Lucy's Manor Garden
Lucy is blessed with a mature and well planted garden. However, like all gardens it is never finished and is continually being refined. I encouraged Lucy to look critically at some of her trees to determine whether they should go, be crown lifted, or simply left alone. There was a tall Eucalyptus tree in the middle of the Kitchen Garden, which was best removed, because it was competing for moister and nutrients with the vegetables. A fig tree that failed to bear fruit but had outgrown its allotted space next to the glass house was also destined for removal.
Then, looking at the fruit trees in the orchard it was decided it would be a good idea to introduce tree circles, so the trees were competing with less grass and could receive a generous mulch of nutritious compost. We also looked at some areas in dry shade and started to think about plants that would grow in these conditions. Examples include Cyclamen hederifolium, Geranium macrorrhizum and Dryopteris affinis. It was suggested that the cold frames could be partially filled with soil, and used to grow an early crop of vegetables such as carrots. The carrots would also benefit from being raised up from ground level, to deter carrot fly. I very much enjoyed the challenge of identifying the plants within the existing planting schemes, with some surprises such as Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Rex’, something I was not expecting to see in a classic English Country Garden.
Will visited my gardens in July 2020 and March 2021. Both times we found his advice to be incredibly helpful and we have implemented a lot of his suggestions when he visited us in July. For example, we created tree circles, removed large grasses that were inhibiting the growth of our fruit trees, told us about tree crowing. He also suggested many plants that would grow in our dry shady areas. He has a very extensive knowledge of plants (you can tell he has over 10 years experience). His plant identification was very impressive.Not only is he able to recommend what plants work in different areas he gave us lots of practical advice.
Will is particularly good at ascertaining what level of knowledge we had and then communicating effectively to us. What we found particularly useful was his many suggestions of how to care for the plants we already had. For example how and when to prune, what plants to move into different places, what ones to remove and others that would work better.
He also had extensive knowledge of arboriculture. This knowledge of trees was very useful as we were unsure of how to prune and encourage them to be healthy.
Hazel's courtyard garden.
I met Hazel during during my time in the Cotswolds. I was asked to have a look at her garden, which also resulted in removing a couple of shrubs. Fortunately my colleague Danny was with me, as these old shrubs were not giving up without a fight. Most of the garden is in sun for much of the day. It is a small south facing garden with a high stone wall around two sides with limited space for planting. Consequently, all the plants in Hazel's garden need to work hard to earn their keep. A Wegilea was taking up too much space, a Hebe was past its best, and a Philadelphus needed a serious prune. This created new spaces for some herbaceous perennials. These will provide some extra colour without getting too big. Hazel followed my recommendation of planting Stipa pseudoichu, this is a beautiful ornamental grass with slender, arching, silvery-green plumes. This adds height within out casting too much shade, and provides a long season of interest through summer into winter. Hazel also planted Rudbeckia laciniata'Starcadia Razzle Dazzle', a wonderfull tall yellow daisy to add colour in late summer.
"Will is highly recommended. His advice and expertise were invaluable last summer in reviving and renewing the plantings in my garden. All the best with your new venture" Hazel Bech
Hazel's cat enjoying the sun.
Danny catching his breath while battling with an old Wigelia.
Carolines Back Garden
Caroline's interest in her garden has greatly increased since lockdown. Over the last year she has undertaken a number of projects to embellish her little Eden. My main input has been advising on plant selection. Caroline is very keen on colour themes, hot colours closer to the house, and cooler colours at the far end of her garden. There were already some trees and shrubs that provided structure, but also cast shade in a long and narrow space. The soil is also fairly dry. We also looked at widening some of the borders to provide more planting space, and fine tuned the shape to make them easier to mow around. The plants chosen were mostly draught tolerant, and provide colour over a longer season as possible. Calamagrostis 'Eldorado' was chosen to provide hight, structure, and its yellow variegated leaves that fit the hot colour theme close to the house. Aster x frikartii 'Monch' has proven its worth at the other end of the garden flowering none stop from June to October.
"Last year I met William Stanger when I needed to renovate my tired and neglected garden. As a Plantsman he was a mine of information and inspired and educated me on the best perennials to suit the conditions of the garden. Now I absolutely love working on the garden and the changes that have been made, due to his advice, have greatly improved it during the last 12 months."
Tim and Amanda approached me to advise them on how best to revitalise the gardens at Whatton House. The garden retains many of its original victorian features within its 15 acres. Currently I am making monthly visits to advise the team on maintenance tasks and improving presentation. For the first year I mainly plan to observe the garden and see what flowers and when. This will give me a better idea what grows well at Whatton House and which areas need the most attention. That said we have already begun redeveloping a border in dry shade. Dry shade presents the most difficult conditions for plants to grow in, but with careful plant selection, it need not be an area of bare soil under substantial trees. The team have been dividing and transplanting suitable plants into this border from else where in the garden such as Geranium x oxonianum 'Wargrave Pink' and Symphytum ibericum. The new additions have been brought in to provide structural interest year round such as Fatsia japonica 'Spiders Web' and seasonal colour later in the year with both later flowering and autumn foliage such as Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen'.
It is rare to have such an amazing opportunity to work with a woodland garden. Already it is showing its potential with historical Narcissi and I am looking forward to seeing the numerous Philadelphus and Deutzia come into flower. It has huge potential to become a premier garden of the East Midlands.
We have just applied to have a National Collection of Philadelphus bred by Lemoine. After seeing how well the existing Philadelphus grow at Whatton I proposed to have a historical collection. The time period of when Lemoine bred his hybrid Philadelphus coincides with the initial development of the gardens by the First Lady Crawshaw between 1880-1930. Lemoine bred 26 or more hybrid Philadelphus about half of which are not commercially available, however it is hoped that other collection holders and Plant Heritage members will help us source the plants we need to establish a collection.