Jinny Blom’s Garden at Temple Guiting Manor

You might know what a huge fan I am of the National Garden Scheme where anyone can simply pitch up at any of the 3500 or so private gardens in England and Wales which open annually.

Today, pootling back from a wonderful trip to visit my cousin in Powys (and via Baileys Home, where I am always amazed at just how enticing wooden dolly pegs and balls of string can look and where I dare you to escape without spending a small fortune on things you probably had no idea you needed) I managed to catch Jinny Blom’s garden at Temple Guiting Manor. Oh what a delight! What an exquisite selection of plants! What a gorgeous setting! And how kind of the owner to allow us mortals to traipse about, taking photos and seeing whether we can reproduce such wonders in our own gardens.

Jinny Blom worked on the garden design at Temple Guiting Manor for over a decade, starting in 2001 and describes it as, “one of the happiest projects I have had the pleasure to work on”. I have long been a fan, and can’t recommend her book, “The Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach To Garden Design” highly enough.

The Windrush Valley is a beautiful neck of the UK woods, and the site of the Grade I listed manor house is mentioned in the Domesday Book. As you will see below, the stone there is that warm end of the Cotswold spectrum – much prettier than than the greyer colour you find further south. Temple Guiting itself is charming: wooded, windy lanes, wild hedgerows. The manor is now a collection of beautifully restored barns and outhouses, all surrounded and encompassing Jinny Blom’s understated, edited and curated palette of suitable planting. If you are in the area, the owner has bought the converted village post office, just a short walk from his estate: Temple Guiting Pantry is worth a visit if you are after a charming spot for lunch and a small selection of goodies and local produce.

The weather was rather grey (June has so far been cold and drizzly with the occasional burst of biblical rain, which we need after such a dry winter)  so my photos don’t do the garden and the subtle colours much justice. My take-away plant (not literally, but I have bought three packets of seed since returning to Bee HQ) is Valeriana officinalis which was everywhere and obviously self-seeds anywhere you might want it.

I will leave the photos to speak for themselves. Definitely a garden to put on your list if it is open again next year and the venue is available to hire for weddings.

Jinny Blom @ Temple Guiting

Jinny Blom @ Temple Guiting

Jinny Blom @ Temple Guiting

jinny Blom @ Temple Guiting

Jinny Blom @ Temple Guiting

Jinny Blom @ Temple Guiting

Jinny Blom @ Temple Guiting

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Annie Bee xxx

Hidcote Manor Garden: Something For Everyone

There are a few significant gardens in the UK which are on any keen gardener’s ‘must-see’ list; Hidcote in Gloucestershire is one of them. Today it is owned by the National Trust and, unlike most NT gardens which seem to open in March or at Easter, Hidcote opens in mid-February, giving visitors the opportunity to discover its winter bones. From our new Bee HQ, Google Maps took me winding through 3 counties and many narrow lanes, and despite being in the very back of beyond, I finally found it after a couple of wrong turns here and there. Just in time to get a take away coffee and start my mooch about, note-book in hand. Being February, it wasn’t too busy, despite it also being half-term. It was peaceful and tranquil. The hover-flies massing on the Mahonias were about as loud and hectic as it got.

Hidcote Manor Garden Gloucestershitre

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Evergreen ‘bones’ to any garden are fascinating I think. This is a garden which was built on the idea of different ‘rooms’, by the famous American plant-hunter and gentleman gardener, Lawrence Johnstone (1871 – 1958). Other gardens are set up in a similar fashion (notably Sissinghurst in Kent) and it is now a technique often employed in modern gardens.  The bones at Hidcote are mainly box hedging, plenty of yew, pleached hornbeam, pergolas and topiary. Gates, pillars, vistas and gazebos abound and there are beautiful views of the Malvern countryside too. I have a particular interest in vertical structures and am always on the look-out for exciting ideas for my own garden. It is often easier to see these in the depths of winter than when they are smothered in luxuriant flowers later in the year.

 

Beech Allee at Hidcote

It was very noticeable just how many actual gardeners (as opposed to visitors) were at Hidcote today. Presumably a mixture of volunteers (the National Trust has thousands of volunteers who help maintain their properties and gardens) and paid staff. None of them seemed at all put out by my many questions (primarily about box blight and pruning times for some shrubs). Indeed the advice was thorough, expert, interesting and willingly given.

Lawrence Johnstone's Tool Shed, Hidcote

Hidcote Facts & Figures

If you have never been, I thoroughly recommend a visit. A cafe, National Trust shop and a plant sale area all add to the delight.

 

Annie Bee x

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