The part of the garden that I slightly grandiosely think of as the woodland area has become increasingly gloomy over the past year. All the rain in early summer promoted lots of leafy growth which meant the canopy closed overhead. I knew it was time for action when even the Japanese anemones struggled to flower despite being a plant that verges on being a weed in this garden. So, I’ve thinned out the amelanchier and cut back much of the Viburnum opulus and the Stachyrus praecox – both looked beautiful last spring, but that was at the expense of everything else – the surviving branches will provide some flowers next year, while those that were pruned will start to put on new growth.
The existing hellebores, lily of the valley, and Japanese anemones will be much happier (and more visible) now and after a top dressing with leafmould and compost and some decent rain, I am adding more plants. There include cyclamen coum, a number of ferns (mainly evergreen), hardy begonia grandis evanisiana, persicaria virginiana ‘Lance Corporal, a couple of epimedium and some homegrown foxgloves and sweet rocket. All of these plants already grow happily (and sometimes self seed) in the garden, so I’m confident they will establish well.
Begonia grandis evansiana
Persicaria virginiana ‘Lance Corporal’
As I’ve planted, I have upended pots over each plant before adding a good mulch of bark chippings. The pots stop the plants from being buried in mulch and once they are removed everything looks happily settled in their new surroundings.
If you need a colour fix before autumn-proper kicks in, there’s no better place to go than Great Dixter – and remember that their Great Autumn Plant Fair takes place on the 1st and 2nd of October from 11am-4pm each day. As usual there will be a wonderful gathering of nurseries, all personally selected and invited by Fergus Garrett. Entrance £8.50 including the garden.
The Garden Restaurant – a great place to start with a cup of coffee and cake
Finding Scampston Hall Gardens couldn’t be any easier, thanks in part to the straight Roman roads and the a little homework on the internet. A visit to their informative website meant I was well briefed on the history, concept and location of Scampston. Good car parking close to the walled garden and restaurant facilities ensured a smooth transition. At first I was a little wary that the concept of going from room to room within a garden would be rather like a trip around Ikea. It wasn’t. Not once did we hear any arguing parents, the loudest noise infact came from the drifts of molinia, by the thousand, catching the breeze. And no, meatballs weren’t on the menu. It’s hard to believe that it has been 17 years since the walled garden was conceived, the planting today seems as up to date any at this years Chelsea Flower Show. Today, the modern planting is firmly rooted within the old walls, mature and well established. First stop, was the Garden Restaurant with floor to ceiling glazing looking out onto the gardens.
Here’s 3 good reasons that you should visit Scampston :
1. To admire the Planting by Piet Oudolf
Weird and wonderful – Actaea alba
Euphorbia Mellifera and Tetrapanax papyrifer – a fabulous jungle plant combination that is clearly hardy enough for the UK.
Signature planting of Piet Oudolf – still looking fabulous in the transition to Autumn
Neatly trimmed buxus,sedums and grasses
View of The Serpentine garden from ‘The Mount’.
2. For Inspiration
The gate to the vegetable garden looking from the cut flower garden
The newly furnished Greenhouse at Scampston – all set ready for Spring.
3. To enjoy the Landscaping by Capability Brown
Of course there’s the classic landscaping of Capability Brown surrounding the Hall too.
Majestic Spanish Sweet Chestnut set against clear blue skies
With views straight out of a period drama courtesy of the landscaping of Capability Brown you should not leave Scampston without taking a leisurely stroll around the grounds. It’s very easy to work up an appetite for a hearty lunch at the Garden Restaurant, a perfect end to a lovely visit.
The curly yellow climbing beans called Anellino giallo (I’m not being pretentious, they are Italian and don’t have an English name) have done very well this year, cropping heavily and climbing to great heights. As a result we haven’t kept up with picking and eating them as fast as we should and, since the pods have reached the inedible stage, I thought I might treat them like borlotti, shell them and eat them fresh. What a surprise to discover that the beans are a beautiful royal blue. I was pretty sure they wouldn’t remain that colour when cooked and sure enough after 40 minutes with a shallot and bay leaf, they were an interesting shade of pewter grey. I mixed them with steamed runner beans and stirred in some home made pesto – delicious.