A couple of weekends ago we paid our good friend a long overdue visit to spend some time and see his garden. We've always had hints that he has a beautiful garden but he has been elusive in sharing photos of them before. Despite knowing him for several years now and having been visiting some nurseries and plant fairs together, we were none the wiser on how his garden actually looked so our visit was that extra exciting as we'll finally get to see what his garden looked like in the flesh.
Don lives 'up north', in the county of Yorkshire and as a general rule the further up north you go in the country the trickier it is to have an exotic garden on the basis that winters tend to be a touch colder the further up you go (apart from a few exceptional locations). Saying that the temperature difference isn't really that great, perhaps one or two degrees lower than the south but certainly not as mild as the far west. But Don is a passionate exotic gardener and has been cultivating exotic, rare, and unusual plants in his plot for many years now and we were looking forward to seeing what plants he grows and doing well in his garden.
Driving up north it was fascinating to see the areas on the way there and the gradual changes of scenery and architecture as we ascend from the south to Yorkshire. Most noticeable change I've noticed is the use of stone on most of the houses and building as opposed to bricks down south (Yorkstone rings a bell?). So when we arrived and pulled over on his drive we saw a beautiful cottage, as expected made with stone. But the garden, immediately it hits you, doesn't look 'up north' at all. As we walked through the gate it felt like we drove to the west instead. Did we just drive to Yorkshire only to arrive in Cornwall?
A miniature Cornwall up north, and the garden was exquisite....
|A gorgeous greenhouse sets the tone on what lies ahead beyond the small gate...|
|A gardener that likes to take a risk, sounds like our kind of gardener!|
|A lush garden beyond the stone wall...|
|This guy loves Scheffleras as much as we do, mega plus points there!|
|A punch of deep red amidst the foliage - Canna 'Australia'|
|Kniphofia northiae - center|
|A foliage gardener with panache...|
|We love this, Mind Your Own Business plant (Soleirolia soleirolii) in between the paving stones in the front garden.|
|And another view of the greenhouse as we enter the gate, beautiful isn't it?|
|We'll pinch this idea...|
|Mahonia eurybracteata subsp. ganpinensis 'Soft Caress'|
|Darmera peltata doing incredibly well at the front garden|
|The timing of our visit was perfect, sunny and warm. And the garden looked perfect, so immaculate!|
|And behind the Aesculus is a 'Mind Your Own Business Tree' with Don training and encouraging Soleirolia soleirolii to climb up and thrive on a tree fern log. Love it!!|
|His jungle hut...|
|with a tall and lush Rubus lineatus growing beside it|
|Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' at the front but the lancewood at the back is very impressive! To have a stand of Pseudopanax crassifolius so tall and doing so well in his location is no little feat!|
|The atmosphere changes as we descend into his woodland garden. And so many plant treasures can be seen here.|
|The garden of a plantsman|
|A stooled Paulownia tomentosa doing what it's supposed to do|
|In a more open area of the woodland garden Yucca rostrata is doing well|
|And of what remained of what was a giant tree in his garden has been turned into a sculpture..|
|And on the other side, more faces!|
|A very tall, of what was once a triple headed Dicksonia antarctica that became a victim of Winter 2010. It still has a commanding presence where it is now although with a touch of creative sense of humour...|
And as for that gorgeous greenhouse, it warranted an exploration. Much like the rest of the garden it was lush, leafy, full of plant treasures, and immaculate!
|Spanish moss - Tillandsia usneoides generously hanging above us, adding atmosphere to an already jungly greenhouse...|
|with a few spikies on the periphery.|
|The greenhouse was so lush it was difficult to take a general photo inside|
|But it was so nice to be immersed in so much lushness inside!|
|Stunning foliage! Manihot carthaginensis|
|And once again, his gorgeous greenhouse.|