Mar 24, 2008

Spring, Sissinghurst and Hastings.....

After a month(!) of being in England, buds on the trees are finally beginning to open. The bulbs will soon be taking a backseat to some of the Malus and the Magnolias that are getting ready to bloom. The temperature was getting a bit warmer but there was soon a drop and the weather went from sun to snow.... Even though some plants in the garden are just waking up from their long deep sleep, Fergus' magic is obvious and apparent by putting them straight to work.
Here is the emerging colored foliage of Spiraea japonica 'Gold Flame' underplanted with Hyacinthus orientalis 'Delft Blue' in the Barn garden. Regal jewel tones combine with only the use of two plants.

The unfurling of the fern fronds, otherwise known as crosiers, stretching upwards to get energy from the sun. Some ferns are edible in this stage of growth, though i have never had them. Has anyone? Are they good?
Here is Mark watering in some bedding plants that were tucked into the Tulips so the succession of color will continue on... Ladybird poppies will soon flower adding large splashes of red to continue on with garden succession. Anyone have any good suggestions for spring combinations that they like to use in their garden? We took a ride to Hastings which is a 20 minute drive south and is right on the coast. This was an important fishing port for centuries and you can still see the buildings where the fisherman would hang their large nets to dry. One of the many quaint side streets. We had to purchase 'wellies' which are rubber boots. These were necessary because with all of the rain comes mud and it just gets everywhere.
These little guys were seen in one of the windows of a bakery. This is the first view of the English Channel that I have had yet. I hear in summer it is still really cold to swim in though. I'll take their word for it.
Sissinghurst garden is right in Kent which is only a short drive away. It was created by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson. She bought Sissinghurst as a ruin and took it on, while he was in the Diplomatic service and this was where they retired too. Vita was a writer (who was lovers with Virginia Woolf) and had her study in the tower which she allowed no one to visit. The more I walked through the gardens the more it was understood. There are many pockets and rooms throughout with many vistas to see. There were always details to enjoy like these tulips on display. This may seem strange for some to do, thinking why not just plant them into the garden, but once they start to decline you just move the pot out of view. Smart... One of the many flowering Quinces that were espaliered through out the walled gardens.
Another lovely and striking spring combination of Helleborus orientalis (purple/mauve flowered) and with Scilla bithinica underneath. One wonders what the next plants to come up are? The meadow with their beehives. And just another vista....... I am very interested in following this garden through the seasons.....
This is the silhouette of the European Robin, smaller and rounder than the ones at home. They are very curious birds and will fly within a foots distance to watch what you are doing in the garden . When worms come out while weeding, I usually toss them in the direction of the closest bird. They snatch it immediately and are always happy for a free meal.

My cousin Cathy came to visit this weekend, she had an interview at West Dean for their furniture restoration program. Congratulations on being accepted Cathy!!