Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Warming Winter Photograph's - No.2

‘Warming Winter Photographs,’ are a set of posts I intended to add to my blog during this festive period, from the comfort of my Warwickshire home (Burst water pipes & leaking roof aside...) I do realise, that some viewers aren't enduring freezing conditions, indeed, the weather here has improved much in the last two days & the thaw continues - only the hardiest of snowmen surviving locally!
This is the second in my short series of blog posts & shows photo's taken at various gardens over the last few years. Have a guess which gardens are featured - & not all are local to Warwick UK... I enjoy shooting gardens where I work & on visits, mostly for personal record, & I hope you enjoy having a look through.


Thursday, 23 December 2010

Warming Winter Photograph's - No.1

‘Warming Winter Photographs,’ is a set of posts I hope to add to my blog during this festive period, featuring some of my favourite photo's. I’m not only a frustrated garden writer it seems, but also a frustrated garden photographer! I enjoy shooting gardens where I work & on visits, mostly for personal record. However, with the invention of personal blogs, I can finally post my own photo's & thoughts to the world at large - well, to a few interested parties anyhow!

The danger is, once I sit at the keyboard to add a post – I just can’t stop typing. This obviously makes for wordy articles which can be glossed over all too easily. Therefore, with a few days away from Compton Verney over the Christmas period, I thought I’d try & add some of my photographs, & post some warming photographs from sunnier times. I hope you enjoy – do let me know your thoughts, questions, & if you have suggestions for local gardens worth visiting with my camera.

For this first post, I’ve added a few photographs from a garden sculpture exhibition we visited back in the summer. Russell’s Quarry Garden & Avondale Flower Gardens, Baginton, Coventry, was the location pictured for an exhibition titled ‘Outside Art’ , (Link to website describing events up to & including 2010.) Please take a look at the photo's, a short description of the visit follows.

It was a very warm day, with shade from the numerous ornamental trees being particularly welcome. In fact, photography was proving quite challenging due to glare from the bright sunshine; not to mention all the visitors who were studying most exhibits closely. The display items were set very well within the quarry garden, using all the available nooks, crannies, rock faces & still pools to best advantage. Some stunning pieces were on show, & even though they were available for purchase, they were positioned very well to allow each piece its own space to shine; in such a beautiful situation.

The garden there is very special, with paths that meander high up above the quarry, & also deep down & over bridges that cross reflective & secluded pools. A wide variety of shrubs & herbaceous plants provide ground cover in very natural proportions, & a lovely selection of trees have matured to give the garden an establish feel. I dread to think of the overall distance of the path network, but it is one of those gardens, where you know you have to cover every inch of footpath so that you don’t miss anything! Fortunately, the garden is blessed with numerous benches, all placed with lovely & quite different views. I would add that the garden was very well tended, especially so considering the abundance of planting, & size of garden – no space was wasted at all. (Yes, I do apologise for being a neat freak – but I am a professional to the end!)

I shall halt my typing now….. but if you've made it this far through the article - I'd love to hear your constructive feedback?! 
Enjoy your gardening!   (Make that snow clearing.....)

p.s. You can find me on Twitter, just search or click on:  GaryWebb1

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Ice House project Frozen!

Following a few questions about the Ice House restoration project at Compton Verney, where I work as grounds manager, I thought I'd try to get at least a few mobile photographs on here as an update.

I initially covered the start of the project in my blog post on Sat 2nd Oct 2010, but the rate of progress & speedy passage of time has prevented me from posting many more pictures since. The brick 'dome' has been repaired, along with the entrance tunnel which also sports a restored arched ceiling. All repair work has been completed using appropriate lime based mortar mixes - no mean feet considering the temperatures of late!
Hefty Oak roof timbers have been fitted to the structure, featuring a number of complex joints that were hand cut, on site, in the freezing tempeatures of the last few weeks. A sturdy Oak floor has also been fitted inside the house to replicate an original floor that would have supported the stored ice. This was particularly funny, as for a good period of time, throughout the snowy period, I would frequently pass by & see no sign of work activity but for a small generator rumbling away outside an ice house shrouded with polythene & hessian sheeting. When I eventually popped in to see how things were going, the guys were working away, inside & down at the very bottom of the ice house installing the timber floor - with the generator being used to power the lights - rabbits in a cosy winter burrow comes to mind!

Anyway, the building work has ceased at the moment, & has been replaced by a thatching team who have the challenge of cladding the new roof structure with its outer coat. I must say, I'm impressed with the rate of progress & the interest that this portion of work is creating. The thatching reaches almost to ground level, & its therefore much easier to see the work at close quarters - & for a none thatcher - the techniques employed are amazing. I hope the photo's below show the complexity of the work.

As the grounds are now closed for the winter, if you are particularly interested in seeing a particular aspect of the thatching, let me know & I may be able to add a photo.

For now however, here a few pictures to keep us going, enjoy!

Work begins to build up the thatch layers.

All the very best, enjoy your thatching!

Winter Pics Compton Verney

The Coach House building at Compton Verney, previously the stables.

Frosts spangled Beech tree.
No, Not the Eden Project! A winter fence at
Compton Verney!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Freeze Blog Brrrrr......!

Just a quick update while I'm on the PC....

Returned to Compton Verney today after a few days off, & whilst the snow has gone, the big freeze is on....

No sympathy required - I quite enjoy the challenge really, but I thought you'd like a few pictures of the frosty grounds. Enjoy!

Ice House restoration continues!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Winter Wonderland

Snow, Ice, & more Snow!

Well, what a huge change in the weather! The leaf clearing (exciting….not) was not quite finalised before snow time arrived last weekend, & so for a while, all work changes.

The grounds have changed a huge amount over the last week or so, due mostly to the dramatic change in the weather – more than to any miraculous effort by my good self! Hoar frosts have lit up the trees, powdered snow is carpeting the woodland garden area, (or ice house coppice, as it is known,) & the lakes are solid with ice - with a dusting of snow of course! Its harsh weather for grounds/garden visiting, but it is such a magical place in the wintery weather.

Agreed, most ‘public’ gardens are closed at this time of year, other than for special events. The growth of blogging & tweeting by gardeners however, especially with photographs, is really opening up these special places to us all. ‘What a worthy cause’ I hear you say. Go on, take a photo of a garden, your garden even, & post it!

Ah well, a couple of days off for me now, & maybe all the snow will be gone by the time I return to work. Until then, enjoy the snow!

Follow me on Twitter! - @GaryWebb1

(Apologies for the poor photo quality, latest mobile takes poor photo's. Thats my excuse anyway!)