Jun 28, 2008

Somerset, Dorset whichever you may choose

Went to the South West area of England to go see some gardens and houses in the Somerset and Dorset area. I got to stay with a lovely woman who is a fantastic artist and lives in a very small town called Taunton. She lives in 2 old converted barns and has a very large walled garden attached to her house that she gardens in.
This was an exciting weekend because not only was I seeing new parts of the country, but I had to drive on the roads as well............ I am still here, so you can breathe now. :)

The view of her studio from the outside.
A bench gleaming from the sun in the meadow area of the walled garden, against the backdrop of the pink stone native to the area.

The sun setting in the studio side of the garden. You would have never have known you were in the middle of the village because the walls made the garden feel a lot more secluded than you were.

There is an organization called the National Trust here that helps secure and preserve old estates, gardens and parts of the countryside and coast. Once your a member you can visit any of their properties which are located all over England, and your pass gets you in everywhere for free. For me this is great because it gives me the chance to see unspoiled countryside, mature trees and gives me more of an understanding of the relationship between a house and it's surrounding gardens. Seeing National Trust properties puts a new spin on visiting gardens because of the sense of history behind each place and helps me get an inside look at how some of our greatest gardeners would think when putting these landscapes together.
After successfully navigating myself and Mark through multiple roads and roundabouts (These are circles that you drive around to get to where you want and are placed where multiple main roads intersect. It's great, if you can't figure out which road you need, you simply drive in the circle until you see the correct road sign. Much better than missing your exit and having to drive 10 miles to the next one to turn around.) . So after all of my driving excitement/fear we made it to a place called Killerton in Exeter, Devon.
Killerton is an 18th century house surrounded by parkland and some large gardens. You can tour the inside of these stately homes but unfortunately pictures are not allowed. But you want to see trees and plants anyway don't you?!
Here you have views of the neighboring sheep fields,

with a silhouette of the Cedar of Lebanon, Cedrus lebani where it's form can really be seen and appreciated.

One of the garden beds, which while they were planted nicely, it was the surrounding landscape that excited me.

The native oak , Quercus robur, cooling me off in it's glorious shade while sharing a tiny morsel of the view to come.

The view of the neighboring countryside from the top of the property. The colors and patterns of the landscape are reminiscent of a quilt, seamlessly pulled together and mesmerizing to look at. To see each field being a different color while being outlined and dotted with trees is something that I would never tire of.

The wild Foxgloves in bloom, Digitalis purpurea and the purple blooming ever present
Rhododendron ponticum.
Large mature Giant Redwoods, Sequoiadendron giganteum, towering well above my head.

When your given lemons, make lemonade right?
I am not sure how this tree wound up horizontal but instead of cutting it up and carting it away,
it was turned into a discreet sitting area.

This small church was connected to the grounds of the National Trust property. Each church you pass in England seems to have it's own charm and just begs to be looked at. The stonework is incredible and is usually surrounded by some pretty old trees. Here it was amazing to see the tree trained Wisteria in full bloom all along one side of the church. Again, the horticultural skills that are seen in England are just astounding.

Then it was off to driving to Tintinhull house and garden which was another car ride away. This is a 17th century manor house which is surrounded by a walled garden made of up pockets of garden rooms.

Pelargonium ardens brightening up a planting niche.

There was a vegetable garden of substantial size which was lit up with a walkway of Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant'.
Then it was on to visit some other friends in Dorset which was about 2 hours away from where we were staying. The land started to change as we drove and more and more hills became present. I wouldn't call them mountains, they were really large rolling hills.
We all stayed with some friends, one being a girl I went to Longwood with named Jess. Small world huh? We got to see the estate they work on which was pretty impressive. No photos were allowed though.

The view looking down on the estate we just visited. The estate was enormous and was still relatively newly planted. You can see the Tilia tree allees that still have a few years until maturation. Seeing an estate at this stage was a real pleasure for me because you could see how the ideas were created and why they were created. These allees lead your eye from the house straight to the gorgeous rolling hills beyond.
Miles and miles of lush greenery for the eyes.

The road we walked up.

A wild flower meadow, with golden yellow buttercups and the red Rumex acetosa, competing for attention from the sweeping views beyond.

view from inside the glade of about 30 trees on top of the mountain. There was an obvious 10 degree drop in temperature in here which was a nice break from the sun and the view of the sun peeking through was like being in another world.

Making your way through the footpaths while sharing the fields with sheep is one thing, but with large cows that don't scurry off the walk when you come by can be a little intimidating......

The walk back with a not so bad view.

Jun 26, 2008


I am happy to say that I got the Jerusalem Botanical Garden Scholarship!!!!!!!!!!! I will be starting in September!!

Jun 23, 2008

Making the Exotic......

We started planting out the Exotic garden now that the temperature show no sign of dropping during the night. Alot of succulents were pulled out of the glasshouses, cannas and dahlias that had been potted up and brought out of dormancy were brought to the garden and the bananas were freed from their 'bracken teepees'

The Exotic garden caused a bit of a stir when it was first planted in 1993 because it was originally an Edwardian rose garden that had been designed by Edwin Lutyens, the architect, and was created almost 80 years ago. Christopher Lloyd decided to make this change because he felt change was needed in that area of the garden and the roses kept getting plagued by replant disease due to lack of circulation from the hedges. Some visitors were in an uproar but Christopher Lloyd said, 'The noise of tearing old rose roots as they were being exhumed was music to my ears.' Some roses though were allowed to remain.

The view that you see, from my window, is looking at the garden from above, where it is surrounded by Yew hedges next to one of the original farm buildings.

Here is the large Tetrapanix papyrifira and the smaller silver foliaged Eucalyptus gunnii.

Phormium tenax with the still emerging Canna 'Durban'

The highlight of this garden is all of the interesting colors, shapes and textures of foliage and bright jewel colored blooms.

The blooms of this rose are mimicked underneath by the shape of the heads of Aenioum 'Zwartkop', which gives a cascading effect to the eye.

More foliage contrast....... And from what I have seen in photos and heard, as September approaches, the exotic garden is so lush that the paths turn into tunnels due to the amount of foliage. I will continue to share how it fills out....

And just to give a highlight of what has been going on in the Long Border, here are some of the reddish pink Lupines stealing the show at the bottom of the border.

And just to give a highlight of what has been going on in the Long Border, here are some of the reddish pink Lupines stealing the show at the bottom of the border.

Here is a Stipa arundinacea and the ox-eye daisies , Leucanthemum vulgare.

Looking through the Yew arch, the Barn garden is an intense array of colors at the moment.

Here are the stock beds that the nursery propagates from, blooming in all different shades. There are geraniums, Tanacetum niveum and the tall spikes of Verbascum speciosum getting ready to open bright yellow blooms.

Here in the stock garden bed you have Baptisia australis and Tanacetum niveum with the Oast House in the background.

The lovely Ladybird poppies are blooming intensely and look really striking against Miscanthus sinensis 'Cosmopolitan'.

The walls are in full bloom with Centranthes rubera and the self sown Erigeron karvinskianus, or Mexican daisy, which look like they pop out of every crack in the paving stones and stone wall.

I am having such a fantastic time here in England, and am loving Great Dixter in every way. I couldn't be happier. Keep your fingers crossed to because my interview with the Jerusalem Botanical Garden is tomorrow.

Jun 16, 2008

Inner Temple

Gardener to Gardener
Name: Andrea Brunsendorf, Head Gardener at Inner Temple

Horticultural background:
-A three year traditional German apprenticeship in Ornamental Horticulture

-One year internship at the National Botanical Institute in South Africa, studying and working with South African flora in Harold Porter Botanic’s, Karoo Desert Botanic’s and Kirstenbosch

-Working as propagator for Europe’s’ oldest cacti and succulent nursery in Germany

-A three month internship at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, studying more succulents and cacti

-Joined the Longwood International Gardener Programme for a year

-Returned to RBG Kew to do the three year Kew Diploma

-Graduated from the Kew Diploma and continued to study for a Masters in Nature Conservation at University College London

-& financed myself to be being a freelancing gardener in London and Northern France.

Where do you work? Explain the significance of Inner Temple and it’s location. Inner Temple Garden in Central London, its location is significant because it provides a 3 acre green space in Central London, (I prefer the term Garden actually) for the residents of the Temple, the surrounding office workers and a function space to gain revenue for the Inner Temple

Who uses it and what is it used for?

· Residents
· Residential Dogs
· Office workers from the surrounding Barrister Chambers and other large offices
· The occasional tourist
· Inner Temple Catering Team to hold large functions

(this is Boris, Andreas dog whose official title is Executive pigeon chaser.)

What do you consider to be the strong points of Inner Temple? What are you most proud of?
Its spaciousness and its magnificent tree collection. What I am most proud of is the transformation from being a neglected and uninspiring garden to a state that someone seems to care about the Garden.

You have some special trees and tree collections at Inner Temple, could you share what these are?

Magnificent Indian bean tree (Catalpa bignonioides)and Willow-leaved magnolia(Magnolia salicifolia), both are about 250 years old. Good specimen of Tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) and Japanese Walnut (Juglans ailantifolia).

(Echium on the High Border)

What is the most enjoyable aspect of working in a micro climate?

I can be braver and grow plants that are not really frost tender.

What would you consider to be a disadvantage of a micro climate?

My roses don’t reach dormancy until February, which makes pruning them a bit more challenging. Sometimes plants go over so quickly because it is so warm along my south facing borders.

Even though the garden at Inner Temple is private, you do open it up for the public at certain times. When is this open for the public and for how long?
Usually open from Monday to Friday from 12.30 to 15.00

How does the public affect your way of thinking about the garden? A private garden is one thing but letting the public enjoy it as well, as they would a park, must create two different ways of seeing the garden. What are your observations on this?

I have some quite strong thoughts on this … if the public treats the Garden as a public park, I remind them that it is a private garden and that they should feel honoured to be a guest of the Inner Temple and should behave like one when using the Garden. You know, if I wanted to work in a public park with issues such as ignorance, litter and vandalism, I would have joined a local municipality down the road, but I have problems in tolerating careless and disrespectful behaviour.
What is it like to be an urban gardener and can you elaborate?

You have a different set of circumstances than other gardeners, such as finding nurseries to get plants and other things that you might not have anticipated You have a different set of circumstances than other gardeners, such as finding nurseries to get plants and other things that you might not have anticipated. Space is a real problem, not being able to compost my own garden waste, storing large quantities of mulch and not being able to have space for stock beds, where we could propagate plants needed for the Garden. Being in the centre of London some horticultural suppliers and a few nurseries won't deliver to me.

What other gardens or gardeners are you enjoying or are inspired by?

Beth Chatto Gardens, Dorothy Clive Garden, Great Dixter, Kerdalo, Kirstenbosch, Lost Garden of Heligan, Sissinghurst and RBG Kew, and conversation with my gardening friends.

What as a gardener inspires you?

I probably can answers the question better if I tell you what I find not inspiring in a Garden…if it is pretentious, too contrived or just trying to look like another Chelsea Flower Show Garden to impress friends and neighbours. I like gardens where passion, genuine people and interesting personalities are involved.

What concerns you as a gardener?

The current quality of our Gardeners concerns me. I am concerned about the National curriculum for gaining horticultural qualifications in this country. It seems to miss out that Horticulture is a ‘practical science’ and that you need a wide range of experience as well as basic horticultural classroom-knowledge.

What are your plans for the future of the Inner Temple? · To put the Garden on the map of interesting gardens to visit in London and restore it to its old glory with a fresh approach.

Can you leave us with a horticultural tip?

· Stake early and don’t wait until the plants looks like it could blow over with the next wind. I learned that bitter lesson last year with my cardoons.

Thanks Andrea, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions. www.innertemple.org.uk/garden/index.html