The Rose Garden at Parcevall Hall

Today I’m sharing a burst of sunshine, both literally as it was a glorious day for my visit and because it’s great to look around an independent garden.  I think there’s some real gems out there and we often overlook these, unless we already know them or they’re close by.  I discovered Parcevall Hall as I was scouring maps of the local area on our trip to Yorkshire to see what was close by.  It wasn’t that far away, as the crow flies, but in reality it was more up and down than I expected as it’s in Wharfedale in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  I don’t know about you but I find driving on steep and windy country roads exhausting, less than walking obviously, but tiring nonetheless given the additional concentration needed.

It was worth it though, as the gardens didn’t disappoint.  I’ve plenty of photos to share from here and some will no doubt brighten up the chillier days ahead, and I’ll not apologise for sharing some more sunshine when I think we need it. To buck the trend I’m not starting at the beginning of our visit either, instead starting with the Rose Garden, which at the end of June was full of the heady scent of roses, a scent that until our trip to the Loire I didn’t get.

A gravel path filled with scent and blue skies at Parcevall Hall in Yorkshire

The garden was set out symmetrically, its paths willing you to wander around.  There were places to stop and enjoy the garden, but with so much to explore we didn’t pause as much as perhaps we would have if I hadn’t already planned for us to go to RHS Harlow Carr in the afternoon, and squeeze in an afternoon tea at Betty’s - I told you I’d packed it in, didn’t I?

But taking some time to wander around and enjoy the roses was just what we needed, and there were certainly plenty to see and smell, all types and colours too.  There were roses with tightly packed petals and more open, relaxed roses.  Pinks, whites and reds the most prominent colours.  And, oh the smell in the sunshine, heavenly.

frilly white roses packed with petals
Open more old fashioned roses

Even then I remember thinking it wouldn’t be a garden I’d look forward to dead-heading, there were just so many blooms. You’ll see though that the garden looks no worse for a few decaying roses, and of course if everything was dead-headed there’d be no rose hips. 

bursts of red roses too
Rosehips in the rose garden at Parcevall Hall in Yorkshire

I normally favour roses with plenty of petals, but in this garden these delicate pink edged blooms caught my eye, and so my journey into the world of roses, with this rose with its more wild rose style flowers knocking me for six.  

pretty pink edged petals full of scent
pink roses at all stages of flowing at Parcevall Hall in Yorkshire

And look. Proof, that a garden can still look pretty and be enjoyed when it’s not perfect. The photo above shows every stage of flowering for a rose, and if there was a rosehip I’d have a full house! 

That’s pretty reassuring, isn’t it? 

Wow! Heather at Compton Acres

Compton Acres is a fabulous independent garden in Poole, Dorset and the Heather Garden there was just one of the gardens that blew us away when we visited in March last year.  The garden has over 100 different forms of heathers, and if I'm honest who knew there were so many?

I don't seem to have much luck with heathers in my own garden and while there's some heather around the lake in Greenwich Park, nothing on this scale. But we weren't aware of what lay ahead of us until we turned the corner and saw this:

Who'd have thought heather could give so much colour

Yes, exactly. 

I told you it was quite something.

Originally this space, which is south facing and full of rocky banks was the summer home of Thomas Simpson's cactus and succulent collection, which I'm sure would be equally as impactful. That was lost during World War II and after it was transformed into what would have been, at the time, a highly fashionable heather garden.

A lovely march day in the Heather Garden at Compton Acres

There were walkways and benches to get up close to the heather, and so that's what I did.  Each plant was full of colour, and nothing like the sorry plants I've had in my garden, and which has led me to give up on heather in this garden. It's all in the soil, and my woodland-like garden isn't where they want to be.

Getting close up to the heather at Compton Acres
waves upon waves of heather at Compton Acres in Poole

As you can see from the colour of the sky March last year was much different to this year, which I'm grateful for, but I can't help but wonder if the Heather Garden was as spectacular with a grey backdrop. It may well have been.

There was a bit more than heather in the garden though, but oh the colours

Despite being wowed by the overall sense of the garden there were still quirks to discover as you explored its paths.  These two lead statues were fun and elegant at the same time.

A couple of statues also enjoying the heather at Compton Acres

So who knew that heather could be this amazing, certainly not me and I couldn't help but be a little envious of the residents close by who overlooked this part of the garden.  I've plenty more to show you from this fascinating garden, and I'll do that over the next few weeks, but if you're in the area - or even close by - do go and have a look for yourself, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

The Tropical zone in Cannington's glass houses

As the warmer weather appears to have deserted us again I've taken measures into my own hands and today I'm sharing pictures from our visit to the Tropical zone in Cannington's glass house.  It was grey and misty in London for most of today and while the warmer temperatures are forecast, I'd appreciate if they were here now.  I'm sure you would too!

The glass house was hot and humid, replicating the wet tropics of Indonesia and the Amazon Rainforest, I'm taking this post as a kind of acclimatising type of post in readiness and anticipation of less grey, less misty and more Spring-like weather.  

Even just writing this post I can feel the warmth as we stepped into this area, the temperatures aim to be between 26 and 28 degrees, tough hey?

Lush leaves in the tropical zone at Cannington

Warm, but lush. 

Just look at all the greens, and the odd burst of colour too.

Pops of colour in the jungle
speckled leaves enjoying the heat as much as me

As we walked around the small but densely planted space, something unusual caught my eye above me.  It was green, but not the usual green of plants. Taking a closer look, I was right, but no less curious. 

up above there was something strange and green

I don't think I've ever seen anything like it, and had no idea what it was. We thought it might be pepper, but we'd seen that at RHS Wisley and it wasn't this colour. 

Isn't the colour vibrant? And isn't it fascinating?

On closer inspection it was jade vine and as vibrant as it looks here

Thankfully there was a sign telling us it was a "Strongylodon macrobotrys" or more helpfully a Jade Vine.  I can see how it gets its name!

It's also commonly known as an Emerald Vine or Turquoise Jade Vine and is a native of the tropical forests of the Philippines.  Stems can be up to 18 metres in length and it's a member of the pea and bean family.  Can you imagine if I grew one of these on the allotment...

No me neither, especially in this weather.

colourful leaves in the jungle at cannington

But there was more colour for us to see before we headed back to the more temperate areas.  The pink, red and green leaves above, which I'm sure I've photographed before, most likely at Wisley and a much welcomed hibiscus. 

The prettiest hibiscus at Cannington in Somerset

Doesn't it look fresh and full of warmth.  So who knew that you could find such tropical-ness in a small part of Somerset which is well worth a visit if you're close by.  I'm sure you won't be disappointed, and the added bonus is that if it's a chilly day, like us, you can spend time discovering the peculiar, but wonderful Jade Vine.