The Robinson garden at Hyde Hall

Now you're not going to believe this. I almost didn't. And before I tell you, we'd already decided on our gabion journey when I saw this garden, but seeing it made me smile and confirm it had to be done.

If you've no idea what I'm talking about then while I might claim this garden as my own, I'm not the Robinson it's named after. The Robinsons were the first owners of Hyde Hall and this, and the Woodland garden were the first gardens here. In 2006 the Robinson garden was redeveloped to "create a contemporary garden with three distinct boggy areas."

So now I've set the scene, would you believe it looked like this:

NEATLY STACKED GABION BASKETS IN THE ROBINSONS GARDEN

NEATLY STACKED GABION BASKETS IN THE ROBINSONS GARDEN

I know, I'm seeing gabion baskets everywhere now!  

AN ENTICING SPACE

AN ENTICING SPACE

Although this is clearly on a much larger scale than ours!

It was useful though to prove to MOH it can be done, and can look fantastic. Being the thorough sort though we spent probably far too long looking at how these were put together. I must admit to loving the order of the neatly stacked inners, but I'm still pleased we opted for the more purse-friendly reclaimed look.

IT'S EVEN GOT A CURVE

IT'S EVEN GOT A CURVE

It was here though that I really appreciated the helicoils and was glad I'd over ordered and we could add them to the joins and corners on ours.

HELICOILS SOFTENING THE SHARP EDGES

HELICOILS SOFTENING THE SHARP EDGES

AND CURVES, MEAN TRIANGLE SHAPED SPACES. AND THESE ARE PARTICULARLY GOOD!

AND CURVES, MEAN TRIANGLE SHAPED SPACES. AND THESE ARE PARTICULARLY GOOD!

The plants weren't bad either...

But this garden wasn't just about the gabions, stones and helicoils. The plants had my name all over them too. 

ALLIUM SEED HEADS

ALLIUM SEED HEADS

I need more alliums in my garden - must remember that when the bulb catalogues start arriving! But I have plenty of these hart's tongues ferns though - they grow in the old stair well alongside our conservatory.  Every year or so I scrape a load off the wall and plant into a pot and let them grow on. That's how I had enough plants to fill our gabion baskets that we used as planters.  It drives MOH crazy I'm sure, but this summer for the first time ever he saw why it was useful to have some plants that grow in our garden mature enough to be useful.

HART'S TONGUE FERN

HART'S TONGUE FERN

The astrantia below should also be on my plant list. I've lusted after it for a while, in fact since I first saw them at Bosvigo in Cornwall in 2014.

GORGEOUSLY DELICATE ASTRANTIAS

GORGEOUSLY DELICATE ASTRANTIAS

The plants were totally at home with the gabion retaining wall, and happily clambering up them.

PLANTS WERE HAPPILY CLAMBERING OVER THE GABION WALL

PLANTS WERE HAPPILY CLAMBERING OVER THE GABION WALL

It's an impressive space, and one that helped us have the confidence to really push forward with ours.

LUSCIOUS EXOTICS IN THE BOGGY AREA in the Robinsons garden at Hyde Hall in Essex

And you never know, maybe the future is gabion basket shaped!

THE TOP WALKWAY WHICH MOH INSPECTED CLOSELY FOR TIPS in the Robinsons garden at Hyde Hall in Essex

I'm still not sure if I'm spotting more gabion baskets because I'm tuned into them, or if there's more around...

The Butterfly Lovers Pavilion at RHS Wisley, where else?!

This isn't the post I expected to write today, but as I looked through my photos these were the pictures I was drawn to, so here we are. They're from my day at Woodfest with STIHL last October and are just some of the snaps I took as I wandered around the grounds. I've now visited Wisley twice, and I'm pretty sure I still haven seen everything - but that's ok, as it means I'll have to go back.

The first thing that caught my eye was the greying wood, it's not usually my thing, but here it looked as if it was meant to be and gave the impression the pavilion had been in place much longer than 2005, when it was opened. 

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And then I looked up and saw the intricate carvings and detail, and I was sold. I knew then that I'd spend time in the pavilion simply soaking up the views and the detail.  

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It's on the edge of the lake, which seems entirely right and the water draws you close. It's only then the full view unfurls in front of you, and the sculptures ahead are framed perfectly providing a zen-like view, or at least a view that made my heart sing.  

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To the right was lush, and large, gunnera, with its giant sized leaves and strangely dolphin-like stones.  Please don't say that's just me...

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The detail was everything, and everywhere. Just look at the pebble and stone floor, not forgetting the darker border, and the direction of the pebbles.

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You can see why it's such a calming and tranquil place can't you. I sat, I watched and finally I moved away and took in the view one last time.

And what a view. 

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After the calm and tranquility, my eyes settled on these vibrant clusters of colchicums. The contrast couldn't have been more vivid. Nor could I help but be a little envious, in my own garden if I'm lucky I'll have one or two of these, but a much paler variety. 

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But each time I spot one of my delicate blooms from now on, I know I'll be reminded of the butterfly lovers pavilion at Wisley. 

And why Wisley, where else?

Well I saw that the butterflies are back at Wisley until March. These butterflies have much more sense though and instead of visiting this pavilion they'll be in the Glass Houses. It's been a couple of years since I visited, but it was a truly magical experience. Clearly not for anyone that's not keen on butterflies, but if you do and if you want a butterfly to land on you, wear bright colours!