amazing ! Whether it works I’m not sure !


The Kitchen Garden at Packwood House

19 Feb

I made a lovely discovery recently – the beautiful walled kitchen garden. Apparently it’s been open to the public for about four years and I’m sure I’ve been to Packwood in that time, so I’m not sure how I’ve missed it !


And I have to say, it’s really delightful. Whoever has been responsible for its redevelopment has a great eye for detail, and even visiting in mid February there was so much to see.

There is good basic structure in the form of compacted earth paths , box hedges and pergolas.



They have retained a couple of ancient fruit trees and planted many new ones – step over and espaliered against the old walls.


Children will be delighted with the beautiful wendy house and teddy bears picnic.


Despite the lack of vegetables, there’s much to catch the eye.

Beautiful original cloches sheltering small lettuce.


Terracotta rhubarb forcers keeping the rhubarb crowns in the dark to produce delicate pink stems.


A jaunty scarecrow to keep off the pigeons.


A dipping pond, currently covered, but in the summer apparently they encourage the kids to dip small watering cans in and to water the garden – child labour !!


An auricula theatre awaiting its treasures in a few months time.


Plenty of bug hotels to encourage the good insects – not sure how they keep out the less welcome ones !


Mole deterrent ! Very Heath Robinson !


I can’t wait to return in a few months time to see all the vegetables in place.



Garden visit – Coughton Court, Warwickshire

25 Apr


I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get to visit Coughton Court – for almost 18 years I’ve only lived 40 minutes away ! But I’m so glad that at long last I’ve made it !


I chose a beautiful April day to visit and was able to enjoy the spring gardens at their best.
The house dates from 1409 and I’m sorry to say that as the weather was so lovely we gave it a miss! But architecturally it was a pleasing mix of half timbered facades and fancy Elizabethan stonework. The gardens are spread around the main buildings and two churches – a catholic one and a Church of England one – can’t but feel they were hedging their bets rather !
A large lake and parkland complete the quintessential English landscape.

Coughton Court is renowned for its rose garden and despite it being far too early to actually see any roses, it was a good time to see the mechanics that goes in to training roses. Many hours have gone into pruning and tying in the hundreds of roses – pergolas, arches, and walls have all been put to good use.
Many of the shrub roses in the main beds have been trained using a post and wire structure that pulls all the growth down to form a dome, thus encouraging each branch to put up flower stems along its full length. Very keen to go back in June to see the results !

Without leaves on the trees and before much of the perennial growth has emerged it was easy to see the backbones of this garden – beautiful benches to linger on, at every turn – dramatic eye catchers in the form of bright pavilions – structured allees of pleached limes leading the eye to yet another urn.


Careful preparation of the beds had taken place – compost spread liberally, shrubs well pruned and extensive forests of pea sticks had been woven over every emerging clump- these plants wanted for nothing !


Away from the formal areas , the orchard had been put to a new use – Dutch tulip field! Lines of bright tulips waved in the breeze growing straight out of the long grass – looking both naturalised and formal at the same time. You were invited to pick your own tulips but sadly the price seems to deter most people from doing so – perhaps I can go back in a few weeks time when they’re going cheap !

The lake is surrounded by narcissus and bluebells – flowering a few weeks earlier this year I’m sure. An interesting swamp garden was waiting to burst into life with huge gunnera and bull rushes. And of course there were the obligatory rare breed sheep !

A lovely stroll in the sunshine was rounded off with traditional National Trust tea in the stable yard. Well, you have to, don’t you ?!







Heaven Scent Gardens

garden inspiration & design

Garlic & Sapphire

beautiful and productive gardens & kitchens in action, from the Sarah Raven team

Wild Honey Blog

garden inspiration & design

Plantsmans Blog

garden inspiration & design

purple podded peas

garden inspiration & design

Lobster and Swan

garden inspiration & design


garden inspiration & design

Lottie Land Girl

Living the 'Good Life' the Brown way!

Decorator's Notebook

Decorating ideas and lifestyle inspiration from Decorator's Notebook

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.