Saturday February 24 , 2018

Blue Daisy Blog

Blue Daisy blog written by Nicki Jackson & Jules Clark - for news, views, garden design, gardening and plant observations and thoughts.

Coton Manor Gardens

Posted by on in Garden Visits

hellebore-2

If you’ve never been to Coton Manor Gardens it’s well worth finding a spot for it in your garden visits diary. 

It’s not too far away – nestled in the Northamptonshire countryside – and it won’t take you long to get around its 10 acre garden, but there are little vistas of gorgeousness around every turn that are definitely worth seeing.

The manor dates back to the 17th century but it was in the 1920s that the garden was established.  They gently slope away from the house through a series of terraces which allows for the creation of a variety of themed areas.  Even though they’re not very big the gardens do manage to accommodate a wide variety of flora and fauna and each season brings with it a different star attraction. We tootled along for the last weekend of their snowdrops and hellebore fortnight (22 February – 9 March) and although there wasn’t too much to see plant-wise outside of these two spring-time stalwarts they still managed to deliver an understated but spectacular show...SnowdropPathway

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If our photos have inspired you to want to visit don’t despair about having missed the snowdrops and hellebores, Coton Manor is an English Country garden with all year round interest and next to show their faces will be their tulips and spring flower collections swiftly followed by their English bluebells – by all accounts one of the most spectacular bluebell woods in England - which, of course, are due to be looking their best at the end of April, early May.

Even though it’s still early for the rest of the garden it does have a lovely, restful feel to it with its water garden, lake, kitchen garden, yew and holly hedges.  Even the flamingos posed for a photo or two!  Coton Manor also has a plant nursery on site as well as a cafe and we can certainly recommend the lemon cake!

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RHS Tatton Park 2013

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RHS Tatton 2013
 
It has to be said that the RHS Tatton show is one of my favourites, perhaps it is linked with the fact that I’m originally from Cheshire or that I perceive people being friendlier or is it because the show feels more laid back and relaxed?  I don’t doubt for one minute that the lead up to the show is as frantic as any other of the RHS shows but for me, it I just love it.
 
I saw so many inspirational gardens here as well as elements within gardens or in the flower marquee, there really are some talented people out there that we really must take our hats off too.
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Hampton Court Palace RHS Show 2013

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hamptoncourt2013-1What a day this turned out to be, I’d been looking forward to going since booking the tickets back in February, it was the hottest day of the year so far!  People who weren’t able to cope with the searing temperatures were being carried out on stretchers!  We had gone prepared...shorts, hats, sun tan lotion and plenty of water – but it just wasn’t enough.  I did, as expected, thoroughly enjoy myself but the heat did zap energy and it took away some of the sparkle, the specialness and sheer indulgence of the day.

The show gardens were amazing and never fail to impress, as a designer though I do always look at them with a critical eye and however much I like them I always feel that they are a snapshot in time which of course is the point.  It is the ‘snapshot’ that concerns me though - the planting whilst so beautiful, for the most part, can often be unrealistic or not transferable back in to the average garden.  One reason is the plant spacings so many plants so closely planted that would in a real garden be a haven for mildews, moulds and no doubt a few pests too.  Also some flowering plants will have been forced or delayed so they flower at show time when, in reality they might flower a few months apart, which in itself is an art I agree but perhaps not realistic for the average gardener.  I also question some of the hard landscaping materials used - while beautiful in a show garden - I often wonder how practical they would be and whether they would have lasted a year after the garden was built in a normal home environment.  I could probably write a whole article on this point but I would like to see show gardens that are as inspirational but completely practical too so that the average person can replicate some of those ideas in their own space more successfully.

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Tatton Flower Show 2012

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tatton2012-mornflakeThe gods must have been smiling on us as we made our way to the Tatton Flower Show because the rain stayed away for the day and we were able to enjoy all that Tatton has to offer without resorting to waterproofs... and Tatton has much to offer.

We were in our element with 36 show gardens including 10 flower bed displays - all based on a sports theme this year as a nod to the greatest show on the planet being in London just now.  There were also the orchestra themed gardens, community gardens, the now famous back-to-back gardens and more.  So many, in fact, that we didn't know where to turn!  (But only for a minute because, as ever, it was the show gardens that got - and held for most of the day - our attention right from the outset.)

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Dunham Massey visit

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dunhammassey425-1We arrived at Dunham Massey on a very hot and sunny day, the website and literature said that it was the most visited National Trust property in the North West so we thought we were in for a treat. There are three main areas to visit: the Georgian house, the gardens and the 300 acre deer park, the house was yet to open so we decided to go and visit the gardens first.

People dressed in authentic costume greeted us and were walking through the grounds in character; it really did make you feel as though you had stumbled upon a piece of England that simply hadn’t been touched by the 21st Century.

The gardens were beautiful in many ways from a historical point of view and also from a horticultural stand too. We were given a map of the gardens which made sure we didn’t get lost and miss anything out which I thought was a really good idea and did help too! As we entered we came upon the croquet lawn which was surrounded by jolly and colourful perennials as if welcoming us to the main house garden. Luckily for us there was a brass band playing under a gazebo keeping the heat of the sun off them, there was stall selling soft drinks and champagne and everyone simply sat on the large lawn and soaked up the atmosphere. The staff who were dressed in costume walked around the lawn area with their parasols bidding us a good day, children played and band continued to fill the air.  All terribly civilised and lovely too!

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