Yesterday we went to Dartmoor to visit a hosta nursery, Bowden Hostas, in Sticklepath, Devon, then after lunch we went to visit the garden Wildside, the garden of Keith and Ros Wiley. Bowden Hostas have won 24 gold medals from the RHS and they hold a Royal Warrant to Prince Charles, what better place to buy your hostas!
You can feel free to wander round the garden to get inspiration before making your choice from the poly tunnel. Some of the hostas are HUGE, there was a plant of Snowden which was absolutely amazing. Yes it is spelled like that, should be Snowdon like the mountain in Wales but someone made a mistake when naming it!
Hosta heaven ! Yes, of course we bought some, 4 in all plus a couple of ferns which they also sell. Very happy with what we bought, just have to hope that we are still living here in 10 yrs time and can see them fully grown!
After lunch we went to the garden, Wildside, at Buckland Monachoram which is a fairly new garden on Dartmoor, started in 2004. We have seen it on TV a few times and read about it in various gardening magazines, so a visit was certainly overdue. An essential piece of gardening equipment here was a JCB, to carve a flat south facing field of 4 acres into a series of hills and valleys to make sunny and shady slopes for suitable planting. The first area we went to was the courtyard garden, seen above and below.
This is a view of the courtyard from halfway up one of the hills leading into a new area which is just being planted and sculpted.
Part of the new area, with the plants only being small you can see how the soil has been moved to make hills and valleys. This gives good drainage when the heavy Devonshire clay is mixed with grit and compost.
Back through the courtyard to the first area which was planted, this small valley had a pond and bog garden and looked absolutely fantastic. The planting was more mature and gave real shadows on the shady side of the hills so that corresponding plants could be used.
Further round, behind the hill, were drifts of Rhodohypoxis on the south facing slopes, along with dianthus and dierama.
This is the large pond that I remember them creating during a Chanel 4 TV programme, toys for the boys, diggers everywhere scooping out the earth and depositing it to make the hills, love the planting.
All of a sudden when we turned a corner we were in an apple orchard with a meadow. Lots of lovely flowers in the meadow including orchids.
The last area we came to before leaving was a little valley with acers and hostas. In the distance you can see a standing stone as a focal point, lots of these stones here in Devon get used as gate posts.
It was then time to visit the nursery and see what could be bought. I was tempted by the rhodohypoxis and bought 3 to plant in a trough, not having the sharp drainage or a nice slope to plant them on, maybe what I need is a JCB to play with! I was very impressed with this garden, it is so different from any other garden that I have seen in Devon and deserves all the publicity that it has received. One definitely to visit if you can and also to repeat visit at different times of year, it will look fantastic in August with all those grasses.