U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8b. Sunset climate zone 5

Friday, August 6, 2021

Walking Through the Garden of Don Brooks

I sincerely appreciate the gardeners who open their gardens for us to see. 
This year's NPA (Northwest Perennial Alliance) open gardens are fabulous - so different, so loved by their owners and so inspiring!
Following are some pictures from the garden of Don Brooks and Chris Syrjala (Seattle, WA)
that I was fortunate to visit.

Absolutely charming views of wisteria corner:

This is what Don says about their garden in the NPA Open Gardens directory:
"We moved here in1978 to a small house with minimal landscaping. 
The property has gone through many changes from a large veggie/fruit garden, 
to a children's garden, then perennial borders and now a collectors garden. 
Here you will find over 100 conifers, around 75 deciduous trees 
including some 60 maples as well as many companion plantings. 
We also have over 50 tons of stone, water features and other items of curiosity".

Don retired from 35 years of professional gardening and now, at last, 
has time to work in his own place and on his own pace. 
He says: "No problem that is probably 25% of what I used to do. 
Now, it's mostly about the process of being out in my own garden."

There were plenty items of curiosity as Don calls them!

One of my favorite features were these unique 'tables':




Found objects, repurposed stuff, natural materials... 
you just want to run home and create something 
from whatever you can find in your own garden and around.


More pictures. These were taken with an iPhone:

Thank you Don and Chris for giving us such a great opportunity to be amazed, surprised and inspired!

If you want to see where Don worked before retiring, watch this video:


***Copyright 2021 TatyanaS

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Revisiting Hidcote Manor Garden

I continue revisiting the best world gardens which I was able to tour in May some time ago. 
After visiting Lawrence Johnston's Jardin Serre de la Madone outside Menton, France (post is HERE), I knew that I must see his other garden, Hidcote Manor Garden in England. I did it recently, on May 12th 2015.
As it became usual for my blog, there are more pictures than words in my posts, and you know the reason - life is bigger than blogging, especially now, in May, when your own garden calls, and in my case when my two sons are almost ready to leave the nest, and you want to spend as much time with them as possible.
National Trust's Hidcote Manor Garden  information  is here.

I won't retell the history of Hidcote Manor Garden, and I am avoiding the discussion of how much the garden that we see today is actually the garden Major Johnston had in mind. I am also refraining from comparing privately owned and run-by-trusts gardens.
During my visit, I just tried to satisfy my curiosity about this famous garden, enjoy it, learn lessons  and get some ideas for my own garden.

 It's true that May is a good month for a visit. There were several tour buses, but I always could catch a moment when I was alone in one of the garden rooms.
The route. I rode a train from Paddington station in London to Honeybourne, then took a taxi to the garden (as recommended online, I reserved it in advance). I did the way back from the Garden to Honeybourne by foot, but I don't recommend it to you - it's 4,8 miles.
The pictures are not in any particular order, although I tried to follow room after room. It wasn't always possible, since I'd move to another room if I saw nobody there.


Several excerpts I used are from the book which I found last year at the estate sale, The National Trust Guide to England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (1984).
"The essence of Hidcote is the combination of formal design with seemingly haphazard or informal planting which is the archetype of a whole style of 20-century gardens.
It is the highly sophisticated creation of an expert plantsman with an architect's ability to create a structure of interesting spaces; likewise, it has been an inspiration to modern gardeners, exerting in our time a profound influence.
Hidcote may be said to have been founded on the tenets of Gertrude Jekyll but it is also based on the traditional cottage garden, where plants of interest and beauty have been grown through several centuries little affected by changing fashions in grander places."

"Apart from the pleasant 17th- century house, a few walls, a cedar and a clump of big beeches, there was nothing at Hidcote when Major Lawrence Johnston acquired it.
The garden was created from 1905 onward. Though covering eleven acres, and high on the Coltswolds, it is sheltered from cold winds.
The soil, mainly lime, has acid pockets, as is common in the district, and this acidity was increased by importing suitable soil and rotted sawdust."

Old Garden

I love the plants supports that I find in English gardens. 
They are made from natural materials and blend wonderfully with plants.

Maple Garden

White Garden wasn't in its best shape.

The Circle

I don't know about other months, but in May, the Red Borders with tulips and crimson foliage were looking good. I read that the performers of hot months include dahlia, salvia (microphylla, elegans, fulgens), canna (indica, King Humbert), verbena Lawrence Johnston, cordyline.


Winter Border

Stilt Garden  which, they say, reflects Lawrence Johnston's love to France

Alpine Terrace

Pillar Garden. Yews

Upper Stream Garden, Lower Stream Garden and Central Stream Garden 
got me overwhelmed, in a good sense.  If to choose one word to describe them, it probably will be lushness.

Fuchsia garden

"Wall of hedges - the latter of many kinds, one being a mixture or 'tapestry' hedge - enclose numerous separate gardens, each one different in design from the next, each planted with a careful selection of shrubs and plants to provide flower from spring to autumn, and each with a distinctive colour scheme.
The main vista moves from quiet colours by the house, enters a rondpoint of lilacs and hellebores, then passes between borders of reddish-tinted and copper foliage up steps to a pair of gazebos, and on, flanked by hornbeam hedges on stems and by beds of grasses, to the great gates which give a view of the open countryside.
A series of such changes and surprises is provided throughout the garden, not the least being the change from the formal enclosures near the house to the informal stream garden, which has its own colour schemes, and so up slopes to the 'Westonbirt' area, also entirely informal."
( The Nationsl Trust Guide to England, Wales,  and Nothern Ireland (1984).

Long Walk between the hedges of hornbeam toward the horizon

I had my snack on this bench. Nobody was around, and the views of countryside could take my breath away.

Bathing pool

Italian Shelter

Poppy Garden

'Plant only the best forms of any plant' (Lawrence Johnston)

Mrs. Winthrop's Garden was created with a Mediterranean theme.

Lawrence Johnston and Frank Adams in Mrs. Winthrop's garden. 1927.
Image from  National trust website
The gardener is buried next to his mother in Mickleton, a village not far from Hidcote Manor Garden..
I passed Mickleton  on my way to the train station, but unfortunately wasn't able to stop this time.

Pine Garden and Lily Pond

Plant House

Beech Allee

The following are random pictures from different parts of the garden

What I liked the most about the garden and what I'd love to use in my own garden: lush abundant borders, close planting (no place for weeds!), using ordinary, familiar plants in striking color combinations, spaces where an eye can relax after observing overfull areas, using evergreens in borders, mixing shrubs with perennials and using topiary.
Last year, I visited Sissinghurst. This year, it was Hidcote.
Which one did I like more?
Let's not compare....
I hope you enjoyed the pictures.
Originally posted  HERE

***Copyright 2021 TatyanaS

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