Books on garden design mention how to use a focal point in a garden, but they also stress that it shouldn’t dominate and take the eye away from the plants. You should also only be able to see one feature at a time so that it leads you through the garden. I wonder how we would all have dealt with the structure that we saw yesterday, what would we have made of this….?
……..and yes, it is IN the garden! And all paths are done with concrete driveways specialists!
We were at Kilver Court Garden, Shepton Mallett, Somerset. Kilver Court is a collection of old factory buildings, opposite the Bulmers Cider factory, that have now been turned into designer/boutique shops, restaurant and wedding venue. The garden was created over 100 yrs ago by Ernest Jardine for his factory workers (what a lovely boss) and was later transformed in the 1960s by the Showering family of Babycham fame.
The Rock garden was adapted from a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit in the 1960’s and extended to fit the site. It must be nice to be able to just point at an exhibition garden and say, Yes, I’ll have that one please, get it delivered! Thinking about it though, would we really want a garden that didn’t have any input from us ? But I’m getting ahead of myself, lets go back to the rose garden.
The four outer flower beds were filled with this beautiful rose and what a beautiful perfume she had too.
The four central beds were full of this strange rose, no perfume and they didn’t die gracefully, I’m afraid I thought they looked a rather a mess.
Once past the rose garden, there were a couple of herbacious beds where dahlias were the main feature.
Now some facts and figures about the viaduct. It is 317 yds long and 45 ft tall. It has 27 arches with a span of 28ft. It was built in 1874 and the railway closed in 1966. It has been a grade 2* listed monument since 1952. How many of us would like this in our garden, the listing means it cannot be altered. I think the undergardener would be quite happy to have it in his garden!
These two plants went so well together, the blue of the Aconitum was almost luminous, such a super blue.
There is a large lake to one side with beautiful reflections of the viaduct and the planting.
The main part of the garden is the famous rockery, it has appeared on the BBC 2 programme, Gardener’s World . The stream was very well done and the planting around it looked very much at home.
There were lots of Acers.
The garden had a very high standard of maintenance. Weddings are held here, so it has to look good all year round for the wedding photos.
I was so taken with this plant, with it’s blue flowers, but especially it’s autumn foliage, during the summer the foliage is green. It has gone onto my list of “must haves”.
Being a ’60’s garden, there are lots of conifers, some are now being trimmed and are topiarised into different shapes.
I should know this plant,about 2 ft tall with beautifully perfumed flowers and very prickly leaves, can anyone help please? Behind is a Persicaria, at first I thought there was lots of heather (well, they were planted along with conifers in the 60’s) but there was such a variety of persicaria plants everywhere, another to go onto my list!
We walked through the archways and found an herbacious border. Once again the Aconitums are really standing out at the back.
Oh dear, I hope the undergardener isn’t hoping to see a steam train, he’ll have a long wait!
The thatch in the front right corner is the roof of the boathouse. There are a few duck houses in the lake, so the ducks will be safe laying there eggs away from foxes.
Believe it or not, this wasn’t the real reason we came to Somerset. We came to visit the East Somerset Steam Railway. Visiting the garden , which was only 10 minutes away from the station, was just filling in time!
Way back at the beginning of summer, the Undergardener was given a present of a train ride for his Birthday, with Cream Tea provided and a visit to the workshops. It took us till now to find a date, we were booked on the 3.30pm train.
The scones were lovely, but we had a dilemma, in Cornwall, they put their jam on first, then the cream, we in Devon put the cream on first, then the jam, but what do they do in Somerset?! We went with cream first, then jam.
And this was the engine we rode behind while eating our cream tea with lots of tea to drink.
We both had a really wonderful day. I’m thinking we might just manage to fit one more garden visit in this year, we will go searching for some autumn tints. All the way along the dual carriageway to Somerset, most of the trees at the roadside are Field Maples and they had all turned a beautiful buttery yellow, even the Undergardener commented on how beautiful they all looked!