Just a few details from the winter garden - Harlow Carr Gardens

We visited, on impulse, RHS Harlow Gardens today due to the bright if cold weather. To be frank there was not a lot of colour in conventional terms. There were however one or two beauties. How about this clematis, the seeds of which caught the early morning sun. I'm not sure of the variety but we used to have Clematis tangutica that came into its own in the early winter.

Or Cortaderia selloana, the once popular but now neglected Pampas Grass. It was high summer all right. Towering over our heads the plumes of this life enhancing, if space inhibiting, grass were extraordinary. My father-in-law grew this plant to perfection until, as he burned down the stubble after the flowering and seed head period, he singed the next door neighbour's fence.

Later on in the day, or rather night, there was to be a lighting display, Harlow Carr bowing down to populism.  I'm sure it will be illuminating and they were set up in the best possible taste.

Back to real plants. The barks of cherry and birch. The gardeners had been out buffing up the Prunus for all they were worth. A gloss and polish like that can't be natural. The birch is matt white. Where was my Parker fountain pen when I needed it? Such beauty. The bark not the handwriting.

Naturally I had to visit the alpine house where, genuine surprise here, there was not the variety of colour I've come to expect. So I'll miss out the ipheions because I have them in flower in the open soil - did you hear that Harlow Carr? And go straight to this gem with tiny red flowers. Saxifraga gokka. It flowers in late autumn and I know from a friend that rabbits ignore it completely. So why grow it under glass? Because it is lovely with its bright blooms bursting from interesting lobed foliage. Unsullied by frost's little fingers.

The sun was bright indeed even if it was perishing. Everywhere was nicely spruced up however. They also provide seats for old men. Very much appreciated.

And to round off our excursion how about this for an all in one treat for the garden visitors? A house with all the trimmings, even a tap. Very nice, yes? Great visit ..... apart from the "Galaxy Wind Spinner / Wind Sculpture in burnished gold finish" I was persuaded to purchase about which much more later when I've set it up.

From little acorns - Sherwood Forest's Major Oak

There comes a time when we all need a little support and the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest requires more than most. Mind you, the old fellow, if such he is, has a broad waistline of some 33 feet, weighs in at 22 tons and spreads his impressive arms to embrace 92 feet and thereby exclude all competitors. And one further statistic. He is no less than 1150 years of venerable age. If there was a Robin Hood, and Nottinghamshire's tourist trade fervently believes there was, he stood under these very limbs.

Here's another ancient specimen, windswept today, spreading his girth to match. There are many old trees in the forest, some having given up the ghost, others somewhat impossibly sprouting live branches from seemingly dead material. There are also young, lively specimens in one of England's most impressive ancient forests.

The forest is constantly reinvigorating itself. When the silvery birch have been and gone, the acorns and squirrels do their work.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 19th November 2017

Apart from the parking fee, there are few nicer places to visit on a bright, cold morning than the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Well, I say cold but sitting on the balcony having a milky coffee there was warmth in the sun and as we embarked on a long walk we generated heat well enough.

Anthony Caro's "Promenade" (1996) looked stunning in the autumn light and set amongst the trees.
The view from the balcony was also lovely. On the stairs to the cafe was an exhibition by Ed Kluz: "Sheer Folly – Fanciful Buildings of Britain". All the works were for sale and it passed my mind for a split second to ... I settled for a photograph of "The Dunmore Pineaple".

Tony Cragg's work crazily complemented the Yorkshire landscape.

However Joan Miró's 1974 piece, "Tête", would be my choice to grace the front lawn.

Or Barbara Hepworth's "Square with Two Circles"(1963).

Lynn Chadwick's "Little Girl" (1987) looks pretty grown up to me. She seemed a little lonely. An angular beauty.

The parkland itself is one of the sights of Britain.

Believe it or not, this is an exhibit. David Nash, "Seventy One Steps". We saw it seven years ago when it was being constructed. Very fitting for a sculpture park in inspiring surroundings.

 We've got to have a Henry Moore. Or three. "Upright Motives No 1" and "Glenkiln Cross No 2" & "7" (1955-6).
 And finally a Garden Centre, Alfredo Jaar's "The Garden of Good and Evil". I resisted the temptation to get out the secateurs.

York Museum Gardens by Night or Day

We are due to visit York in December to walk around the museum gardens at night with our grandchildren so we had a little recce. We had had the coldest night of the year and I needed to scrape the ice off the car. Most of our plants have somehow escaped the ravages thankfully but this post is about the lovely autumnal colour in the museum gardens. Hydrangeas are sensational at this time of the year so I snapped one I liked against a brick wall.

 Of course, we were able to see the preparations for the night spectacular. As I mentioned to Jan, it's much better to see the gardens in daylight when it's free. Maybe the kids will be happy with the photos.

And I'll throw in the calf we saw in the University grounds.

Memories of Wentworth Gardens, May 8th 2016

I have written here before about the saddest gardening event of  2017 - the closure of the historic Wentworth Gardens.

Clumber Park Yesterday

Clumber Park looked a delight in the pale sunshine.  Four miles, or thereabouts, and my Sony A6300 at hand. We ended by popping into the Walled Garden and Conservatory, hence the chrysanthemums and odd scrap of colour. To rephrase Miranda: "O brave new world, That has such plants in it!"

And remembering .....

Galanthus 'Mighty Atom'