Garden Diary

"Dream gardens"
- Widget Finn, Gardens Illustrated
"Secret Garden"
- Uniquely Away Summer
"Hidden and Romantic"
- Roger Last, Norfolk Gardens
"Inspirational gardens from around the world"
- Claire Takacs, Dreamscapes
"Paradise regained"
- Stephen Lacey, Beautiful Britain
“Perfect in every detail”
- Leslie Geddes-Brown, Country Life
“The impressive garden of a 15th century moated house… where old meets new”
- Jackie Bennett, The English Garden
"Amongst 12 of Best Secret Gardens in the UK"
- Tania Pascoe, Guardian
"Water-encircled harmony"
- Annie Green-Armytage, Landscape
“A blossoming romance”
- Tim Longville, Period Living

15th November 2020

What a year 2020 has been. First came the lockdown in March 2020 where everything became eerily quiet, the flowers seemed brighter and the birdsong louder. We continued to employ our gardening staff -which is as well as we were rewarded with wonderful weather and growing conditions so that when we did open the Gardens on May 27th we were ready for our visitors.

We had a one way system, asked everyone to self-distance, served refreshments – (largely outside), and had extra cleaning systems in place. I am very pleased to report that our time was wasted on recording every visitor’s telephone number as we had no Covid follow ups.

Sadly we lost our black swans to an otter last year but this year 2 mute swans arrived and laid their eggs in the nests left by the black swans. Moving between the moat and the fishponds they raised 4 cygnets and I must report they were far more hands on as parents and provided much, distanced, entertainment to our visitors.

We never know who will come and last year, as a result of one of our visitors, in December we had a visit from the Bryological Society who are moss and liver wort enthusiasts. This year another enthusiast reported on the Dragon fly and Damsel fly in the garden and we were able to add them to the list of birds that visitors spot in the garden which we keep in the Coffee Shop. We were particularly entertained by the spotted fly catcher   raising its brood above the visitors’ lavatory door and we always anxiously await the arrival of the House Martins.

We opened for the NGS on September 30th and raised £850 for their causes. Parishioners provided the refreshments in aid of Hindringham Church. Next year we open for the NGS on Saturday 20th February and are calling the day “warts and all” as it should be a chance to see the bones of the garden and a look behind the scenes.

Our most exciting event was of course being in the last 8 shortlisted for the Historic house Garden of the Year Award. Apart from England the other gardens were from the Welsh Marshes, County Down and the Scottish Borders.  Our congratulations go to the winners Mapperton House in Devon owned by the Earl and Countess Sandwich. We finished third which is pretty astounding as we got more votes than other gardens with 5 gardening staff and open daily! And …….only 100 votes short of last years’ winners!!

Here’s a breakdown of the final scores:

 

Votes Your Choice for Garden of the Year 2020
2647 Mapperton House
2209 Wollerton Old Hall Garden
1827 Hindringham Hall
1814 Arley Hall
1510 Painshill
746 Montalto Estate
488 Hergest Croft Gardens
144 Carolside Gardens
11385  

 

A very big thank you to everyone who voted for us.

672 people took the trouble to write enthusiastically why they chose our garden and one of my favourites is “its charm and the fact its maintained by one little old lady and a helper”-presumably I am the little old lady but I do have a gardener 4 days a week and another 4 mornings. But when you cut through the very flattering comments surely the best in these troubled times was, “it is so special it just makes you really happy too”

Stay healthy and good gardening

Lynda Tucker

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8th November 2020

Sadly we have closed the garden gate for 2020.

What a year it has been!! Lockdown from March -but we continued to keep working in the gardens, and when we finally did open on May 27th we were rewarded with masses of very enthusiastic visitors who all self distanced and followed our one way system.

It was a summer with weather like no other, flowers and fruit blossomed and everyone seemed just happy to be outside. Marvellous.

We were shortlisted for the Historic House 2020 Garden of the year award and the results are next week. We are very humbled by the support given to us but in truth our footfall is very small in comparison to the other gardens and we are not expectant. Nevertheless with your help we have made a good fight of it and justified our selection so thank you.

Spurred on, we have many little tweaks planned for this winter but first are busy putting the garden to bed, planting bulbs, clearing leaves etc. I have sown my sweet peas and we are putting tender plants, such as the Oleander, into the Coffee shop and away from the frosts.

I will continue to post photos on Facebook and Instagram so do keep an eye on what we are doing and we look forward to welcoming you back next spring.

 

Stay safe and good gardening

Lynda Tucker

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25th October 2020

Our last week open in 2020

In the vegetable garden we are picking Kale, Leeks, lettuce, squash and Chard. It’s time to put away our hoses and take down bean supports. It’s also time to make the polythene frame we put over the Peach at the back of the Cutting garden to protect it.

The greenhouse still has peppers tomatoes and basil and we need to make space for the Geraniums and Fuchsias that overwinter here.

We have just planted 250 Crocus in the Iris bed to give an early show. The Delphiniums that were cut down after flowering in that bed are repeating so we shall do that again next year.

The Dell has been drastically changed by a very large chestnut blowing down and creating a large open space. This will need a lot of thought and work this winter.

Around the garden you will see large sheets of polythene. These create mini greenhouses where we have sown grass seed and will help it germinate before it gets too cold.

The shrub in the daffodil area whose colours you could warm your hands on is Parrotia Persica- wonderful if you have the space.

Asters come into their own at this time of year in the Autumn Border- so many varieties!

The West Lawn still has masses of colour with the red Bishop of LLanduff and orange David Howard Dahlias and lots of asters and Geranium and fuchsias in the urns.

The birds in the gardens are very vocal but we seem to be missing a cygnet- fingers crossed that it has found a new home.

 

Stay healthy and do come back next year- dates will be on the website

Lynda Tucker

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18th October 2020

In the Vegetable Garden we have picked the last courgette. Chard, leeks and kale are still producing well and we have the late apples and pears to pick. In the greenhouse we have tomatoes and red peppers- the chilli peppers we are growing are lethal and have an uncertain future.

Our crocus bulbs have arrived and we are planting them in the Iris bed for an early display. The delphiniums in that bed were cut down after flowering and some have flowered again- a little more sun would have helped but they are a bonus

In the Dell we have marked out a central area which we will probably grass but we are waiting for the spring bulbs to appear so that they can be moved to a safer area. This huge open space has been formed by a very large chestnut tree that was blown down and we now have an area without shade which needs to be re thought.

This Autumn the colours have not been as strong as in previous years. However, the Parrota Persica or Persian Ironwood tree in the daffodil area never disappoints and has lovely multicoloured leaves in the Autumn.

We have many different coloured asters in the Autumn border and the sedum show them off very well.

The Hosta are all dying back along the stream path and the leaves are turning yellow but before they disappear we are dividing some to plant the area to the top of the path where we have just reinforced the stream walls.

Lots of colour from the Dahlias in the West Lawn and again the humble Sedum is enhancing the bed next to the geranium now colouring up, and the lovely Ceratostigma willmottianum with its leaves turning an aubergine colour and its bright blue flowers- Autumn has arrived!

The kingfisher is still visiting but the swans have left the Moat for the Fishponds- much to the pleasure of some very noisy ducks.

 

Stay healthy and good gardening

Lynda Tucker

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11th October 2020

Autumn has arrived with its heavy rain and strong winds and in the garden we are thinking and preparing for the year ahead.

In the Vegetable garden we are harvesting Squash, Salad crops, Kale and Apples and Pears and planting out the last of our winter vegetable seedlings- with fingers crossed.

In the Greenhouse we still have Tomatoes and Red Peppers.

Mermaid is the yellow rose still flowering up the Ginkgo tree

The Del has suffered from a huge Chestnut blowing down which has created a large open un shaded space. Plans are afoot for this area and a central lawn will be made in the Spring- after we have replanted the bluebell, cyclamen and snowdrops that will first appear there.

The Autumn Border has a wonderful collection of Asters, and the Dahlias are adding their colour to liven up the bed. Look out for the  pretty combination of Autumn Crocus, Ajuga and Callicarpa beside the path in the stream garden

Bright pink Nerines are always spectacular in front of the Hall and on the other side of that wall we are growing the orange spikey Ginger-Hedychium Gardnerianum

The urns are still looking good with their Fuschia and Geranium. The Oleander in pots will soon need to go inside for winter protection but the annual ‘Apple of Peru’ will continue to look good with its physalis-like dark seed heads.

The beds are bright with Dahlia, Asters and Red Hot pokers and don’t miss my autumn favourite -the wonderful bright pink shrub with pea-like flowers- Lespendeza.

What bright pinks and oranges we have to warm us on these chilly Autumn days!!!

The swans are still here but they are definitely stretching their wings-won’t be long!!

 

Stay healthy and good gardening

Lynda Tucker

 

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3rd October 2020

Autumn has arrived and the garden is getting prepared for the winter

In the Vegetable Garden we are harvesting Kale, courgettes, salad crops and globe artichokes, and waiting for the Squash to finish ripening. It’s been a fantastic year for apples and pears. In the Greenhouse we have tomatoes and red peppers plus so many different herbs

Outside the Greenhouse the Senecio on the bank had got very leggy and this has been severely cut back. We have also taken the opportunity to replant the Cistus Monspeliensis which lines this path. This is an evergreen cistus and the original plant was bought from Beth Chatto 30 years ago. Since then I have been building up the plants by taking cuttings. This section had been in over 20 years and needed to be replaced . Next year we will do the next section.

Mermaid is the yellow rose growing up the Gingko Tree

The Del is full of cyclamen. A huge Chestnut blew over here and we are waiting to grind the stump out before we move on- hoping to keep one step ahead of the Honey Fungus?

The heavy rains of last week filled the Bog Garden but the Asters and Dahlias in the Autumn Border enjoyed the drink.

Schitzostylis are flowering along the ditch in the Stream Garden and look out for the pretty Toad Lilies lining it.

Do not miss the wonderful Lespendeza on the West Lawn. Its pretty pink pea-like flowers make a beautiful contribution to the Autumn scene- this one was bought at Wisley 5 years ago when I went with my sister- and isn’t it the memories that some plants evoke that adds to their enjoyment ?

Stay healthy and good gardening

Lynda Tucker

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20th September 2020

In the Vegetable garden we are picking Courgettes, Chard and salad crops. The Globe Artichokes are having a second crop and the Autumn Raspberries are still being picked.

The pretty bean at the back of the garden is LabLab and Squash are growing where we previously had the sweet corn.

We have had a very good apple and pear crop this year and what can’t be stored is being turned into juice and frozen for winter consumption.

The yellow rose growing up the Gingko tree is called Mermaid.

Asters and Dahlias are beginning to flourish in the Autumn border and in the Stream Garden pink Schizostylis line the culvert and the oak leaved Hydrangea are enjoying the shade.

We still have some roses in bloom round the house but the purple flowers of the Colchicum are dying down and will soon be replaced by their leaves but look for the little patch of stunningly white Colchicum.

In the West Lawn the urns are still producing lots of colour and the purple flowered plant in with the Oleander is an annual called Apple -of -Peru or Nicandra physalodes

We think we have the Otter back and found quite a large fish on the gravel at the bottom of the West Lawn and we have been watching the swans demonstrating to their cygnets how to fly- it won’t be long now before they leave us.

Watch out for the King Fisher-seen today on the brick pergola, stunning colours.

 

Stay healthy and good gardening

Lynda Tucker

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13th September

The vegetable garden is still going full on – the beans have all been picked but we have overdone the lettuce! Squash are growing where the sweet Corn were and the pretty flowering bean at the back of the garden is called Lab Lab

The greenhouse is full of tomatoes and peppers.

Mermaid is the yellow rose growing up the Gingko tree

The Autumn border is beginning to star with asters and dahlia and the stream garden has hydrangea and schizostylis in pink and white. The upright plants along the culvert are Toad lilies.

Colchicums or Autumn Crocus are the purple plants in the grass beside the East Lawn

Some roses are repeat flowering and the Sedum, Dahlias and Asters are enjoying the warm sunshine. The red Dahlia with dark foliage is Bishop of Llanduff- marvellous performer.

 

Stay healthy and good gardening

Lynda Tucker

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6th September 2020

Vegetable Garden -We are still picking Runner beans, Courgettes , lettuce, Chard, Raspberries,Figs, Apples and Pears. LabLab is the name of the pretty purple flowering bean next to the Sweet Pea frame.

Walk through the vegetable garden and growing on the wall on your right beside the Potting Shed we have the purple ‘Cup and Saucer” plant (Cobaea Scandens). This is an annual planted last year and must have self -seeded, it is growing through the rose Phyllis Bide.

The yellow rose growing through the Ginkgo Tree is Mermaid.

Cyclamen are in flower in the Dell and we soon have to decide what will happen to the space created by the Chestnut that blew down in the February gales.

The Autumn Border is coming to life with its Asters and Dahlia and in the Stream Garden the Schizostylis  Coccinea  (kaffir lily or river lily ) are in flower.

On the East Lawn the Autumn Crocus- Colchicum are in full bloom.

The lovely Autumn flowering Lespedeza is one of my favourite plants. Bought 4 years ago at Wisley its long shoots with purple pea like flowers appear in September. It’s next to the Bay in the West Lawn.

Also, on the West Lawn growing in pots with the Oleander is “Apple of Peru” or Nicandra Physalodes. It is an annual and after its purple flowers has lovely physalis- like seed heads.

 

The Heron is still a daily visitor and sometimes sits on the hedge above the moat to get a better view of the fish!

Yesterday a king fisher was seen standing on the bridge. It dived into the Moat and brought up a fish. Then repeated the performance and took another fish!! We are a wildlife larder!!

 

Stay healthy and good gardening

Lynda Tucker

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30th August 2020

We are still picking runner beans (white Lady), courgettes and chard. All other beans and sweet corn are finished but we have winter brassica coming up under the nets. We have tomatoes growing outside as well as in the greenhouse where we also await the ripening of the peppers.

Raspberries are still producing and we are overwhelmed by the number of figs this year

The yellow rose growing up the Ginkgo tree is Mermaid and this is its second flowering

Cyclamen are appearing in the Dell

The large leaved plant in the centre of the Bog Garden is Thalia Dealbata and the red plants are Lobelia Cardinalis

The Autumn border is coming to life with its asters and Dahlias and don’t miss the Toad Lilies in the water garden.

Some of the roses around the house and in the borders are repeat flowering and it is well worth taking the trouble to dead head them after the first flowering.

A lot of colour in the West lawn with anemones and autumn flowering asters, Sedum and Dahlias

ALERT- in the uncut grass at the side of the East lawn are Colchicums or Autumn Crocus. The flower tip comes before the leaves and emerging shoots are difficult to see so PLEASE DO NOT WALK THERE but admire from the mown grass.

The grey Heron is our daily visitor and the Swans with their Cygnets are still making their home here

 

Stay healthy and good gardening

Lynda Tucker

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