The Moosbach Gardener goes down under

I’m on my way to Australia for the whole of February and I couldn’t be more pleased. Why am I pleased? Well, for starters we’ve had snow at home for 4 weeks and I’m fed up with it but more importantly I get to see my cousin Chris and my lovely Aunt Trin.

Long overdue visit

I forget but it has been at least 15 years since I saw my aunt which is a shame because not only if she a wonderfully kind human being but she is also very funny.

First leg of the journey is over

I flew from Frankfurt to Incheon in South Korea which was a very pleasant experience and as I write this I am having a 6 hour break in the airport lounge. This is a wonderful airport and it is clear to see that great effort has been put into its design.

So, what is so good about Incheon airport?

The airport is massive, not only in length but in height and breadth as well. It is full of natural light. Like most airports it has huge windows overlooking the airport as you would expect but it also has very high ceilings and the ceiling of the atriums are made of glass allowing more natural light in. They grow real plants and trees and it transforms the airport experience, what a nice change from plastic, metal and artificial light. They also have huge pots full of flowering orchids along the main walkways. It really adds a touch of class and all of these plants and trees, that’s got to be good for air quality right?

Can you name the first plant? I’m signing off now but you can expect more from me once I’m in Australia and have visited some gardens.

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Question. Can A Gardener Ever Live in The Moment?

Thoughts pondered in the house whilst snow covers the garden.

It is the 3rd of January, the garden has a light dusting of snow and everything is frozen solid. Instead of thinking that it is nice that nothing needs doing in the garden I am sowing Delphinium and lupin seeds and arranging delivery of an obscene number of David Austin roses.  The gardener in me refuses to accept that this is the dormant season, instead I must be looking forward and planning for what is happening garden-wise in March, April, May and June. This ridiculous behaviour got me thinking, am I always like this?  I am afraid we all know the answer, it is a resounding “Yes” from our panel of judges. To garden is a relentless (yet enjoyable) vocation, a painter knows that when he has completed his masterpiece that it is perfection and will remain unchanged.  The painter can allow his work to be admired by those of a discerning nature without worrying that the colours will fade or that additional colours will appear like magic whilst his back is turned.  Maybe this is the reason that gardeners are always looking forward, always planning what comes next.

Gardening books really do not help!

I love gardening books, I love them like the vicar of Dibley loves chocolate.  I add at least 6 books a year to my collection of must have gardening books, eventually we will need to build an extension to the house to store them and it is not a small house, we have 6 bedrooms.  For me, they are my best friends and my worst enemy. A friend kindly gave me the book “Gardens of the Lake District” for Christmas by Tim Longville.  It is a great book featuring some wonderful gardens, I just wish it did not have such wonderful photographs.  They make me think of new garden projects to add to my list of garden projects that I haven’t even started yet.  I am seriously thinking about banning all gardening books from my life, along with gardening programmes (yes even you Monty Don!) and visiting gardens may have to become a punishable activity. Why? you may ask. Well the answer is really quite simple, gardening folks are really very nice people, jealousy is a rare trait amongst gardeners but when we see something wonderful in somebody elses garden we are automatically thinking about how we can adapt that to make it work in our own gardens. This combined with the task of maintaining what we already have is no mean feat, it is a full-time job and for many gardeners who already have jobs it is a huge commitment.  However, us gardeners will attempt the impossible and somehow find a way.

Taking time out to enjoy your creation is a challenge

As we already know I, like many other gardeners, am always planning ahead, thinking about what comes next so that I can try to achieve year round interest in the garden, so that when anyone visits the garden looks wonderful.  I will admit to having garden interest in the Moosbach Garden from May through to October but I fail miserably in the winter.  In the summer I have to force myself to take time-out from the gardening activities to stand and stare at the beauty of it all.  I do this mostly when I am snipping and pruning, especially when dead-heading spent rose blooms but I think a wander around the garden with a cup of tea is a suitable reward for all the hard work.  There is one golden rule though, do not make a mental list or a written one of all the things that need doing, enjoy it as it is.  Do not be your own worst critic, notice the flowers and not the weeds.

Accept praise graciously

I have the VERY annoying habit when garden visitors say to me “your garden is so beautiful” of replying, “oh it is full of weeds” or “it was at its best in June”.  Why can’t I just be gracious  and say “thank you, that is very kind of you”.  It is almost like I feel that the garden and therefore the gardener are unworthy of praise. This year I am going to try harder to just say “thank you”.

This gardener is shortly off on holiday

I am off on holiday in February to visit my lovely Aunt Trin in Australia, like me she has a good-sized garden, with flowers, fruit trees and of course chickens.  I have already made inquiries as to what needs doing in her garden (you can’t keep a good gardener under control you know) but I’m sure that we can fit in a few day trips in as well.  I will be staying south of Canberra about an hour away from the town of Orbost.  Anyone with knowledge of the area please provide suggestions.  I am sure Australia with be a horticultural challenge to me as Im used to English gardens but I am definitely going to enjoy my trip and the delights (gardening and otherwise) that Australia has to offer.

And Finally….

A picture from the south balcony, do you thinks it’s too cold for a bit of light weeding?

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I wish everyone a Happy New Year, may your gardens bloom gloriously and may your hands frequently be immersed in good soil.

 

 

Roses for 2019, some beauty to cheer up winter!

Firstly I would like to thank David Austin Roses for kindly supplying all of the following rose images and of course the roses!  We have placed our rose order for delivery at the end of March next year and there is nothing like ordering roses for next year to lift the spirit on short, dark days.  I started writing this article in November but had to delay finishing it due to work commitments and as many of you will be aware, Sir David Austin passed away on the 18th December aged 92.  It is always sad when someone passes away but Sir David Austin has left a legacy that has undoubtably made the world a more beautiful place, did you know that he created more than 200 new roses?  His work will be carried on by the Austin family and hopefully there will be a new rose named in his honour  in the near future.  If your spirits need lifting and you long for the rebirth of spring just take a look around your garden, if you are lucky you will find signs of life.  I walked around The Moosbach Garden this morning and found masses of peony and rose buds, these are the promise of glorious flowers in 2019 and it made me feel joyful.  We will be making all of the following roses available on our website as soon as they arrive from David Austin Roses in late March, until then they will show as out of stock but we are happy to take pre-orders.  We will also be sowing an array of delphinium seeds in february which will be available from around May-June.  We hope that you have all had a good Christmas and let us all look forward to a fantastic 2019.

 

Seasons are good

You hear lots of people complaining about the cold weather and the short days and for those that suffer with winter depression it is no laughing matter.  However, there is so much to be said for seasons.  I wonder if we would appreciate the beauty of flowers and our gardens if it was summer all year round?  What would there be to look forward to and how would we ever get to rest our tired gardener’s bones and muscles?

A few notes on roses

The performance of roses will vary depending upon your location, soil type and altitude.  So do not be surprised if the colour of your rose blooms are a little different  to the photographs but generally speaking they should be pretty close.  My experience with growing roses is that they need plenty of watering in the first year after they are planted. The best practice to follow is this, roses mustn’t be allowed to dry out in the first year but neither do they like their roots sat in water.  The dimensions quoted for the height and spread of roses is a guideline and given a good supply of water, feed and at least 4 hours sunshine per day they should thrive.  I’ve included some basic notes on each featured rose but you can find more detailed information on the David Austin Website. All of these roses will be available from The Moosbach Garden from April 2019.

 

Bobbie James

Bobby James (Rambler

Bobby James is a very healthy rambling rose which can grow to 11m (35 feet).  Once flowering with a very strong fragrance. Ideal for covering a fence or building with attractive hips in winter.

Etoile de Hollande Clg

Etoile De Holland (Climber)

Etoile de Holland is a beautiful red climbing rose growing to 6m (20 feet)> it is a repeat flowering rose with a strong fragrance.

Frances E. Lester

Frances E Lester (Rambler)

Frances E Lester is a Rambling rose suited to pergola’s and large buildings, it grows to 6m (20 feet) and is a once flowering rose with a strong musk fragrance.

Paul's Himalayan Musk A

Pauls Himalayan Musk (Rambler)

Probably the most famous Rambling rose available, it grows to 12m (40 feet), flowersonce per year and has a strong musk scent.  Ideal for covering a large tree or a large building.

Graham Thomas Clg Wall (Ausmas)

Graham Thomas (Climber) (Ausmas)

Graham Thomas is a vigorous upright climbing rose, it grows to 3.75m (12 feet) and is a repeat flowering rose.

Rosa 'Spirit of Freedom'

Spirit OF Freedom (Climbing) (Ausbite)

Spirit of Freedom has beautiful soft pink blooms and has a myrrh fragrance.

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Strawberry Hill (Climbing) (Ausrimini)

Strawberry Hill is abailable as a shrub rose and as a climber, we are offering the climbing variety, it grows to 3m (10 feet).  It repeat flowers and has a strong myrrh fragrance.  We have the shrub variety in our garden and it is wonderful.

Rosa 'Generous Gardener'

The Generous Gardener (Climbing) (Ausdrawn)

The Generous Gardener is a very popular climbing rose, we love it so much that we have 2 planted in our garden.  It grows to 4.5m (15 feet), it repeaat flowers, has a strong old myrrh fragrance and beautiful large hips in winter.

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Wollerton Old Hall (Climbing) (Ausblanket)

Wollerton Old Hall is a wonderful climbing rose and is another favourite in the Moosbach Garden, we have 3 planted here!  It grows yo 3.75m (12 feet), repeat flowers reaally well and has a strong myrrh fragrance. Highly recommended.

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Emily Bronte (Ausearnshaw)

Emily Bronte is a shrub rose that is very beautiful, we will be planting some next year I’m sure.  It grows to 140 x 120 cm, it has  a strong old Tea rose fragrance and repeaat flowers.

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Boscobel (Auscousin)

Boscobel has a beautiful colour, we have a number of these planted around the garden and I find that the blooms last very well in heat.  It grows to 120 x 110cm, repeat flowers well and has a strong fragrance.  Highly recommended.

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Desdemona (Auskindling)

Desdemona is simply a beautiful rose, it grows to 110 x 110cm and repeat flowers well with a strong old rose fragrance.  Highly recommended.

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Gentle Hermione (Ausrumba)

Gentle Hermione is  lovely rose, we have 3 planted and they reached 1.5m in their first year, it has beautiful blooms and repeat flowers well with a good strong fragrance.

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Gertrude Jekyll (Ausbord)

Gertrude Jekyll is probably the most fragrant of the English roses, it’s quite vigorous, we have 4 planted here and they are 2m tall. A good repeat flowering rose, plant it somewhere you pass everyday.  Must have rose, highly recommended.

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Golden Celebration (Ausgold)

Golden celebration is a good addition to any garden, wonderful scent, beautiful roses and flowers from June unil the first frosts.

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James L Austin (Auspike)

James L Austin bears large, many petalled, deep pink rosettes, each with a buton eye.It forms a neat and tidy shrub (120 x 110cm)

Jubilee Celebration (Aushunter)

Jubilee Celebration (Aushunter)

Jubilee Celebration produces large, domed, delicously fragrant blooms.  The colour is best described as coral pink.  It has a strong fruity perfume.  It is a good repeat flowerin rose (120 x 120cm).

Rosa 'Lady of Shalott'

Lady Of Shalott (Ausnyson)

The Lady of Shalott is a striking rose, with beautiful chalice-shaped blooms.  Rich orange-red buds open to chalice-shaped blooms filled loosely with orange petals (140 x 120cm).

Molineux (Ausmol) C

Molineux (Ausmal)

Bears medium-sized, neat rosette blooms, (90 x 90cm)

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Olivia Rose Austin (Ausmixture)

A favourite here in The Moosbach Garden, this is a stunningly beautiful rose that is disease resistant (120 x 110cm).

Roald Dahl Ausowlish

Roald Dahl (Ausowlish)

Another favourite here in The Moosbach Garden, also very disease resistant (110 x 110cm).

Scepter'd Isle (Ausland) A

Scepter’d Isle (Ausland)

A beautiful rose which bears numerous cupped flowers.  A strong myrrh fragrance (150 x 120cm)

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The Lady Gardener (Ausbrass)

The Lady Gardener bears large, quartered roses ach about 10cm across. (140 x 120cm).

Rosa 'Thomas A Becket'

Thomas A Beckett (Auswinston)

Thomas A Beckett is just a wonderful colour and akes a good addition to any garden (150 x 120cm)

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Brother Cadfael (Ausglobe)

Brother Cadfael is nother great rose, it has very large, peony-like blooms, with a strong old rose fragrance, (140 x 90cm).

Charles Darwin (Auspeet)

Charles Darwin (Auspeet)

Large cupped, yellow flowers with a strong delicious fragrance, (140 x 120cm).

Jude the Obscure C (Ausjo)

Jude The Obscure (Ausja)

One of our favourite roses of all time. Beautifully sunning rose with a gorgeous perfume and a very good repeaat-flowering rose,  (120 x 110cm).

Lady Emma Hamilton (Ausbrother) D

Lady Emma Hamilton (Ausbrother)

Lady Emma Hamilton has glorious blooms of tangerine-orange and aa strong fragrance, (90 x 90cm).

Rosa 'The Lark Ascending'

‘The Lark Ascending’ (Ausursula)

A tall and airy shrub with clusters of graceful, semi-double flowers (170 x 150cm).

Falstaff (Ausverse) square

Falstaff (Ausverse)

For those who love dark red roses then this is a good choice(125 x 100cm).

Clearly there are so many wondeerfful David Austin rses available that it can be hard to choose which is right for you but winter is the perfect time to research which one is perfect for your garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why nothing beats working in your own garden

I’ve been a hobby gardener for over 30 years now, goodness putting that Statement on here suddenly makes me feel old and I have come to realise that working in your own garden is a bit like wearing your favourite jumper or sleeping in your own bed. What am I going on about? Have I finally lost the plot? Well not the gardening plot at least.  I have a feeling that sanity is relative. What I mean is this, when you have created a garden, you know all its quirks, all of its bumps, you know where the perennials are planted when they can’t be seen in the depths of winter. Your garden has all the familiarity of an old friend, you knows its ways. I do garden for other people but it’s not the same, it’s like sleeping in a strange bed and you long for the familiarity of your own garden.

Gardening for other people demands restraint

I’m 50 years old and yes I know 40 is the new 30 and all that but would somebody please tell my bones and muscles. The thing with working in your own garden is that you have freedom that comes with deciding what you plant and how long you work each day, when you’ve had enough you can down tools and get yourself a nice cup of tea. Gardeners are artists, we work with colours and textures to create our masterpieces and we pour as much of ourselves into our works of art as any painter does.

We all have our own perception of what makes a glorious garden and there is no right or wrong, it’s about personal taste and the limitations of time and lifestyle.  When I’m driving through my local town and I see new houses with a postage stamp size of a garden I feel sad, I grieve for the inhabitants of the house who will be deprived of the beauty that a garden provides.

Clients often ask me how I know how to create a beautiful garden, how do I know what plants works well together.  I guess it is partly intuitive and partly comes from years of experience, I know that the current gardening me is very different to the gardening me at age 20.  I suspect my tastes have changed and the gardener in me has evolved.

The problem with designing gardens and advising clients is that you have to restrain your natural impulse to create what you love and instead design what the client will like, sometimes you have to count to 10 and bite your tongue when inside your soul is crying.

I will admit to failing slightly in this , I tend to give clients options including what I feel would work wonderfully for their garden and what I think they truly want.  In this way I am not making assumptions about what they really want, sometimes, let’s be honest the clients don’t always know what they want.  I tend to thumb through my gardening books, marking relevant pictures with post-it notes, I find that pictures help clients visualise what is possible.

The restorative powers of working in your own garden

I don’t mind working in other people’s gardens, I’m not that fussy. I really don’t mind weeding, pruning, edging the lawn and I don’t even mind the endless task of raking up leaves in the autumn.  I compartmentalise things, it’s treated as a series of tasks to be completed, a task list in my mind that gets ticked off as the day progresses. However, it is very different to working in my garden.  Working in my garden is like writing a love letter to my soul. It’s a real symbiotic experience. I feed the garden and the garden feeds my soul.  I think feeding your soul is so important.  I was once asked at a “meet and greet” session on a leadership course “what makes you happy?”, most of the people replied money, holidays, getting drunk and chocolate.  When my turn came around I answered ” bees and butterflies in my garden”, the other people looked at me like I’d been sniffing fairy dust and they asked me why and I replied “no matter how crappy my day has been, no matter what horrendous news stories bombard me about our self-destructive nature, when I go home and I work in my garden and I see bees, bumblebees and butterflies in my garden I somehow feel that everything is alright with the world.” When I immerse myself in the garden, when is see how wonderful the flowers are and what a wonder nature is, I realise how insignificant we humans are.  It is a real shame that we are stuffing up the environment, I wish we could learn to be happy with what we have, to cherish the wonder of nature and especially our garden spaces.  When I listen to the news and I hear all the nonsense, the fake news, brexit, the European Union, Russia, China and Korea I want to retreat into my safe garden. All of these people who fill the media with their nonsense and bile have, in my belief, lost touch with th wonderful planet, with their souls and with me.  I’d really like to take these people out of the mainstream for a month, take their phones away with no access to the Internet just access to gardening books and get them all working together, working on a garden together. No talking about politics, no blame culture, no spinning of facts, just working together to create something of value. Wouldn’t that be just great and no using chemicals for impressive quick fixes, you see it is the process that is important.  I know it will never happen but what if it did?

 

 

 

 

 

David Austin Roses for Spring 2019

We have so many wonderful roses to show you that I am going to have to spread them across several articles.  Why am I showing you these now, in September? Well, I am showing them to you now so that you have time to consider which ones are perfect for your garden.  So sit back, relax and enjoy.  All images courtesy of David Austin Roses Limited.

 

Jude the Obscure C (Ausjo)

Jude the Obscure (Ausjo) English Shrub Rose

 

You really will be spoilt for choice

2019 will be our second year selling David Ausin roses and we have expanded our selection of roses for sale.  For 2019 we have not only more shrub roses but also more climbing roses and a good selection of the best rambling roses.  We have a limited number of each available, however, (10-20 depending upon the variety), so it is best to get your order in quick.

Our pick of the best shrub roses for you

Rosa 'The Lark Ascending'

The Lark Ascending (Ausursula)

This rose has graceful, medium-sized,semi-double flowers of a pleasing apricot colour and are produced from the ground upwards and are held in large heads of up to 15 roses.  This rose is absolutely stunning, here in the Moosbach Garden we have a corner bed planted up with 3 of these and it looks stunning when it flowers.  In a good climate it is not unusual for this rose to reach a height of 1 3/4 metres.  My experience with this rose is that a puts up a fantastic display early on and although it does throw the occasional flower after this it should be treated as a bonus rather than be expected.

Rosa 'Scepter'd Isle'

Scepter’d Isle (Ausland)

A pretty rose bearing numerous cupped flowers with yellow stamens. The rose is a lovely light pink colour with a powerful Myrrh fragrance.  The rose has a delicacy about it that is really quite romantic in the old fashioned style of roses. Again, in the right climate this rose can grow to at least 1 1/2 metres tall.  A good repeat flowerer.

Morning Mist (Ausfire)

Morning Mist (Ausfire)

A striking variety with large single flowers in coral-pink.  One of the largest English roses forming a big bushy shrub with wonderful rose hips in Winter.  It grows to a height of about 1.8 metres.

Rosa 'Molyneux'

Molineux ((Ausmol)

This a smaller rose, (90cm x 90cm) but again given the right conditions it can acheive more height but probably suited to the front of a flower bed rather than at the back.  It is a good repeat flowerer but only with a light to medium strength fragrance.

 

Rosa 'Lady of Shalott'

Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’ (Ausnyson)

Rich orange-red buds open up to chalice shaped blooms that are filled with loosely aranged orange petals. It has a nice warm tea fragrance of a medium strength and will grow to about 1 1/2 metres in the right climate.  The perfume has tomes of apple and cloves. This rose is also available as a climber and as a standard rose.

 

Lady Emma Hamilton (Ausbrother) D

Lady Emma Hamilton (Ausbrother)

Blooms of orange and yellow paired with a strong fruity fragrance make this rose a firm favourite.  It grows to just over 1 metre tall so is probably best suited to the front of the flower bed or even in a large teracota pot on a patio.

Jude the Obscure C (Ausjo)

Jude the Obscure (Ausjo)

 

I simply adore this rose, it is just so beautiful, has a gorgeous perfume and a really good repeat flowerer.  In the right situation will grow to 1 1/2 metres or more.  This is in my top 5 favourite roses.

Jubilee Celebration (Aushunter)

Jubilee Celebration (Aushunter)

Large coral-pink flowers are held gracefuly on arching stems. It has a strong fruity fragrance with tones of lemon and raspberry.  In better climates it can grow to 1 1/2 metres.

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Emily Bronte (Ausearnshaw)

An exceptionally beautiful rose of a delicate soft pink with a strong Tea fragrance.  Can grow up to 1 1/2 metres in the right climate.  Perfume exhibits tones of lemon and grapefruit.  This rose has a strong, healthy, upright growth.

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Olivia Rose Austin (Ausmixture)

This rose is simply top-class.  It repeat flowers extremely well, is very vigorous and disease resistent and the flowers are perfection. A middle strength perfume of a fruity nature. Can easily grow to 2 metres tall in the right climate.

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Brother Cadfael (Ausglobe)

A firm favourite here in the Moosbach Garden with a filled bloom more reminiscent of a peony.  Lovely colour and repeat flowers well.  Can easily reach 1 1/2 metres in height.

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Boscobel (Auscousin)

A lovely rose with  darker pink flower reminiscent of salmon.  Can easily reach 1 1/2 metres high and repeat flowers well.  The blooms last well in full sun and heat. It has a strong Myrrh fragrance.

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Desdemona (Auskindling)

A beautiful white rose that start as peachy-pink buds, it has a strong old rose fragrance and can grow up to 1 1/2 metres.  Very, very beautiful.

So I hope that this has given you some food for thought, I haven`t included all of the roses that we have on offer for 2019 but you get the idea.  The sizes that I have quoted here are not guaranteed and do not come from David Austin roses but from my own experience.  All roses do better with lots of direct sunlight and lots of water, in colder climates you should expect less growth.  If you do not have at lease 4 hours of sunlight per day in the Summer than maybe a plant other than a rose might fare better.  I aam always happy to offer my opinion or answer any questions that you might have.

 

Great Dixter – A Garden of Wonderous Excess

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Where is Great Dixter?

Great Dixter is located  in Northiam near Rye, East Sussex, England.  It was the home of Christopher Lloyd the gardener and writer.  The garden is now under the care of the Great Dixter Charitable Trust and is open to the public.

First Impressions of the Great Dixter Garden?

I have to say that I was completely blown away by this garden, it has areas absolutely crammed so full of plants as to transport you away to a different world. The plants are big and with great height, I felt a little like the hobbits in the Lord of the Rings in a field of maize. If I had to describe Great Dixter in 3 words it would be ‘ just stunningly beautiful’.

You’d be crazy not to visit this garden

England is crammed full of fantastic gardens and Great Dixter has to be up there with the best of them.  It’s a mixed garden that has everything from a sunken garden to lushly planted herbaceous borders, wonderful vegetable gardens and wilder areas with tall grass.  My favourites were definitely the herbaceous borders but then I’m an old-fashioned gardener with a love for the classic.  The bottom line with this garden is that it has great charisma.

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The Great Dixter Sunken Garden

Pictured above is the sunken garden which is one of the first areas that you come to when viewing the garden and is right in front of the house.

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Sweet peas in the Great Dixter Cutting Garden

Sweet peas from the cutting garden.

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Area like this in a garden are extremely beautiful but they are also so essential for wildlife.  This bed alone offers a smorgersboard for bees and pollinating insects.  Flower beds like this are not, however, for those of a controlling nature, with this kind of planting scheme you have to accept that the wildness of form is part of what makes it work.  We all have different gardening styles, I’m a big fan of English Cottage Gardens, I love the unruly nature of them.  I once had a neighbour who had a fairly large garden that many people admired but it was very strictly controlled with plants exactly the same distance apart like little soldiers on parade.  It wasn’t my style of gardening at all but I could appreciate it for what it was.  For me, the secret of great gardening is creating a stunning garden that when it is finished looks like it happened by naturally.

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I adore gardens like this, the photograph above shows a yew hedge arch with a meandering path that leads to who knows where and makes the visitor wonder what treat is hidden around the next corner.  The idea of enticing the visitor onwards is what keeps this garden alive and also when the garden is full of people can maintain the illusion of solitude.

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The house is also open, you can choose between purchasing a ticket for the house and the garden or just the garden, I opted for just the garden and there was enough of interest to keep me occupied (and happy) for hours.

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The use of evergreens for hedging and for focal points is very well done at Great Dixter, the combination of neatly clipped box next to yew works very well and more so because of the different shapes.  It is possible to create a feeling of vastness is quite a small garden space and this is achieved here by the use of the much taller hedges in the distance.

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Gunnera planting creating a lush and jungle like feel around the pond.

The Great Dixter Plant Centre

Great Dixter also has a very well stocked plant centre and the staff are very knowledgable, plants are very clearly labelled and the price indicated.  The plant centre, for me, had the feeling of a head gardeners potting shed  from the Victorian period and was a real treat.  They do have a plant catalogue but I think that it is worth taking a notepad with you and making a note of all of the must have plants that you see before you forget what they are called.

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This Crocosmia is a fantastic lava red colour.  I was very tempted but sadly had to agree that the start of a 10 day holiday was not the time to be buying plants.

The Great Dixter Cafe

Great Dixter does have a cafe and although it is OK I felt that it let the garden down a little.  They do a nice selection of sandwiches, cakes, drinks and ice cream but the area that the cafe is in was messy with overflowing bins which had attracted wasps.  I think with a little TLC it could be great.  There is also a souvenir shop next to the cafe for those who like to take something home to remind them of their visit.

If you are a fan of visiting a couple of gardens in a day without too much travelling in between then you could visit Sissinghurst Castle (National Trust) and Great Dixter on the same day.  I came away from Great Dixter with my gardening Mojo fully revitalised as well as my soul.  I strongly recommend this garden that is crammed full of interesting garden rooms and ingenious ideas. For me 10 out of 10.  I visited lots of gardens in 10 days and this one was in the top three.

The Royal Horticultural Society’s Rosemoor Garden

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I’m a big fan of the Royal Horticultural Society, it does so much great work and is so proactive in engaging with people who are new to gardening.  I’ve been a member of the Society for quite a few years now and the benefits are multitudinous.

With the membership you get the magazine for free (worth the membership fee on its own) but you can also ask their gardening experts for assistance with all things plant related. The RHS has some choice gardens that you can visit and one of these is RHS Rosemoor in Devon.  I would describe RHS Rosemoor as a garden park rather than a garden as it is very large.

I didn’t have any expectations from RHS Rosemoor, we’d had a manic few days, it was boiling hot and we had spent the morning walking coastal paths.  We had decided that it was too hot to walk any more coastal paths and to be honest we were both feeling tired. Thomas suggested a trip to Rosemoor.  So, we made the hour-long trip from our holiday cottage near Bude to RHS Rosemoor.  I was really not feeling in the mood for another 3 hours walking around a garden in the heat and all I really wanted to be was sit in the shade with nothing but a nicely chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for company.  I think that sometimes life is like that, the parties that you really don’t want to go to turn out to be the best.  This turned out to be the case with RHS Rosemoor, what a fantastic place.

Now, for starters, RHS Rosemoor is a garden on a very large-scale and it is crammed full of interesting garden rooms, amazing vista’s and fantastic ideas.

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The Queen Mother’s rose garden has been in existence for 16 years and was looking stunning, as you may be aware I am a new convert to the joy of growing roses so I was particularly interested in this garden.  There wasn’t a huge variety of roses on display but they have created a wonderous display by planting enmasse.  I think that the rose garden looks beautiful especially bearing in mind the hot summer and lack of rainfall, I have to water our garden for 6 hours a day so I appreciate the mammoth task that they have at RHS Rosemoor.

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I think what makes RHS Rosemoor so great is that it has something to suit everybody’s taste and because of the scale of the garden you never feel that a gardening style has been crammed into a corner jus for the sake of it.  There are some classically designed garden styles on display in the garden like the long avenues planted with Yew hedging with a statue or tree in the distance making the garden feel like it goes on forever.

As you would expect from an organisation that advocates growing your own fruit and vegetables the orchards and vegetable gardens were fantastic and much tidier and weed free than mine.

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Although there were lots of cars and coaches in the car park RHS Rosemoor never felt crowded, partly due to the large size of the garden and this was really nice.  I am a firm believer in being able to mooch around a garden in solitude, undisturbed by masses of noisy visitors (I’m getting older and I’m entitled to be grumpy).  At no point during our visit did I feel anything but calm serenity and that makes RHS Rosemoor the perfect place to revitalise your spirit or be inspired to try new things in your garden at home.

One of the many things that inspired us on the day were the creative use of materials for creating steps, pergola’s, benches and walls.

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A great day out for all of the family, there is even a play area for children. The Cafe is nice and secluded and they don’t make a bad cup of tea!

If you would like more information on RHS Rosemoor click here.

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A day at David Austin Roses

As we sell David Austin Roses we couldn’t really visit England without spending a day there, especially when they are only a 20 min drive from my sister’s house.  The plan was to spend a few hours mooching around their gardens and then sit down for their famous Afternoon Tea.

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My main contact at David Austin roses is Becky and I had previously spoken to her on the phone explaining that I was coming over from Germany.  I was keen to meet her as we had spoken so many times and I wanted to put a face to the voice.  Unfortunately, Becky explained that the day that we would be visiting would be her first day back at work after a 2 week holiday and that she would not have much time.  On the basis of this is was expecting a 5 min meet and greet, however, Becky was very generous with her time and spent more than an hour showing us the garden and discussing the different types of roses.

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The rose garden were not in full bloom and this is to be expected at this time of year but there were enough choice specimens in bloom to make the visit a memorable one.  It was very interesting to hear about the breeding programme and how long it takes to bring a new rose to the market place and the costs involved.  I was somewhat shocked to discover that it costs about 1 million pounds to develop a new rose and that thousands of seedlings are grown and only a choice few make the cut, the rest being discarded.  I will never complain about the cost of roses ever again!

David Austin Snr is clearly a man of great vision and perseverance, having started selling roses from his kitchen table, the first rose that he created being Constance Spry, a beautiful rose that we have here in the Moosbach Garden.

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I would recommend a visit to David Austin roses if you find yourself in England and anywhere near to Shropshire.  It is fantastic to be able to see so many different roses in different planting schemes and you will come away with your head full of thoughts on how to plant roses in your own garden.

I, for one came away realising that I prune my roses back too hard and I really should let them do their ‘thing’ a bit more.  We already have planting schemes similar to the picture immediately above with low clipped box hedging containing glorious roses. However, we have planted a row of climbing and rambling roses along the edge of one of our very few flat spaces and need to erect some supports for them.  At the David Austin rose garden they have a good mixture of support structures, including pergolas, we took lots of photographs and his will be an autumn/winter job for us.  I think with the more vigorous ramblers, like Paul’s Himalayan Musk that you need either a tree for it to grow up or a sturdy pergola.  We have 4 Paul’s Himalayan Musk roses in the Moosbach Garden, with some growing up into trees whilst others will be trained over pergola’s with their clusters of sweetly scented blooms dangling down to assault the senses.

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There were also some fairly large roses growing in terracotta pots which looked absolutely magnificent and it did reaffirm my view on planting roses in pots.  Customers quite often ask me if they can grow a rose in a pot as they don’ have a garden but a terrace or balcony.  I guess this will become an increasingly asked question as property prices increase, more people live in apartments rather than houses and globally we have a larger pensioner population.  Well my view has always been that all plants do better planted in the ground where they can spread their roots and obtain water and nutrients from a wider area but you can grow plants successfully in pots but it is a little more work (but worth it).

If you want to grow roses in pots you need to make sure that it is a decent size pot with good depth, the roots need space to grow  downwards or the rose will quickly become pot bound.  I would recommend sprinkling mycorrhizal fungi on the damp roots when you plant the rose, this will extend the root system and reduce water stress in hot weather. You also need to accept that any plant that is in a pot has a limited area from which to obtain water and nutrients that it needs to grow and the only way it will get them is by you watering and feeding it. I water all of my potted roses every day and feed with David Austin rose feed more often than those planted in the ground and they perform exceptionally well.  On the subject of pots, if you can afford it can I implore you to use terracotta over plastic, plastic usage is the current ‘hot potato’ but we all have our part to play in saving the environment.  If you must use plastic then go for a good quality, robust pot that will last 10 years or more.

This year was our first year selling David Austin roses and it has been a resounding success, we stocked 15 varieties this year and from the 180 that we ordered we only have 19 left.  For next year we have ordered more, 450 to be precise and 30 varieties.

If you would like to be notified when the roses are in stock and to find out when the Moosbach Garden is open then sign up for email notifications on here, there is a link on the right hand side.

Roses to look out for next year – Tottering by gently and Vanessa Bell.

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Tottering By Gently is like an old fashioned wild rose, is stunningly beautiful and will attract bees to your garden.

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Vanessa Bell is a very beautiful new rose from David Austin and repeat flowers well.

Top performing roses from this year – Gertrude Jekyll, Boscobel, Brother Cadfael, Golden Celebration, Gentle Hermione, Roald Dahl, Jude the obscure, Scepter’d isle, Strawberry Hill, Olivia Rose Austin, the Generous Gardener and Wollerton Old Hall (climbing).

If you would like to reserve a rose please visit our website by clicking here.

 

 

 

Hidcote Manor – A National Trust dream garden

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Hidcote Manor is a famous English garden hidden down a narrow country lane near Chipping Camden in the Cotswolds.  It was created by the American, Lawrence Johnston.  The estate, comprising the house and 287 acres (116 hectares) of farmland was purchased for him by his mother, Mrs Gertrude Winthrop in 1907.  It took Lawrence Johnson some 20 years to create this garden and he collected plants from all over the world to do so. He was a keen gardener and it is evident to the visitor that this garden was created with great thought and love.  Of course, Lawrence Johnson had the benefit of a benefactor in his mother.  The garden was gifted to the National Trust in 1948 who have maintained it ever since and shared it with the world.

We visited the garden halfway through our 10 days in England and it was definitely one of the garden highlights, this is praise indeed in a Country where the plethora of stunning gardens is hard to believe.

Like many of the grand houses and gardens created in a bygone era, it is lovingly maintained by the National Trust. I cannot stress strongly enough what a fantastic organisation this is, if you are planning a garden tour in the United Kingdom I would strongly recommend taking out a membership, it will give you free access to so many wonderful properties.  For more details click here.

I would suggest arriving early in the day before the masses descend upon Hidcote Manor.  I would advocate travelling by car, (it is quite remote) with enough space for those choice plants that you cannot resist, the plant shop is very well stocked with good quality plants which can be seen in the garden and they are not too expensive.

It is entirely up to you how much time you spend in the garden but in my opinion, a garden such as this should not be rushed, allow your soul to soak up the many wonders that Hidcote Manor has to offer. I think that a minimum of half a day is required, you can break your visit by having a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the cafe.

For me Hidcote Manor is a mixture of classic garden design and quirky intimate garden rooms.  The National Trust have been very respectful of the gardens original design and much of the original paving still exists (watch your footing in these areas) along with many of the original plantings.  I’m a lover of classic, timeless garden design and Hidcote Manor has this by the sack load. There are so many beautifully designed garden rooms with  long narrow beds, back edged with superb Yew hedging leading the eye forward to a  sneak preview of another garden or a panoramic view of the cotswolds.

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Hidcote Manor is not all formal design with straight lines and neatly clipped hedges, there are wonderful herbaceous borders and intimate meandering paths, the romance of which can steal your heart.

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One of the many herbaceous borders at Hidcote, it has a good depth with interest at ground and at eye level.

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Pictured above, original paving laid down by Lawrence Johnston.

There are some grand statements in this garden, like the pond for example.  The pond is classically beautiful with an understated water feature in the middle. So often an ornamental pond like this is overwhelmed by the sheer size of the fountain but not here and Lawrence Johnston has added an enticing view across this pond to the next garden.  This is a tantilising garden window, framed by two hedges, drawing the visitor forwards to the next delight that Lawrence Johnston has in store for us.  To be honest it is these small subtle touches that really inspired me at Hidcote Manor.

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These glorious delphiniums were over 6 feet tall and the most fantastic shade of blue.  If you want to grow delphiniums like this you can buy seed from Larkspur Nursery

Delphinium seedlings are prone to damping off, so remember to cover the seed trays with vermiculite or fine grit after you have sown the seeds and do not over water them.  Once the seedlings are big enough a weekly dose of liquidised tomato feed in the water will help them to establish more leaves and a healthier crown

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The steps at the end of this herbaceous border help to define the natural end of the border and act as a focal point for the entrance to the next garden room.IMG_4367

For me this is evocative of romantic summer days, where you can sit and read undisturbed by either people or the hot summer sun.  It was pertinent when it was created and even more so today in our world of stress and over crowded spaces.  What a wonderful thought, being able to sit here alone immersed in ones thoughts or a good book.

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A perfect place for a glass of wine (white, dry and definitely not Chardonnay).  I imagine 2 ladies sat here in years gone by discussing Mr Rochester or Mr Darcy.

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I like this idea,which extends the classic design of the garden by framing the doorway with hedges, many people consider the garden an extension of the house but this flips it around and make the house an extension of he garden.  I’m not sure that entirely works but it’s a very interesting idea.

 

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For me a quintessentially English scene with statuesque trees and horses.  The clever design trick here is that the end of the garden (in the foreground) melts effortlessly in the countryside. There is, however, a wall that prevents the sheep and horses from entering the garden. You can only see the wall when you are standing on top of it, I think that this is just brilliantly clever.

As ever, we came away inspired and determined to tweak some of the features of Hidcote Manor to fit our own garden.  I use the term tweak because every garden is and should be different, just imagine if every garden looked he same, wouldn’t that make for a boring world. I also realised how blessed we were to have been able to see this garden and I thought how lucky we were that people like Lawrence Johnston, Gertrude Jekyll, Vita Sackville-West and many others had the resolve and natural ability to create such wonderful gardens.  I really value my memberships of the National Trust and the Royal Horticultural Society without whose work these wonderful places would fall into disarray and be lost forever. Now that’s a very sad thought indeed.

We are back home now in the Black Forest and my normal routine of weeding, watering and dead heading has resumed.  I say ‘normal routine’ but this is simply not true as no 2 days are ever the same when you are a gardener, however, I feel blessed that I am able to envelope myself in something as wonderful and rewarding as gardening.

My final thought is this. Gardening for me is about 2 things, committment and acceptance.  Firstly, committment because you have to commit yourself to a garden and it is an open-ended committement.  A flower bed doesn’t stay weed free and those roses will not stay looking as beautiful as the day that you bought them unless you put the time in.  Secondly, acceptance, you have to accept that things will go wrong and you just have to dust off the dirt and start again.  Once you have mastered these two concepts then you will be rewarded by thankful plants, a beautiful place to live, an abundance of wildlife and a very grateful planet.

We’ve just made our selection of David Austin roses for next year and they will be available to view on our website shortly.  Why not join our mailing list and be notified of what is happening in the Moosbach Garden.

The Moosbach Garden team wish you many happy hours gardening.