A July Visit to Packwood House Garden


On a beautiful sunny July summer’s day we decided to visit Packwood House (Lapworth, West Midlands B94 6AT).

Lots of nooks to explore and a wonderful relaxing place to spend a couple of hours admiring the flowers.

People were picnicking and children were playing cricket – an old world English garden in which to relax.

Packwood House - a feast of flowers

Packwood House – a feast of flowers

Packwood House - One of the borders

Packwood House – One of the borders

Packwood House border

Packwood House border

 

The herbaceous borders were in their prime with a tapestry of colour and I loved the repeat planting of perennials against the high brick wall.  Probably the best herbaceous borders I have seen anywhere.

Packwood House

Packwood House

Packwood House - Yew with a view

Packwood House – Yew with a view

The yew garden is special and is planted to represent the Sermon on the Mount and you can climb the spiral path to the top.  Yew with a view!  We were watching a man cutting them and wondering how long it took!  Definitely a full time job.

I bought a day lily and ornamental grass in the shop grown by the NT which were reasonably priced.  Unfortunately no café to complete the visit but they are busy building one scheduled for completion by Autumn 2013.

I highly recommend a visit and hope you enjoy our photos.

Top Shrubs


Shrubs are important in the garden, giving height, structure and interest when nothing else is awake.   There are some beautiful specimens and they give years of pleasure.

Having heavy clay soil I have tried to find suitable shrubs and then worked in loads of compost before planting.  This is worth the effort as the shrubs thrive once this is done.

Here are a few that have flourished:

Wisteria Chinensis

Wisteria Chinensis

Wisteria At Coughton Court

Wisteria At Coughton Court

 

Wisteria Chinensis.  On a visit to Coughton Court (National Trust Worcestershire) we saw a Wisteria trained as a tree with an umbrella type frame.  I was inspired and decided to try growing one as a tall shrub with a wooden stake.  This year it looked beautiful although not quite up to NT standards I’m afraid.  Will have to be patient!  Very easy to grow and prune as a tall shrub.

Weigela Bristol Ruby

Weigela Bristol Ruby

Weigela Bristol Ruby.  Deciduous shrub producing very pretty pink flowers in spring with attractive dark foliage all year.  Each year I take a few old shoots out from the base to keep it healthy.

Weiglia Florida Variegata

Weiglia Florida Variegata

Weigela Variegata.  Deciduous shrub with pink flowers and green and cream foliage.

Sambucus Nigra Black Beauty

Sambucus Nigra Black Beauty

Sambucus (Elder).  Deciduous shrub that I have to chop each spring to keep it in check.  Lovely dark foliage with pretty pink flowers.  Loves the sun.  Looks nice with a blue clematis growing through although this year mine has been eaten by mice.  Hey ho – will persevere for next year.

Viburnam Plicatum Mariesii

Viburnam Plicatum Mariesii

Viburnam Plicatum Mariesii.  This is stunning deciduous shrub that needs space (1.8 x 2.1m) to impress.  Flowers in spring on horizontal branches and reminds me of snow on an alpine tree.   I have mine in the front garden and have had to hack back other shrubs to show it off. This photo is taken in July after flowering.

Viburnam Carlesii

Viburnam Carlesii

Viburnam Carlesii.  This vigorous deciduous shrub produces massive rounded balls of fragrant white flowers in spring.  3 years ago it was eaten by Viburnam beetle which I understand can kill the plant.  My approach was to chop it down to about 2 feet and start again.  I have to say this is not the recommended treatment but as I don’t use chemicals I took a radical approach.  No sign of a return of the beetle I am happy to report and this year it has  grown to about 3 metres and was covered in flowers. This photo was taken in July after flowering. I will have to wait until next year to get a photo with flowers.

Sarcococca (Christmas Box)

Sarcococca (Christmas Box)

Sarcococca (Christmas Box). Smallish evergreen shrub with shiny leaves and rather ordinary looking.  I have grown mine in a pot by the front door as in winter it produces tiny white flowers which give off a delicious strong fragrance.  Everyone asks what it is!

My Favourite Rose Bushes And Climbing Roses


Roses

Roses are a delight and very easy to grow.  It was the first thing I wanted to plant when we moved into our 1930s house with a long west facing garden.  I devoured the rose catalogues and ordered roses with great expectations of a fragrant rose filled garden the following summer.   It didn’t quite go according to plan.  The roses did their best but could not grow in our heavy clay soil.   I have found it is virtually impossible to kill a rose but the first ones I planted succumbed to disease quickly.

Roses love clay soil but the key is to work the earth and incorporate masses of organic matter to lighten it and release the nutrients.  This is hard graft but very good exercise.  Here are some of my favourite beauties:

Mme Alfred Carriere

Mme Alfred Carriere

White Climber – Mme Alfred Carriere

Very vigorous fragrant rose – she performs year after year with minimum fuss.  Great repeat flowering.  She needs room to excel but best to cut back non flowering shoots after first flush of flowers.

Graham Thomas

Graham Thomas

Yellow Shrub or Climber – Graham Thomas

Tough as old boots and flowers throughout the season.  Not much scent but a beautiful buttery yellow colour.  I have under-planted with a blue perennial geranium.

Mme Isaac Periere

Mme Isaac Periere

Pink Shrub or Short Climber – Mme Isaac Periere

Huge crimson flowers with a powerful and delicious fragrance.  A large bush or small climber.  Repeats well and I grow it just for the fragrance with a clematis climbing through her.

Shropshire Lad

Shropshire Lad

Pale Pink/Apricot Shrub or  Short Climber – Shropshire Lad

Vigorous rose and tough tough!  I have planted 3 together to make one massive bush.  They are still establishing but I have high hopes.  Great for back of the border in a mixed bed.  The shape of the rose is wonderful.  Very fragrant.

Crown Princess Margareta

Crown Princess Margareta

Apricot Shrub or Short Climber – Crown Princess Margareta

One rose that survived my initial planting without disease which shows how tough she is.  Fantastic fragrance and I had roses on the plant until December.  I have planted 3 more together in expectation of one mass.

Iceberg Modern Climber

Iceberg Modern Climber

White Climber – Iceberg

Modern rose and one which you will see in lots of gardens, and with good reason.   She flowers consistently throughout the season with the minimum of fuss.  Unfortunately no fragrance.  The photo was taken during a house re-roof and Iceberg had been battered by scaffolding and dusted with mortar rubble but suffered no ill effects.  Watch out for mildew if you grow it up a wall.

Princess Alexandra of Kent

Princess Alexandra of Kent

Pink Shrub – Princess Alexandra of Kent

Beautiful huge rose that has a strong fragrance and changes colour from lilac pink to soft pink on the outer petals as the flower ages giving it a lovely two tone appearance.  Repeat flowering.  I have planted 3 together and this is their first year.

Dublin Bay Rose

Dublin Bay Rose

Red Climber – Dublin Bay Rose

Modern climber and bought for the fantastic red colour flower that stays for ages on the plant.  No fragrance. Unfortunately  I find it prone to disease.

Warm Welcome

Warm Welcome

Orange Climber – Warm Welcome

Mini climber with single orange flowers.  No fragrance but flowers its heart out all season.  I am growing Clematis ‘Arabella’  through the climber which also flowers all season.  A smashing plant combination especially for a small garden.

Jacques Cartier

Jacques Cartier

Pink Shrub – Jacques Cartier

Hardy old rose that never lets you down because its tough, reliable and very healthy.  Strong fragrance.  Grown it where you can appreciate the delicious fragrance.

Things I have learned:

1. Prepare the soil well with masses of organic matter – i.e garden compost or horse manure (this must be well rotted or it will burn the plant).

2. Mulch the plant each spring with compost and work in a handful of rose food.   After initial flowering I will feed once more.

3. Water well.

4. Be patient!

I don’t use chemical sprays because my experience shows they do not work and they are very expensive.  They also kill the wildlife.   The pesky black spot always  returns but healthy roses seem to be able to cope with the fungus.  My reward for not using chemicals is lots of ladybirds.