this month's flower
Edgworth and District Horticultural Society



See also the picture gallery

  Saturday 27th July 2013

Everyone on board at 9.00am ready for our Kent/Sussex garden holiday - Weather warm and sunny, but who knows what's in store! - Stop at Norton Canes services for a coffee break - very busy. Towards Warwick we pick up our Brightwater guide, Sara, who came with us last year, then off to Upton House, near Banbury.

After a quick lunch, enjoyed a garden of many 'rooms' on an enormous scale. Plenty of space for everyone with woodland walks, large lawns, and an orchard. Much of the estate was framed with beautiful, mature trees. The kitchen garden was well stocked and the deep borders were packed with colour. Unfortunately, due to the hot weather, the rose garden was just past it's best, but must have been amazing last weekend!

Upton House - Kitchen Garden

Studied a collection of some of the paintings in a large stone building within the garden but time, as ever, ran out for a visit to the house, where there were further pieces of art. Those who did manage it enjoyed the paintings but felt the rooms lacked atmosphere due to the scarcity of furniture. The house was bought in 1927 by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted and extensively remodelled to provide space for his growing collection of Art and the necessary accoutrements for entertaining.

And so to our destination, The Hilton Hotel at Dartford, conveniently placed just off M25. I think we'll be very well looked after here - lovely spacious rooms with every amenity possible, and certainly our first dinner had choices and variety to suit all tastes.     

Helen Brizland


 Sunday 28th July 2013

Excitement today as we visit what, to most people, is the holiday highlight.

This year is the 75th anniversary of Sissinghurst Gardens being open to the public. Set amongst an Elizabethan manor house, the garden is designed as a series of ‘rooms’. Many of the beautiful displays are set out with specific colour and scent as an accent, probably the most well known being the white garden.

Once the home of Vita Sackville-West, the flamboyant colour and planting are said to reflect her romanticism, the classical lines being attributed to her husband, Harold Nicolson. These features I feel, are still very evident today.

Sissinghurst -
                  White Garden

For me, the structure of the gardens was enhanced by the backdrop of the manor buildings, which also facilitated an aerial view of the magnificent garden and estate. Moving round the garden and meeting other members of the group, people seemed to be enjoying finding new areas of colour, structure and planting. With the more recent addition of the kitchen garden, the grounds provided broad interest and great inspiration.

Great Dixter -
                  Long Border

A National Trust property Great Dixter certainly is not, if you are looking for a manicured garden then look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for a profusion of colour and texture, venture in!

Once the home of Christopher Lloyd the gardens surround a beautiful house. To the side of the house is a sunken garden which enveloped all who entered in. This then led into the wall garden, which had a greater profusion of colour, which was assisted by the use of many pots around the edges. Small picket fences were dotted around the garden and made good structural features.

One of the most colourful areas was the long border to the rear of the house. Here the tall phlox would provide a beautiful scent in the early evening.

The topiary section of the garden looked somewhat overgrown by a grass undergrowth, in the spring this area had supported meadow flowers and is not cut until the autumn to maximize plant species. The high garden was a challenge to negotiate, but again provided many thoughts related to planting and colour combinations. I think this garden would be interesting to see again in the spring.      

Janet Faulkner

Nymans - Wall
                  Garden Summer Borders

  Monday 29th July 2013

Off early this morning with 3 gardens to visit, the first being Nymans Garden, a NT managed property, the ancestral home of the Messel family who originated from Germany.

The house itself had been reduced in size following a fire in 1948 leaving the remains standing, but the gardens surrounding it contained exotic plants, a pinetum, followed along one pathway through a lime tree walk and a contemplative seating area with views of the wild flower meadow and beyond.    

The main area of colour at this time of year was from the stunning herbaceous border, which continued through the walled garden containing summer borders.

A sunken garden, surrounded by grasses, was complimented by a bed featuring South African plants and a newly formed rock garden and sheltered croquet lawn. The circular tour of the garden continued through a wisteria pergola and back to the entrance, passing the rose garden. Altogether a very tranquil and peaceful spot enjoyed by all.

We called at Rose Cottage, Hadlow Down, Sussex, the private home of Heather and Ken Mines for a very short visit. The 2/3rd acre previously neglected area, had been created by the owners over 19 years, into an interesting garden for all seasons with lots of now well-established trees and shrubs with under-planting and many old rose varieties.

The upper garden contained a well-stocked vegetable garden and poly-tunnel, exuberant planting in shaded and raised beds then going around the house along a gravel area to the lower lawned garden, with an ornamental water tank. Integrated into the design were various sculptures and carvings.

A secluded cottage and garden overlooking an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where a lot of thought had gone into its design and presentation.

Rose Cottage -
                  Back garden

Perch Hill Farm
                  - Sarah Raven's Vegetable & Flower Garden

After a circuitous journey we arrived in the late afternoon at Perch Hill Farm. Sarah Raven, writer, journalist and flower arranger, with husband Adam Nicholson, also a writer and grandson of Vita Sackville-West of Sissinghurst, had transformed this 90 acre ex-dairy farm into a home and school using organic home produce for courses & demonstrations. Before looking round, we had an interesting talk from Sarah, who explained the purpose and function of the gardens.

Flowers for cutting were in abundance, along with an excellent variety of vegetables, many seeds of which were trialed before selling online. The two purely ornamental Oast House gardens at the rear of the farm buildings were again full of a wonderful mix of colour and structure. A willow coppice had been grown over the years with branches used extensively to separate dedicated areas.

We enjoyed visiting three very different gardens on a beautiful day. 

Pat Whalley

  Tuesday, 30th July, 2013

We awoke this morning with gently falling rain, but, seeing that this was the last day and we had been blessed with three lovely sunny days previously, no-one was feeling down hearted. By 9.30 am we were on our way to Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire. The journey took approximately 2 hours but as always our delightful tour manager, Sara Hunter, kept us well informed and entertained.

Arriving a little after 11.30 am the majority went to the cafe in the gardens and had refreshments, by which time the rain was easing off and soon we were able to explore Waterperry in the sunshine. What a wonderful experience and I am only sorry that I cannot adequately describe all there was to be seen.

                  Gardens - Formal Garden 'Lamp of Wisdom' statue

Just a few that really touched me such as the children’s garden. To see the sunflowers reminded me of younger days when we had competitions to see who could grow the tallest sunflower. We would have a struggle to match the ones here. What a place too for hide and seek with lots of openings from the lovely gardens many opening up to statues and other fascinating artwork. Someone mentioned that it would be ideal for assignations but I won’t mention who.

Perch Hill Farm - Sarah Raven
                  with Phil and Pat

I have never seen so big a variety of shrubs and to see mature apples on trees forming an alleyway and so close to the ground.

One special tree was the 100-year-old orange tree in its own quarters with lovely Seville oranges on the tree, but more for marmalade than for eating. The gardener there spoke to us at length about the history and background of the tree, which we really enjoyed, and then he talked at length about pruning apple trees. That in itself was worthwhile.

There was so much more to see and do but the coach was due to leave at 3 o’clock. One more thing worth mentioning, our driver, a young woman Michelle. That must be a first for me and I must be careful what I say about women drivers after that because she was excellent.

I could go on much longer to talk about the kindness and friendliness of our party, the time and trouble in preparation, the quiz and all the lovely smiling faces. As Sara Hunter said, “We must be good because there was sunshine all around us even when a little rain fell”.    
Ron Gent