On a rather cold and wet evening we were fortunate to visit a wonderful garden in Dipley, Hartley Wintney. We were met by Rose McMonigall who is an award-winning Garden Designer. She is in the final phase of designing a garden for the Spanish Tourist Office for Hampton Court flower Show.
Rose gave us a potted history of the Mill, which is mentioned in the
Domesday Book, and the over-grown, almost non-existent gardens that she
took over in 2000. We were shown around the various garden ‘rooms’ which
include many specialist and unusual plants and trees. Now there are
eighteen various gardens each one totally different in design and colour
There is a large Dove Cote that was unfortunately cleared out by minks that are a problem on the Whitewater River. The Dove Cote is now occupied by bees and they have been left alone by the mink! Rose’s father demonstrated how their sluice gates work to maintain the water level and prevent flooding to the house.
The gardens can be visited on special open days shown on their website www.dipley-mill.co.uk and in the Yellow Book. Well worth a visit, especially on a warm, sunny day!
Anne Waddell and helpers added a colourful note to the fair in Grayshott on Saturday, with fragrance provided by Gill and Jan in the form of Lilies of The Valley. There were plenty of takers, both young and old, who stopped by to hear and read about Grayshott Gardeners. A great effort, which may well result in some interested youngsters becoming future members!
A mini Florists’ Feast awaited Grayshott Gardeners members when James Smallwood, accompanied by his wife Nicola, brought along part of his collection of Auriculas to show and sell at the May lecture evening. James is an excellent speaker and his enthusiasm for these attractive and interesting colourful plants was obvious.
found in the Alps and Dolomites, Auriculas featured in this country
as early as the 1700s when growers of these plants gathered at
so-called Florists’ Feasts, contests held in public houses and
halls all over England, to show off their skills in breeding new
varieties. The traditional prize was a copper kettle.
wide-ranging palette of colours and markings is partly due to the
combination of acid and lime-loving ancestry, and partly to a
peculiarity unique to Auriculas: the icing-sugar like covering on
leaves and/or petals called farine. When this forms a tight circle in
the centre, it is called a paste. It remains a great mystery as to
what purpose the farine serves.
had the privilege of working together with grower Bill Lockyer, a
multiple gold medal winner at Chelsea, a tradition his son Simon
continued last year by winning another Gold Medal.
told us where to buy Auriculas, the best way to grow, look after,
propagate and display them, and also explained the classification of
the more than 5000 different varieties illustrated by a clear and
simple slide. He answered questions from the audience and invited
members to come and have a close-up look at the plants he had on
The stunning photographs accompanying this post were provided by James, who has also compiled a list with useful information here.
This was another enjoyable and successful event, from the buyers’ as well as the sellers’ point of view. Bacon butties and hot drinks were very welcome too. Well done everyone – especially Karen who is now off on a well-earned rest. Photos by John Price. Click on picture for full screen icon (crossed double arrows), click.
Gardeners were privileged to take part in a private tour conducted by
Head of Nursery Martin Einchcomb, who donated his time in return for
a donation to the Perennial charity.
he Nursery comprises 15 glasshouses covering one acre, and the team of 7 (helped by volunteers) produces plants for 60 acres of formal gardens at the Hampton Court and Kensington Palaces.
Following a brief introduction, Martin conducted us past an array of
tropical and semi-tropical plants, the famous Exoticks Collection
originally started by Queen Mary II, parts of which survived until the
First World War when lack of manpower and attention led to the last
plants dying out. Since 1987, the Gardens & Estate team and lately
Martin, have devoted much time and effort in researching the specimens
in Mary’s collection and bringing them back once more to Hampton Court.
It is one of the three National Plant Collections at Hampton Court and
has now been recogni
glasshouses contained masses of bedding plants not usually seen at
garden centres but well-known to the Victorians, as most of the
plants produced here are destined to fit in with the historic
settings of the Palaces, flowering in (what now seem) old-fashioned
colours. These include pelargoniums, lantanas, and also coleus with
vivid colour variations in the leaves.
Court holds two other National Plant Collections, Lantana, whose many
cultivars have flowers that change their colour (from yellow to white
and orange to purple) as they mature, and Heliotropoium, or the
Cherry Pie Plant (its purple flowers smell of cherries and vanilla).
another glasshouse we were shown contains the Citrus collection,
showing off their oranges and lemons – these normally tender trees
had been put into period-appropriate pots which the Nursery has
specifically made for display in their formal settings during the
told us that the original Victorian glasshouses had been destroyed to
make way for more modern and efficient ones during the 60’s and
70’s; like the Victorian ones, they have been overtaken by later
designs and technology, but lack of funds mean the latter remain an
item on the team’s wish list for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, the Nursery manages to grow 40% of the bedding plants from
cuttings and seed, and the remaining 60% from tiny plug plants which
are cheaper and more efficient to buy in, a credit to the staff, and
proof of what can be achieved with devotion and skill, even without
the latest technology.
tour ended with a brief survey of the workshops and tractor and
machinery shed containing trolleys to move large trays and tables,
and for picking up (very heavy) tubs; we also saw the machine for
automatically filling pots with compost.
Martin for his interesting explanations and tips, most members of the
group then departed for lunch in the cafeteria or outside on the
terrace, as it was a lovely sunny day.
was an opportunity to enjoy fee access to the Rose Garden (not out
yet but containing plenty of interesting bedding plants and tulips)
as well as the extensive Kitchen Garden, origininally established for
William III and Mary II in 1689 on the site of Henry Viii’s
tiltyard, with its numerous fruit trees and bushes.
explored the Palace itself, and the more Formal Gardens, while some
sneaked down to the river to watch the Royal Swans and enjoy a drink
by the side of the River Thames : )