Two weeks, it is, since last I posted… It is the time of the Spring Festival; accommodation and the open garden at Sequoia Gardens and MountainGetaways are keeping me very busy. The unexpected 120mm in early September have resulted in more green than is usual in spring – we are heading for the best spring ever. What a pity the festival is over as my garden gets into its stride… The above photo, a 180 degree panorama, gives an idea of what the valley is looking like. The drive, of course, forms a straight line from left to right, but further away there is less distortion.
To celebrate my birthday I decided it was time to plant the hedges in the Mothers’ Garden, and give some purpose to the strange oblong of basically bare ground visitors find between the curves of the New Old Rose Garden (on the left above) and the big lawn. I finally decided on an informal hedge of Grevillea, (I think G. rosmarinifolia) an easy Australian plant that over many months starting in winter carries charming but unobtrusive coral flowers amongst its grey-green needles l which are greatly appreciated by nectar-loving birds. We also planted an Abelia x ‘Francis Mason’ hedge which will echo in shape the triangular one on the opposite side of the lawn against the Ellensgate Garden, before turning through 90 degrees, dropping to knee height and edging the seating platform. You can see the existing hedge below, together with the wisteria on the pergola in the Anniversary Garden.
These hedges are of course all grown from cuttings. Over the years we have propagated literally tens of thousands of plants to populate the six hectares of garden we have. In the above photo you can see one of the themes we have focused on in getting ready for the festival: making sure the pots were looking good. I am still smarting from a comment made last spring, about which I posted rather angrily over here…
I particularly focused on the area around the entrance, as a month before the festival everything was bleak and wintery and I was despairing about how to convince visitors it was worth even looking at my garden and calling it a spring garden… There is a strange and shady threshold you cross from a very rural parking area into a deliberately formal garden. In the event all the bright colour I decided on turned to shades of brick and mustard with a few white and pale blue highlights. But I think it is more effective and better integrated this way. To celebrate the opening, my huge (and recently transplanted) Mutabilis rose chose to push forth its first blossoms over the pots with colour. Success! On Saturday morning I took some terrible pics of the occurrence. Perhaps tomorrow I can pick up something better. Such has this week been that I’ve not ventured out with my camera leisurely in hand.
Later: a composite below – getting all the detail in one pic was not possible. Rosa chinensis mutabilis opens apricot, fades to straw, then reddens to crimson. Only semi-consciously I chose these colours when selecting my plants; my very first notes years ago for the colours in the Upper Rosemary Border were ‘brick reds and mustardy yellows’.
Since the photo below was taken last week, the struggling, excessively shaded Rosemaries to the left of the pot fountain have been ripped out and replaced with 7 Hydrangea serrata as part of a development in the shade of the tree. A small new paved area with seating will be completed this weekend when I plant the three pots with Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, the Japanese Coral-bark Maple. Besides being a spot for visitors to rest in the shade, it also sets the scene of rustic formality I wish to impress on them.
This has been the first opportunity in weeks to work with my staff in the garden. However our visitors who have seen the garden before, all commented on how very lovely the garden is looking, how neat and cared for everything appears. It was good to share this news with the staff, because it has mostly been their own initiative that inspired these comments.
Pics of the completed Entrance Room (as I’ve decided to call it) will have to wait for the next post. Here are a few more pics of the entrance area – looking from the entrance and then looking back to it.
The entrance is also where we announce the latest of the tourism initiatives on The Mountain: the TMA Mountain Bike Trails, two of which pass through Sequoia Gardens, one of 5 and one of 25km:
But back to visitors: allow me to brag with this pic of the visitors’ parking filled with cars last Sunday…
To end: a collage of pots…