An Evening at Allt-y-bela – Arne Maynard’s Monmouthshire Garden

An Evening at Allt-y-bela – Arne Maynard’s Monmouthshire Garden

Arne is one of our foremost garden designers, so his own garden – tucked away in its own private valley – is somewhere pretty special and the opportunity to visit it is not to be missed. We were invited by friends to a performance of Much Ado About Nothing staged in his new Green Theatre – with time to wander and admire the garden before the performance. The characterful medieval farmhouse with its Renaissaince tower is the perfect centrepiece around which the garden revolves with its mixture of structural topiary, soft romantic planting, envy-inducing potager and brimming wildflower meadows. The garden is not open to the public, but there’s a series of gardening courses that run until September and B&B is sometimes available (but not when courses are running). Prices are top end – but so is the tuition and accommodation. www.arnemaynard.com

immaculately trained wisteria

The front of Allt y bela with pleached crab apples and immaculately trained wisteria

climbers against wall

The rear elevation of the house

The rear elevation of the house

neat organic shapes in Arne Maynard's garden

Potager perfection

Potager perfection


veg garden
bird scarer made from a potato and feathers

The potato and feather bird scarer moves gently in the wind – definitely worth copying

hand made arbour

One of the birch, willow and hazel arbours in the potager

overflowing garden border

Borders overflow with flowers

Roses tumble down walls

Roses tumble down walls

stream separates garden and prevents flooding

The audience watching the performance with the stage the other side of the walled stream that prevents the garden flooding in winter

cast salute the audience in Arne Maynard's garden
Wildflower meadows grow at the edge the gardens

Wildflower meadows edge the garden

iris bronze beauty

Arne has planted Iris ‘Bronze Beauty’ in the meadow above the Green Theatre

Things are looking pretty Rosy right now

Things are looking pretty Rosy right now

This has to be the best year I can remember for roses with the cool nights keeping them in peak condition for much longer than usual, as well as pleasingly pest and disease free.  I don’t think of my garden as majoring on roses, but with them all out at once there are far more than I realised. This is a selection of them. If there is a garden near you that is known for its roses, this is the year to get out there and admire them – and smell the roses of course.

Cardinal Richelieu

Cardinal Richelieu

Gloire de Dijon

Gloire de Dijon

Hybrid Tea

Hybrid Tea

Rosa de Rescht

Rosa de Rescht

Darcy Bussell

Darcy Bussell

Gertrude Jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll

Hyde Hall

Hyde Hall

Self seeded Cooper Burmese

Self seeded Cooper Burmese

Mme. Gregoire Staechlin rose

Mme. Gregoire Staechlin (I think – a cutting I took from churchyard)

Thomas Graham

Thomas Graham

American Pillar

American Pillar

Not sure which this one is

Not sure which this one is

Verschuren - with Variegated leaves

Verschuren – with Variegated leaves

Veichenblau

Veichenblau

Buff Beauty

Buff Beauty

Felicite et Perpetue

Felicite et Perpetue

Another mystery rose

Another mystery rose

The Holz Hausen – a stylish way to store your logs

The Holz Hausen – a stylish way to store your logs

The Holz Hausen log storageVisiting friends in Monmouthshire, we thought Andy Goldsworthy had been at work when we saw these wonderful wood stacks.  It turns out that they are Holz Hausen – a German method of stacking wood that is both good to look at and practical.  If you’ve got the wood, this is a good time to start one of your own – and here you can watch an American enthusiast explaining exactly how it’s done.

Le Chameau – the Ultimate Gardening Shoe

chameau wellies and shoesAround the time of the millennium I went to the Courson Plant Fair just outside Paris. It is a wonderful event and the only thing about it that wasn’t appealing was the weather. Sodden of foot, I bought myself a pair of Le Chameau gardening shoes and have never regretted that purchase. I have worn them – and loved them – ever since, but they are finally showing signs of age (there’s a hole in one toe) and the time has come to replace them. So I was very pleased to see the Le Chameau stand at Chelsea, so much so that when I declared my love of their products I was rewarded with a big hug from the French man in charge! The Colza Clog seems to be the nearest replacement (sadly missing the chic mustard trim), but as I will be in France a couple of times in the next two months I will wait and buy them there. In the UK they cost in the region of £55 which is expensive for a gardening shoe, but take it from me, if you get 15 years of wear out of them, they will be worth every penny.rubber gardening shoes from chameau