Ulting Wick: drier than Jerusalem? One of the Secret Gardens of East Anglia
|Thanks to Lou for letting me use her tweeted selfie :)|
When an owner says their garden is 'drier than Jerusalem', the last thing you expect is to arrive in a downpour of biblical proportions. That's what happened when I visited Ulting Wick recently. 'Third time lucky' I thought when I made the arrangements, as I've tried and failed to visit the past 2 years. That thought was almost my downfall. Almost.
The rain was coming down so heavily when I arrived I could hardly see out of the car window and I was deafened by the noise. Bright flashes of lightning made the courtyard stand out in stark relief for a second before fading again into the murk. I was giggling so hard at the irony, I struggled to get into my rain gear. Also which of the buildings I'd glimpsed should I run to for shelter?
Luckily owner Philippa Burough quickly came to my rescue and guided me to the potting shed where she and new head gardener Lou Nicholls had taken shelter from the storm. It was a great opportunity for Lou to take a selfie of us before we all settled down for a good catch up and a gossip.
Thankfully the storm soon abated leaving a moody sky in its wake whilst it rumbled away across the Essex countryside. It left a newly washed garden for me to squelch around with Philippa as my guide. I knew from her tweets an exotic garden was a treat in store for me and it certainly didn't disappoint. Philippa isn't afraid to use colour and her combination of plants and form were sublime. Moody Ricinus with pink dahlias or Echinacea are highlights stuck in my memory.
After a whistle stop tour, I was left to noodle around on my own for as long as I liked - heavenly! It's clear that Philippa and Lou work hard to keep this garden in tippity top condition.
Who says vegetable gardens can't look good? Not I. I loved the idea of growing cucurbits up wigwam poles as well as the more usual beans.
Careful thought has been put into how plants can be contrasted with the listed barns on the property and used along the pathways linking different parts of the garden.
Black, white and greenery make for a quieter area of the garden...
... though colour and lusciousness are never far away.
There are woodland and water areas too, though Philippa told me it's unusual to find so much water here at this time of the year. It's been a topsy turvy season at Ulting Wick in 2017, but then most years seem to be these days don't they?
Two of my favourite Adirondack chairs invite the visitor to tarry awhile. I resisted because there was so much I wanted to photograph.
|Philippa & Lou frequently tweet from Ulting Wick. I was delighted they joined #mygardenrightnow last week|
I hope you've enjoyed your garden tour and a huge thanks to Philippa and Lou for making my visit so enjoyable. NB Ulting Wick opens for the NGS on Sunday (10th) and also on September 15th, 2-5pm. See Philippa's entry on the NGS website for more details.
I'll leave you with a final selection of images from the garden and news of a grand book.
|More features and flowers which caught my eye - there's a Friday Bench too :)|
A new book on the blog
Secret Gardens of East Anglia as Philippa's garden is one of the 22 featured.
It's the next best thing to being there and you'll also get to see the garden at tulip time. 10,000 bulbs are on order ready for planting out in November. I feel tired just typing that*.
If you're planning a trip to East Anglia, this book provides excellent guidance on some special places to visit in addition to those that are better known.
If you can't get to East Anglia but love reading about special gardens, then this is also the book for you.
It's the latest in a series of fine regional garden books published by Francis Lincoln. Barbara Segall has woven a web of magical words around photographer Marcus Harpur's wonderful images. Within the pages you'll get to know the garden owners, their thoughts behind the garden they've made, plus see lots of beautiful views taken in more than one season.
It'll make a great gift for any garden lover.
* = Update April 2018: Andrew visited for Philippa's NGS opening and waxed lyrical (literally) over those 10,000 tulips.
Years ago I never dreamt I would count him as a friend. I used to open The English Garden and think, 'Oh good there's a garden with Marcus's photos'.
Barbara's also a good friend whose generous spirit and company I've enjoyed on many occasions. Her recent blog post gives a warm insight into her friendship with Marcus, as well as the process of garden book making. She also reminds us of the importance of taking time to celebrate life's milestones
Putting poignancy and friendship to one side, I would still love this book.