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

Gardening For Health

Hello all

After a month or so away from my blog, here I am, in the middle of winter, writing about gardening! Mind you, with El Niño giving us the mildest of autumns in the UK (not to mention very wet), the gardening calendar is slightly confused. Here in the ‘burbs, we have blossom out, sodden lawns and a smattering of snow. Nature will cope, although there are bound to be knock-on effects during the next few seasons.

I have gardened here for 15 years; when we moved in, it was, in effect, a blank slate. A few shrubs, a couple of roses, a grotty path leading to a half-collapsed shed, and rat-infested compost heaps, allowed us to landscape and plant (with help of course) the garden we wanted. I have learnt many things over the years:

  1. Looking from the house and wondering where to start to get a grip on problems is not going to solve anything: get your boots and gardening gloves on, grab some tools and get to work.
  2. If you do need help, ask. Don’t let the garden go: it will not sort itself out. As Rudyard Kipling said, “Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade”.
  3. Don’t keep plants which are wrong for the conditions or are in the wrong place. Move them, give them away or compost them. A garden is a dynamic beast.
  4. First and foremost, take care of the soil.
  5. If you have the space and can afford it, get a greenhouse. Growing from seed (which can of course be done in the house) takes gardening to a whole new level.

” A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust” ~ Gertrude Jekyll.

It is good for the body and soul. Therapeutic gardening is an old concept; hospitals have a long history of providing gardens for patients and in recent times there has been research to show that horticulture offers many benefits. One of the best known gardening charities in the UK is Thrive, which started in 1978. They use gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable. Benefits include

  • Better physical health through exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility
  • Improved mental health through a sense of purpose and achievement
  • The opportunity to connect with others – reducing feelings of isolation or exclusion
  • Acquiring new skills to improve the chances of finding employment
  • Just feeling better for being outside, in touch with nature and in the ‘great outdoors’

Who needs a gym membership when there is a garden to get stuck into? If you don’t have a garden: volunteer in one, or help a neighbour, look into guerrilla gardening, read some gardening books, dream about spring sowing.

Ultimate greenhouse

On what has been billed ‘Blue Monday’ (apparently today is the most depressing day of the year) you could do worse than to get out into a garden, be mindful of the beauty, listen to the birds and get moving.

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Annie Bee x