There was a good turn out of members and visitors to our January meeting. This month, when we invite people who live in Biddenham to talk about their gardens, is always very popular. We were pleased also to welcome some new members and we hope you enjoy the series of talks we have planned for 2023
The first garden we visited was that of Marysia and Vince. They have a medium sized garden with three very large, long established ash trees. To begin with these had to be pruned and shaped and once conifers had been removed from their garden they were left with a blank canvas, rectangular in shape. Marysia said that she read Alan Titchmarsh’s book on “How to Design a Garden” made a long list of plants she would like to feature and then just got on with it. She and Vince restored a bench round one of the ash trees, installed a new green house and then started work on a stumpery in one area of the garden. Twenty seven tons of top soil were delivered as the garden is predominantly clay and impossible to dig and the whole garden is interspersed with the roots of the trees. Ash trees are late to come into leaf and so there is sunshine for a good part of the year but once the leaf canopy is flourishing the whole garden is in shade.
Marysia’s idea was to have as many perennial plants as possible plus self seeding annuals. She grows poppies as filler plants. Many of the borders were originally very narrow and these have now been widened and filled with 43 different varieties of ferns, 52 different varieties of tulips and 72 different varieties of iris. The rectangular plot has been transformed into a really lovely garden with an abundance of cosmos, roses, salvias and dahlias.
Next up were Kathryn and Norman. They have lived in their house for seven years and for the last four/five years have been rescuing their garden from the ravages of building work. Norman had to hire a digger to hack through the clay and gravel. The garden, which is east facing, was levelled and turf was laid. A series of beds were created, each having a different mood. There is a prairie like area with miscanthus, stipa tenuissima, perovskia, echinacea, verbena and sedums. There is a clematis hedge and a wild flower area where the compost bins are housed. During this summer the pink and white cosmos were a great delight and poppies abounded as the soil was turned over. Kathryn has created mood boards of favourite plants and moved potted plants around the borders until the right placement was found. There are lots of “hot” coloured plants in the garden with Bishop of Oxford dahlia being one of the favourites. The garden is wildlife and bee friendly. Norman said that they had taken as their inspiration Christopher Lloyd’s garden at Great Dixter and Beth Chatto’s dry garden. Beth Chatto’s motto was, of course, “the right plant in the right place”. Kathryn and Norman have used drought tolerant plants to good effect and the east facing aspect has provided an excellent situation for the passion flower which is now romping away over the garden wall.
Both of these gardens have presented challenges for their owners – not least the heavy clay, the tree roots, the shade and being situated in the the dry eastern part of the country. These difficulties have been overcome by the owners through trial and error and “finding the right plant for the right place”. Many thanks to our speakers for their excellent presentations which were much enjoyed.
Please join us next month on Tuesday 21st February at 7.30 pm in the Village Hall when Paul Fricker will be sharing with us some “Inspiring Gardens”. The meeting will be open to all members, new members and visitors. We look forward to seeing you then.
New members and visitors are always welcome. For more information contact:
Linda Truscott on 01234 270747