Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Autumn at Compton Verney

I am lucky indeed to be working in a situation where the odd image snapped here and there can help both in recording the progress and passing seasons, and also in the promotion of such a special place to all who care to venture beyond the ha-ha. Please take a few moments to watch this short video that I've assembled in my spare time which brings together some of my images from Autumn 2013, with a cooling track courtesy of Underwood/Jamendo.com.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Autumn Leaves

Looking north across the west lawn at Compton Verney, with nearby Beech tree leaves catching the autumn afternoon light. Farther away, the 18thC Cedar of Lebanon stands proud in the middle of the lawn. One of many beautiful late season views to be had at my place...
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Croome Park Revisited!

A set of before-and-after photographs showing the rate of progress and achievement during restoration and rebirth of the National Trust's Croome Park, Worcestershire; an early and significant Eighteenth Century Lancelot 'Capability' Brown landscape.

The Grotto approach...
Grotto approach - structure fenced during archaeology/repair, initial planting in.

Friday, 8 November 2013

A November Larch

I just have to stand back and admire the colour of this young Larch tree as it turns a buttery golden yellow -early November 2013. Larix decidua
As young trees they give a fresh green look to spring gardens, and light up the autumn garden before the foliage falls. This example is approximately ten years old and growing away nicely in the Ice House Coppice at Compton Verney, it looks particularly good next to the darker foliage of the mature Yew trees that are sprinkled throughout the wood.  I hope it has a long, disease free future ahead of it! 


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Ruined Garden Building

Just a few images showing the sad remains of a classical garden building...To those 'in-the-know'; is it beyond restoration? I'm particularly interested in the carved markings - if anyone can throw light on their meaning..? A total of 8 images on this post.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Compton Verney's Lost Garden

Using a photocopy of an estate plan of Compton Verney from first half of the 18th Century, by James Fish, I've roughly blocked out some of the. obvious features of this early design. Just a brief exercise to see how the garden could have looked prior to 'Capability' Brown's alterations from 1768.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Dan Pearson lecture at Garden Museum 2013

I thought I'd pop a few words out in response to an inspiring lecture I attended last night at the Garden Museum, given by a prominent garden and landscape designer, who is also featured in the soon-to-end exhibition there titled Green Fuse: the work of Dan Pearson. The lecture itself brought focus to a handful of garden design projects he has worked on, along with references to Dan's inspiration and experience.


Monday, 30 September 2013

A garden visit to Dyrham Park

Thought I'd enter a post for the RHS Gardening Blogs competition, although true to type, there's a glitch that won't let me install the button correctly on my main page! I've therefore included RHS images that at least direct interested folk to the RHS blog competition page - click for more information and to enter too!

To begin...

Last week we found ourselves ‘down south’ in Swindon for a business trip, and a lunchtime finish left us with a rare free afternoon. As the weather was fine, quite warm in fact, a visit to a nearby garden seemed too good to miss. A quick scan of the nearby garden properties threw National Trust Dyrham Park into view, but a half hours drive away. I knew from past visits that a neat garden was tucked away behind the mansion, so it was a good bet that we’d have the chance to wander amongst some late season colour.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Garden Calendar August 20

The first in a new style of 'Gardening Ways' blog updates, in the form of diary entries. This first post attempts to set the garden scene in my rented home garden, which with the best of intentions remains temporary, with minimal investment in permanent planting. Pots are the order of the day, with thin border planting hugging the boundary walls and fences as though afraid of the open space.

It is compact, but it's our space and we love it :)

A home garden...

Seven of the twelve

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Charlecote Mill

We recently made a family visit to one of the frequent open days at Charlecote Mill, Warwickshire; a place that we pass frequently, always meaning to visit. It's a lovely place that's set back from the twisty lane between Hampton Lucy and Charlecote, and nestles into low-lying farmland where the River Avon flows.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Ghost Trees of Warwickshire

Ever heard of ghost trees? Well here's a quickie post to let you know of a fascinating project about some of the ghost trees of Warwickshire. My place in the scheme was minor to say the least, but brought me into contact with artists Michele Carruthers and Richard Cresswell, who were particularly interested in three ghost trees that reside in a field at Compton Verney for their Ghost Tree project.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

BBC Gardeners World Live - The Wild Side!

National Exhibition Centre, June 2013

OK, so what stood out from the crowd this year? I’d have to say that for me, Wild Flower Planting stole the show, by a country mile. I don't know if I'm alone in this, but as time goes by I'm looking for a simpler, more honest gardening style and wildflowers in a garden situation just seem the right way to go. This wasn’t the first garden show to feature planting on the wild side of course, they've been used to great effect elsewhere, but wildflowers were out at BBC Gardeners World in various gardens swishing about in the breeze – and what a breath of fresh air they bring.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Butterfly Farm at BBC Gardeners World Live

Visiting a garden show can, I promise, have its surprising moments. This week BBC Gardeners World Live threw more than a couple at me, and I thought I'd post a tiny video clip to mark the occasion - but of course; you really had to be there!

I walked towards an exhibition stand that was promoting a visitor attraction not many miles away from my home, a place called the Butterfly Farm, Stratford-Upon-Avon. The exhibit featured what appeared to be the inner 'net' section of a tent, which was filled with butterflies that were most at home. A fascinating addition to the Butterfly Farm stand, and one that was very popular. I know the video clip doesn't do the feature justice, but do have a look, and do visit the Farm if you can.

Butterfly Farm - Stratford-Upon-Avon.
e:mail: sales@butterflyfarm.co.uk

Saturday, 8 June 2013

BBC Gardeners World Live

Well the 2013 BBC Gardeners World Live show is revving up just around the corner, and I for one can't wait! In the area the weekly sunny day count has risen, and the forecast is good for another sizzling show full of botanical beauty. Indeed, as the title proudly states, the Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show Birmingham returns, and as I type I'm also keeping tabs on the construction of the @The_RHS Plant Village - it's our own Chelsea folks!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

A Rainy Ice House Coppice

I'm getting the video bug! Was out yesterday in the rain checking out a spot for a bird hide (a temporary one,) for a forthcoming grounds focused activity weekend at Compton Verney. It was raining steadily and as I paused to study the scale of the job ahead, I tuned into the bird song and the drip dripping of rain through the canopy of the overhead horse chestnut. 

The video clip isn't the greatest, having been recorded on a mobile camera, but I hope it goes a little way to showing how special some working moments can be. There was I out in the dreary weather but experiencing nature in all its wonder. The bird song along was worth the few moments I could spare to stop and record. I hope it comes across on the recording, but don't fret - I'm shaping up to get more and better quality video clips over the coming months - watch this space!

Sunday, 26 May 2013


Lush, strappy and ferny foliage were layered under cover of towering palm trees. Rush roofing gave shade to comfy cane chairs on rough-sawn decking. Between these, gravel crunched underfoot, the sound of drums and incense permeated the air and water splashed down a glistening rock-face. Should all the above have not raised a grain of your interest, I could add African animals, a dusty Land Rover and a bar serving good food and long drinks...

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A Volunteer Blogger?

If you've found your way to here, you'll maybe have picked up that this website features articles by yours truly on gardening and related subjects. This post however aims to promote my first article on another website; as a volunteer blogger for the Heritage Open Days team. I hope my involvement with the team can provide a wider platform to spread positive messages about gardens; particularly ones that open for Heritage Open Days.

My personal contribution will be spread over twelve months, which includes articles during the build up to the open days on 12th to 15th September 2013, and afterwards. I hope to bring a heritage garden focus to the team, with articles aimed at attracting new visitors to the open days, and also for organisers who are thinking of opening their gardens in support of Heritage Open Days.

The outcome, as far as my involvement goes will hopefully be a little extra promotion for heritage garden properties, which may indeed trigger repeat visits. To this end I ask a favour or two:

  • Look out for my posts on the Heritage Open Days blog - every 'read' counts.
  • Make a comment - each one helps us guage interest and support for heritage gardens.
  • Please use the share tabs at the bottom of article - share the post and support heritage gardens!
I shall tweet and blog here whenever an article goes live, but do please follow the link to read my very first article; and remember to make a comment!

'Gardens - To visit or not to visit'

p.s. Look out for up-coming posts such as "Selling heritage gardens", and "Plants and People".


Sunday, 12 May 2013

Lord Leycester Hospital and The Master's Garden

I just have to strike another post out while the iron is hot following an excellent visit to the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick, just a stones throw from the well known Warwick Castle. The reason for this Saturday visit was a first visit to a ‘Tweet-up’ of all things, more accurately represented as the #LLHtweetup!


Friday, 26 April 2013

HOD Blogger

After being a volunteer manager for longer than I can remember, and not having learnt from experience, I'm yet again jumping in with both feet, but this time to become a volunteer for the Heritage Open Days blogging team no less! So what is that all about some of you may be thinking?!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Plane Tree - Winter 2012/2013

I've been 'following' a London Plane tree for a year now, and this post is the last of the series. It is one of Compton Verney's most prominent trees, and is perfectly located - centrally in the grounds. I've posted a number of articles which recorded the changes through the seasons, and what a year we've had!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Edible Garden Show

March is generally a busy time of year for gardeners, and especially so for those who grow their own food. There is one garden show however that could be worth finding the time for - the edible garden show. Today, Sunday, was the only day that I had available, so we made the visit a family occasion and took along our toddler for some vegetable spotting. The day started with sleet; cold, miserable and steady sleet, but I was determined to give this show a try. Not only did I want to see for myself how this particular show was put together, but also, in a very small way I wanted to show my support for this 'grow-your-own' style gardening event.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

2012 - Grounds at Compton Verney Part Two

DSC02503Flail Mowing. GWebb. July 2012Spitfire Measuring. GWebb. July 2012The finished Spitfire. GWebb. July 2012.The big rake-off! G.Webb. July 2012Courtyard at Compton Verney. GWebb. July 2012
Model aircraft at Compton Verney. GWebb. July 2012.Globe Artichoke at Compton Verney. GWebb. 2012Approach - Compton Verney. GWebb. July 2012.Buddleja globosa at Compton Verney. GWebb. 2012Leaky July. GWebb. 2012.Box trimming. GWebb. July 2012.
Willow Tunnel at Compton Verney. GWebb. 2012.Viburnum lantana at Compton Verney. GWebb. 2012.DSC01295DSC01302Experimental planting! GWebb. 2012Viburnam opulus at Compton Verney. GWebb. 2012.
Honeysuckle. GWebb. 2012.Thujopsis dolobrata. GWebb. Aug 2012.Parking. GWebb. Aug 2012.Red Admiral. GWebb. Aug 2012.Shrubberies at Compton Verney. GWebb Sept 2012.Dipsacus seed head. GWebb. Sept 2012.
Click here to view images on Flickr: Compton Verney 2012,
Part two of my two part yearly review is but a quick whizz through the months of July to December in the grounds at Compton Verney. Snapped while out and about in the grounds, some are composed, yet most were grabbed on the mobile. They open up such a small window on a world I love to be in, a world full of colour, texture and substance. Needless to say it's been a very busy and challenging year, but, the last thing you need right now is another blow-by-blow account, so I'll stick with my plan of photographs and descriptions. This time, having experienced some issues uploading last time, I’ve switched and chosen Flickr as a way to display the images. Let’s see if it works - Enjoy!

Part One can be found via this link

Monday, 21 January 2013

Compton Verney in Winter


Compton Verney in Winter, a set on Flickr.

Although presently closed to the public for the winter season - work continues in preparation for the coming season at Compton Verney. Over the weekend however, a good helping of snow has fallen causing more than a few problems for staff who needed to get on!

Walking the grounds this morning revealed varied trees, unified by a weighty sprinkling of sparkly snow, and the lawns appeared smoother than ever, broken only by tracks of invisible rabbits. A lone Buzzard swooshed between the iced Wellingtonia’s, a cuckoo darted from shrub to shrub, and a woodpecker hammered on the Oaks in the park Otherwise it was eerily quiet, but for the odd car, and snow plough, in the distance. Luckily, I caught sight of a muntjac in the Forest School area of the woodland, but he was too quick for my camera yet again…

There’s a host of snowy garden photographs on the web just now, but if Compton Verney is special to you, I hope these ‘behind-the-scenes’ shots give a new perspective on this special landscape garden. It is lovely at any time and especially so on the few days each year when we are blessed with snow.

Enjoy the snow - I’ll be there shoveling it up tomorrow!