Monday, 17 December 2012

Autumn absence.

Well well well, It has been a while since I last graced this blog with my presence, and for good reason! Whilst 'work' may have been incredibly busy, this wasn't in itself the reason for my absence. It was mostly down to a block on the ability to add any further images with posts - totally out of my hands.

Hopefully the problem has been sorted now, so I thought I'd add at least one image to test the water so to speak. As time presents, I shall embark on my yearly reviews, maybe spread across a few posts, which shall cover some of the many events I've experienced throughout my gardening year.

I've really missed writing about the autumn in particular - always a very special time for gardens and landscape. I hope you're all getting along well, and, all being well, i'll be back before long with a new more engaging post.

Best wishes,


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Plane Tree - Autumn 2012

The London Plane I have been ‘following’ during 2012 has been busy dropping its leaves like confetti at a wedding. The grounds surrounding are moving gently towards winter yet with an appreciation for autumn; I keep a tidy plot. I do however embrace the colour’s of autumn, and leave the leaves as long as I can. The Plane tree moreover treats us not only to an aerial display of colour, but a mottled carpet too; we just need a string quartet and some dancing fauns and the picture would be complete!

I feel the autumn colour is almost better from this plane tree when the leaves are sprinkled across the ground, with much colour variation across each huge palmate leaf - although naturally; the tree still looks stunning from across the lake.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Lake Netting at Compton Verney

I thought a quick update was in order to cover one of our more interesting days, one entailing a lake netting activity. The exercise was led by Andrew Ellis, a locally based consultant who toiled away with his assistants on a misty October day, whilst gallery visitors passed by on their way to see the recently launched Tapestry exhibition.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Grounds Update October 17th 2012

We are slipping down gently into winter in the grounds at Compton Verney, and gradually the lawn mowing is giving way to cleaning and tidying, and my thoughts are focusing towards preparing for the next growing season. The months have passed swiftly by yet again, and although water has featured in abundance, we have had our share of favourable weather; indeed the temperatures have been much preferable for outdoor working. The autumn colours are creeping into the trees slowly, but with a great deal of mature conifer cover, it is to the shrubs and young trees that I turn for my dazzling autumn top up of colour.


The future of the grounds at Compton Verney will, with a bit more planning, a large splodge of hard work, and a good measure of luck; be

Friday, 28 September 2012

Bats at Dunster Castle

While I'm on the subject of bats at the moment, I thought I'd dig out one of my (our) old clips of bats at Dunster Castle. But a handful of years ago, we were caught in the spotlight whilst working at Dunster Castle, a National Trust property in West Somerset.
Lesser Horseshoe bats had taken up residency, and were the subject of much attention, especially after the fitting of an infra-red camera that caught excellent footage of a mother bat helping her pup to spread its wings in practise. Dunster has subsequently produced a brilliant bat focused area in the crypt at the castle, with an excellent interactive interpretation area. It was great to visit recently and we were really impressed with the team achievement.
It was great to be there at the outset, and we enjoyed many fascinating bat evenings walking down through the lushly planted garden terraces and river garden, when we were guaranteed sightings of bats in the fair weather months - which was most of the year to be honest! I thought I'd grimace a little in order to take a quick breeze down memory lane and add a little to the exposure of Dunster's amazing bats - do visit if you get the chance!
The link to the clip shows the humble if effective origins of the bat story at Dunster, and whilst I still cringe to see footage of me in particular, it is good to see how far Dunster has progressed with its bat interpretation since then, and it's also nice to see my good lady too, who tells it like it is (with a big National Trust SMILE of course!!)

Even better coverage of Dunster Castle's bats on the NT Webpage.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Bats at Compton Verney

A short clip recorded during a busy night at Compton Verney in September 2012. A survey trying to record Nathusius' Pipistrelle, which might have been present in the area. Pipistrelles were flying all evening, and Daubentons cruised effortlessly above the lake, but we await the full analysis of the recordings to see if the Nathusius was around.
Just over a week later, on the repeat survey, a Lesser Horseshoe flapped past whilst we paused in a dense part of the lakeside shrubbery.
Short Youtube Video with Pipistrelle bats just visible. Click Here!
Bats currently known to visit Compton Verney:


Monday, 24 September 2012

Rousham Park and Garden

Rousham has been on my garden visiting agenda for some while but recently, having focused on the garden for a study assignment, it suddenly rose up the rankings. I finally managed the visit on a warm September Saturday, but whilst the early arrival made for a peaceful garden walk, the glaring September sunshine made photography something of a challenge - please forgive the heavily edited pictures.
Rousham Park House and Garden more than lived up to expectation. I had a fascinating and engaging visit, and for much of the time there was but a handful of other guests around. The arrival was something of an oddity, as no visitor centre, shop or cafĂ© existed; just a ticket machine to cover garden entry. The efficiency of the robot like visitor welcome didn’t quite make up for the lack of a human contact, but it was quick, and the more I thought on this simplified welcome, the more I warmed to it.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Berry Bite - Guelder Rose

Guelder Rose, or Viburnum opulus to some of us, is shining its bright red berries just now and lifting an otherwise plain shrubbery in the process. We’ve a number of these shrubs around five to seven years old, which are establishing nicely within a woodland garden setting historically known as the Ice House Coppice, at Compton Verney, Warwickshire.
Although relatively new in its restoration, the coppice offers many hollows between mature Oak and Yew trees, where the Guelder rose plants are growing and merging together slowly, along with Laurustinus, PortugalLaurel, and a sprinkling of other shrubs. The plantings are all in an effort to recreate something of the atmosphere that once would have permeated throughout this stunning 18th century landscape garden, and also

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Plane Tree - Summer 2012

It has been a while since my last Tree Following/London Plane Update, June to be precise, but finally I've knuckled down to update those interested as to the progress of 'my' Plane tree over the season. In the process of preparing for this post, I've also stumbled across another Plane Tree Follower, and along with links to my updates during this season, I'll also post a link to his very informative 'Experiments with Plants' blog. Furthermore, don't forget to also visit the Loose and Leafy Blog if you'd like to get involved with tree following - it's never too late!
 I’m only going to mention the ‘weather’ word once, but suffice to say that it’s having a very unusual effect on our plants. At least (in opposition to last year) there's been plenty of moisture to go around and keep things green! Plants have survived, as they do, but the knock-on effect has been varied, with some tree species near me being slower to come into leaf earlier in the year and other plants growing very lush and green – the ‘wild’ lawn areas in particular have grown tall, plants having been flattened by the rain only to grow tall again – I’m not sure how you’ve found it near you?
I’ve been ‘following’ a London Plane at Compton Verney, Warwickshire, to track its growth and progress during a full season. The growing year started quite slowly due to the start stop start stop nature of the climate, and, as trees do, the Plane seemed to hold back somewhat until calmer conditions arrived. As the season got going however, the fluctuating temperatures, light and moisture levels made for a slightly scruffy canopy to the tree, with browning leaves refusing to drop from amongst the otherwise vivid green foliage. As with all seasons, plants will do their thing, and a few brown leaves here and there only add to the story. The tree otherwise sports its full crown, and looks majestic in its beautiful setting. 
As far as ‘following’ my tree this year is concerned, the general busy nature of the season has ensured I too often pass my London Plane, giving it little attention but to check for any damaged branches. Tardy I know, but there's so much landscape that surrounds the tree that it’s difficult to breathe it all in sometimes! In the main, the tree continues to nestle perfectly in a corner between the main approach, an ornamental bridge, and lake. Its branches dip down on one side to touch the water, and cause a timely break in the view as new arrivals travel along the approach to the mansion.
My eye for London Plane trees has become sharply tuned now, and I seem to be spotting them most everywhere I go these days. I guess they are widely planted in urban settings due to their tolerance to almost everything a city can throw at them, and also in parks due to their size and elegance, but either way - they are everywhere! I've added a few images at the bottom of this post of a few I have managed to snap whilst out and about, but if you're a London Plane Lover and would like to share your images, do get in touch and I'd be happy to add them to a future post.
 Well that brings this little Plane update almost to a close. The weather over the coming weeks will challenge the tree, so it will be interesting to see how it copes. I'll keep a close eye on how things go, and will be sure to record its progress photographically. Don't forget to get in touch if you've clicked any nice London Plane trees during your travels, I'd love to see and share them!
My previous Plane Tree Posts:
February 2012 Tree Follower.
March 2012 Tree Follower - Plane Update.
April 2012 Plane Tree on the Move.
May 2012 Plane Tree is Go!
June 2012 Plane Trees in London.

Experiments with Plants Blog. b-a-g, London.
Loose and Leafy/Tree Following Blog. Lucy Corrander links to many Tree Followers.



Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Penshaw Monument

An opportune moment occurred over the Bank Holiday for me to visit Penshaw Monument, located in the North East of England near Houghton-le-Spring and Washington. The monument, or folly, should be more accurately referred to as 'The Earl of Durham's Monument', as it was built in 1844 and dedicated to John George Lambton, the first Earl of Durham.

Built atop of Penshaw Hill, the monument is still, at 20m high said to be a half size replica of the Temple of Hephaestus, in Athens, and is very striking with its Doric columns, built from grit stone quarried locally. It can be seen for miles around and is a prominent and well known local landmark that has been in the care of the National Trust since 1939, when it was gifted by the 5th Earl of Durham, the hill and woodland was acquired later, in 1982 with a grant from the Countryside Commission. The architects were John and Benjamin Green from Newcastle, who were also responsible for the Theatre Royal, and Grey's Monument, also in Newcastle. 

My post is mostly photographic, as I spent much of my visit trying to capture the colours and qualities of Penshaw Hill and monument, where the exposed slopes are clothed by a surprising variety of wild flora. The links will provide much more information than I aim to share here, including

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Butterfly Bite - Red Admiral

This was one of those beautiful garden sights that stopped me in my tracks.
A quick snap on a dusty mobile phone it may be, and a common butterfly many would say, but I snapped this Red Admiral a few moments ago as it paused on some Verbena bonariensis blossom. Nothing outstanding on the face of it, but with my head down in work most all the time, at such a vast place as Compton Verney to boot, it is easy to miss the finer things that are just off to one side.


Another snippet worth mentioning, is the plant it sits on - which didn't even exist last year. The Verbena was one of a number of 'historic' plants, brought in this spring to add colour and interest to an otherwise plain shrubbery. It obviously worked, as while I stretched slowly to photograph the butterfly, a hoverfly landed on my arm to watch the proceedings!


Friday, 17 August 2012

Grounds Update Aug 17th 2012

I last posted an update on the grounds activity at Compton Verney around a month ago yet so much has been happening that it feels so much longer. Time of course is at a premium for many of us, especially during the school summer holidays but work has continued one way or the other, and we've tried our best as a team to slot in and around the summer visitors whilst endeavouring to keep the grounds up to scratch.

It's been quite a treat to see family groups visiting with little ones eager to explore, and it is fascinating to hear the shouts from children enjoying themselves whilst playing in such a lovely environment. The willow tunnel is proving very popular for this, sitting neatly in a sheltered clearing, and the decision to re-weave the stems a little earlier than planned has paid off, as the previously wild feature once again looks inviting and cared for. In fact, our new grounds volunteer 'Mo' wasted no time in tackling the pruning and weaving for us on her first two visits, so all credit goes to Mo for a lovely job!


As with the last update, the story is much the same regarding the weather - which continues to toy with us. On the whole I think we've acclimatised to the weathers peculiar behaviour quite well, but there has been the odd day here and there when the weather has misbehaved so badly that I might have muttered the odd negative word here and there... we've utilised the technique of laughing in its face however, and have carried on regardless! Every now and again though, the clouds part, the blue sky opens up, and the welcome sun bursts through to lift our spirits and remind us that we are in fact at the thick end of summer!

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Artistic Strimmer

Green waterproof leggings, splattered up the front with dry grass are stepped into. Comfy safety boots, similarly coated with a film of dark green crud are also pulled into place and laced up tight. As if preparing for battle, a matching jacket is zipped and velcro fastened right up to the neck. The preparations are not yet complete, for gloves, extra thick ‘anti-vibration’ ones at that are scooped up from the worktop before making for the machinery store.

A sleeping strimmer leans against the wall, its chunky engine anchoring the machine to one spot, while the business end, the spinning bit, leans securely against the corner of the shed; also covered in dry grass. In days of old it might have been the twisted shaft of a scythe, with glinting blade, eager to tear through the sward during a day’s honest toil. Today however, this fossil fuelled consumer of grass leads the way, and its scope for work knows no bounds, all it asks is a regular drink of oiled fuel; stinky, pink, oiled and smoke producing petroleum.

Its harness slips overhead, and with straps adjusted is now ready to support the weighty machine, but before heading out, a spare length of cord is tucked into the pocket, and the handy pen-knife touched for reassurance. One last thing; the orange helmet with grubby visor is lifted from its hook, and once more slots securely in place, sure to protect against sunshine and showers, along with bullet like particles of shredded grass, and slug.

Wrapped up and harnessed up, with strimmer hovering silently, I stomp out in search of the next patch of fresh and ‘untidy’ grass. Clicking my ear defenders into place, my worldly sounds become muffled, and my focus for a while is the audible thud and the bone jarring shock of my boots clumping on the drive. Pausing to set the machine on the ground, the choke is switched, the rubber bulb squished and, with a single pull of the starter cord, the machine rumbles into life – for just a second. With choke switched off, a second pull fires it up again. ‘We’ are now in business.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Wellesbourne Allotments - NGS Open Day 2012

An excuse to post a few happy pictures arose last weekend with a quick visit to Wellesbourne Allotments, which welcomed visitors in support of the National Garden Scheme. I've been intrigued by the allotments, having driven by for a couple of years or so, and this was a great opportunity to explore and have a look beyond the fence. Of course, it was also an excellent opportunity for my boy to explore too, I therefore played catch up for much of our visit, to ensure he didn't stomp across anyones finely prepared plot!
I must say, all visitors were made to feel very welcome, and it was a nice surprise to find a scarecrow competition staged, which offered something of interest for my little one, who otherwise would have ran the site in under twenty minutes! Therefore, following our search for a favourite scarecrow, I am able to bring you this rapid post with our top scarecrow choices...

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Grounds Update July 11th 2012

This grounds update could easily have been titled 'Take Cover', which would mostly describe our attitude towards the weather during the run up to Flight weekend at Compton Verney; an opening event for the new exhibition called Flight and the Artistic Imagination. The rain has on the whole been kind to us, other locations in the country having more cause for serious complaint. The days of poor light and soggy ground are however, at least from a gardening perspective - starting to get quite depressing now. Boo-hoo I cry, but I shall leave my complaining there, for now!

This time last year, in the drought, we as a team strived to keep up with the watering of new plants. Tank after tank of water was ferried out to the park to keep trees alive. The ultra slow growing, if parched grass, did at least allow us irrigation time. This year however - total reversal. Irrigation is a distant memory, all new plants have established rapidly, and what of grass growth? Well, I've never known a year like it!

OK, the above photo isn't a normal patch of grass (we aren't that far behind with mowing!) In fact it's a section of the west lawn that we grow on for wildflowers. Some of this area was sacrificed in the run up to Flight weekend, with the aim of turning it into a model aircraft runway,
however, a dry weather quick flail and rake, turned into a wet weather slog fought, ultimately, over five days (with much other work thrown in to the mix of course.) The flail made a valiant effort,

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Grounds Update June 27th 2012

What crazy weather we are having! After a long and dry summer in 2011, when grass growth slowed enough to help us get on with other jobs, such as watering the new tree planting, it has swung in the other direction this season - being so wet we can hardly keep up with the growth rate. The warmth is there for sure, in fact it's been quite humid, but again this aids the growth rate, keeping us on our toes. The positives are there to be seen however, with lovely lush foliage and healthy growth throughout the grounds; the new plantings especially have settled in really nicely.

Time to wander through the grounds with a decent camera is always at a premium at this time of year, and photographs, those on this post included, are most often grabbed on my mobile whilst passing - please forgive those that are less than great! There are so many instances when I want to seize the moment with an image: an insect; a perfect bloom; shimmering reflections under the arch of a bridge - so many I could do with a camera hanging permanently around my neck. I'm so lucky, if a little frustrated, to be able to work in such a beautiful environment where photo opportunities come along often - at least to me! Anyhow, here are a few snaps with something of an update

Adopt a Tree at Compton Verney
Painterly skies reach from ridge to ridge at Compton Verney, and on this day the sun beams down on the lush East Park meadow. Now enjoying its second year with a mown path, the park remains a haven for flora and fauna, and allows visitors a peaceful circular walk where seldom seen views to the mansion can be enjoyed, and where the scale of the designed landscape can be really appreciated. Unsurprisingly, I have little time out there, but when the opportunity arises, the insect buzz amongst the sward is very special and worth the effort. The flowers shine out from sward as though they've been sprinkled like confetti, and the butterflies flutter-by from grassy blades to brassy flowers. The meadow will remain lush for a couple more weeks yet, so if you are visiting do take a trip around the meadow, it is well worth the effort.  

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Garden Museum

It’s been on my agenda to visit the Garden Museum in London for so long that I’d almost given up hope of making it, last Friday however the opportunity finally arose and I feel bound therefore to log my visit here for posterity! I arrived following a walk along the Thames from Westminster in the pouring rain, which tried hard to spoil that well known view across the river to the Palace. I was so glad to arrive, feeling a little damp around the edges, and was thankful for the entrance vestibule which allowed me space to peel off my waterproofs before heading into museum to dry out.  

Garden Museum-London-2012-Gary Webb.

Friday, 15 June 2012


Designed landscapes offer a relaxation zone where people can, if they choose drift into serenity, to imagine an old world where Mother Nature once ruled the land and ordinary folk toiled to make the best of it. Many people I suspect access our countryside and estates wishing only to savour the here and now, whilst also remaining respectful of conservation - wishing not to see it changed or spoilt in any way - and rightfully so. When looking at these landscapes however, time has in many cases fudged the boundaries between carefully designed and planted areas, and those that have received later layers of planting, be they natural or introduced. Either way, the elements generally merge to form a complete and seemingly natural landscape, and are embraced and enjoyed by one and all.

Compton Verney-October 2011-Gary Webb.
The unfortunate fact is that for many people, it is hard to distinguish what was originally meant to be in a landscape, how it was supposed to look, and what indeed has crept in to confuse the scene. In some cases they were destined to be transient, with their current form now entirely appropriate for modern use. Unfortunately however, with passing time it’s all too easy for the amazing efforts of earlier land owners and workers to go totally unnoticed, and therefore un-appreciated, sadly.
Stowe-Gothic Temple Gary Webb.
Despite this, a good deal of our naturalistic landscape parks and gardens are managed beautifully, retaining an age old appearance whilst still allowing modern visitors to enjoy them in a variety of ways; from country walks to rock concerts. However, how many of those current visitors really know how precious these landscapes are, really know how they have evolved, or even try to understand how they work? Surely there must be lots of people who might be encouraged to visit, and therefore support the maintenance of a landscape if we could work out which method of engagement suited them most, be it on hard copy, with audio trails, through events or through mobile technology.

Maybe people need landscapes to be more transparent, or to have the stories of these places teased out more effectively – and which landscape doesn’t have a story or three! By interpreting our artistically designed landscapes more effectively, somehow showing how they were conceived, paid for, looked after and so on, then surely we'll make them more interesting – just think of the rise in interest for visitors who enjoy the ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour, where they learn what it was like for the servants, the gardeners and labourers in the wood-yard etc.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Plane Trees in London

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has brought my focus once again to our capital, and with so much of the Jubilee activity being in the open air, my attention has frequently drifted to the trees that have been evident, most notably along Pall Mall. I thought it worthwhile therefore to bring together a few links for anyone who might also have wondered about those very trees that brought a touch of English greenery to the overall scene.
The trees I am referring to are, as far as I could trace - London Plane trees. They are planted widely throughout the capital, and indeed give the tree its commonly known name. Even allowing for their considerable size, they are to be found growing in cities all around the world, for a number of useful reasons. Along with an aesthetically pleasing mottled trunk, and a tolerance to pollarding, the maple shaped foliage is practical in its shade provision, and also in its resistance to pollution. Those shown on our screens over the last few days of the jubilee were most notable along Pall Mall, which was lined also with thousands of cheering people, focusing attention towards the Victoria Memorial to the front of Buckingham Palace.
The London Plane, or Platanus x acerifolia, is detailed nicely on the links below, which I feel give a reasonable introduction to the tree in its London setting. I've also taken the opportunity to add a link to my blog, where you'll find more information on a Plane Tree that I am currently 'following'. In 'Gardening Ways', I'll explain all about the Plane tree growing a little closer to home at Compton Verney, in Warwickshire. 

I hope you find the links useful and interesting:

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Stowe - Gardening on the grandest scale

Unexpected, revealing and surprising are words that came to mind during a visit yesterday to Stowe Garden, a major National Trust property in Buckinghamshire. The aim of the day was to meet the head gardener and his team, and also to learn about The New Inn, the latest and greatest building restoration project to be completed there in time for spring 2012.
New Inn-National Trust-Stowe-Gary Webb.
I was completely thrown on arrival, as the location for the New Inn is a long way from the old visitor reception, but the less grand country lane approach was much more fitting and entirely appropriate – as I was about to learn. This new visitor reception, as it happened had an interesting history, being a venue created in the early eighteenth century by Lord Cobham to welcome Stowe’s earliest, if less wealthy garden visitors. Back in the day, invited guests, those with aristocratic connections of course, would likely have stopped in the impressive mansion by invitation. The New Inn, now as I’d assume then is convivial and welcoming, and I felt worth highlighting in this blog.

Thursday, 24 May 2012


Red Campion, Silene dioica at Compton Verney. Gary Webb

At Compton Verney, and featured on the grounds notice at the moment is a nice pale pink form of campion, which, whilst I'm referring to it as a red campion, is most likely a cross with white campion, silene latifolia. I find it’s a lovely little addition throughout the wilder areas, and it particularly enjoys living across the banks of the Ice House Coppice, near the lakeside where it out competes the grass that is now growing deep and lush. It’s quite a tough, if delicate looking plant that does well amongst the nettles and docks, and would I’d have thought make a lovely border plant.
It came into flower around mid-May, and will be good for a good few weeks yet, then a few weeks more until it is allowed to seed freely. The deeply forked petals are pretty and stand out subtly amongst the greens of the semi-shaded areas. It is known to attract bumblebees, butterflies and moths.
There’s some good basic information  to be found about Campion – just click on BBC Plantfinder
Along with further information on the useful PlantLife website.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Plane Tree is GO!

The buds have well and truly burst now, and whilst time is short, (it always is at this time of year,) I wanted to pop a little post out to show the tree following folk the progress with my tree so far. The leaves have finally pushed out of those pointed buds, and are unfolding and making the most of our long awaited spring sunshine, the photo below was taken on 15th May 2012.

London Plane at Compton Verney. Gary Webb.
It seems an age since the buds first started to open, and it will be a while yet before the leaves  grow to their full potential, around 25cm their widest. It will eventually form the usual maple-like leaf shape, and as you can see they also possess fine hairs which are shed and said to irritate asthma sufferers.
I'll be passing by the tree often over the coming weeks, and will be watching closely to see the development, bringing the odd photo to record the changes. Do check the link below , where Lucy has posted links to other tree followers, who are following an array of wonderful trees - all unique with a story to tell - the photographs are brilliant - much better than my quickly taken one below! 

Acer x acerifolia at Compton Verney. Gary Webb

Friday, 11 May 2012

Grounds Update May 11th 2012

Out in the grounds and gardens at Compton Verney, time has been in very short supply of late, and an update/record of some kind, for the progress in the grounds is long overdue. As ever, the main subject of late has been the weather, unsurprisingly, for it controls, effects and shapes each and every one of our living days, and this spring has proved particularly challenging. With such a mild late winter and early spring, we could have been forgiven for thinking summer was underway – albeit an early one, but a downward slide into what amounts to a rainy season proved otherwise, and we are now into the last month of spring with no current sign of a let up. At the risk of sounding like just another Englishman rambling on about the weather, I think for once, it could do with a little expansion - so please forgive me!

Rainy Days at Compton Verney. Gary Webb.
Obviously we have no control of the weather, unfortunately, but even though it ultimately directs a gardener’s day, I don’t tend to worry about it or let it overly change my mood – it is what it is, and sometimes we just need to get on with it – come rain hail or shine. Naturally, I pay each weather forecast close attention, as it can influence the type of work we can effectively tackle, consequently the forecast can be vital for work planning, especially where that work involves soil; be it digging or travelling over. Soil, or more correctly, the level of moisture held within, is the governing factor, and the deciding factor as always in a garden is the speed at which the surface drains.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Charlecote Park 2012

My association with Charlecote Park spans just a handful of years, yet my connection and fascination is as deep rooted as if I'd grown up there. Very odd indeed, for I only ever venture past the picturesque park paling as a visitor. The National Trust hold an array of properties, many being estates that were initially built around the needs of one family or another; each has its own identity and is unique in some way. Charlecote is of course unique, just like the rest - if that makes sense?!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Plane tree on the move

Most every weekday I walk past 'my' Plane tree twice a day, sometimes more often. It seems like an age ago since I first singled the tree out for following, and if you're interested in finding out what tree following is all about then do look to the links following the post. Basically, the tree is a towering London Plane, positioned centrally in a lovely English estate/parkland position, beside a pretty 18th Century bridge. What follows is my update of the tree and its progress through the season, its intricate and bold features, and the changing environment around its portly trunk.
Compton Verney London Plane. Gary Webb
We're in mid' April, and at last the buds are beginning to break. Luckily, some of the arching branches help with my close up scrutiny, having trailed their branches nicely to eye level - my eye level at least. I suppose this may seem like an all too simple comment, but when you consider the scale of the tree - a few low branches are very welcome for some close up examination! 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Garden History Society - Forum

An fascinating website, indeed an excellent organisation for all with an interest in our heritage gardens. The Garden History Society, as it states is the oldest society in the world dedicated to the conservation and study of historic designed gardens and landscapes. Do follow the link to my short post in the forum, and explore all the GHS website and organisation has to offer.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Hestercombe - Additional Photography

Hestercombe - The Edwardian GardenHestercombe - Chinese GateHestercombe Gardens - MagnoliaHestercombe GardensHestercombe Garden OrangeryHestercombe Orangery
Hestercombe GardenHestercombe - Edwardian GardenHestercombe Landscape GardenHestercombe Turkish TentHestercombe Turkish TentHestercombe Gardens
Hestercombe Gothic AlcoveHestercombe Garden ArchaeologyHestercombe Box PondHestercombe GardenHestercombe Landscape GardenLutyens and Jekyll

A set of photographs from a Spring 2012 visit to Hestercombe Gardens in Somerset. They are to add further paint to my earlier attempt to describe the gardens in the following blog post: