Tag Archives: packwood house

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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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 !!

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

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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‘ .

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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 ??

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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.

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

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A net of pine cones could be perfect for spiders.

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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 !

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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 !

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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.

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

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

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

Beautiful original cloches sheltering small lettuce.

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

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A jaunty scarecrow to keep off the pigeons.

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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 !!

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

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

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Mole deterrent ! Very Heath Robinson !

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

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The Bare Bones of Winter

11 Feb

We all know what we’re supposed to do to provide winter structure in our gardens –

1. Place evergreen topiary

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2. Use box hedging

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3. Add garden structures

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But for those of us without a stately home with room for ancient yews, miles of crisp box hedging or a thatched summer house what can we learn ?

I visited two National Trust gardens today – Baddsley Clinton and Packwood House. It was a very grey and overcast day. Not the kind of day most garden photographers venture out on – they prefer hard frosts and snow. But this is exactly the kind of day when we all think our gardens look pretty grim so it’s good to see that there’s plenty of ways you can make your garden look good at this time of year.

It really does pay to get the basics right.

A beautifully straight edge really draws the eye.

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Simple beds cut into the lawn looks striking even unplanted.

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Mulched and weeded, even beds that rely heavily on perennials can look good and full of promise for what’s to come.

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Evergreen doesn’t have to mean green – these grasses ( carex testacea ) are evergreen and contrast beautifully with the green evergreens.

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Carefully pruned wall shrubs provide a lovely contrast against old brick walls.

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The general emptiness of the garden at this time of year allows you to spot details that would be missed in the full exuberance of mid summer.

Very tentative signs of spring are peeping through.

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Other details come to the fore too.

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