Tag Archives: Auricula

Seeing old friends and some inspirational gardens.

We have just had a couple of days visiting old friends and taking in some National Trust property’s.

We made our way down to Fleet in Hampshire, stopping off at Hughenden Manor, home to Benjamin Disraeli from 1848-1881.


We were given a very informative talk before walking around the house. In the basement we discovered that the house was used by the RAF during the second World War. A team of Royal Engineers were drafted in to make secret maps of German roads. This was all very  fascinating.

Today I think the N/T seem to be making the gardens more attractive and accessible to families. Recently I have found that the kitchen gardens are full of quirky features and many more unusual variety of fruit and veg than I have ever seen.


                   A fantastic Insect Hotel

This has to be tried at home.

After a splendid evening with our friends, we moved on to West Green House Garden. And I have to say this was my favourite of the whole W/E.

Just after the N/T bought this house and garden, it was leased to Lord Alistair McAlpine. In 1990 just towards the end of his tenancy an IRA bomb went off causing so much damage that the N/T were seriously considering demolishing the whole lot. Luckily Marylyn Abbott took on a 99 year lease on the property and garden.

Marylyn Abbott has done a stunning restoration of the gardens. I was in awe when I first walked through the gate.


         The French themed Parterre.

This has red obelisks with red and white themed planting though out the seasons.


The beautiful lake with it’s wooden bridge.

 The main garden is a fantastic Potager, it was filled with and amazing variety of spring bulbs and plants. I wanted to show you what it would be like in the summer, so have taken a photo of the summer garden from the handbook…….


….although not a clear picture you get my drift. This is the best Potager I have seen as regards use of colour and plants.

The structures in the garden are also a work of art.


All around are huge metal structures, just waiting to be filled with fruit vegetables or flowers.


 All the fruit trees were pruned and shaped, this is a table top apple tree, one of at least a dozen such trees.


You’ve been framed Mr Malc…….A stunning brick circle in the old wall.


We moved on to Basildon Park, where apart from everything else, some of Downton Abbey was filmed here.The house had quite a few of the costumes worn by the actors.


Our last stop was to Greys Court. This house had a smaller more homely feel. The gardens were also less grand but very productive.


As you can see I found more Auricula.


           A lovely display of Viola.

This is something I do after the Auricula have flowered, I put Viola and houseleeks on the ladders.


Another very productive insect hotel. This is the first one I have seen that is actually being used by the bees.


Do you have a favourite garden to visit, let me know especially if it is in the UK.

It is a bank holiday weekend here in the UK, so we will be using this time to catch up with family and also catching up with many jobs that need doing around the garden and allotment…..

    ….enjoy your weekend….. 




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A Bountiful Spring Garden.

It’s a damp and drizzly morning, and looking out of the window wondering if I am going to get out there this morning.


Stout shoes and my fleece and I chance it. It is amazing how in just a couple of weeks the whole garden has now taken on that healthy, lush green appearance.


                                   Looking out of my shed.

     It’s hard to believe that a few weeks ago I was having my yearly spring panic, just how am I going to get this lot weeded and tidied.

     The daffodils have now taken over from the snowdrops and crocus and the roses are showing tiny little embryo buds.

      For Gill at  Gardening At The Edge. In front is my medlar, now about 20 years old, stunning when in flower. Rosa Seagull grows through it.


             View from under the wisteria arch. The box topiary, and there are many, will need a first haircut soon.

             The cane hoops on the right are protecting the ponds from the heron, once the planting has grown the hoops are removed.

              I don’t like rearing fish for the heron ‘s dinner.


                                            Turning to go under the arch.

                      Through the arch and I have an area that has always been the most challenging. Getting full sun, so everything in here grows like mad. Sometimes my perennials have 3 ‘Chelsea chops’ in a season. This year however Mr Malc has dug some of it over and removed some of the more exuberant growers, giving me more room for something a little more choice.


                  Looking back at the house from the challenging area.

             Also living in this area are the play house and another auricula ladder and the new shelves. At the very back of these borders I have this year dug out a long strip to grow sweet peas. The greenhouse is just hidden to the right of the shelves.


                           The White Garden.

                          Or part of it. This is a very small area, behind the greenhouse, gated off with 2 reclaimed gates. This makes for a lovely secret garden that the granddaughters love. I plant only white /yellow and blue, but as you can see the pulmonaria has seeded. This needs replacing with Pulmonaria Sissinghurst.


                            Fritillaria Imperiarlis.

                                   And to finish a bit of sunshine…….


                                    Tulips bought off local market last autumn.

                              …….I hope I’ve managed to brighten you day just a little……









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A Taster.

I have a few Auricula in flower this week.

Although the weather has turned cold again now, so this will slow progress down .

Here are a some pictures so far.

None of these Auricula are named.


This is a lovely ‘old brocade’ lavender colour, starting a little dark and fading nicely as it ages.


A good clear colour.


Looking a little damaged with the dirty rain we have just had.


I love the combination of lavender and lemon yellow.

These plants are about 3 years old, should have been split and repotted, but I like to have a few larger pots for impact.

I have some plants that I have named for the granddaughters, they chose the colours they liked. I’m hoping that they will flower this year too.

I have inquired about Calke Abbey Auricula Theatre. The garden staff tell me that it should be up and running around mid April until mid May….but if you are making a special journey, then to give them a ring first so as not to disappoint. But in the mean time the theatre is displaying viola and pansy. All the information is on their web site.


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New Blood.

After seeing the beautiful Auricula grown by ‘Loudhailer’, I was smitten.

I already grow many many Auricula but there is always room for more.

And new blood is good for adding variety.

‘Loudhailer’ recommended a good nursery Drointon Auricula .

I ordered 9 plants last Wednesday and they arrived this morning.


All the plants were perfectly packed and fresh.




All potted up and ready to go.

Thank you Loudhailer for your recommendation. The service and plants are excellent.



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Dark Matter

Today things seemed to have taken a turn in the garden.

New leaves are unfurling everywhere and the ground is erupting with the promise of summer abundance.


           Peony ‘Molly The Witch’

Always the first peony to flower here and so welcome.


            Fritillaria Imperialis.

Always have to watch for lily Beetle.


        Epimedium Warleyense

 A lovely spring ground cover, with leaves tinged purple/red.


            Euphorbia Amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’

Not to everyone’s liking as it can spread, but the spring colour is stunning.


         Saxifraga Fortunei’Rubrifolia’

  Glossy, always healthy, green leaves with a deep maroon underside. An impressive plant all through to autumn.


         Acer….now unknown as I cut the original down and this is the graft that grows. I like it much better.


          A seedling Auricula not a good specimen, but I will keep it all the same.

I always get such a buzz from seeing all the new growth in the spring, it’s almost worth going through the winter for it….


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