Today’s post is part of a new series here on HPH! As I’ve said previously, this seasonal shift means that houseplant repotting will pause for a few months as many plants get ready for their winter rest. So in lieu of my regular ‘repotting diaries’ blogposts (+ as we are spending more time indoors) I wanted to take this time to share some of the green spaces I have visited instead. I thought it would be a nice way to virtually visit botanical gardens together as I’ve not shared any of these trips before. I’ll save these under a ‘HPH visits…’ tab on my homepage + I hope you enjoy! So make a hot drink of choice + lets meander through some verdurous views.
*FYI, my normal houseplant content + care posts will continue through the Winter months as always, so please send any blogpost requests my way if there is anything you’d like me to cover.
Ok, so the first post in this series is a UK based National Trust site called Wentworth Castle Gardens, in Barnsley, Yorkshire. It’s the only place I’ve visited since lockdown and even though the Conservatory was closed, walking around the gardens + parkland still made for a much-needed day trip. I met up (albeit at a distance) with my good friend from Uni who was in the area + got to meet her little 6 month old daughter too for the first time which was lovely!
Lovely globe artichokes looking very delicious below left — side note…I love steaming these + eating with a creamy dip! As I said in my September garden post, I’ll share my outdoor garden plans soon, but I get so much planting inspiration from trips like this one. I love fountain grasses (Pennisetum) because they add such a softness to a border.
An impressive wildflower display added some zingy bursts of colour along this path…
Perhaps one of my favourite areas, this display of ornamental grasses dancing about in the breeze looks excellent against the darker hedge behind. I love how this type of soft, understated planting works visually as a foreground to a formal house (behind) with a strong, angular design.
Further into the grounds we came across an interesting find — a fake castle! After purchasing the estate in 1708, Thomas Wentworth built this to make it seem as though his family had owned it for a long long time! Around the castle was a sheltered spot that was designed as a fernery. This shaded area had such a tranquility to it, surrounded by the lush greenery + some classic Victorian ‘Fern benches’ (see below) to invite us to sit + enjoy the view!
Cyclamen season was just beginning when I visited, I love those pops of pink nestled around the bases of other plants.
Some more of my favourites, ophiopogon nigrescens + a lovely collection of hydrangea. These are two of my plants I had to give to my family when I moved earlier this year because I couldn’t fit them in the plant van + I really do miss them! I really want to grow a big Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle + a paniculata ‘limelight’ in my next place!
As I said earlier, the Conservatory was still closed when I visited (only the outdoor areas were open because of covid), but I didn’t let that dampen my enthusiasm! I proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes working my way around the perimeter with my nose (+ camera — you’re welcome!) very close to the glass! But even from the outside you can appreciate the beauty of this Victorian design + I am always amazed by these structures. I love old buildings + that signature wobbly glass that reflects the light in such a magical way. When looking at things like this, it certainly does feel that things aren’t built like they used to.
I always have a soft spot for sites that have conservatories in the grounds because I got the chance to work on a project at another National Trust site a few years ago (disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with NT in any way + I paid for my ticket here).
One of my favourite areas to find in glasshouses are the propagation zones — this is obviously an important aspect of looking after the collections + growing plants on for the future too. Yes, these greenhouses are a fantastic opportunity to see mature specimens but these interesting areas are ones that always catch my attention! They are often out of public view + give a more ‘real’ perspective on plant care + protecting + sustaining plant collections.
I’ve got a good collection of photographs of these spaces which I will share in subsequent posts in this series. Things here always look slightly unkempt + to me they feel full of potential. I enjoy the feeling of experimentation + uncertainty in these areas — whether the cutting will successfully root, trying out a different propagation method etc. To those of us that propagate at home on our windowsills, these views create a comforting sense of familiarity.
This Haemanthus albiflos is one of my favourite ever plants + I always gasp when I see one in person. It’s native to South Africa + also more commonly know as a ‘paintbrush plant’ because of the incredible brush-like blooms… WOW, this was a glorious specimen to encounter!
The last part of Wentworth we explored was the Parkland. The path took us though undulating fields of deer in relatively close proximity which was a real treat to witness! The weather turned a little grey so I put my camera away for a while + just enjoyed the walk. Some of these areas around the perimeter felt much more wild — a nice balance to the more formal garden areas in closer proximity to the house.
I hope you enjoyed this post + enjoyed seeing something a little different here, The next post I will share in this series will from be a French botanic garden I visited last year that I sort of stumbled upon by accident! Until next time, hope you are staying safe.