Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cornwall Up North

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!
Aesculus wangii
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!
Past the jungle hut and the greenhouse it gets even more Cornish feeling as the rest of his garden goes down on a slope into a woodland area that feels more like a small valley garden.


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!
Woodland wonder...
Oplopanax horridus


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!


Cyphomandra betacea
Oreopanax floribundus
Stunning foliage! Manihot carthaginensis
And back out into the front garden we found his cat Maverick relaxing on the garden bench.




Aloe arborescens
And once again, his gorgeous greenhouse.
It was an absolute delight to finally see his garden and we had an amazing time, stopping over in his place overnight and having dinner with two of his other friends. He never let us go back home without plants though and we drove back with a car full of plants, with the boot looking more like we just came back from Cornwall. We came back home home refreshed and inspired, seeing all that immaculate lushness and planting has given us a much needed boost.

Mark :-)

58 comments :

  1. Wow! What a fantastic and amazing garden! Thank you for sharing your photos. So glad to hear you came back festooned with plants, hope that they will help to bring your own garden back to being the paradise it was before the fire. Best wishes from Bwlchtocyn (we're on holiday), Maggie

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    1. Those new plants he sent home with us will certainly help Maggie. Enjoy your holiday!!

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  2. Wow, beautiful, has he still got the crocodile he got from Akamba? When I see gardens like this I really wish I had more elbow space in mine instead of long and thin!!!

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    1. Yes he still has that large crocodile Libby! It didn't come out well on my photo hence I didn't include it. Such a statement piece of ornament that is :)

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  3. This is the garden of an imaginative and creative plantsman. The foliage combinations are fabulous. What a wonderfully inspiring garden visit after all you have been through lately.

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    1. It was refreshing and inspiring to see his garden :)

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  4. No wonder you thought that you had driven in the wrong direction! You would not associate such planting with north east England. What a glorious garden and such a well timed opportunity for you guys to spend time with a gardening friend - a recipe for a perfect weekend. Glad to read that some of the garden has come back in a southerly direction with you.

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    1. We had a fabulous time, great garden and company and wouldn't mind going back again soon :)

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  5. I love your friend's taste in plants. And if you're holding back the name of that spectacular umbel in the second and third photos, please do tell!

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    1. He's got some fine taste in plants Denise! That plant with spectacular umbel is a Heracleum.

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  6. Truly the garden of a plantsman and such a gorgeous greenhouse. I'm glad that you two were able to get away from all that's going on in your home and garden!

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    1. Indeed Peter, and we certainly appreciated the little break from all the works that are currently happening on our place :)

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  7. Looks like the perfect getaway for you guys, and at the perfect time. I must admit when you mentioned the "exotic garden" visit in an earlier post I thought you'd gone to see Will Giles. Just as well you didn't since this was an entirely new garden full of lush beauties to discover. That greenhouse is lust worthy for sure.

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    1. We were hoping to go visit Will Giles' garden again this year but it's looking unlikely now will all the work that's happening in our house and garden. Perhaps next year. Don's garden is immaculate and the planting well thought of, and we picked up so many ideas too!

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  8. What a great garden! I'm glad you got some starter plants for your new garden! I'm going to save some of those pics for ideas for MY new garden! Thanks so much for posting them!

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    1. A pleasure Gordon! I'm glad you found some inspiration from the photos too :)

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  9. What a lovely garden. Too many good things to name. Loved that tree sculpture though. Somebody did fantastic work on that.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Indeed Cher :) That tree sculpture is wonderful isn't it?

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  10. Spectacular photographs of a garden we've been wanting to visit for years! I'm sure he's a wizard as a lot of the stuff he has just shouldn't survive that far North! I'm glad you were able to chill and have the overnight stay too as you've had a stressful time of it recently :-) xxx

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    1. Visiting him was a treat, gorgeous garden and great company :)

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  11. Wow, wow, wow!!! it's all wonderful. What a fabulous garden. I love that greenhouse. So glad to hear you had a great time and came home inspired with a load of new plants.

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    1. We had a fab time there, and that greenhouse, another word that comes to mind is elegant!

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  12. What a paradise! In my next life, I want to be a cat in his garden! Besides the fabulous foliage, I loved the beautiful greenhouse, the vertically trained Soleirolia soleirolii, and all the humorous touches too. It must have felt so sad, yet inspiring and relaxing for you to visit... Meanwhile, I hope more roots in your garden were re-sprouting with renewed force, redrawing the map for where you can plant all those goodies you returned with. Happy planting!

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    1. Thank you for the well wishes and I'm glad you liked his garden. He's a cat lover and he'll take really good care of you if you were a cat in his garden :)

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  13. What a fabulous garden! It would be impressive even if it were situated in the more tropical climate of Southern California but it's almost unbelievable to find these plants doing so well in Yorkshire! The whimsical touches are wonderful. I was probably most amused, though, to find that your common name for Soleirolia soleirolii is "Mind Your Own Business" whereas we refer to it as "Baby's Tears" - I wonder if the difference has some deep cultural significance?

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    1. I love that term Kris - Whimsical Touches :) Baby's Tears is sometimes used here too but not as common as other very wordy one!

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  14. Wow what an incredible garden! Thanks for the tour!

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  15. Glad you made it to god's county Mark and Gaz. Don has really achieved something quite exotic.

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    1. We're glad too Roger, and looking forward to going again soon :)

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  16. You definitely found a kindred spirit there. Isn't it nice how these things come along right when we need them most?

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  17. I love that mind your own biz plant and the greenhouse is beautiful! Jeannine

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  18. I have no word. Absolutely fantastic garden, looks more like those professional botanical gardens. How long did it take him to do all these? Man! you British (or is English the politically correct word? So confusing) people surely spend a lot of money in gardening :).

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    1. Both British and English would do fine :) Don's been doing for many years, for much longer than we have.

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  19. What a beautiful garden. Looks like a gorgeous paradise. I am intrigued by the Mind Your Own Business! Never heard of that one before. I do love the faces on the tree stump, and the personalities expressed from the dicksonia, too.

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    1. It is Holley :) Mind your own business plant could potentially do well in your garden, well worth a try!

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  20. Hi where in Yorkshire, just asking as I live in Yorkshire and manage/ try to grow similar plants
    Regards
    Neil

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    1. Hi Neil, the garden's in Baildon. Hopefully the climate in Don's garden will be very similar to yours :)

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  21. I can't wait to visit! (I don't know whats taken me so long!)

    He's kept his garden hidden for too long. Your photos of it are excellent, thank you for sharing them. And to all you guys that have not been to Yorkshire, get up here and visit! The greatest place in the World! Heres is the Yorkshire Motto:

    'Ear all, see all, say nowt;
    Eyt all, sup all, pay nowt;
    And if ivver tha does owt fer nowt -
    Allus do it fer thissen

    Don's garden is an inspiration for all us northern gardeners.

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    1. We loved Yorkshire, Kris! We'll definitely be back soon :)

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  22. Oh that is a fabulous garden! I am sure many plants in there are like yours, especially those with big unusual leaves. I love that hut too!

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    1. The plants that Don grow are very similar to what we grow indeed Andrea :)

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  23. Visited today. An amazing array of exotic plants. Don is a true plantsman.

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    1. Glad to hear that Kris! Couldn't agree more! :)

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  24. I do like the idea of growing the MYOB up the tree log.

    Would love to see what the garden looks like in winter so I can borrow some ideas:)

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    1. We're likely to visit over the winter too so we'll see what the garden looks like then. He has plenty of evergreen plants and structure in the garden, I can imagine it'll look good still. Will do an update after our next visit :)

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  25. Thanks for all those very kind comments. Excellent photos by Mark & Gaz of plants that I have bought as a result of reading their Blog. Situated between Leeds and Bradford and a fair percentage of the plants are new after those two horrible winters.
    I feel it is my duty, along with a few other Northern enthusiasts (idiots), to give the Southern bed wetters a fair run for the money :-)

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    1. Where is your garde exactly Don? Id love to visit, im a Rotherhamite lol

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  26. Count me in as one of those Northern enthusiasts (idiots!) lol

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  27. What an extraordinary garden, it has such a rich tapestry of textures, and I love the touches of whimsy. As for that greenhouse, I am green...

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  28. The most amazing garden blog on the net , absolutely amazing plants and garden.I do have one question how do you keep the manihot through the winter, as I just bought one on ebay.
    Many thanks and keep up the good work Robin

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    1. The Manihot is kept in the greenhouse nearly but not quite frost free. It is totally deciduous and usually ends up with part of the main stem dying back. The net result is a host of new growth points and a bushier plant the next season. Even when I kept the plant at 50F it still dropped all it's leaves. I think the leaf fall may, in part, be due to lack of light, rather than absolute temperature?

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  29. Mind Your Own Business has such a terrible reputation. It's good to see it working well. Did he mention whether it's a battle to keep it in its place?

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    1. Hi Helen, he seems to have no problem with it at all, seemingly staying only at the places where he wants it to stay :)

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