We have recently got back from a long weekend in Wiltshire – the main purpose was to find Dryas octopetela – the alpine flower which we first met on top of the mountains in Austria in July,When I looked it up in the Plant Finder, the Mead Nursery at Brokerswood near Westbury was the nearest nursery to sell it. We organised a few days garden visiting and had a wonderful time, weather forecast was dreadful but it turned out to be better than expected, with just a few showers.
Our first garden was The Court Garden run by The National Trust and was beautiful, lots of colour and lots of bee and butterfly perennials. Superb Hydrangea macrophylla Lilacina which the visiting wildlife was enjoying – must get one for the front border, but is there room to squeeze it in or should I take one of our shrubs out. Decisions to be made in the winter!
We next visited The Old Vicarage, Hilmarton which was open for the N.G.S. This was a very pretty garden, very feminine, full of colour with lots of bees and hoverflies. Loads of colour from dahlias and annuals along with perennials and masses of roses. I hadn’t thought of dahlias as being a bee plant but the single ones were covered with hoverflies as well as bees – definitely a must for my front border. Had a lovely tea while we were there, fruit malt loaf was absolutely yummy!
Next day we went to Abbey House Garden in Malmsbury which is a superb garden with sculptures, topiary and miles of yew hedging forming different areas. A tiny blue butterfly landed on Eupatorum atropurpureum, I think it may be a little blue, didn’t have my book with me to identify it properly. The book says that they are found in chalk and limestone areas and that is the area we were in.
There were masses of perennials billowing round and over yew and box hedges with lots of butterflies frantically feeding everywhere. There were clematis up trees, roses up trees, there was colour wherever you looked.
We also visited Well Cottage at Wilton ( another garden open for the N.G.S.) after having a fantastic lunch at the village pub, The Swan. This is a beautiful garden behind a lovely thatched cottage, with several colour themed borders and dahlias are a speciality, once again the single ones were a magnet for bees and hoverflies. There were loads of late flowering clematis – viticellas and texensis, must find room for more here.
This was a truly delightful garden with a lovely chatty owner who is rightly very proud of all she has created in just a few years. I came away with lots of inspiration for our plot.
It was then time to think about coming home, but not before we had called in at the Mead Nursery to find Dryas octopetela. I had been on their website before coming so had a list of other plants to buy and was soon finding 95% of them including the one we had come for. It is a very well laid out nursery, very tidy with a lovely garden attached to give you more inspiration. As well as the alpines that I bought I got 3 single dahlias for the front border, one with a bumblebee which almost came back in the car with us!! Since I have planted the dahlias at home they have been visited non stop by the bees – good buy.