Sunday, 2 May 2010

NGS Garden Visit, Windy Hall, Windermere

Across the road and up a long drive, Windy Hall looks like it started life as a typical Cumbrian longhouse. Here the planting was far more natural and it is obvious that the owners, who are both botanical experts, have spent 30 years lavishing care and attention on their land.

Some excellent planting and wonderful features, how often do you find your own quarry in the back garden?

Main problem for me - # 3 below (and the aviary - don't like caged birds).

There were a couple of key messages brought home which made the visits so worthwhile.

1. Hardy perennials do well here. Ones I am particularly fond of - geranium, dicentra, solanum, alchemelia mollis, lupins, etc all doing extremely well

2. I don't want 3 or 4 acres (unless 80% of it is grazed pasture with a few fruit trees!)

3. Regardless of how many times garden designers tell us it is essential to create rooms and not be able to see the whole garden, this does not always work. Sure, divide the space up visually to create distinct areas in some places but dividing it up so much that you end up claustrophobic, not sure whereabouts you are and unable to see further than a few feet is a bit too much for me.

As is usually the case with these visits, had a pleasant time chatting to total strangers about plants, dogs and life in general. Didn't manage to bump into the owners of either garden which is a shame, I like to try to just say "thank you" to these folk. I know people go to a tremendous amount of trouble to get their gardens tidy for the NGS openings and I really appreciate the opportunity to look around these private spaces.

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