Last Saturday we had the most amazing afternoon visiting a garden in Devon, or actually one garden was in Devon and the other, next door, was in Somerset! I found it in the Yellow Book for the National Garden Scheme. Not only was it two gardens, but there were sculptures and originally there was a railway line with the station buildings, that have now been converted into houses, somebody was a happy bunny and I don’t mean just me!
As soon as we stepped into the garden, we could tell that we were in for a good afternoon, the planting looked wonderful.
The path led up some steps, through a hedge to a Koi pond,
well protected with wires to keep the heron away. Some of them were huge, especially the grey one in the middle, although it was so big, I don’t think a heron would manage to swallow it.
The path then lead to a wild flower meadow where I spied a sculpture.
From a distance it was so lifelike, but close to we saw that the different pieces were gardening tools, there is a pair of shears at the top of its thigh, and the ears were rusty trowels. Other bits and pieces came from farm tools etc and rusty chains were used – very effective.
As well as the buttercups and clover in the meadow, were lots of clumps of Ragged Robin…
….and lots and lots of orchids.
All of a sudden in a dip by the boundary of the garden, there was a sight to set my little heart a-flutter, masses and masses of candelabra primulas!
I thought I had lots of primulas, but mine are pathetic compared to these, there were yards and yards of them, hundreds, in every colour you could think of.
I don’t have many yellow ones, must rectify that!
The yellow of the buttercups matches the colour of the railway distance signal.
The only view out of the garden showed the where the railway line used to run.
A closer view of the distance signal. This shows the fish tail end which indicates to the engine driver that he has to be prepared to slow down.
We came upon a second pond and isn’t it colourful, it’s wonderful!
This makes me want to plant primulas round my pond, the reflections would be wonderful. I’ll have to clear a few plants out first.
This is the view from round at the back of the pond, the Ligularia in the foreground right contrasts beautifully with the primulas.
More gardening shears, horseshoes, springs, chains and spanners forming two boxing hares.
Up a different path, we found a very realistic fox stalking hens and chickens. I liked this group a lot.
Hen made from a coal shovel, horse shoes and rakes.
The chicks were made from cog wheels with keys for wings. I feel an urge to visit a reclamation yard!
We found a third pond with…….yes, you’ve guessed, more primulas!
Looking back the other way with a life belt and upturned boat adding extra colour.
We are now nearing the end of the first garden, which has been so colourful all the way round.
This was where we had a talk with the owner and he told us that we were standing where the old Goods Yard used to be. There was only about 4 inches of soil, all of which they brought in so that they could plant.
This is where steam trains used to come, I was going to say – thundering through – but they didn’t, they had to stop.
A Dolly is used for access to minor lines, such as a siding. The dolly works just like a signal and would give access when the yellow line is at an angle of 45 degrees.
The rails that have to be changed are picked up with the tools shown on either side of the tiny bit of railway line, apparently they are called Rail Handling Lifting Clamps. I’m a fast learner, I’ve learnt such a lot this afternoon!
The Engine Shed has been converted into a beautiful house, I know someone who would love to live here, a pity it wasn’t for sale when we were looking 25 yrs ago!
I thought the undergardener was looking at the photo of the steam train, or maybe he was visualising the engine in the station. But no, he had spied the table and chairs with people enjoying their tea and cake! We are now leaving the first garden which stops where the gravel ends and entering the second.
I almost forgot to photograph my gorgeous Carrot Cake, so moist with super cheesy icing, delicious!
Someone else had the chocolate cake. Garden visiting wouldn’t be the same without tea and cake!
There were old photographs of the station which we were able to look at while having our tea. Where we were sitting was where the platform would have been and where the lines used to be, had been raised to the same level.
The planting in the second garden was different from the first, but they too had a very small pond with candelabra primulas -are we overdosing on primulas?
A nice shady bed with hostas, and no holes in them!
I’m not sure what this plant is, but think it is very pretty. Does anyone know please?
I have since heard from Nicole that this is a polemonium, I hadn’t noticed the P.foliage at the time, but it is there on the photo!
I think that this area will be very colourful in just a few weeks time, I’m thinking there are lots of Hemerocallis in there.
Since having our tea, we have been walking along what was the old railway line, so all the soil has had to be brought in. This hosta Sum and Substance was huge but much paler than mine which is in shade.
This is the end of the line as far as we were concerned, the ground suddenly sloped down to the tunnel which is now the roost for some bats so no-one is allowed in. Yes, that is a Gunnera that has been planted at the tunnel entrance, I wonder how big it will grow.
We are now on our way back to the first garden entrance. Up the slope is the old Railway Station, passengers had to buy their tickets at the top and then run down the slope to catch the trains.
We have now been all round the two gardens, I think the undergardener must think that this is the best garden that he has ever visited! I thoroughly enjoyed everything that we saw, even the railway artifacts! I was amazed at the number of primulas that we saw, I must plant more! The sculptures were inspiring, I will look at rusty old tools in a different light from now on! There was just one more stop before we left, can you guess?
This is what I came home with, well I said I needed more yellow in my candelabra primulas didn’t I? They were just labelled as yellow primulas and the lovely Heuchera was just labelled heuchera!
The primulas have been added to the bog garden, swelling the numbers in the yellow/orange section, must save seed and make some more.
The lovely red heuchera with the ruffled leaves is now in the Sunset border, with a blue hosta and Hakonechloa all gold.
I must sow a lot more of my primula seed so that my border looks full like the borders at Venn Cross garden, and also round the pond, it really was an inspirational garden.