Friday, 30 March 2012

Hestercombe Revisited

It's been a handful of years since I last visited Hestercombe gardens, and it was great to revisit last weekend to see how the garden is progressing. I last time I visited was in 2008 with my family, and it poured with rain, yet this time couldn't have been more different. The sun shone bright across the Vale of Taunton and we were nice and early, ensuring plenty of time for a good stroll around the landscape garden before lunch, followed by the formal gardens in the afternoon. 

Hestercombe, Gary Webb

Around the time of my last visit, I'd been living less than a mile away

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Grounds Update March 26 2012

It has been a hectic but enjoyable start to the year with many winter tasks still in need of completion, and many spring tasks shouting for attention. There's a great buzz about Compton Verney too as the new exhibitions are prepared for our official opening on 31 March, all staff being extra active as a result. The grounds team are no exception with heaps of jobs to attack and an exhilarating feeling that the flood gates will open on Saturday come-what-may! On a lighter note, the naturalised flowers throughout the grounds have been blossoming their little heads off since the first week in January, and it's really rewarding to think that from Saturday, our members and visitors will be able to benefit and enjoy the fruits of our labours - fingers crossed this lovely weather continues! 
Speaking of weather, this mild, summer like weather at the moment is really pushing growth throughout
  the grounds, with grass shooting, buds bursting and weed seeds germinating all over the place! The lawns are trimming up nicely however, the plants are mostly mulched and happy, and the gardening year is off to a flying start.
Amongst the winter jobs was the removal and dispatch of last years art works from the grounds,

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Delightful Plantations - The Ice House Coppice at Compton Verney

At Compton Verney in south Warwickshire I have responsibility for a small area of ornamental woodland. This green wood was manipulated into something like its current form from 1768 by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and his teams of workers, when they developed a previous formal layout of the grounds to one more natural. The mansion, central at that time to a much larger estate is a Georgian masterpiece that was saved from dereliction in 1993 by the Peter Moores Foundation. Compton Verney House, once restored and enlarged became home not only to significant a art collection, but also developed to stage prominent art exhibitions.

Compton Verney October 2011, Gary Webb
 The focus for this post is a woodland garden called the Ice House Coppice. On the surface the coppice, but for a winding and recently laid footpath, appears to be a simple and possibly quite bland wooded area. Even after major efforts over recent years to clear superfluous growth and replant with shrubs and trees, the area has yet to regain the character I believe it once had. It is well laid out now and mostly in hand (there's always work remaining with a garden,) but the coppice as an area does require some refining and can at present appear simplistic. For me however, it offers much scope with regard to planting and creativity in general. It gives an opportunity to experiment and show how great an 'informal' eighteenth century garden could be - I believe that on the whole they aren't accepted and can be miss understood as gardens.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Open Door at Canons Ashby Garden

Visiting Canons Ashby for the first time in February 2012, we enjoyed a refreshing couple of hours in the Saturday sunshine. This was more of a familiarisation trip than a full visit, as our toddler isn't currently in the most helpful age bracket for visiting historic houses - the words 'bull' and 'China shop' come to mind! We'll hopefully be returning soon where a more comprehensive visit can be enjoyed, including a tour of the intriguing house and gardens as they shoot forth.

Door Open to Canons Ashby Garden.

My focus as ever is biased towards

Friday, 2 March 2012

Tree Follower - Plane Update

I embarked on my ‘tree following’ year at the beginning of February with a few less than acceptable images. It has only been time, or the lack of it, that has stopped me from adding another more acceptable post. Finally however, I've made it down to the tree and spent a little more time taking photographs in an attempt to show this tree as it appears to me. For those of you new to tree following, especially if you’d like to take part yourself; more information can be found on the link to Lucy Corrander’s blog at the bottom of this post, where Lucy has kindly offered to promote tree following and post links about your tree following too.

Compton Verney, London Plane, Platanus × acerifolia.
Becoming a tree follower, to give a basic explanation, is where you select a tree that is special to you and quite simply blog about it once or more often. Anyone with an appreciation