Notes from a Head Gardener ~ Chapter 6 ~ On the importance of garden visits 12/9/2017

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Making the time to visit gardens a few times a year is of vital importance to a professional gardener. It is not always easy to fit it in, especially during the busiest gardening months but, even if you leave your garden kicking and screaming and in the foulest of moods, I can guarantee that most garden visits will replace time lost with inspiration and bring a fresh eye to the gardens in your charge. 

Last month I was very fortunate to be invited along on a jolly down to Devon to visit two mindblowingly different gardens. We spent the morning at Little Ash Bungalow ~ a paradise of rare, unusual and excitingly new plants, this garden is the site of a well loved collection belonging to Helen Brown. Helen is truly passionate about collecting all the plants that excite her. This could result in a garden that lacks flow but simple landscaping and a particular liking for purple foliage conspire to lead the eye around the garden. Of course, anyone visiting with any plant knowledge will be drawn towards the exciting plants. I was particularly enamoured of the woodland area towards the bottom of the garden. It is wonderfully damp down there. Perfect for many ferns, gorgeous Roscoeas……

…..and fabulous, hardy, shade loving Begonias! I have finally met a Begonia that I could get along with…….

Helen was welcoming and generous with her extensive knowledge. The horticultural world is populated with such people. The willingness to share is heartening and motivating. It is why I know that I will always be a part of the horticultural world and I will strive to retain as much knowledge as I possibly can so that I, in turn, can pass it on. 

The iridescent species Dahlia merckii glowing in the garden at Little Ash Bungalow. 

The second garden that we visited deserves its very own blogpost but here is a sneaky taster of the spectacle that we were treated to after lunch…..

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