|Bright stems of dogwood and willow are a winter staple, but the winter garden at Hodsock Priory trumps |
theirs by having a graceful willow tree. It forms a beacon which beckons the visitor onward along the path.
I hate February - it's tagged onto the end of a long winter and prevents my birthday from happening. I decided a different approach was needed this year and embarked on a mini-break to scoot around a number of gardens. My slough of despond improved no end.
I've always enjoyed seeing gardens in winter, but previously I've only managed the odd one or two per year. Seeing several over a few days was inspirational and gave me much food for thought. VP Gardens is currently exhibiting a wonderful shade of brown on the whole and the gardens I visited amply demonstrated it needn't be so.
For a pleasing winter garden, its hardscaping must work even harder than usual. I have the pictured low garden wall already, but this simple cobble contrast in the pathway is an idea I can take from its grander surroundings and make my own. I'd like to have that snuggly warm greenhouse too.
|The same scene at The National Botanic Garden of Wales - summer 2013 is on the left and winter 2015 on the right.|
It shows how effective the hardscaping and curving paths are in the design. Get rid of that picnic table though!
It was my first visit to Aberglasney and it won't be the last. Naomi and I had the privilege of the delightful Head Gardener, Joseph Atkin as our guide. Bright stems and bark are the usual recommendations for winter, but we were both struck by the pictured Belgian Fence which makes the trained apples (on one side) and pears (on the other) look fabulous.
Aberglasney reminded me the surrounding landscape has an increased importance in winter and it of course has the glorious beauty of west Wales to use. I have a more enclosed feel to my garden, but I'm glad I can 'borrow' the trees from the public land next door. They help to make my small urban garden seem much larger.
|Easton Walled Gardens (left) and Hodsock Priory demonstrate the value of repetition in different ways|
Finally, here's my colour notebook from my trip. I see I need to put one together for bark and texture too - the perfect excuse for another tour this time next year.
|Garrya elliptica at Hodsock Priory - a shrub I'd dismissed previously as a bit gloomy, but my trip made me think again|
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Other winter garden visits include:
- Last week's Snowdrops on Tour - featuring Easton Walled Gardens, Hodsock Priory, Lacock Abbey and the National Botanic Garden of Wales
- I also found a rather striking woodland garden bench at Aberglasney last week
- Dunham Massey's winter garden (November 2009)
- Illuminating Lacock Abbey (January 2014) and their Frozen World sculptures (February 2015)
- Snowdrops at Painswick Rococco Garden (February 2010)
- Special Plants (January 2010)
- The Courts (February 2010) and Wassail (January 2011)
- West Dean Gardens (February 2011)