Bucket List of United Kingdom Gardens

There are so many wonderful places I would love to visit in the United Kingdom and I could easily visit Britain for its gardens alone! For anyone interested in British gardens, an excellent starting  point is to visit: https://www.greatbritishgardens.co.uk/.

This site features over 500 properties, which have been grouped into special interest categories: Arboretums and Woodland Plantings; Coastal and Wildlife Gardens; Family Gardens and Royal Gardens; Japanese or Prairie Gardens; Organic Gardens; Topiary, Walled and Water Gardens; and Seasonal Interest Gardens: Autumn Colour and Winter Gardens; and Specialty Gardens focusing on Snowdrops and Daffodils; Bluebells and Rhododendrons in the Spring and glorious Roses in Summer.

Other excellent sites to visit include: http://www.ngs.org.ukhttps://www.gardenvisit.com/  and  http://www.parksandgardens.org.

BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9673Given that we live so far away and holiday time is always limited, I had to be so strict with myself and only include my utmost favourites!

While I would adore to visit some of the rightfully popular gardens like Sissinghurst Castle (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle-garden and https://cadyluckleedy.com/2015/09/26/the-national-trust-sissinghurst-gardens-cranbrook-kent-uk/) and Hidcote Manor (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote), my aversion to crowds would outweigh my appreciation, though I realize it is probably impossible to avoid them these days! The 4 ha (9 acre) garden of Sissinghurst Castle has 200, 000 visitors each year, while the 10 acre Hidcote Manor Garden has 175 000 visitors each year, but fortunately, the latter’s website has a wonderful 3D virtual tour as well!

Nevertheless, it’s all a matter of degrees, so  I have not included them, nor have I listed gardens with very limited opening times like Charles Jencks’ Garden of Cosmic Speculation (http://www.scotlandsgardens.org/gardens/garden/6f8a52d7-f7b0-45c2-91fc-999e00d2ac95) or Prince Charles’ organic  garden at Highgrove (https://www.highgrovegardens.com/), described beautifully in his book: The Garden at Highgrove, which I reviewed in my post: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/05/16/inspirational-and-dreamy-garden-books-part-two-books-about-specific-gardens/; or gardens, which we have already visited on previous trips like: Muckross House, Killarney, in Ireland and Inverwewe in Scotland;  Overbecks, Devon and Trebah and the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall; and the Chelsea Physic Garden, Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens, though I never did see the Marianne North Gallery at the latter, so feel I would love another visit there!

I will be doing a separate post for my favourite rose gardens! Please note all the photos are from my own garden, not the bucket list gardens, which I am describing,  and are included to add interest and colour to the post. BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0726Here is my bucket list in the United Kingdom!!!

West Dean Gardens

West Dean, Nr Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0RX

https://www.westdean.org.uk/gardens/explore and https://www.westdean.org.uk/gardens/blog

West Dean Gardens has long been on my radar, not just for its beautifully restored historic gardens, but also for its wealth of courses in conservation (Books, Ceramics, Clocks, Furniture, Metalwork, or Collections Care) and creative arts offered by West Dean College, both at the degrees and diploma level (https://www.westdean.org.uk/study/school-of-creative-arts/degrees-and-diplomas) and a huge variety of short courses, including embroidery and flower arranging. See :   http://westdean.assets.d3r.com/pdfs/original/17984-short-course-brochure-2017.pdf; and http://westdean.assets.d3r.com/pdfs/original/21070-short-courses-winter-2017-2018.pdf.

blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-18-26-41How wonderful it would be to stay at West Dean and participate in one of their courses, as well as be able to wander around their gardens in your relaxation time! Here is a link to a map of the gardens: http://westdean.assets.d3r.com/pdfs/original/19218-gardens-leaflet-12pp-2017-low-res-2.pdf.

The highlights include:

A 100 metre (300 foot) long Edwardian pergola, designed by Harold Peto in 1911 and made of stone pillars, linked by wooden overthrows, and covered with rambling roses (Veilchenblau; Sanders White Rambler); clematis; wisteria; honeysuckle and magnolia. The interior herbaceous borders include hostas; pelargoniums; ferns; iris; Dicentra and Spring bulbs. On one end is a gazebo with a mosaic floor of knapped flints and horses’ molars, while on the other end is a sunken garden with low growing plants, bulbs and a small pond.

Walled Kitchen Garden: Originally built in 1804, its current layout was developed in the 1990s and includes 2 cross paths and a perimeter path following the walls, creating 4 central beds and a series of borders against the walls.

The central beds follow a four-crop rotation of annual crops: potatoes; brassicas; legumes; and salad and root crops. Perennial crops are grown against the walls: soft fruit on the western wall; asparagus; rhubarb; sea kale and globe artichokes on the eastern wall and auriculas; lily of the valley; cordonned currants and gooseberries on the southern wall, the latter border also  growing early Spring crops, Summer herbs and late Autumn vegetables.

There is also a hot central flower border (Crocosmia; orange dahlias and yellow Kniphofia); a pear tunnel and espaliered pears and apples at the back. West Dean is famous for its apple collection with over 100 types of apples and 45 types of pears, many of them heritage varieties.

Victorian Glasshouses: There are 13 working Foster and Pearson glasshouses, built between 1890 and 1900, and growing a wide range of fruit and vegetables (figs; grapes; peaches and nectarines; strawberries; 58 different varieties of tomatoes; 75 different chillies; aubergines; cucumbers; melons; ornamental gourds ) and exotics and tropical plants (fuchsias; begonias; bromeliads; ferns; and orchids).

St. Roche’s Arboretum: established in 1830, this 49 acre woodland has a 2.5 mile circuit walk and contains many beautiful old specimen trees (beeches; limes; planes; and cedars), the National Collections of Liriodendrons (Tulip trees) and Aesculus (Horse Chestnuts) and shrubs, including rhododendrons and azaleas, which are a picture in Spring, along with the wildflower meadows and naturalised bulbs (over 500 000).blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-18-17-25Wisley

RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, GU23 6QB

https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley

https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley/wisley-blogs/wisley

An important centre for horticultural research and education and the flagship garden and historic home of the Royal Horticultural Society (https://www.rhs.org.uk), since 1903, when it was donated to the RHS by Sir Thomas Hanbury, who established La Mortola on the Italian Riviera.

It is one of four RHS properties, the other three being Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire; Hyde Hall, Essex; and Rosemoor, Devon, though another new RHS property at Bridgewater, Greater Manchester, is opening in 2020.

Wisley is enough for me! Apparently, it is the second-most visited garden after Kew Gardens in the UK – over one million visitors each year! So much for crowds then, though I’m hoping the sheer scale of the gardens will dilute them all! This place is HUGE , as is the website, and full of interesting ideas and inspiration!

Covering over 240 acres, 135 acres of which is open to the public, it has one of the largest plant collections in the world. There are so many different areas and it is worth visiting every area, at least on the website!

Here are the main areas which I would like to see :

The Glasshouse, which covers an area of 10 tennis courts, is 12 metres high, and has 3 different climatic zones (tropical; moist temperate and dry temperate) with 5000 different tender plants. It is surrounded by free-flowing beds of herbaceous plants and 150 metre (500 foot) long borders made up of Piet Oudolf-inspired diagonal ‘rivers’ of flowering perennials (mainly North American prairie species) and ornamental grasses with spectacular seedheads, planted in 2001. Usually including 3 plants to each river, the borders exhibit different combinations of repetitive plantings of: Echinacea; Echinops ritro; Perovskia; Gaura; Helenium; and Eryngium giganteum.

The Vegetable, Fruit and Herb Gardens, including demonstration gardens; an ornamental potager and raised beds of 50 different types of vegetables (350 cultivars); as well as the National Rhubarb Collection;  and a Tea Garden containing Camellia sinesis, as well as chamomile; cornflower; parsley; mint; strawberry; licorice; lemon balm; jasmine; bergamot and rose petals.

The Orchard, which contains 1300 different fruit cultivars, including 100 different types of plums and damsons; 175 different pears and 700 different apples, as well as strawberries; the National Collections of Red and White Currants and Gooseberries; rhubarb; figs and even a vineyard of white wine grapes. Many of the apples and pears are on dwarf root stock and trees are also trained to espaliers and fans.

The Cottage Garden, designed by Penelope Hobhouse in 1990, with lilacs, roses, bulbs and herbaceous perennials in a formal layout; and the 128 metres (420 foot) long Mixed Borders, which bloom from late Spring to Autumn, with their peak being in July and August. They contain clematis; phlox; helenium; salvias; nepetas; dahlias; sedums; asters; monkshood; helichrysum; monarda; culvers’ root; geranium; globe artichoke; and ornamental grasses.

The Walled Garden displaying Alternatives to Box and Foliage Plants (yew topiary, canes and grasses and over 50 cultivars of hostas).

The Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden, planted in 2007 and containing disease- and pest-resistant, repeat-flowering David Austin and Harkness Shrub  Roses, climbers and scramblers, under-planted with camassias; alliums; agapanthus; and ornamental grasses.blogspeciesrosesreszd20%2014-10-27-13-10-57The Rock Garden, home to alpines; small weeping trees; dwarf conifers; and ferns; with a Japanese- style landscape; grotto and ponds; the Alpine Meadow, full of Spring crocus (National Collection); hoop petticoat daffodils; erythronium; snowdrops; and fritillaries, as well as primulas and hellebores; and Howard’s Field with the National Heather Collection.

The Exotic Garden, full of tropical looking plants with large leaves and vibrant flowers), which can be grown outdoors in the UK Summer, including dahlias; gingers; cannas; bananas and palms; and the Mediterranean Terraces, showcasing the plants of Chile; Australia; New Zealand and South Africa, including eucalypts; acacias; callistemons; pittosporum; abutilons; loquats; lavender, rosemary; cacti and succulents. I imagine I would feel right at home here!

Bowles Corner, dedicated to EA Bowles, a past president of the RHS and lover of ‘demented’ plants, those of unusual habit or appearance like  Corkscrew hazel, Corylus contorta, or plants with variegated leaves, as well as his beloved Galanthus; Crocus; Colchicum and hellebores; and the Bonsai Walk showcasing hardy, outdoor, miniature,  40 to 80 year old evergreen, deciduous and flowering bonsai trees.

There are a number of areas, showcasing trees including:

Seven Acres with its Winter Walk with trees chosen for their Winter colour, scent, shape and structure, including Snakebark Maples; Tibetan Cherry; Dogwoods and Willows, underplanted with witch hazel; daphnes; iris; and hellebores.

Oakwood, a wild area with moist soil and light shade and the first garden of the original property, containing hostas; primulas; foxgloves; Trillium; Gunnera; Giant Himalayan Lilies; kalmias; camellias; rhododendrons and magnolias.

Pinetum, the oldest tree collection at Wisley and the Jubilee Arboretum, where trees are grouped for easy comparison eg shade trees; narrow upright trees; weeping trees; blossom trees; fruit trees; and Autumn foliage trees, and the woodland garden of Battleston Hill, complete with stumpery!

Wisley also has an excellent garden library open to the public, as well as a research library; and holds a large number of garden-related courses from Garden Design; Botany for Gardeners: Photosynthesis; Social Media for Gardeners; Plant Identification; Seed Harvesting and Preparation ; Propagation; Tool Care; and Winter Pruning; to Plant Photography; Screen Printing and Painting; Bees in Watercolour; and Christmas Wreaths. They also hold a number of craft and design shows and a major flower show throughout the year.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.08.01Ryton Organic Garden

Wolston Lane, Coventry, Warwickshire, CV8 3LG

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/ryton

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/news

Given our interest in organic horticulture, this garden, the HQ of  Garden Organic, a charity organization promoting organic farming and gardening, is also a must-visit for us!  Garden Organic began in 1954 as the Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA).

The 10 acre garden is divided into 30 individually-themed display gardens,  including : the Vegetable Way, a Herb Garden, Pest and Disease Control, World’s Biggest Flowerpot, Soft Fruit Gardens, Biodynamic Garden, an Allotment Garden, a Bee Garden, All Muck and Magic TV Garden ; a Children’s Garden and the famous Vegetable Kingdom, a visitor centre, packed full of interactive displays describing the history of vegetables in the United Kingdom.

All gardens are managed organically and show all aspects of horticulture from composting, companion planting  and pest and disease control to fruit and vegetable production; herbs; herbaceous plantings; roses; shrubberies; and lawns, as well as large conservation areas: native trees; a wildflower meadow and cornfield; a lake; and peek-in RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)  urban wildlife garden. It sounds like a haven for birds and bees!blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-18-10-36They hold regular courses in growing orchard trees and organic or cutting-edge vegetables; seed saving; organic and biodynamic gardening; moon planting; composting; and conservation and sustainability, as well as a new Certificate in Organic Horticulture. At Ryton, they have a large organic research centre and a heritage seed library and are also involved in sustainable farming projects in Africa and India.

Their website is an excellent resource for organic growers, especially their section  on frequently asked questions, grouped under the following subject areas: Composting, Containers, Diseases, Disorders, Fruit, Ornamentals (Flowers), Pests, Propagation, Soil Management, Vegetables, Water use, Weeds, Wildlife and General.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0425Great Dixter

High Park Close, Northiam, Rye, East Sussex, TN 31 6 PH

https://www.greatdixter.co.uk

https://www.nowness.com/series/great-gardens/the-gardeners-garden-great-dixter

The family home of garden writer Christopher Lloyd (1921-2006), Great Dixter was bought by his father Nathaniel in 1912. The fifteenth-century medieval hall house was remodelled by Edwin Lutyens from 1912 to 1920. Originally, there was no garden, but Nathaniel and his wife, Daisy, developed an Arts and Crafts garden, designed by Lutyens, around the old buildings. Some of Lutyens’ hallmarks in the garden were: curving yew hedges; decorative tiling and the incorporation of farm buildings into his garden design.

Christopher, who was renowned for his originality and verve; his adventurous trials and experiments with new growing methods and plants; his  dramatic plant combinations; and his successional planting, died in 2006 and his work has been continued under the stewardship of Fergus Garrett, his gardener since the early 1990s and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust.

Fergus and his team have continued to experiment with colour, texture and scale, producing high-impact visual displays and creating an increasingly naturalistic look to the garden using blowsy self-sowers like cow parsley. The garden is in constant flux , the planting schemes different every year. Great Dixter is famous for its colour combinations like lime-green euphorbias and red tulips;and  its use of link plants like Thalictrum; forget-me-knots; Verbena bonariensis and bronze fennel.

It is a high maintenance garden, but has an informal feel. Most of the plants are propagated at Great Dixter and are watered with their own bore water and fed with organic compost, with minimal use of chemicals.

While still relatively popular, it gets nowhere near the numbers of neighbouring Sissinghurst, at just over 50, 000 visitors per year, thanks in part to Fergus’s insistence on no signage in the garden; keeping the shop size small; and the paths narrow.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-05-18-15-11The website has an excellent interactive map, which describes each part of the 24 hectare garden. I would particularly like to see:

The Wildflower Meadow at the entrance to the house, cut twice a year in August and late Autumn and containing many different British orchids, wild daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) ; snakeshead fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris) and North American bulb, Camassia quamash; and the Upper Moat, Daisy Lloyd’s ‘Botticelli Garden’, studded with primulas and Snake’s head fritillaries; meadowsweet and  Autumn flowering crocuses, Crocus nudiflorus and Crocus speciosus.

Nathaniel’s Yew Topiary Lawn, clipped once a year and the Peacock Garden with its parliament of 18 topiary peacocks and two-foot tall hedges of white and purple Aster lateriflorus ‘Horizontalis’ and a row of  indigo blue ‘English’ iris, I. latifolia.

The Exotic Garden, a tropical-looking late summer to autumn garden with large leaves and brightly coloured dahlias and cannas; a haze of purple from self-sown Verbena bonariensis, a Great Dixter signature plant; a white flowering Escallonia bifida, full of  butterflies; and four hardy Japanese banana plants, Musa basjoo.

The Orchard, a huge meadow stretching almost the whole south side of the garden, containing apples, pears, plums, hawthorns and crabs and  long grass with communities of crocuses, daffodils, erythroniums, wood anemones, four types of terrestrial orchid, and Adder’s Tongue ferns; and The Long Border, a very famous feature of Great Dixter, reached by Lutyens’ circular steps, and separated from the informality of the orchard meadow, by a broad flagstone path and a strip of mown grass.

This closely woven exuberant tapestry of  mixed  shrubs, climbers, perennials, annuals and grasses blooms from from April to October, with its peak in High Summer (Mid June to mid-August).

The Prairie, a meadow of long grass; Common Spotted and Twayblade orchids ; and  North American prairie plants,  Veronicastrum virginicum, Eryngium yuccifolium, and Helianthus grossaserratus.

The High Garden, an Edwardian kitchen design ,with paths flanked by fairly narrow flower borders of oriental poppies and lupins, backed by espalier fruit trees, hiding the Vegetable Garden.  See Aaron Bertelsen’s blog : https://dixtervegetablegarden.wordpress.com/.

Great Dixter holds Spring and Autumn Plant Fairs; a series of lectures and symposiums and is a centre for horticultural education and work experience.blogdecgarden20reszdimg_0127While in the same area, it would be worth visiting Perch Farm, if it coincided with either one of their open days or even better a course in flower arranging or cutting gardens! See: https://www.sarahraven.com and

https://www.gardenista.com/posts/garden-visit-sarah-raven-perch-hill-east-sussex-england/.

Interestingly, Christopher Lloyd is one of Sarah’s heroes! I have already discussed her wonderful garden in my post on Sarah Raven’s books in: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/03/21/books-on-specific-types-of-gardens-part-one-cutting-gardens-cottage-gardens-and-herb-gardens/.

blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-17-27-54Newby Hall and Gardens

Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 5AE

http://www.newbyhall.com/

A forty acre (16 hectares) garden designed and created by the present owner’s grandfather, Major Edward Compton, who inherited Newby in 1921 and gardened for over 50 years till his death in 1977. He designed a labour-intensive ‘garden for all seasons’ in compartmented formal rooms off a main axis, created with a broad grass walk, running from the south front of the house down to the River Ure and flanked by double herbaceous borders against double yew hedges.

His son, Robin Compton, and Robin’s wife, Jane, were also passionately interested in the garden, flowers and colour and design. They totally restored and replanted these lovely gardens over a ten year period, winning the BTA Heritage Award and the HHA/Christie’s Garden of the Year Award. The gardens are now run by Mrs Lucinda Compton with Head Gardener, Mark Jackson.

Like the other gardens featured, it has many fascinating garden areas, which are described in depth on the website, but the areas I would most like to see include the following:

Double Herbaceous Borders

172 metres long with a modern colour palette of soft pastels; vibrant lilacs; magenta pinks; lime green; claret and silver. Plants include architectural Cynara; Eryngium; Echinops; and Giant Scotch Thistle Onopordum acanthium ; Delphinium cultivars and Campanula lactiflora; Crambe cordifolia; Geranium and Origanum; asters; dahlias; sedums and  undulating drifts of colourful flowering perennials like Echinacea, Lythrum, Sanguisorba and Veronicastrum .

The Autumn Garden

A compartmental walled garden  containing Clerodendron trichotomum var. fargessii; Hydrangea quercifolia and  Hydrangea aspera Villosa Group and 40 late Summer flowering herbaceous Salvias; 800 dahlias in exotic purples, radiant reds, blousy pinks, moody maroons; Sedum; Echinacea; Phlox; and Verbena bonariensis.

The Rose Garden, mainly old-fashioned once-flowering hybrids and cultivars of Gallicas, Damasks, Albas, Centifolias and Mosses, the peak season being June into July, as well as some more modern repeat-flowering David Austin hybrids; underplanted with annuals like Salvia, Cleome, and Cosmos. The photographs on the website look so beautiful!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0323The Water Garden, created by a man-made stream following a slope down into a pool. Plantings include: the famous soft pastel Harlow Carr primulas; Iris; Gunnera manicata; ornamental rhubarb Rheum palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’; Lysichiton americanum (Bog Arum); Brunnera; Darmera peltata; and hostas; camellias; rhododendrons and bamboos.

The East Rock Garden, the brain-child of Miss Ellen Willmott in the early 1900s, containing Euonymus; Nicotiana; Osmanthus; Viburnum; Cistus ; foxgloves; Ceanothus; and an impressively-striped Acer tegmentosum ‘White Tigress’; Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’, Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’; and hundreds of dark ‘Havran’ Tulips, against a backdrop of Magnolia stellata and Camellia japonica magnoliaeflora..

The White Garden, containing a lily pond and two identical flower beds with variety of white herbaceous perennials, bulbs and annuals, providing harmony and contrast with different heights, flowering times, scents, foliages and textures.

The Woodland Garden, an informal relaxed garden with many plants collected by ‘Chinese’ Ernest Wilson, including the ‘Pocket Handkerchief Tree’, Davidia involucrata, underplanted with epimediums; Himalayan Birch, Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ; the Snowdrop Tree, Halesia carolina; and Snowbell Tree, Styrax hemsleyana.

The Tropical Garden, with its dense plantings of exotic-looking shrubs and plants with large lush foliage: Yuccas (Adam’s Needle), Eryngiums (Sea Holly), and Phormiums, backed by Eucalyptus gunnii, different Paulownias (the Foxglove Tree) and Sweet Viburnum (Viburnum awabuki). Perennials are interspersed with colourful tender exotics like Tithonia rotundifolia (Mexican Sunflower), Leonotis leonorus (Lion’s Tail), Phytolacca ‘Lakka Boom’ and the Castor Oil plant (Ricinus sp.). Whilst Summer is the best time to see the Tropical Garden, there is a wonderful show of flowering magnolias in Spring.

The Beacon Garden, planted to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, with a tall beacon in its centre, under-planted with hundreds of Narcissi, and surrounded by four beds planted with a central Weeping Pear Pyrus salicifolia and pale pink and deep red peonies (Paeonia officinalis and Paeonia lactiflora).

The Curving Pergola, covered with the golden racemes of  Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’ in late May/ June.

The Orchard Garden with a central circular bed and a geometric arrangement of Quince and Apple trees. Four Philadelphus hedges create a square-within-a-square, all softened by the late Spring blossoms of fruit trees, flowering Philadelphus hedges and Crab Apple (‘Red Sentinel’) espaliers. Long grass is interspersed with naturalised Tulipa sylvestris and Fritillaria meleagris. The top bed of the Orchard Garden contains magnolias; a large Wisteria and a Banksiae lutea rose, as well as smaller perennials and annuals, including veronicas and diascias. The East bed contains Rosa ‘Alfred Carrière’ and Rosa ‘Alchemist’.

The National Cornus Collection, which contains over 100 specimens with 30 species and 76 different hybrids and forms, including my Cornus ‘Norman Hadden’, photo below.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-06-18-28-38There are so many smaller gardens I would love to visit as well. Here are three of my favourites:

Virginia and Leonard Wolff’s Monks House (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/monks-house) for its bulbs, thousands planted by Leonard, old roses, colour, literary history and beautiful interiors, as described by Caroline Zoob in her beautiful book, Virginia Wolff’s Garden (see my post: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/05/16/inspirational-and-dreamy-garden-books-part-two-books-about-specific-gardens/);blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-12-09-48Snowshill Manor Garden (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/snowshill-manor-and-garden and https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1000781), an Arts and Crafts garden in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, designed and built from 1920 to 1923 by MH Baillie Scott and owned by Edwardian architect, Charles Wade, who collected a fascinating array of treasures (22 000 of them in fact, chosen for their colour, craftsmanship and design) from tiny toys to Samurai armour ; masks to spinning wheels; musical instruments to fine clocks; and model boats to bicycles, all of which he stored in the house, preferring to live in the smaller Priest’s House in the grounds.

Typical of the period and style, the garden is a series of outside with terraces and ponds, and formal beds, full of colour and scent. Many of the garden ornaments are painted ‘Wade Blue’, a soft powdery blue, which harmonises with the Cotswold stone and the blue/purple planting theme.

There is also an ancient dovecote, a pool, a model village, Wolf’s Cove, which was built by Charles Wade, a kitchen garden, orchards and some small fields with sheep. Apparently, he used to entertain up to 500 guests each year, including Edwin Lutyens, John Masefield, J B Priestly, Virginia Woolf and, in 1937, Queen Mary!  And finally….blognovgarden20reszdimg_0048Tintinhull Garden (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tintinhull-garden), started  in 1933 by Phyllis Reiss and developed further in the 1980s by internationally-acclaimed garden writer and designer, Penelope Hobhouse, who described it so beautifully in her books: On Gardening; Garden Style; and Colour in Your Garden (See my post : https://candeloblooms.com/2017/02/21/garden-guides-and-garden-design-books/).

The garden is broken up into intimate garden rooms, linked by axes and paths, and the great diversity of plantings can be investigated through the official website, which has illustrated lists of all the plants used in the different areas of her garden.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1083On Thursday, we will cross over to the continent to explore a few French gardens on my bucket list!

Walter Duncan and the Heritage Garden

We were very fortunate to stay in the old cottage at the Heritage Garden, the highlight of our rose holiday, from the 28th to the 30th October 2014. It had been a long-held desire and it was every bit as wonderful as we had hoped. It was so exquisitely beautiful! All the Old roses were in full bloom- in fact, the very next weekend was the annual Open Day for the general public, the garden opening only one day a year on the first weekend in November and the proceeds going to charities like the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit the garden anymore – its days as a bed-and-breakfast, the open days and its use as a venue for weddings and photo shoots are all over and Walter and Kay can now enjoy a well-earned retirement after all their years of hard work!

So, in a way, this post is an ode to Walter, Kay and their wonderful rose garden! I just hope I can do them all justice!

Note: I have interspersed specific roses grown in his Heritage Garden throughout the text. First up, Damask roses Botzaris (1st photo) and Quatre Saisons (2nd photo).BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9454blogdivinedamasksreszd20img_9496Walter was born in Adelaide in 1939, though his family roots were the grazing property of Hughes Park, Watervale, South Australia, owned by his family since 1887 and now run by the sixth generation. He inherited his love of roses from his mother, Rose.

After learning to prune roses from Alex Ross in 1958, he joined the Rose Society of South Australia Inc in 1959. He began growing roses and exhibiting them at the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia (R.A.H.S.), an organization with which his family had a long association with five generations involved.

He started writing cultural notes for the Rose Society of South Australia in 1960, becoming the editor of the South Australian Rose Bulletin and serving on the committee of the Rose Society  of  South Australia Inc. from 1962 to 1974. He was Vice-President at three stages over 15 years from 1964 on, then President from 1972 to 1974, and has been an honorary life member of the society since 1978.

Here are photos of the bright yellow Species rose Rosa hemisphaerica and Gallica rose Sissinghurst Castle.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9704BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9712In 1976, he established a rose and cut flower nursery called ‘The Flower Garden’, later trading as ‘The Rose Garden’, based at Hughes Park and supplying thousands of bare-rooted roses and cut roses to nurseries and supermarkets all over Australia for 24 years. He retired from the nursery  in 2000.

Also in 1976, he was elected to the Horticulture and Floriculture Committee of the R.A.H.S. and has served in a number of positions from Chairman (1985 to 1996; 1998 to 2007), Treasurer (2004) and Board Member (1994).

Here are photos of China roses: Viridiflora 1833 and Perle d’Or 1884.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9654BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9555 He has won a number of awards for his exhibits, including the Banksian Medal twice from the Royal Horticultural Society, United Kingdom, and five Grand Champions.

Below are photos of Tea Roses: Devoniensis 1838; Rosette Delizy 1922; and Francis Dubreuil 1894.BlogTeasReszd20%IMG_9628BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9679BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9662 Walter has written numerous articles, including their culture, cultivars and propagation, some of which can be read at : http://sarose.org.au/growing-roses/cultural-notes . He was also a co-author of Botanica’s Roses. He has also delivered many speeches about roses and was a Lecturer at the 2008 Rose Conference, Adelaide.

These photos are of the beautiful Kordes rose, Fritz Nobis 1940.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9677BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9678He has been actively involved in the development of many prominent rose gardens in South Australia, including the old rose section of the Adelaide International Rose Garden and the modern rose garden at Carrick Hill.

In 1999, he attended the International Rose Conference in Lyon, France, where he met Jean-Pierre Guillot and became the Australian agent for his new breed of roses called ‘Rosa Generosa’. He also bought a 9 Ha (22 acre) block of land at Sevenhill as a retirement property, but more about that later!

This stunning Guillot rose is called Sonia Rykiel 1991.bloghxroses20reszdimg_9491Walter is a highly respected rosarian, both here in Australia and internationally. He was Winner of the Australian Rose Award in 2007 and the TA Stewart Memorial Award and Distinguished Service Award from the Heritage Rose Society in 2008.

In 2009, he was given the World Rose Award (Bronze Medal) by the World Federation of Rose Societies. Finally, for all his services to the rose industry, the show and his charity donations from his open days, he received an Australia Day Mayoral Award from the Clare and Gilbert Mayor in 2014.

The unusual roses below are Hybrid Teas: White Wings 1947 and Ellen Willmott 1935. Both have Dainty Bess, a light pink Hybrid Tea with similar stamens as a parent.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9666BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9670Hughes Park

712 Hughes Park Rd.  2 km from Watervale in the Clare Valley and 100 km North of Adelaide

PO Box 28, Watervale 5452

Phone: (08) 8843 0130

http://www.hughespark.com/

Hughes Park has been a Duncan family property for six generations. The original part of the homestead was built between 1867 and 1873 for Sir Walter Watson Hughes, a co-founder of Adelaide University. When he died in 1887, he left Hughes Park to his nephew, Walter’s great-grandfather, Sir John James Duncan (1845-1913), who built a further section on the front of the homestead in 1890. The homestead complex also included a dairy, blacksmithy, stables, a petrol house, coach house, offices, workmen’s cottages, maids’ quarters and a manager’s house.

The two-storey honey coloured sandstone homestead has a very old Noisette rose, Cloth of Gold 1843, growing along the front verandah. It is over 100 years old, being one of the earliest yellow roses in Europe, and flowers early with the tall bearded iris, repeating in Autumn. While this photo was not taken at Hughes Park, I have included it as it is a photo of Cloth of Gold.BlogNoisettesReszd2014-10-19 13.43.09Walter had his nursery and rose display garden at Hughes Park for many years and featured in many magazine articles, as well as Susan Irvine’s book ‘Rose Gardens of Australia’.

The display garden was situated below the old homestead and sheltered on one side by two enormous Ash trees, originally planted by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and on the other side by huge century-old olive trees, through which an old Rosa laevigata clambers, its creamy white single fragrant flowers (in early Spring) contrasting beautifully against the blue-grey foliage of the olive trees.

The display garden was divided into quarters by North-South and East-West pathways, over which there are 20 decorative metal arches, 5 metres apart, supporting a Climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison 1843 on either side. Walter fell in love with this rose, which was painted extensively by Hans and Nora Heysen and planted at their garden at The Cedars, Hahndorf.

On either side of the paths were rose-filled borders, under-planted with self-seeding plants, including forget-me-knots; white honesty; poppies; foxgloves; violets; hellebores; blood lilies; and tall bearded iris, with climbers espaliered on tall fences at the back. Here is a photo of that beautiful romantic Bourbon rose: Souvenir de la Malmaison.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9465Beyond the display garden were extensive nursery beds in open paddocks. Walter sold over 100 000 roses each year. He used Dr. Huey 1915, a vigorous thornless rose which grows easily from cuttings, as his understock and flew his budder out from England every year. Walter ran his nursery from 1976 to 2000.

After he left Hughes Park, the homestead was empty for 10 years, before being renovated by his nephew, Andrew Duncan, and his wife Alice. They opened the two-bedroom 1845 cottage as a bed-and-breakfast in April 2009.

I fell in love with the next rose below – a Hybrid Tea and Alister Clark rose, Cicely Lascelles 1932, a rose which was new to me, but has a future place in my garden!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9667BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9468BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9669The Heritage Garden                   136 km North of Adelaide (1.75 hours drive)

LOT 100 Gillentown Rd or 12 McCord Lane

Sevenhill SA 5453

Postal address: PO Box 478 Clare 5453

Phone: (08) 88434022; or Kay’s mobile phone: 0418837430

http://theheritagegarden.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/theheritagegarden/

Image (567)BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9506When Walter and Kay bought the 9 ha property back in 1999, it was just a bare paddock with a rundown 140 year old cottage, originally owned by Agnes, Polly and Jack McCord, who had an orchard and a reputation for growing the best chrysanthemums in the Clare Valley.

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When his childhood home in Greenhill Rd., Eastwood, was to be demolished in the late 1990s, Walter salvaged all the materials, including 1 1/8 inch Baltic pine floorboards, bricks and blue stone, cast iron, windows and doors, transporting it all and storing it in old sheds on his new property.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9642BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9489 He designed a house, similar in style to the old place, but adapted to modern style living with a large open-plan kitchen and family room at the back of the house.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9623 The decorative cast-iron verandah railings are swagged in Mme Grégoire Staechlin 1927 (also known as Spanish Beauty) and the stone walls are covered in ivy, connecting the house with the garden.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9498BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9631 Other walls are covered with a Chinese Wisteria Wisteria sinensis, Mme Alfred Carrière 1875 and Lamarque 1830 , under-planted with erigeron, forget-me-knots and aquilegia, and Bonica 1982 and the Edna Walling Rose 1940.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9739BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9494Once they had built the house, they turned their attention to the old sandstone cottage, converting it to bed-and-breakfast accommodation by 2002.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9518 It has two living areas, a wood fire and a cosy bedroom.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9790BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9792 Kay is a keen quilter, so her beautiful quilts can be seen in every room.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9793BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9795BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9799 We stayed three nights for the price of two, a very generous offer, especially given the provision of a full breakfast, a complimentary bottle of Clare Valley wine, and port and European chocolates, as well as wonderful vases of fresh roses from the garden!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9683BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9517 Breakfasts was eaten out on the front patio near the old chimney ruin, covered with R. brunonii.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9682BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9522BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9523 The cottage walls are covered with Noisette roses Céline Forestier 1842 (1st photo) and Crépuscule 1904 (2nd and 3rd photo).BlogNoisettesReszd20%IMG_9520BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9521BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9513 The fence is covered with a huge yellow Banksia Rose, which blocks the southern wind  and there are two arches of Phyllis Bide 1923 at the entrance to the cottage on McCord Lane.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9542BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9508

They also built a romantic summerhouse for use by guests, with three full-length recycled French doors opening out onto shady green lawns,BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9515BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9559BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9687 and colourful garden beds, full of roses, perennials and annuals: the garden to the left of the garden entrance from McCords Lane with its rugosas; BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9781BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9500The garden to the right with its golden Kordes Shrub Rose, Maigold 1953;

BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9503BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9505And the riot of colour in the garden bed at the back of the main house.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9740Walter and Kay designed a 2 ha (6 acres) English-style garden with a backdrop of the Australian bush.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9462BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9780 In 2012, Catherine O’Neill painted a watercolour plan of the garden, showing the main sections of the garden.BlogDuncanReszd50%Image (568) Walter and Kay used the existing trees as a starting point: a 70 to 80 year old walnut tree; and gnarled old plum and fig trees.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9782 They planted a quick-growing row of poplars, which are now 40 feet high and provide shelter from the north, as well as birches and prunus.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9680 At the side of the property, they planted a quince orchard (Smyrna Quinces) with 200 trees, the fruit used by Maggie Beer for her famous quince paste. I loved the statue at the end of the quince orchard.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9639

A crab apple walk of Malus ‘John Downie’, with its cream Spring flowers and orange to red Autumn fruit, leads to the rear of the garden, where Walter has his French-bred Guillot rose collection.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9418 These hardy, drought-tolerant free-flowering, fragrant, pastel roses have an even growth habit and look a bit like David Austin roses. They include Sonia Rykiel 1991; Paul Bocuse 1992 (photo below); William Christie, bred before 1998; and Gene Tierney, bred before 2006. Knight’s Roses are now the agent. See: http://knightsroses.worldsecuresystems.com/guilliot.htm#.WQAqa9zafIU.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9420 Behind the Guillot rose patch is a vegetable garden and a contemplative area with a gravel courtyard, wellhead, candle pines and a claret ash.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9626BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9409However, it is the front of the house, which is the highlight, with a 200 foot long archway, transferred from Hughes Park, extending from the front gate to a wedding pavilion near the house.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9681BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9487 The 22 arches are spaced 4 metres apart and support Climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9731 The arch is narrowed in the middle by two urns, giving the tunnel an illusion of increased length.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9732 It is such a romantic beautiful sight in full bloom!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9467  On one side of the fragrant avenue are deep beds of Tea Roses including : Nestor; Maman Cochet 1892; Triumph de Guillot Fils 1861; and Monsieur Tillier 1891.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9463BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9717 Walter has over 2000 roses, including Species Roses; Rugosas; Gallicas; Albas; Damasks; Centifolias; Bourbons like Mme Isaac Pereire 1881; Teas; Noisettes and David Austin Roses like Golden Celebration (2nd photo).BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9705BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9452 They are planted on arbours, arches, along swags and up pillars and under-planted with foxgloves; delphiniums; erigeron; forget-me-knots; iris and poppies to create a total picture.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9483BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9709BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9486BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9645BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9734 Climbing Lorraine Lee 1924 is one of the first roses to flower in Spring, then continues right into Winter.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9449 The Mutabilis 1894 against the house is enormous!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9737BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9524BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9566The scent from Rugosa, Mme Lauriol de Barny 1868, is superb!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9672BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9673In Winter, Walter prunes over 200 roses from the third week of July to early August. He fertilizes them twice a year with Sudden Impact, just after pruning and at the end of February of early March for an Autumn flush.BlogCultivationReszd20%IMG_0346BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9720BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9437 The grass parrots used to nip the new rosebuds, but he has deterred them by an ingenious, safe and effective arrangement of fishing lines.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9725BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9706 The dry hot Summers of South Australia are ideal for roses, but necessitates lots of watering and vigilance against bush fire risk.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9779BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9445Other garden features include a bridge over the creek; an aviary and chookhouse; a fountain on the front lawn; topiaried trees and statues, providing focal points.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9635BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9561BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9444The Heritage Garden was the 2004 winner of the Most Outstanding Garden in the Clare Valley in the New Tourism category. We feel very privileged to have been able to stay there and enjoy the garden on our own for three full days!

Here is a photo of Hybrid Musk, Autumn Delight 1933, a rose which I have since planted in our Candelo garden.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9649For more photos and information, including an audio tape and television interview by Sophie Thomson on Gardening Australia (Series 28 Episode 6; from the  10:33 to 17:24 part of the 27:30 long program) with Walter Duncan, see the following links:

http://www.gardenclinic.com.au/how-to-grow-article/rose-by-rail?pid=44213

http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/gardening-australia/FA1605V006S00.

I will finish this segment with a photo of Large-Flowered Climber Blossomtime 1951.

BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9475If you are in the area, it is also worth exploring the local countryside with its rustic architecture and heritage villages, like Farrell Flat, Burra and Mintaro (photos below), BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9602BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9601 as well as a number of wineries like Skillogalee Winery, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch. (https://www.skillogalee.com.au/). It certainly was a wonderful end to our fabulous rose holiday in Clare!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9770BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9774BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9744BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9747BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9765The next three posts will be covering some of our favourite history books in our library, starting with archaeology and anthropology, followed by the prehistory of Australia and finishing with some general history books.

Inspirational and Dreamy Garden Books: Part Three: Books About Australian Gardens and Specific Plants

While the overseas gardens mentioned may be a pipe dream and a wonderful form of armchair travel, it is more possible for us to visit some of our wonderful Australian gardens, so here is a collection of books about the development of some very special examples!

Books about Australian Gardens

Wychwood: The Making of One of the World’s Most Magical Gardens by Karen Hall and Peter Cooper 2014

A magical garden in my home state of Tasmania and a definite destination on our next visit! This gorgeous book describes the evolution of this incredible world-famous garden and nursery from bare paddock 25 years ago. In Part One, we follow the journey of English Karen Hall and Scandinavian Peter Cooper from their childhood years and early married life; relocation to Tasmania and purchase of an old farmhouse on 2.5 acres at Mole Creek, in the shadow of the Great Western Tiers in the north-west of the state in 1991. Part Two describes their first steps; their nursery years growing plants side-by-side with their young family; and the development of their iconic labyrinth and their orchard and kitchen garden, all with lots of practical advice and information from plant choice to the basics of espaliering; heritage apple varieties and cider-making; delicious recipes; garden art; and sharing Wychwood with the public. Part Three is the really valuable section, in which Karen and Peter have been so generous with their information and knowledge, gleaned over one quarter of a century in the garden.  It includes The Twelve Golden Rules :

Know your climate and conditions;

Know your enemies;

Grow what you love;

Plant small;

Prepare well;

Consider your planting;

Embrace the seasons;

Keep it simple;

Mulch, water and the art of cutting back;

The gentle art of illusion;

Be practical; 

Cut-grass edges and tools we couldn’t do without – the latter being a very useful section for us, as we had been trying to decide about garden edging!

The rules are followed by a large section on plants, including their favourite varieties and their benefits: trees; roses; shrubs; climbers; grasses; bulbs; and perennials, biennials and annuals, so useful for those of us with cool temperate gardens. Next is a section on seasonal chores and finally a list of all the plants in Wychwood’s garden. This is another one of those truly beautiful dreamy and inspirational garden books and Peter’s photographs are superb!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (446)

The House and Garden at Glenmore: Landscape, Memory, Seasons, Home by Mickey Robertson  2016

This lovely book was a birthday gift for my wonderful gardening husband on our visit to Mickey Robertson’s Spring Fair at Glenmore in Southern NSW last October. I have devoted an entire post about our visit to this inspirational and beautiful garden at : https://candeloblooms.com/2016/12/21/a-garden-weekend-in-the-southern-highlands-part-2/. The book is equally inspiring and well worth purchasing for its beautiful presentation; its wonderful descriptions and useful practical information; fabulous photographs, both of the house interiors and the garden; and its wealth of mouth-watering seasonal recipes in the back, many of which are made for the lucky participants in her workshop classes. She describes the history of the old house and its renovation in detail with lovely photos of all the rooms, as well as her gardening journey and the development of all the different areas of the garden, especially her great passion, the organic vegetable garden. She also has detailed notes about each season in the kitchen garden – what’s in season; what needs doing etc. Do try to attend an Open Day or Spring Fair one year, as it is so wonderful to see this garden in its Springtime peak, not to mention partake of all the delicious cakes! But in the mean time, enjoy this lovely generous book!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (449)

Two Dogs and a Garden by Derelie Cherry 2009

Bob and Derelie Cherry are camellia experts, who have a beautiful garden further north between Sydney and Newcastle at Paradise, Cherry Lane, Kulnurra . The 92 hectare property has a 35 hectare garden, of which 12 hectares is devoted to camellias. This is another garden I would love to have visited, but it is now closed, the last open day being in August 2013. Bob and Derelie are now retired, Bob having sold his nursery business ‘Paradise Plants’ to David Hanna in 2012. Bob is a well-known modern-day plant hunter and plant breeder, who has travelled extensively throughout the world. You can read more about him on: http://gardenclinic-secure.worldsecuresystems.com/how-to-grow-article/meet-bob-cherry-plant-hunter?pid=44202 and http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1705859.htm, but I think Derelie’s book is probably the ultimate source of information about this amazing man and his wonderful garden. Again, this is a book, which can be picked up and dipped into at any point with beautiful photographs and interesting snippets, which wander from the Cherrys’ favourite plants (camellias;  hydrangeas; polyanthus; lavenders; sweet peas; stock; luculias and lilacs; fragrant gardenias, osmanthus and heliotrope; buddleias; wisteria; my favourite dianthus; Spring blossom trees and magnolias; rainforest plants; lotus, waterlilies and orchids; belladonna lilies and agapanthus; strelitzia and hibiscus; Autumn foliage; and a large section on roses, including a visit to Walter Duncan’s  Heritage Garden at Clare, South Australia, and Roseraie du Val-de-Marne in Paris) to Bob’s follies (stone walls; paths; columns and pillars; and even a bandstand and a bridge); plant-collecting expeditions; the Australian bush; and life at Paradise with Bob; their two much-loved dogs, Trudi and Jessee, and the native wildlife. This book was very much a labour of love, which shines through on every page!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (452)A Garden, A Pig and Me: A Year at Torryburn by Jenny Ferguson 1999

Torryburn is another very famous property, having been the childhood home of famous Australian poet, Dorothea Mackellar, who wrote ‘My Country’, more famously known as ‘I Love a Sunburnt Country’.  Jenny Ferguson was the well-known cook of Sydney restaurant ‘You and Me’ in the 1980s (1978-1985), before buying an 800 acre  property, which was running beef cattle and Arab horses at that time, in the Hunter Valley in 1989. She and her husband, Rob, immediately sold the hilly half of the property, set up a thoroughbred brood mare stud, renovated the 1881 Victorian Italianate homestead and then began to plant! The first section of the book describes the different areas of the garden, along with maps, while the majority of the book gives a month-by-month account of the development of the garden over the year. Very similar in style to Holly Kerr Forsyth (I discussed some of her books in my post: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/04/18/inspirational-and-dreamy-garden-books-part-one-inspiring-books-and-garden-travel-books/), this very readable book contains lots of delicious recipes and beautiful photographs throughout, as well as appendices of roses and other plants grown at Torryburn. And here’s the amazing thing, revealed only in the final chapter! Jenny commutes between Torryburn and Sydney and has done so for the previous 10 years, living half her week in each place. An amazing achievement! Since the book was published, Torryburn was sold to John Cornish and his family in 2002. It is still a thoroughbred stud. For more history on Torryburn, see:  http://www.torryburnstud.com.au/torryburn-history.

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Wheelbarrows, Chooks and Children: A Gardener’s Life by Margaret Simons 1999

Now for something totally different, a fun little down-to-earth book about gardening with a young family in the Blue Mountains and all the trials and tribulations! This book shares it all – the highs and the lows; the successes and failures; and above all, gardening in the real world, when there is never enough time to do everything as it should ideally be done and lots of interruptions and disruptions! I was given this book by my Mum when I was knee-deep in nappies with three kids under 4 years old and could totally identify with this book! The number of times during those early family years that we would restart the vegetable garden, only to have it disappear under Kikuya grass with the birth of the next child! This is a very amusing book and very heartening! I love her turn of phrase, from ‘I began my gardening career from a position of great ignorance, and I have not yet recovered ’ to her hatred of aphorisms like ‘you reap what you sow’, a phrase, which she sees as ‘absurdly obvious and very cruel’ and should be tempered by  the word ‘sometimes’ and this is only in her introduction titled ‘How I Became a Not-a-Real Gardener’. She has lovely little passages on :

Daffy Daffodils; Babies and Chooks as Permaculture ; The Rooster and the Nasty Damp Patch; and Earth Motherdom amongst others in Spring;

The Bush Ablaze; A Gentle Evolution; the Luxury of Solitude; Goatishness; and Mud Pies in Summer;

Abundance; A Love of Parsnips (my husband’s favourite…NOT!; Winter Sulk; Wheelbarrows of Cement; Soggy Days and Snails; Worm Liberation; Domesticity; On Discovering That One Has Changed; and Chooks and Writing in Autumn and finishes with:

Winter’s offerings of  A Time of Retreat; A Real Gardener; Mulching Out of Season; Ghosts in the Garden; Grunge and a Wet Weekend; Winter Magic and the Web; The Miracle of Cuttings; and A Chance of Life).

As I said, a very humorous easy read with some helpful bits of practical knowledge, thrown in for good measure!

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Seasons by the Sea: A Coastal Garden in Australia by Paula Green 2001

Set on the South Gippsland coastline at Point Smythe, near Venus Bay, in Victoria, this lovely book describes the gardening journey of Paula Green and Terry Hoey, complete with all the challenges a coastal garden on a 7 hectare bush block presents. The writing style is totally different- very poetic and picturesque, her text immediately evoking images of the richness and enchantment of the natural world. Her short sentences make you feel like she is talking directly to you and her descriptions are breathtakingly beautiful. For example, her passage on the coming of Spring:

Spring whispers through a limping Winter on its last legs. It creeps up on me when I’m not looking. It comes like a kiss of life. Cold days are blown away by Spring’s warm breath. It’s been sleeping in my arms all Winter. It uncurls in the sun, yawns, stretches and rubs the sleep from green eyes. Cheeks flush. Its fresh face sparkles. Its heart rate quickens. Spring twitches with birth pangs. Wide awake, it takes my hand. Spring is stepping out in a new dress

or Summer:

‘Summer enters without knocking. Flexes its muscles, elbows its way in and sends Spring packing. The season is a celebration of our own private Garden Fest. Bush Mardi Gras. We kick off our work boots and kick up our heels. We knock off early, roll up late or chuck it in all together. Seedlings sunbake and soak up a few rays. Vegetables swell. Fruits ripen. Seed heads snap, crackle and pop open’.

I could go on and on and on! She describes their owner-built mud-brick and stone house; their vegetable garden and orchard; the cottage garden, rose garden, yellow garden and native garden and their simple living philosophy and throughout the whole book, their great love of environment and the natural world. Included in the book are lovely recipes based on their home-grown produce; Terry’s beautiful simple sepia photographs and a plant list of common names and their scientific equivalent. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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This last title and general philosophy reminds me of Jackie French’s Seasons of Content, another book, which would have fitted into this section like a glove, but has already been described in my post on Books on Specific Types of Gardens: Part Two in the section on Jackie French books: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/03/23/books-on-specific-types-of-gardens-part-two-vegetable-gardens-sustainable-and-organic-gardens-and-dry-climate-gardens/.

Gardens of the Goldfields by Mandy Stroebel: A Central Victorian Sojourn 2010

Central Victoria is another very challenging climate for gardeners, and was particularly so over the years of the Millenium Drought, which finally broke on our arrival in Victoria in 2009. We had brought the Dorrigo rain with us!  We spent six months in Castlemaine in 2010, the very year this book was published! I loved Castlemaine – its deep sense of history; the beautiful old buildings; the amazing gardens, despite its severe droughts and frosts and impoverished, depleted and eroded gold-worn soils; and the Mediterranean feel of the place from its native bushland to the delightful Greek refrain, which replaced the nearby school bell every hour. This book describes the gardens of the goldfields, from grand pastoral estates (Ercildoune, Burrumbeet; Plaistow, Joyce’s Creek; Tottington, near St Arnaud;  and Wombat Park, Dayleford) to subsistence plots and productive paddocks (Tute’s Cottage, Castlemaine; the heritage apple orchards of Badger’s Keep, Chewton; and the Swiss- Italian lavender farm, Lavandula, at Shepherd’s Flat, which we visited twice); cottage pleasure and villa gardens (the cottage garden of Rosebank, Castlemaine; the pleasure gardens of Belmont, Beaufort; and the villa gardens of Fortuna Villa, Bendigo and that of the highly creative Leviny family at Buda, Castlemaine). It includes the beautiful old Botanic Gardens of Wombat Hill, Daylesford; Kyneton, Malmsbury, Castlemaine and Ballarat (for more on the latter, see: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/11/05/favourite-late-19th-century-gardens-in-australia/); the gardens of Rosalind Park, Bendigo and Queen Mary Gardens, St Arnaud, as well as the avenues of honour, planted to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the First World War. The history of local nurseries and early horticultural societies is also covered, as well as featuring current nurseries, all of which I have mentioned in previous posts: The Garden of St Erth, Blackwood and Lambley Nursery, Ascot (https://candeloblooms.com/2016/03/08/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-nursery-gardens-in-victoria/) and the Goldfields Revegetation Nursery, Mandurang (https://candeloblooms.com/2016/04/12/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-specialist-nurseries-and-gardens-in-victoria/). Mandy then focuses on gardening in the goldfields today, describing three gardens: Forest Hall, Castlemaine; the lovely Lixouri, Barker’s Creek (https://candeloblooms.com/2016/09/20/favourite-private-country-gardens-part-2/) and Sam Cox’s naturalistic environmentally integrated garden at Munro Court, Castlemaine, to illustrate fundamental design elements of goldfield gardens: the use of the borrowed landscape; built elements of local stone, gravel and hardwood for hard landscaping; decorative elements: wrought iron pergolas and gates, mosaics, pots and urns and sculptures, with a brief nod to our neighbours at Shades of Gray (https://candeloblooms.com/2016/06/14/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-sculpture-gardens/); and of course, the ever-important plants, which are tough and can tolerate both drought and severe frost. She includes protective measures to prevent frost damage and clues for appropriate plant selection, as well as contact details, including web sites in the back. A very useful book for goldfield gardeners or other areas with a similar climate, as well as very interesting from a historical perspective and armchair travel, not to mention actual visiting in person on open days!

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Books about specific plants

Daffodil: Biography of a Flower by Helen O’Neill 2016

I have always loved daffodils, ever since I was a child in Tasmania, when their bright yellow trumpets would herald the beginning of Spring and the end of the long cold Winter! William Wordsworth’s poem ‘I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud’ is a special favourite and was one of the first poems I learned off by heart. We named our donkey Wordsworth, because he too wandered lonely as a cloud! I love the huge variety of form and colour in the daffodil world, especially the Poet’s Daffodil Narcissus poeticus, the beautifully-scented Paperwhite Zivas; the miniature Hoop Petticoats and the sterile Tête à Tête, as well as the double Acropolis and Wintersun varieties. Here is a photo of Narcissus poeticus:Helen O’Neill also has a special personal connection to daffodils. Her mother painted them and there is one of her lovely pictures in the book. Daffodils also offered Helen great hope and brightened up some of her darkest days during her cancer treatment. I was also tickled pink to discover a connecting link between ourselves and the author through her mention of an old Armidale friend and author, Sophie Masson. The photo below is the Tête à Tête variety.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.10.08Daffodils have a fascinating history, covered in great depth in the book from their origin and the myth of Narcissus to daffodil collectors (daffodilians); the Daffodil King and his dark legacy; and the daffodil code. Despite their general toxicity, they have great medical potential, as they contain a number of different alkaloids like galantamine (slows the onset of early Alzheimer’s disease); lycorine (inhibition of ovarian cancer cell growth); narciclasine (treatment of primary brain cancers); and jonquilline (antiproliferative effects against a large range of different cancers), which is amazing, given the daffodil’s starring role in fundraising for cancer research on Daffodil Day! Daffodils are also used in the perfume industry and the cut flower trade, both of which are discussed at some length. Throughout the book, we learn about all the different species and hybrids. In the back is the Royal Horticultural Society Daffodil Classification Code, with its 13 divisions, a most welcome addition, given there are over 30 000 different cultivars bred by hybridizers and 36 species, as well as naturally occurring hybrids. The photo below is of the Acropolis daffodil.Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0522The other special attribute of this book is its stunning photography and inclusion of some very beautiful romantic artworks. I particularly loved Daniel F Gerhartz’s Woman at Tea Time; Konan Tanigami’s daffodil woodblock print; Gustav Klimt’s Dancer 1916; Eugene Grasset’s Avril 1896; Burbidge’s Pictures of Narcissus poeticus 1875; Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s When Flowers Return 1911 and Frederick Richardson’s Daffy-Down-Dilly 1915. I even loved the William Morris-like daffodil frontispiece, designed by Hazel Lam of HarperCollins Design Studio – a lovely touch!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (457)

Tulipomania by Mike Dash 1999

Another fascinating and informative book about the history of the tulip. I loved this book – it was just so interesting! It tells the story of this amazing bulb from its origin in the valleys of the Tien Shan mountains; its spread westward to Persia and Turkey; and its steady ascent to prominence in the Netherlands during a period called Tulipomania (its peak being 1636 to 1637), when they were actually used as a form of currency and cost an enormous amount. One of the most celebrated tulip varieties, Semper Augustus, cost 5500 guilders per bulb in 1633, the value rising to 10 000 guilders per bulb in the first month of 1637! It was only affordable to a few dozen of the richest people in the whole of the Dutch Republic and was enough to feed, clothe and house an entire Dutch family for half a lifetime or to buy one of the grandest homes (with a coach house and 80 foot long garden) on the most fashionable canals in Amsterdam for cash during a time when real estate was very expensive.Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0521While tulips were much loved during the early Ottoman empire, they experienced a resurgence  in their popularity during the Tulip Era (1718 – 1730) during the reign of Ahmed III. He held tulip festivals over two successive evenings during the full moon in April, when the tulips were in full bloom. Guests wearing clothes, which harmonized with the flowers, would wander through the tulip beds illuminated by candles fixed to the backs of slow- moving tortoises. These were not the varieties favoured by the Dutch, but the slender, needle-pointed Istanbul tulips. I have always been entranced by this image! It was a riveting tale and I learnt so much about the history of Turkey and Holland through this wonderful book about the tulip!

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For more about both daffodils and tulips, see my post on Spring bulbs at: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/09/06/spring-bulbs-in-my-cutting-garden-feature-plant-for-september/.

Seven Flowers and How They Shaped Our World by Jennifer Potter 2013

A fascinating book about seven much-loved flowers: the Lotus, the Lily, the Sunflower, the Opium Poppy, the Rose, the Tulip and the Orchid, but how does one choose just seven to discuss? For Jennifer, it was a choice based on flowers, which had some connection with her life, from the stylized, almost abstract, lotuses in a Tibetan monastery, which she used to visit as a teenager near Lockerbie in the Scottish borders to the tropical spider orchids from her childhood in Malaya, a very sound method of selection to my mind! The Rose is a definite for me and I would also agree with her inclusion of Lilies, Sunflowers, Poppies and Tulips, but Iris and Daffodils would probably replace the Orchids and Lotus for me with my Tasmanian childhood! But what about the wild escapee hydrangeas down by the creek; the Christmas roses (hellebores) down the garden walk; the fuchsia berries, which we’d used to rouge our cheeks and redden our lips and its flowers which look like dancing fairies; crab apple blossom and the succulent echeverias with their sweet coral and yellow bells in the rock garden? Or the sandalwood-scented Triunias and native frangipani of our rainforest block at Dorrigo; the agapanthus, violets, snowdrops, chaenomeles and camellias here at our Candelo garden and my favourite gardenias; jasmine and lily-of-the-valley or the snake’s head fritillaries and firewheel tree? Ross’s list also mirrors his Queensland country childhood : his uncle’s prize dahlias; heliotrope for Auntie Maud; stock and snapdragons; Iceland poppies; King Orchids from the cliffs and those beautiful subtropical trees: jacaranda; silky oak; flame tree and frangipani, which reminds him of seaside holidays at Burleigh.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.20.50Jennifer is an excellent researcher and her accounts of each plant’s history is so comprehensive and makes for fascinating reading.  I never knew that in Ancient Greece, lily flowers were used to make perfume for men and were crushed and boiled in wine in early Christian monasteries as an antidote to snakebite, nor that the orchid kingdom was so huge! Apparently the orchid family, Orchidaceaea, is one of the largest plant families on earth with the greatest diversity of flora. There are 25 000 species of orchids in 850 genera (compared to the rose with 150 species, mostly in the one genus, Rosa), with 155 000 more hybrid orchid varieties, the number of new hybrids increasing at a rate of 250 to 350 per month and that was back when the book was published in March 2012! And, while some orchid species are disappearing due to over-collecting and habitat destruction, between 200 to 500 new species are identified each year! Orchids have the longest history of cultivation in China, dating back at least to the time of Confucius (551-479 BCE), with over 1000 species in over 150 genera. No wonder I was keen to know more! Which leads me to my final book for this very long post!

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Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust and Lunacy by Eric Hansen 2001

Another very amusing book about orchids with a great title, a perfect finish for this post! But be warned! As commercial orchid grower, Joe Kunish, states in the introductory quotation: ‘You can get off alcohol, drugs, women, food, and cars, but once you’re hooked on orchids, you’re finished. You never get of orchids….never!

I am not going to tell you too much about this book, but the chapter titles should give you a few clues. Some of the more extreme titles include: Journey To Fire Mountain; Bodice Rippers; The Wizard of Oz; Orchid Fever; The Fox Testicle Ice Cream of Kemal Kucukonderuzunkoluk; Au Yong and The Pollen Thief; Perfumed Legs at the Oyster Bar; The Orchid Raids; The Forbidden Flowers of Gunnar Seidenfaden; Orchids, Guns and Harpsichords; and Tom Nelson and The Bog Orchid Rescue. In his research for this book, Eric travelled to many exotic locations, including Penan long huts in the Borneo rainforest; a greenhouse with 420 tropical orchids in a Norwegian village just above the Arctic Circle and an Turkish icecream shop! He discovered some fascinating obscure plant trivia like the fact that one orchid, Orchis maculata, was used as an aphrodisiac in late medieval Iceland; the roots of the Malaysian orchid, Cymbidium finlaysonianum, could cure a sick elephant; a paste from the pulverized bulbs of certain species of Cyrtopodium was used as an adhesive by rural Guyanan shoemakers and the split pseudo bulbs of Coelogyne asperata were made into blackboard erasers by rural school teachers in Central Sumatran villages; as well as the more unsavoury side of the orchid industry. It’s certainly a dangerous world and makes for a fascinating read!

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This is the final post on Garden Books. Next month, we will be exploring some of our favourite books on natural history, environment and sustainability, and the philosophy of Simple Living! Next week, we will be discussing another great Australian rosarian, Alister Clark, and the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden at Bulla, one of my favourite small gardens!

The Autumn Garden

It has been a beautiful Autumn with good rain early in March; a superb display of colour with the deciduous foliage from April to late May and long-lasting zinnias, dahlias and salvias, as well as a repeat-flush of roses; and lots of gardening activities, creative pursuits and local exploratory trips!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-17 11.35.40BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 11.44.40BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 14.34.52BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1019BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-28 11.58.13BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-10 12.50.42BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.07.56BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.07.30Autumn vies with Spring in my affections. The weather is much more stable, though is tempered by the knowledge of the impending Winter, only to be assuaged by the parade of brilliant deciduous colour, as each tree prepares for its Winter dormancy.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.07.28BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.08.01BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.07.51BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 10.01.18BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.52.44BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.59.43BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-20 16.12.47 The verandah is such a vantage point, the backdrop changing daily.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 17.16.16BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-14 10.23.52BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-14 10.37.55BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-26 18.02.13BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-19 09.47.55BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.07.44BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 10.25.17BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 18.59.23The zinnias and dahlias lasted well into late May, having been touched up by a few early frosts, and Ross has finally put them to bed with a good layer of protective mulch.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0199BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 11.06.50BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 18.53.29BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-25 11.50.02The roses have taken centre stage again with a wonderful Autumn flush. These photos were all taken this Autumn. I have organised them into their separate beds:

Soho Bed:

Top Row: Left to Right: Just Joey; Fair Bianca; LD Braithwaite and Alnwyck.

Bottom Row: Left to Right: The Childrens’ Rose; Mr Lincoln; Eglantyne and Icegirl.

Moon Bed

Top Row: Left to Right: Golden Celebration; Heritage; Windermere; William Morris

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Lucetta; Jude the Obscure; William Morris; and Troilus

Main Pergola

Top Row: Left to Right: Mme Alfred Carrière and Adam

Bottom Row: Left to Right: an older Adam bloom and Souvenir de la Malmaison

Hybrid Musk Hedge : Left-hand side : White Roses

Top Row: Left to Right: Autumn Delight and Penelope

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Penelope and Tea rose Sombreuil on arch.

Right-hand Side: Pink Roses

Left to Right: Cornelia on arch; Stanwell Perpetual and Mutabilis

Rugosa Hedge

Left to Right: Fru Dagmar Hastrup and Mme Georges Bruant

House

Left to Right: Cécile Brünner first two roses and Mrs Herbert Stevens

Shed

Top Row: Left to Right: Viridiflora and Archiduc Joseph

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Archiduc Joseph and Countess Bertha

I have organised the rest of the garden blooms by colour:

Blue :

Top Row: Left to Right: Wild Petunia, Ruellia humilis; Violet; Pasque Flower, Pulsatilla;

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Poor Man’s Lavender Plectranthus neochilus; Plumbago; and Hydrangea

Green :

Top Row: Left to Right: Tree Dahlia buds and Elkhorn Fern

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Rosebud Salvia new bud and Bells of Ireland, Molucella

Orange, Gold and Yellow :

Top Row: Left to Right: Paris Daisy with Salvia, Indigo Spires; Woodbine; and Paris Daisy

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Hill Banksia, Banksia collina; slightly older bud of Rosebud Salvia; and Orange Canna Lily

Pink :

Top Row: Left to Right: Fuchsia; Salvia; Christmas Pride, Ruellia macrantha;

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Rosebud Salvia, Salvia involucrata; Christmas Pride; Pink ‘Doris’

Red :

Top Row: Left to Right: Grevilleas Lady O and Fireworks; and Salvia ‘Lipstick’

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Grevillea Lady O; Echeveria and Azalea Dogwood Red

Purple :

Top Row: Left to Right: Mexican Heather, Cuphea hyssopifolia; Cigar Flower, Cuphea ignea

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Dames’ Rocket, Hesperis matronalis, and Violet

White :

Top Row: Left to Right: Nerines; Honeysuckle; Strawberry flowers and first of the Paper White Ziva jonquils for the season!

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Autumn Crocus; Windflower; Tea, Camellia sinensis; and Viburnum opulus – an out-of-season bloom.

We have been very busy and productive in the garden, gradually crossing jobs off the list! Weeding is a constant in the Soho and Moon Beds, as well as around the feet of all the shrub roses and bulb patches.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 13.25.16 We have just dug up either side of the shed garden path, so the shed roses are now in garden beds and we planted out many of the potted cuttings, which we took from my sister’s garden at Glenrock. All are doing well!BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1186BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1237We also made two arches out of old gate weld mesh, one leading into the future chook yard and supporting Cornelia (photo 2) and Sombreuil (photo 3);BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 18.04.14BlogHybridMusksReszd2016-11-10 09.19.26BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0877 and the other on the corner of the shed, with Reve d’Or (photo 3) and Alister Stella Grey (photo 4) either side.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 15.33.44BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 10.27.37BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 18.58.37BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.13.31 Ross defined the edges of the vegetable beds with old recycled fence palings and planted out young vegetable seedlings, which he then mulched. We are really enjoying their Winter crop in our salads at lunchtime.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0277BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0274From front to back in the photos below: red and green mignonette lettuce; spring onions; broccoli; spinach; cos lettuce and kale. BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 19.07.15BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-24 19.24.20 We harvested the pumpkins, which again engulfed the compost heap, zinnia bed and maple tree, as well as the last of the tomatoes, making 3 bottles of green tomato chutney.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 13.43.42BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-05 11.44.26 We also have plenty of late Autumn fruit, now that the bats have gone, though I suspect our citrus is fairly safe anyway!  Unfortunately, the figs did not ripen in time, but the Golden Hornet crabapples have lasted well on the tree.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0879BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.15.23 All the new citrus are growing madly  and bearing fruit – the lime (photo 1) has a particularly fine crop and the lemonade (photo 2) is also bearing well.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 18.09.05BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 10.33.13 The cumquats have been an absolute picture, both in full blossom and fruit.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0773BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0774BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0778BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.12.41We picked 6 Kg of fruit to make into cumquat marmalade and there was still fruit left!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.28.35BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.28.27BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.46.41BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.46.48The loquat trees were in full bloom for weeks,BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1241 attracting huge noisy parties of rainbow lorikeets,BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 10.54.27BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-28 14.30.57 which then went on to eat the Duranta berries, along with the Crimson RosellasBlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.33.53BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.34.29 and huge flocks of King Parrots.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 10.57.37BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.33.04BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.30.07BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.28.57BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.01.50BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 10.59.33 Up until early May, we had even larger flocks of screeching Little Corellas in the thousands, gathering in the trees, recently vacated by the bats,BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0518BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0642 then flying off en masse right on dark to their roosting trees to the north,BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 08.51.21-2BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-03 19.44.23BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 19.54.50BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1253 occasionally accompanied by the odd Galah!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 18.46.46BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0807 We have enjoyed flyovers by the local Gang-Gangs (photos below) and Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos. We even had a rare flypass by a Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo, en route to the local mountain forests. BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 19.08.34BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.20.25Other exciting glimpses included three Dollar Birds (photos 1 and 2) and a Figbird (photo 3), both Summer migrants, normally found further north.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0116BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0090BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.16.41 Other larger birds in our garden at the moment include very quiet Australian Magpies (photo 6), a pair of courting Australian Ravens (photo 2), a Grey Butcherbird (photo 3), Pied Currawongs (photo 5), Spotted Turtle Doves (photo 4) and our Blackbirds (photo 1), which have been on holiday and have just returned.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.40.23BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-04 14.53.01BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-23 12.07.56BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-13 17.29.54BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-14 14.37.25BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 17.46.44 And our littlies: the Eastern Spinebills (photos 1 and 2), Silvereyes (photo 3) and Double-barred Finches (photo 4).BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-23 11.54.46BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 14.54.51BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0707BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0319 all of whom do a stirling job keeping the bugs in check.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 13.48.38BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 13.07.27BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 13.30.41BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-06 12.11.05We found this delightful Grey Fantail nest in our old camellia tree at the front door.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 14.54.13The slightly cooler weather has been wonderful for pursuing creative tasks from cooking to sewing, embroidery and paper crafts. I made my son a delicious carrot cake, using a recipe from https://chefkresorecipes.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/carrot-cake/ for his birthday:BlogAutumngardenReszd7517-04-25 17.56.10BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-25 15.00.36 and hot cross buns for Easter Friday, using a recipe from https://bitesizebakehouse.com/2017/04/08/cranberry-hot-cross-buns-2/ , with a fun Easter Egg hunt in the garden with friends on the Sunday.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-12 13.33.28BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 12.09.54 My friend Heather, who visited us during the Candelo Arts Festival and is the Melbourne agent for Saori (http://artweaverstudio.com.au/), gave us a Saori weaving workshop and we were thrilled with our woven runners.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-22 14.27.11BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-22 15.36.30BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-22 16.16.34BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-24 10.56.10 I gave my friends Rae, Brooklin and Kirsten, a hand embroidery lesson, inspiring Rae’s wonderful exhibit. I was so impressed!BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0441BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-04-24 16.19.41BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-04-24 16.23.44 I made embroidery rolls for their birthdays,BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0510BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0516BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0845BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0505 as well as a pair of felt appliqué cushions for my sister’s bed.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-06 17.44.17 And another decoupage floral card and a paper owl, assembled from a German kit, which was given to me by my daughter in Berlin.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0499BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1220BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1221And finally, there were the bouquets from the garden! Masses of colourful zinnias…BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0037BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-05-06 11.16.50BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-29 20.26.32BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.12.28 and bright dahlias;BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0226BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1148 Scented roses;BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-03-25 09.39.26BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-03-25 09.39.32BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0888BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 11.26.09BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-05-06 11.16.58

Simple blue salvias and bold hydrangeas;BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 10.20.45BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0264BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0261 And wonderful mixtures of colourful blooms!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 18.58.02BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 10.49.40BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0021BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-19 12.16.03BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 11.42.23BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 11.42.46BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.49.55BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.50.00 How I love arranging flowers!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 14.11.26BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.07.18BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0003And finally, we had some wonderful days out, exploring new spots and revisiting old haunts. The Bendethera day in March was rather inclement and while we could not reach our final destination due to the amount of water in the final creek, we did ascertain that our vehicle could manage the 4WD tracks for a future camping trip and despite the rain and constant cloud, it was still a lovely day out.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1007BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0985BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0995BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0998BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0948BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0952 We had much better April weather for our Monaro drive to Delegate, Jindabyne (including the wonderful Wildbrumby Scnapps Distillery in photo 2) and Thredbo (the Kosciuszko chair lift in photo 3) and discovered a wonderful birdwatching and trout fishing  venue, Black Lake, near Cathcart, on our way home (photo 5), where we saw six elegant Black-Winged Stilts (photo 6).BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 11.21.45BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 12.59.21BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 13.28.40BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 15.11.43BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 17.14.48BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 17.48.57 We introduced friends to Bay Cliff and Greenglades (also see: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/12/13/wonderful-wonboyn/) in late April (see if you can guess the tracks on the beach in photo 7!); BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 15.15.12BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 13.45.15BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 14.50.15BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 14.12.57BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 14.55.38BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 14.09.03BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 18.08.42BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 18.08.12BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 18.10.41 and Aragunnu (also see: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/09/11/aragunnu-and-bunga-head/) in May, two of our favourite spots on the coast;BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 12.37.22BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 12.40.29BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 16.05.58BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 15.28.36BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 13.43.10BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 17.30.24as well as revisiting Nunnock Swamp and Alexander’s Hut (also see: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/10/18/south-east-forests-national-park/).BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 12.15.50BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 13.16.33BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 14.21.55BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 12.23.20BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 14.15.53BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 12.52.27And we went canoeing on Back Lake at Merimbula, where we photographed a beautiful Azure Kingfisher, as well as a teenage cygnet and white egrets.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 16.40.28BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 17.09.44BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 16.49.59BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 17.26.18BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 17.20.48BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 17.39.23BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 17.01.11BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 16.56.10 We are so lucky to have such easy access to these beautiful unspoilt natural areas! Next week, I am returning to our dreamy roses!

Inspirational and Dreamy Garden Books: Part Two: Books about Specific Gardens

Having had our appetite whetted by some  wonderful garden travel books in my last book post, it is now time to visit some of my garden books, devoted to specific gardens.

Books about Specific Gardens.

First stop, France…

Monet’s Garden: Through the Seasons at Giverny by Vivian Russell 1995

We were lucky enough to visit this beautiful garden in 1994, along with several busloads of tourists, though Ross was so clever that none of his photographs contained another living soul! This is such a lovely book and a wonderful reminder of our day there, enjoying the beautiful roses and the famous water garden, as seen in the first photo below. The second photo is my daughter, Jen, on her second visit years later, on the famous wisteria-covered bridge:BlogFranceLoveAffair20%ReszdIMG_0643BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%P1190188While we were there in early Summer and we also have seen my daughter’s photographs of Giverny in Spring with the tulips in full bloom, it is wonderful to be able to see photographs of the garden in other seasons as well. The photos in this book are absolutely stunning and well do justice to Monet’s vision! Here is our photo of the Summer roses in full bloom in 1994:BlogFranceLoveAffair20%ReszdIMG_0645Incidentally, Vivian Russell also directed Peter Beales’ romantic video ‘A Celebration of Old Roses’, which I discussed in my post on Favourite Rose Books (https://candeloblooms.com/2017/01/10/fabulous-rose-books/), so she is the perfect author for a book about this celebrated artist. This is my daughter Jen’s Spring photo of Monet’s beautiful house:BlogFranceLoveAffair20%ReszdP1190241

I have always loved his paintings, indeed that of all the Impressionists, which we were lucky enough to see in their old light-filled venue at Jeu de Paume on my first trip to Paris in 1984.  In this book, Vivian explores the history of Impressionism, Monet’s life and the relationship between Monet, the artist, and Monet, the gardener, especially in relation to light and atmosphere, as well as the daily maintenance and practical aspects of the garden in all seasons. She has keyed watercolour maps of both the flower garden and water garden in the front. It is certainly a very beautiful book!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (444)

Renoir’s Garden by Derek Fell 1991

Renoir is another favourite Impressionist artist, but unfortunately we were not aware of his garden at Les Collettes until after our trip! Renoir’s garden is quite different to Giverny. While Monet was heavily influenced by informal English cottage gardens and Japanese stroll gardens and used plants like paints on a palette to transform a neglected site into his vision of a flowering paradise, Renoir cherished the age, history, peace, tranquillity and stability of the old farmhouse garden and was keen to preserve the ancient olive and orange groves and market garden. Situated in Cagnes in Southern France, the climate and plant selection are totally different too, although like Monet and myself, Renoir loved his roses and grew them everywhere, as well as painting them on all his women! I adore Renoir’s beautiful sumptuous nudes and portraits and I loved this book! We will definitely visit Les Collettes if we ever visit France again! I also loved the beautiful 2012 film, simply titled ‘Renoir’ about his final days and his last model Andrée Heuschling , who became his son Jean’s first wife and starred in nine of his silent movies under the name of Catherine Hessling (See: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2150332/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZTiQ_quEPA for the trailer), though I believe much of the footage was shot in the gardens of Domaine du Rayol. See: http://www.domainedurayol.org/. It can currently be seen on SBS On Demand and is such a sensuous romantic film. Like the previous book, there are watercolour plans of the garden, the formal and informal borders and a map of France, as well as a list of the plants in the back.

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Britain

The Lost Gardens of Heligan by Tim Smit 1997

We did however visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan (http://heligan.com/) in Cornwall in 1994, three years before the publication of this book, when they were in the middle of restoring this grand old Victorian garden, which had been neglected for 70 years. It has been described by The Times as ‘the garden restoration of the century’ and was masterminded by John Nelson and the author of this book, Tim Smit, who has since gone on to build the Eden Project. See: http://www.edenproject.com/. Here are our photos of Heligan from a distance:BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd50%Image (465) - CopyBlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd50%Image (466) - CopyThe book chronicles the whole restoration project from the rediscovery of the gardens in 1990 to the restoration of the Italian Garden  (1991) and the Northern Summerhouse (1992) and the opening of the garden in Easter 1992. Here are some of our 1994 photos:BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd50%Image (465)BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd50%Image (466)BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd50%Image (470) - Copy This was followed by the redevelopment of the Ravine (old Alpine Garden); Flora’s Green, containing many hybrid rhododendrons of the Hooker collection; the New Zealand garden (1st photo above); the crystal-lined Grotto; the Jungle and its lake (2nd and 3rd photo above); the Walled Vegetable Garden with its straw bee skeps in hollows in the wall (1st photo below) and heated greenhouses (2nd and 3rd photos); and the Melon Garden, all by our visit in 1994.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd50%Image (467) - CopyBlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd50%Image (469) - CopyBlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd50%Image (468) - Copy Since then, the Flower Garden and Sundial garden have come into their own and the Lost Valley and its Water Meadow have been restored. I can see we will have to pay a second visit, but in the mean time, we can watch one of the many videos about this highly popular garden in Britain!

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The book was published in conjunction with Channel Four, which produced a six part series directed by Vivianne Howard and winner of Best Documentary TV series by the Garden Writers Guild. An interview with the director and the people involved can be viewed on: https://vimeo.com/109851192.

More footage of the garden can also be seen on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c48IK05tOZg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq-vVJGmyOc, only two of the many choices on You Tube!

The Garden at Highgrove by H.R.H The Prince of Wales and Candida Lycett Green 2000  is another garden on my bucket-list! I so admire Prince Charles for his far-sighted vision and enthusiasm, his courage for supporting non-mainstream causes and viewpoints, which none-the-less are growing in popularity, like environment, organic agriculture, traditional arts and crafts, spiritual aspects or just sheer beauty in architecture! He is such an interesting and worthwhile man and I will have more on his enterprises in a future post on environmental books, but here I will focus on his wonderful garden at Highgrove House (https://www.highgrovegardens.com/), his home since 1980, in Gloucestershire, where he puts his principles and theories into action! It too is a highly visited gardening mecca, which must be booked way ahead, is quite expensive to visit (the proceeds all going to the Prince’s charities) and has a strict ‘No Photography’ rule, so I am happy to say that there is also a lovely dreamy video about this garden, which gives you an in-depth look without the crowds or time limits! See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbJgNXgppkI. David Attenborough has also narrated ‘Highgrove: A Prince’s Legacy’ in his 2003 series of ‘Natural World‘ (Season 21, Episode 13). There is even a garden blog on : https://www.highgrovegardens.com/about-highgrove-gardens/the-garden-now/.

This is a lovely book with a very logical sequence of chapters from the setting and history of the estate to the view from the house , which includes the Sundial Garden and Terrace Garden, the Thyme Walk (over 20 varieties of thyme) and the Fountain Garden; the Cottage Garden, which was developed under the guidance of Rosemary Verey, and the Savill Gardens; the Wildflower Meadow, a 4 acre wild garden containing 30 different species of endangered plants, and Woodland Garden with the National Collection of Beeches; William Bertram’s wonderful tree house ; Julian and Isabel Bannermans’ fern pyramid and Wall of Gifts; the Stumpery with its green oak temples and hosta collection; a recycled stone water feature and the Japanese Garden; and finally, the Arboretum with its Autumn Walk; Spring Walk, Azalea Walk and The Sanctuary, built in 1999 to commemorate the Millenium as an expression of thanksgiving to God and blessed by the Bishop of London in January 2000; and the highly productive Walled Garden, filled with roses, flowers, vegetables and espaliered fruit trees and sweet pea tunnels. The whole garden is run along organic lines with sustainable practices; recycling; rainwater tanks and a bore; reed bed sewage systems; solar panels and composting and other natural fertilizers. It is so inspiring and uplifting, as well as very practical! There are comprehensive plant listings for each area in the back of the book.

Since the publication of the book in 2000, Emma Clark has designed an Islamic Carpet Garden, based on two of the Turkish carpets in Highgrove house, the design winning silver at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2001: See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2591531/Prince-Charles-Highgrove-exclusive-JULY-Turkish-delight-glorious-green-spaces.html. Emma is an expert in the art of the Islamic garden, in fact that is the very title of her book: The Art of the Islamic Garden, 2004, an essential read for those interested in developing such a beautiful garden! See: https://www.psta.org.uk/about/publications/emma-clark and http://theislamicmonthly.com/the-art-of-the-islamic-garden/ and https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Art-Islamic-Garden-Emma-Clark/1847972047. She is also heavily involved with The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, but more about that wonderful institution in my future post on environmental books!

There is also a Southern Hemisphere Garden with ferns, tree ferns, palms and eucalypts; an Italian garden; a Black-and-White Garden (white lupins and peonies and black grasses) and a Topiary Walk with six-foot high rounded balls of yew.

A beautiful and inspirational book, which should be included in every horticultural library!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (442)Virginia Woolf’s Garden: The Story of the Garden at Monk’s House by Caroline Zoob 2013

When we left London, in 1994, we stayed at a Bed-and-Breakfast in Firle, a small village in East Sussex, which is still part of the estate of Lord Gage and his family and very near Virginia Woolf’s house, Monk’s House, at Rodmell, now owned by National Trust. See: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/monks-house. Caroline and her husband rented Monk’s House from the National Trust for 10 years and the result is this wonderful book. Caroline is a fellow hand embroiderer, so this was the perfect gift for me! How I would dearly love to join her for one of her week-long embroidery and mixed media workshops in France. See : http://carolinezoob.co.uk/join-me-for-a-week-of-workshops-in-france-september-2017/ and http://carolinezoob.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Caroline-Zoob-Workshop-France.pdf. But back to her book!

This is another one of those beautiful dreamy books, which I could not be without! The colour photographs of the house and garden are superb and are interspersed with original black-and-white photographs; and the watercolour garden map and keyed planting plans and embroidery panels of the different sections of the garden are so beautifully executed and reason enough to buy this book! The seven chapters tell the story of the house and garden from the time Virginia and Leonard Woolf owned Monk’s House (1919) to the present day. The Orchard, Fig Tree Garden, Millstone Terrace, Fishpond Garden, Virginia’s Bedroom Garden, the Flower Walk, The Italian Garden, the Terrace, the Writing Lodge, the Walled Garden, the Vegetable Garden, the Rear Lawn Garden and the Conservatory are all lovingly described in much detail and include many quotes by Leonard and Virginia and constant references to her writings. While Virginia enjoyed her garden, it was Leonard who was the main driving force. He also loved his roses and became an expert horticulturalist over the development of the garden, continuing well into his late 80s.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (443)

I have also always been fascinated by Virginia’s sister, Vanessa Bell, and the Bloomsbury Group and would also love to visit her home at Charleston, Firle (http://www.charleston.org.uk/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x28hGsR8Cvc). Virginia used to walk the six miles from Monk’s House, across the river and along the South Downs to Charleston, the journey retraced and described in this lovely blog post: http://thoughtsofthecommonreader.blogspot.com.au/2009/07/in-footsteps-of-virginia-woolf.html. Even though Charleston was closed during our stay, we did get to see the murals painted by Duncan Grant and Vanessa and Quentin Bell in the Church of St Michael and All Angels at Berwick: http://www.roughwood.net/ChurchAlbum/EastSussex/Berwick/BerwickStMichael2004.htm and http://www.berwickchurch.org.uk/bloomsbury%20at%20berwick%20home.html.

BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd50%Image (464) - CopyBlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd50%Image (464)Here is a link to the garden pages of the Charleston official website: http://www.charleston.org.uk/visit/at-charleston/garden/.

The 3,000 Mile Garden: A Magical Correspondence Between Two Passionate Gardeners  by Roger Phillips and Leslie Land 1992/ 1995

Without taking away from books with beautiful photos, if a book can grab you with its text alone, then it truly does belong in this post about dreamy and inspirational gardens. This delightful little paperback is based on a four-year long correspondence between Roger Phillips, the well-known British garden writer and horticulturalist and Leslie Land, an American cookery and garden writer. They each write about their own gardens – Roger at Eccleston Square, a three acre private locked community garden for use by the residents of the surrounding flats, which we saw on our first visit to London in 1984, 3 years after Roger started managing the garden, and Leslie at her small cottage garden in rural Cushing, Maine, on the east coast of America, 3000 miles away! The share their passions for gardening, food and the good life and exchange ideas, bed plans, pressed  flowers, practical tips and recipes. I loved Leslie’s description of poaching a large pair of salmon in a bath tub outside (page 267) and have often used her excuse for delay of ‘having had a severe attack of life’ (page 32)! The letters between the two gardeners are delightful – highly entertaining and amusing, as Leslie had quite an earthy sense of humour – I loved some of her slightly risqué sketches! Sadly, Leslie is no longer with us, having died too early at age 66 years in 2013. Channel Four produced a six-part series based on the book in 1994.

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United States of America

While I do not own many American garden books, one which I would not be without is:

Tasha Tudor’s Garden by Tovah Martin 1994

A new discovery and purchase, following a recommendation by a fellow blogger The Wildlife Gardener : https://wildlifegardenerblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/finding-my-happy-place/ and https://wildlifegardenerblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/my-favorite-american-gardener-tasha-tudor/. My thanks again for the recommendation! It is every bit as lovely as the above posts describe. For those of us, who espouse a simpler, more self-sufficient lifestyle, Tasha set a wonderful example! Not only did she grow all her own food, raise chickens and Nubian goats and make all her own dairy products on her 250 acre farm, 10 acres of which were devoted to vegetables and flowers, but she also spun her own yarn, weaving it into cloth, from which she made her own clothing and quilts, and even made marionettes and exquisite dolls’ houses! She gardened right up until her death in 2008, aged 92, and while her gardens may not be as beautiful as they once were, at least we can enjoy them through the wonderful photographs by Richard W. Brown in this lovely book, which also includes Tasha’s delightful artwork, more of which can be seen at: http://www.theworldoftashatudor.com/cgi-bin/cellardoor/index.html. It is such a romantic dreamy book and I am now keen to read: ‘The Private World of Tasha Tudor’ by the same author. See: https://www.amazon.com/Private-World-Tasha-Tudor/dp/0316112925/ref=la_B000APGDO2_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1357841060&sr=1-3.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (447)

My final post on Dreamy and Inspirational Gardens will be posted at the end of June and features books about Australian Gardens, as well as Specific Plants.

Inspirational and Dreamy Garden Books: Part One: Inspiring Books and Garden Travel Books

As the growing season slows down and we head towards the cooler weather, it is lovely to know that we have some beautiful, dreamy and inspirational books to browse by the fire in Winter! As editor, Ferris Cook, writes on page 12 in the foreword to his book, ‘Invitation to the Garden’, the first book featured below : ‘ Like so many other gardeners separated from their gardens by darkness, miles or inclement weather, I love to read about other gardens when I can’t be in mine’. I have divided these books into four sections :

  • Inspiring books about gardening and plants in general
  • General garden travel books
  • Books about specific gardens
  • Books about specific plants

And once again, this post is too long – too many wonderful books and too much to say about them! – so I have divided it into three posts : Part One on beautiful garden publications and general garden travel books (today); Part Two on specific overseas gardens (May); and Part Three on books about Australian gardens and specific plants (June).

Inspiring books about gardening and plants in general

Invitation to the Garden: A Celebration in Literature and Photography, edited by Ferris Cook 1992

The perfect title to start a post on garden books and it certainly lives up to the claim of its subtitle, as well as its reputation! Indeed, it was the winner of the 1992 Award for Excellence in Garden Communication from the Garden Writers’ Association of America. Divided into seasons, it is a wonderful read, which can be dipped into at random, always finding an interesting snippet or pertinent quote, poem or prose and always accompanied by the most beautiful sumptuous photos by specialist garden photographers: Ping Amranand; Ken Druse; Richard Felber; Mick Hales; Harry Haralambou; Peter C. Jones; Peter Margonelli; Hugh Palmer; and Curtice Taylor.

A good example is the very first entry in Spring, ‘Down the Garden Path’ by Beverley Nichols, in which she describes that familiar daily habit of all gardeners, ‘Making the Tour’, involving a detailed examination of every square inch of the garden and noting all new discoveries and happenings! In reality, I probably do this at least three or four times a day!!!

There are poems by Homer and Shakespeare; John Donne and Robert Herrick; the three Williams (excluding Shakespeare, as he was so much earlier!) : William Cowper, William Blake and William Wordsworth; Matthew Arnold and Emily Dickinson; two Roberts :  Robert Bridges and Robert Frost; A A Milne and Virginia Woolf; Rainer Maria Rilke and William Carlos Williams (that’s two more Williams in one!!); Pablo Neruda; W H Auden; Sylvia Plath; and e e cummings; and that’s only a fraction of them!

There are also excerpts by Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Old Manse); Ivan Turgenev (The Rose); Lewis Carroll (The Garden of Live Flowers); William Morris (Collected Letters: Kelmscott); Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden); Edith Wharton (Italian Garden Magic); E A Bowles (The Passing of Summer); H G Wells (The Flowering of the Strange Orchid); Colette (The Ways of Wisteria; and Hellebores); John Steinbeck (The Chrysanthemums); and Laurie Lee (Segovia-Madrid), again only a small selection of the entries! Hopefully, the titles are enough to entice you to search out this book!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (430)

The Illustrated Virago Book of Women Gardeners, edited by Deborah Kellaway 1997

An equally delightful coffee-table book to be enjoyed at leisure! Illustrated with beautiful artwork and superb photographs throughout, this anthology of musings by women garden writers is divided (for easy reference) into chapters, titled : Weeders and Diggers; Advisers and Designers; Plantswomen; Colourists; Countrywomen; Townswomen; Visitors and Travellers; Kitchen Gardeners; Flower Arrangers and Visionaries. Its writers represent a ‘Who’s Who’ of the gardening world with names like Gertrude Jekyll;  Alicia Amherst, Elizabeth von Arnim, Norah Lindsay, Beatrix Farrand, Constance Spry, Vita Sackville-West, Margery Fish, Edna Walling, Beth Chatto, Penelope Hobhouse, Rosemary Verey, Nancy Steen, Mary Keen, Valerie Finnis, Ursula Buchan, Joy Larkcom, Jane Taylor and Mirabel Osler, but there are so many other authors!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (432)Natural Companions: The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations by Ken Druse and Ellen Hoverkamp  2012

I loved both the first two books equally well, but I ADORED this book! This would have to be the mosr beautiful book I have ever seen ! Every page is such a visual treat and showcases all the incredible treasures our Earth holds and their infinite diversity of colour, form, texture and function! Absolutely stunning photography, both of beautiful gardens and separate plant combinations, presented dramatically against a black background in the style of a combination of 1920s and 1930s American photographer, Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) (https://www.imogencunningham.com/plants/) and English botanical collage artist, Mrs. Mary Delany, whose beautiful paper collages can be seen at: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=Mary+Delany. While I knew the work of Mary Delany, which inspired my floral collage cards (see: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/09/08/ambassadors-of-spring/), I did not know of Imogen Cunningham, but have fallen in love with all her work, from plant studies and still lifes to portraits and romantic family shots; the beauty of the human body (nudes; dancers) and her street scenes and landscapes. I particularly loved her photographs of the stunning architectural blooms of the Bull Bay Magnolia (Magnolia Blossom 1925 and Magnolia Blossom, Tower of Jewels, 1925), as can be seen in the above link.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (455)

Ellen creates her floral photographs, using a flatbed scanner and produces images of unparalleled depth, colour and beauty. I found it impossible to select a favourite plate to show you, but here are some examples:

There are over 100 species botanical images of plants, which bloom simultaneously and compliment each other perfectly. They are organized by theme: seasons; plant families; form and function; colour; place (eg woods; open spaces; damp areas; rocky sites) and purpose (eg fragrance; butterflies; edible flowers; secret; literary; boxed; health and beauty; art; and nighttime). It is such a beautiful book and a lovely one to dip into whenever you get a chance! I cannot recommend it highly enough! Appendices include a list of edible flowers and flower meanings.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd60%Image (463)The Language of Flowers: a Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh  2011

A totally different book, both to the previous three coffee-table books, this one being a first-time novel, but also refreshingly original in concept and style. Based on the Victorian language of flowers, a compendium of which is included in the back of the book, this novel is written in first person, following the life of Victoria, an ex-foster child and florist and exploring complex themes like maternal love, forgiveness and redemption. Being a flower arranger, I was instantly attracted to this book and once started, I could not put it down! It is so easy to read and so hard to put down!  Plus, I have used the flower dictionary constantly, when making my floral collage cards for friends and family.

BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd40%Image (450) - CopyBlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd20%IMG_0499BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd20%IMG_0501Seasons at Home: Food, Family, Friends and Style by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2011

Another lovely offering from Holly Kerr Forsyth with her trademark style of seasonal projects and delicious recipes and preserves. I have given friends copies of some of her other books: Country Gardens, Country Hospitality and Seasons in My House and Garden: see http://www.hollyforsyth.com.au/shop/books.html  ;  https://www.bookdepository.com/Seasons-My-House-Garden-Holly-Kerr-Forsyth/9780522857825 and https://www.bookdepository.com/Country-Gardens-Country-Hospitality-Visit-Australias-Best-Holly-Kerr-Forsyth/9780522864793.

Both are beautiful books, which I would love to own one day, but in the meantime, I am enjoying this smaller book: Seasons at Home! While this book would fit equally well into my cookery book post later in the year, I have included it here because of its gardening and flower arranging content. Her photographs, styling and interiors are so beautiful and inspiring, how could I do otherwise!! Also, this book is a perfect lead-in to the next section with the first book also written by this knowledgeable lady!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (433)

 General Garden Travel Books

Gardens of Eden: Among the World’s Most Beautiful Gardens by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2009

A Christmas present in 2012, when I was studying garden design at Burnley, this beautiful book covers fifty of the world’s most beautiful and famous gardens. Lavishly illustrated with over 500 photos, the gardens are divided into chapters titled : Lessons in Garden History; A Sense of Place; The Designer in the Garden; The Gardens of Politicians, Writers, Artists and Collectors; Clipped Perfection; Grand Passions and Private Pleasures; Water Delights; and Places to Pray or Play In. They span different historical periods, garden styles and cultures from the Paradise Gardens of Ancient Persia to the romantic rose-covered ruins of Ninfa and the Italian Renaissance gardens in Italy; the wildflower meadows of William Robinson’s Gravetye Manor to the Arts and Crafts gardening style of Gertrude Jekyll-Edwin Lutyens (Upton Grey and Hestercombe) in England and Beatrix Farrand’s Dumbarton Oaks in the United States of America; the famous gardens of Sissinghurst Castle (UK), Le Canadel (France) and the island gardens of Isola Bella, Isola Madre and La Mortella (Italy); and  the Buddhist-inspired gardens of China and Japan, not to mention Australian country gardens like Bentley (Tasmania), Jack’s Ridge (Victoria) and Nooroo, Bebeah and the Berman Gardens (NSW). A wonderful book for armchair travel and research for your next garden adventure!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (435)A Photographic Garden History by Roger Phillips and Nicky Foy 1995

For a more in-depth look at garden history, predominantly through photographs! This book is organized into three main sections. The first part covers the European Tradition, starting with Roman peristyle gardens and moving chronologically from Islamic influences to Italian Renaissance gardens; the French Formal movement and the romantic/ potager style in France; the Baroque German and Dutch gardens; and the British medieval gardens to the English Landscape movement; Victorian and Edwardian gardens and natural gardening styles. The second section focuses on Chinese gardens, while the third section explores Japanese gardens. The text is backed up with featured gardens with specific details and notes on their date and features, as well as their place and importance within the particular historical background. Throughout the book are topics of pertinent interest to the time period or garden style, covering a broad range of subjects from garden elements (potagers; parterres and carpet bedding; topiary and mazes; rockeries; water features (lakes; ponds and pools; waterfalls and fountains); the concept of garden rooms and borrowed landscapes; and specific gardens for roses, natives and Autumn foliage colour) to garden structures (garden buildings and furniture; arbours and arches; follies and grottoes; steps and staircases; gates and fences; and even ha-ha walls) and decorative techniques (trompe l’oeil; shellwork; mosaics; sculptures; and pots and urns). I initially borrowed this book from the library, but found it to be so comprehensive and interesting that I just had to order it for my horticultural library!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (436)

The Gardens of Europe, edited by Penelope Hobhouse and Patrick Taylor 1990

Edited by garden writing doyens, Penelope Hobhouse and Patrick Taylor, this book focuses on 700 European gardens, open to the public, from the Mediterranean gardens of Southern Europe (Italy, France, Spain and Portugal); the cooler, more temperate gardens of Northern Europe (Great Britain and Ireland; Belgium; Holland and Scandinavia); and the gardens of Central Europe (Austria, Switzerland and West Germany) and the Balkans, East Europe and Russia (Bulgaria; Czechoslovakia; East Germany; Greece; Hungary; Poland; Romania; European Russia; Turkey and the then, Yugoslavia). Even though this is quite an old book now and the details of opening hours and admission charges might be out-of-date, the basic information about its history, general design and prominent features is still relevant and is a starting point for further up-to-date research. There is a biographical list or principal architects, garden designers and gardeners in the back, as well as a glossary and bibliography of further books (guide books and history) to read.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (437)

Gardens of Persia by Penelope Hobhouse 2006

I have always loved the underlying concepts of the Islamic garden : an enclosed protected paradise with a quadripartite layout (a four-fold pattern called chahar bagh) and watercourses forming the principal and secondary axes, all meeting at a central pool or pavilion and representing the four rivers of life. They are full of colourful flowers and bulbs, shady fruit trees and birdsong; a place for contemplation and spiritual nourishment; and a little oasis in a challenging hot and dry climate, the latter, which I suspect will be increasingly valued in our Western world with the increasing temperatures and prevalence of drought with climate change. In this book, Penelope explores these notions, as well as the elements and history of Islamic garden design; the climate and environment; flowers and trees planted and of course, the spiritual dimension. Throughout the book, she provides many examples of Islamic gardens from Cyrus the Great’s garden at Pasargadae 2,500 years ago, Timur’s gardens at Samarkand (late 1300s); his son Shah Rokh’s gardens at Herat (1400s); and Bagh-e-Fin (1504) and other Safavid gardens to the 18th century gardens of Shiraz, ‘city of roses and nightingagles, cypresses and wine, and poetry and painted miniatures’: Bagh-e-Eram (Garden of Heaven); Bagh-e Golshan (1760s); and Bagh-e Shahzadeh (Prince’s Garden 1880s); the Mostoufi Garden, Tehran, 1930s; the geometric Moorish gardens of Southern Spain like the Generalife and the Mughal gardens of Northern India and Kashmir. All, of course, accompanied by beautiful Islamic architecture! In the back, notes on each garden for travellers, lists of the royal houses of Persia and Persian plants and a glossary of Persian terms. A very interesting and informative book, as well as a feast for the eyes! Readers, who want more information on Islamic Gardens may be interested in these links : http://gardendrum.com/2017/02/24/take-the-ancient-silk-road-to-a-2500-year-old-garden/ and http://gardendrum.com/2017/02/23/berber-home-and-garden-morocco/.

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The Secret Gardens of France by Mirabel Osler 1992

I have already briefly mentioned this book in my post on Favourite Rose Books (see: https://candeloblooms.com/category/rose-books/), as it described one of my favourite bucket-list French rose gardens, La Bonne Maison, as well as the roses of André Eve. However, it discusses 18 other gardens in France from productive potagers to medieval herb gardens; Nicole de Vesian’s architectural topiaried balls of lavender and rosemary in the Luberon to a coastal garden in Brittany; and another bucket-list garden, Le Jardin des Cinq Sens at Chateau d’Yvoire on the shores of Lac Leman. Mirabel has a lovely writing style- very chatty, enthusiastic and inclusive- and all the gardeners featured are very inspiring! While many of the gardens are private and not open to the public, this book is a lovely read with a wealth of ideas and information.

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Kitchen Gardens of France by Louisa Jones 1997

I would love to do a garden tour with Louisa Jones (see: http://www.louisajones.fr/) !!! While she has written many books on the gardens of Provence and the French Riviera, this particular book is about French kitchen gardens. She examines Heritage Gardens (medieval plots; renaissance gardens; potagers and heirloom vegetables ); Grassroots Gardening (from country potagers in the Ardeche to village greens and community gardens; city allotments in Paris and hortillinages (floating islands) in Amiens; and Hmong gardens at Alençon in Normandy); Dream and Utopian Paradises (the jardin de curé style; Rousseau’s orchard-garden; Pigeard’s mystic metalwork; photographer, Denis Brihat’s alchemist workshop in Provence and another bucket-list garden, the organic  garden of Terre Vivante in the Domaine de Raud in the Alps); and Vegetable Graces (gastronomic  creations and designer visions; Gilles Clement’s moving potager; and future fashions). This last chapter has an in-depth look at the Gardens For the Five Senses, mentioned in Mirabel Osler’s book. The text is supported by many showcase gardens and beautiful seductive photographs. It is such a dreamy inspirational book! Details about each garden featured can be found in the back. For more ideas about gardens to visit, it is worth consulting Louisa’s blog (http://www.louisajones.fr/blog/index) and Links pages (http://www.louisajones.fr/links).

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The French Country Garden by Louisa Jones 2000/ 2005

A very recent addition to my library and a wonderful find! Thank you, Denise! I was delighted to add this book to my library, as it discusses many French gardeners and their gardens, whose names I knew, but were not necessarily covered by my other books like Nicole Arboireau on the French Riviera; Doudou Bayol in Provence (what an amazing sense of colour!); Martine and Francois Lemonnier, who have the National Collection Label (CCVS) for Meconopsis and Hellebores, in Normandy; Mme Marie-Joseph Teillard in the foothills of the Pyrenees; Eric Ossart and Arnaud Maurières at Cordes-sur-Ciel; Eléonore Cruse at La Roseraie de Berty in the Ardèche; as well as old favourites like Alain Richert of the Garden of the Five Senses, Yvoire; Nicole de Vésian in Provence; Gilles Clément of the Centre Terre Vivante at the Domaine de Raud and the different biomes of Le Domaine du Rayol. These gardens and more are discussed in depth in her chapters, each featuring three gardens, and titled : Intimate Country Gardens; A Passion for Plants; Celebration of the Senses; Formal Play; Nature’s Ways; and Planetary Perspectives. The photos again are superb and complement the text perfectly. Another beautiful book to browse…!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (543)Great Gardens of Britain by Helena Attlee 2011

A lovely book about 20 wonderful gardens in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. A difficult task selecting only twenty garden, but those chosen celebrate their diversity in garden styles, plants, settings and history. This is a wonderful guide with beautiful glossy photos and is essential reading for those planning a garden trip to Great Britain. Inspired and informed by this very book, I would love to visit Charles Jenck’s earthworks and waveforms at his Garden of Cosmic Speculation on the one day of the year it is open !; Ian Hamilton Finlay’s concrete poetry at Little Sparta; the famous topiary at Levens Hall; Scampton’s perennial naturalistic meadow, designed by Piet Oudolf; the rhododendrons and five terraces of Bodnant, North Wales, including its famous Laburnum Arch; the lakes and classical temples of Stourhead; Lawrence Johnston’s garden rooms at Hidcote Manor; Christopher Lloyd’s herbaceous borders of Great Dixter; the restored gardens of the East Ruston Old Vicarage and Beth Chatto’s gravel gardens; the holy grail of old rose gardens, Sissinghurst Castle, made famous by Vita Sackville-West, with its garden rooms and  white garden; the extensive plant collections, trial gardens and scientific research laboratories of Wisley, the home and flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society; the futuristic environmentally-controlled geodesic domes of the Eden Project, the brain child of Tim Smit;  and the unlikely Mediterranean-style gardens of Tresco Abbey in the warmer climes of the remote Scilly Isles in the English Channel. Addresses and websites for all the gardens are listed in the back. We have already visited Kew Gardens twice, but it is such a wonderful garden, that I would always include it whenever I visit England and I would really like to see the Marianne North Gallery, which is devoted solely to the wonderful paintings of this amazing Victorian botanical artist and explorer. See: http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/explore/attractions/marianne-north-gallery and http://www.kew.org/mng/marianne-north.html, specifically: http://www.kew.org/mng/gallery/index.html.

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For those of us who may not travel overseas again, this form of armchair travel is a wonderful alternative! This book explored many gardens, not covered in the other books. Another book that I would love to find is Around the World in 80 Gardens by Monty Don, see : https://www.bookdepository.com/Around-World-80-Gardens-Monty-Don/9780297844501, as I really enjoy his films, but fortunately the film version of his book can be seen on YouTube. For Episode 1, see : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uityVe6OkCk. For a guide to the episodes, see : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008x9bh/episodes/guide.

Books on Specific Types of Gardens : Part Two : Vegetable Gardens; Sustainable and Organic Gardens; and Dry Climate Gardens .

Continuing on from my post last week, I am now focusing on vegetable gardens, organic and sustainable gardens and dry climate gardens, all of which are highly inter-related. In our view, vegetable gardens should only ever be organic and sustainable, as they contain the very food we eat, not to mention the importance of these concepts for our environment and the natural world around us! While most of the books are Australian, a few are written by English authors, notably Christopher Lloyd,  Joy Larkom and Jane Taylor. We might discuss the books by the first two writers first.

Gardener Cook by Christopher Lloyd 1997 was one of our early vegetable garden books and is a lovely introduction to the world of vegetable growing! His chapters on fruit trees, soft fruits, root vegetables, green vegetables, salads and herbs include delicious recipes and mouth-watering photographs by Howard Sooley. They include information on all the different types of fruit and vegetables; their varieties; cultivation and storage and lots of personal anecdotes.  An essential book for the gardener-cook and anyone who loves food!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-398

Christopher actually quotes from my next book: The Salad Garden by Joy Larkom 1984. It is a comprehensive guide to all things salad: creating salad gardens; the cultivation of salad greens; garden practices like raising from seed; sowing outdoors and indoors; germination; manures and compost; weeding; mulching and watering; greenhouses, cloches and container gardening; and pests and diseases; as well as specific techniques for salad plants like blanching; seed sprouting and cut-and-come-again; salad making – the different types of salad, preparation and presentation and delicious recipes for different salads and their dressings; and a large section on specific salad plants and their components – leaves; stems and stalks; fruits; bulbs, roots and tubers; cooked and cold legumes and potatoes; and the use of herbs, flowers and wild plants. The appendix includes salad crops for special situations; plants for saladini crops, a glossary and facts about salad crops, including their vitamin content, seed life, germination temperature and fertility index. It was written at a time, when Australia’s culinary world was suddenly and markedly expanding and has such a wealth of information, that I am not surprised that it was in Christopher Lloyd’s library!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-401The Cook’s Garden : From the Garden to the Table by Caroline Gunter and Karen Green 2000 is an Australian Women’s Weekly publication and has its typically high standard! After a brief examination of planning for production and cultivation for success (including recipes for home-made sprays), it follows a seasonal pattern with a seasonal diary of picking and planting chores for each different climate zone (temperate and cool; subtropical and Mediterranean; and tropical) and detailed notes on the fruit and vegetables grown in each season, including their cultivation in the garden and their preparation and presentation for the table. It is a very practical and useful publication and has some delicious recipes. It finishes with a brief chapter on preserving the season’s abundance including freezing; bottling and drying, as well as a map of world climate zones.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-399

Diggers Club also produces wonderful books on heirloom gardens, especially vegetables! The Australian Vegetable garden: What’s Old is New by Clive Blazey 1999 is one of their excellent publications. Clive is a passionate advocate for heirloom varieties of vegetables, because of their superior flavour, longer harvest period and disease resistance, not to mention their decorative qualities! In this informative book, he discusses the value and importance of heirloom varieties; different vegetable gardening styles; space-saving; and growing basics – the soil; water; mulch; temperature and heat; as well as seed sowing and saving. He provides a calendar and plan for growing a year’s supply of food in just 42 square metres and another one for seed sowing. And he discusses each heirloom vegetable in depth, including its historical background; varieties; preparation and management. There are so many varieties which I had never even heard of!  Apparently, Diggers have over 112 commercial and heirloom varieties of tomatoes. One day, I would love to grow their Moon and Stars watermelon , an old American variety!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-400Organic Gardening by Peter Bennett , first published in 1979, is another very important and seminal book for the organic vegetable gardener. We have the 6th edition, dated 1999, but there is now a new revised 7th edition, published 2006. Peter is THE authority on organic gardening in Australia and a forerunner of the current sustainable and environmental movements. Even though he has since died, he can still be seen in this You Tube clip at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua6Or0-W9W4. In his wonderful book, he talks about all the wonderful creatures that make up the life of the garden; the living soil; the preparation and maintenance of the organic garden; the use of natural fertilizers and acceptable alternatives to dangerous pesticides; composting; community gardens; and the organic cultivation of many different types of vegetables, fruits and flowers. His appendixes include photographs of useful tools and accessories for organic gardening, a table of the composition of compost ingredients; another table of the minimum depth of container required for growing vegetables in containers; a sowing guide for flowers and vegetables, including the best months for sowing in tropical/ subtropical, temperate and cold climates; best sowing method (seedbed or direct); the sowing depth for seeds; the number of days it takes for seedlings to emerge; the distance to thin seedlings apart; and the number of weeks till flowering for type of flower or vegetable. There is also a list of Goods and Services referred to in the book. This is an essential book for all gardeners! I cannot recommend it highly enough and the fact that it has sold more than 160,000 copies since it was first published in 1979 supports my claim!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-402

Now for another very important book, Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Bill Mollison 1988. Bill Mollison (1928 – 2016) was the co-founder of the permaculture concept, along with David Holmgren, from 1972 to 1974. The first classes in permaculture started in 1981 and since then, thousands of people from all over the world have studied this concept. It is now practised in over 20 countries, providing  wonderful hope for the future.

Permaculture, a term coined from two words ‘permanent agriculture’, is defined in the book as ‘the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems, which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people, providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.’ Its principles include: working with nature, rather than against it; the problem is the solution; make the least change for the greatest possible effect; the yield of the system is theoretically unlimited ; and everything makes its own garden and has an effect on its own environment. It relies on cycles; pyramids and food webs; complexity and connections; diversity; stability and harmony and self-regulation.

Permaculture garden designs are based on flow patterns and zones:

Zone 1 (ideally ¼ acre for a family of four) is the most intensively used space in the immediate area of the house and can include vegetables and salad greens with a short growing season; small trees with commonly used fruits like lemons; worm farms; workshops and sheds; glasshouses, cold frames and propagation areas; rainwater tanks; fuel for heating like gas and wood; and small animal pens eg rabbits.

Zone 2 (ideally 1 acre for a family) is also used  intensively, but less than Zone 1 and  includes perennials and vegetables with a longer growing season; fruit trees and orchards; compost bins; bee hives; ponds; chook pens and enclosures for larger animals requiring regular attention.

Zone 3 (4 to 20 acres) is farmland for main farming crops; orchards of large trees like oaks and nut trees; livestock grazing by cattle and sheep; and water storage dams.

Zone 4 can be any size and contains wild and partly managed land for the collection of wild foods; timber production; a source of animal forage and more pasture for grazing animals.

And finally, Zone 5 is unmanaged wild and natural ecosystems with bushland, forest and wilderness conservation areas for observation; meditation and reconnection with nature. Hunting and gathering can occur in this zone.

Permaculture garden design also involves planning to control external incoming energies like wind, sun angles, unwanted views and danger from fires and floods, using a number of strategies to block, channel or open up an area to their impact. It is a HUGE topic and an enormous door-stopper of a book, but essential reading for gardeners interested in the philosophy behind permaculture!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-404

The Permaculture Home Garden by Linda Woodrow 1996  is a much lighter, smaller, more portable and very practical book on the subject. It covers permaculture garden design based on the principles of time-and-motion; multiple use; working with nature; and synergy and using a seven mandala system of circles to maximize use of space and energy efficiency. She discusses : choosing a site; climate: light, temperature; wind; frost and pollutants; water; soil management; mulching, composting and worm farming; propagating plants; lunar planting; guild planting; maintaining the garden and coping with pests; building a chook dome; and the cultivation of fruit trees and a large variety of vegetables. It is a very useful book, especially for gardeners in Northern New South Wales.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-403

Two  more terrific practical permaculture guides, both of which I would not be without  and both written by gardeners in Maleny, Queensland are: You Can Have Your Permaculture and Eat It Too by Robin Clayfield 1996 and Paradise in Your Garden by Jenny Allen 2002. Robin has practised permaculture since 1983 and lives at Crystal Waters Permaculture Village in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. This great publication is a fantastic book to dip into at random, with snippets of information on permaculture principles,  garden design and techniques; sustainability; natural pest control; cash crops; health and diet; food combining; natural cosmetics; food preservation; bulk cooking; bush tucker; gift giving; and even party games; all with lots of wonderful recipes from herbal teas to soups, nibbles and dips; salads and main courses; and desserts and party nights. It is a wonderfully generous book and has such a wealth of information to explore and digest! For more about Robin, see: http://dynamicgroups.com.au/ and  https://permacultureprinciples.com./post/permaculture-pioneer-robin-clayfield/.

blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-405Paradise in Your Garden is a beautiful book, both visually and creatively! Jenny uses photographs and experience gleaned from her own garden  to illustrate the  basic permaculture principles of multiple use; zoning; smart placement; elevational planning; diversity; recycling resources; homemade insurance; using nature’s gifts and seeing solutions, instead of problems. It’s an inspiring book, with lots of fun, imaginative ideas like aspirational trees; mediation areas; hammocks and swings; firepits and water features; places for wildlife; kids’ gardens; healing gardens and even an aphrodisiac garden! She has a large section on garden design and understanding site factors like sun and wind; weeds and stormwater; soil types; frost; and noise, providing an 18 point design checklist and techniques for managing these factors, like creating microclimates by managing Summer sun; building effective  windbreaks; managing soil, water, frost and weeds; and reducing annoying noises. She discusses integrated pest management and  smart use of monetary and time resources. Her descriptions of exciting and unusual edible plants and bush foods makes you want to go straight out and plant them and she also includes some great project ideas from sheet mulching and lasagne gardening (no-dig); building herb spirals, ponds, swales and paths; making worm farms, compost heaps and home brews for plants (comfrey tea); and planting green manure and cover crops. In the back of the book is a list of useful resources and recommended reading. For more current information  on Jenny Allen , read this article in the Hinterland Times on the 4th May 2016 at : https://www.hinterlandtimes.com.au/2016/05/04/is-the-love-affair-over/.

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And finally, a swag of books by the wonderful and knowledgeable Jackie French, who has a wonderful organic garden in the Araluen Valley near Braidwood in Southern New South Wales. On her website (http://www.jackiefrench.com/), she describes herself an Australian author, ecologist, historian, dyslexic and honorary wombat, which is all very accurate! She was also 2014 – 2015 Australian Childrens’ Laureate and 2015 Senior Australian of the Year and is the patron of Youth Educational Support Services (YESS),which delivers the MultiLit Literacy Program, developed by Macquarie University to improve reading skills in local primary and high school students. I volunteered with this rewarding program at Bega Valley Public School in our first year here. We have nine of her books, in order of their publication:

The Wilderness Garden: Beyond Organic Gardening 1992

Jackie has a delightful enthusiastic writing style and this book focuses on how to make gardening fun by changing our approach to gardening and using new or different methods or as she coins it: ‘the wombat way of gardening’ ! She has a very commonsense, practical approach in both her gardening and writing with chapters on different gardens for different places (wet areas; dry areas; polluted areas; seaside areas; and frost zones); feeding the garden (mulch; compost; nitrogen fixation); easy garden beds (weed-mats; hanging gardens; tyre gardens; raised beds; vertical gardens; and modified jungles (I just love that concept!); organic pest and weed control; and vegetable, fruit and flower gardens, with a very useful garden calendar at the end.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-411

Backyard Self-Sufficiency 1992

This publication has been a very well-thumbed book in our house over the years. While steering the reader away from the toil of total self-sufficiency, she has some wonderful ideas for still growing a fair proportion of your own food from staples (grains, legumes, oils and sugars and sweeteners) to vegetables and fruit all year round. We particularly liked her lists on fruit for small places; footpath trees; unusual fruits; edible fences; hardy fruiters and  fruit for cold, temperate and hot climates. She also has chapters on growing in adversity; scavenging in the suburbs; small animals for small gardens; saving the surplus; and the backyard supermarket and medicine chest with lots of great recipes for cosmetics and bath products; dyes; cleaning products; and drinks (beer, cocoa, tea and coffee and coffee substitutes). Her final chapter on self-sufficiency, including her self-sufficient owner-built house, and her general philosophy of simple living resonates so strongly with us and should be a blueprint for all human beings, living in harmony with nature and all is inhabitants on this very special planet we call home. This book also finishes with a comprehensive calendar covering planting; harvesting; other jobs; pests and fruit. This is such a useful book!

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Switch : Home-based Power, Water and Sewerage Systems For The Twenty-First Century by Jackie French and Bryan Sullivan 1994

This little book expands on the concept of the self-sufficient integrated house and gets down to the practical nitty-gritty of ways to actually achieve this. It examines home-based power systems (solar, wind, steam, petrol or diesel, hydro and hybrid or combined systems), as well as batteries and invertors; installation and maintenance and living with your own power system. There are separate extra chapters devoted to lights and a wide variety of appliances (power tools; vacuum cleaners; stoves; kettles and toasters; refrigerators; computers; sound systems; irons; washing machines and solar dryers, to name but a few); and heating and cooling (new house design and orientation; ventilation; insulation; greenhouses; pergolas and more active heating and cooling systems, as well as specific problems and solutions). The authors then turns their attention to water supply, including measures to reduce use; grey water systems; rainwater tanks; bores; pumping water and hot water systems. Sewage treatment is next and includes information on outdoor dunnies; septic tanks; methane digesters; composting toilets and finally garbage processing: the concept of reduce/recycle; compost; worm farms and chooks. Even though this is now quite an old book, it was cutting edge when it was first published. Renewable energy and sustainable technology and alternatives have come a long way since then (though it still has a long way to go and should have been de rigueur by now for every home!), but the basic principles are still the same and this is still a very valuable little book.

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The Earth Gardener’s Companion: A Month-by-Month Guide to Organic Gardening 1996

Exactly what it pupports to be! A very comprehensive month-by-month guide to organic planting and harvesting and pest control solutions, with some wonderfully obscure recipes along the way from culinary delights like Chinese pickled vegetables, soy cheese and beetroot flour to chilli massage oil and even a chilli bosom enhancer!