Garden Picture Blog
Garden open dates
Awards and Publications
Directions to our garden
Plans of the Garden
Guide to plants in our garden
BBC TV film our garden
Fancy opening your garden
Garden Pictures 2008
The Garden At Night
Art in the Garden
Lilium flowering 2011
Meet the aviary birds
Clematis flowering times
Clematis flowering 2011
Clematis picture mosaic
Nature in the Garden
Down at the Allotment
A weed is a plant that is not only in the wrong
place, but intends to stay.
A few words about ourselves. We are both
retired now, and came from families who grew their own vegetables and flowers and had a 'general interest' in
gardening. We married in 1990. Lyn had lived here prior to this for ten years, she
always had a neat and tidy garden but with limited funds available for plants, there
were a lot more trees and shrubs, also not being a dab hand at building or carpentry,
no serious hard landscaping could be carried out.
Our garden is in Femdown Dorset, about one
kilometre from the centre of town, we enjoy a fairly sheltered climate, as we are only five kilometers from the sea,
and a belt of pine trees protect us from cold north winds. We have quite a sandy soil
being near to Femdown Common, which is a heathland habitat. The sandy soil also
means that it does not hold it's heat very much at night, so we find that we are
in one of the colder areas, our coldest minimum night temperature has been minus
10.6c which was during the winter of 2008/2009.
We live in an end of terrace house just off the main road, with a front garden
approximately 16x10 metres and the back 12x10.5 metres, which is in the "compact" category. But we do have
over 1000 different plants, including
a collection of 109 different clematis. The garden has slowly changed over the years from
typical suburban to a garden in two parts, English at the front and Exotic at
the back. This was due in part to ideas and plants we brought back from Spain. We
have carried out all the work in the garden, including the building of paths, walls, and
the conservatory, with no external help. The front garden won prizes in three categories in The Ferndown in Bloom Competition
In 2002 and 2003 we were the Overall Winner with the best front, and back garden.
In 2004 the rules of the competition were changed to exclude any garden
that opens to the public from entering the main part of the competition. As we
do all the work in the garden ourselves, we did not feel we had any advantage
over any other entrants in the competition, so we stopped entering. After a few
years the competition ceased due to lack of entries
In 2009 the competition was brought to life again without the
aforementioned restraints, so Lyn entered her front garden, and was judged to be
best garden on public view, so won the competition. At the moment we are not
sure if she will be allowed to enter again in 2010.
We don't consider our garden to be a ""Four Seasons" delight, but we do
endeavour to have lots of colour from May till October. We then bring our tender
plants, which are in pots, into the conservatory and greenhouse, which we keep frost
free. Every available space is taken up with the pots..
The front garden is in a '"cottage" style with perennials, Lilies, Roses,
hostas, amongst other plants like hardy geranium and clematis, intertwining and jostling for space. The small
lawn is edged with brick for easy maintenance. A large
silver birch tree is clothed with three clematis, and a flowering cherry provides
support for Clematis viticella "Rubro Marginata" and 'Alba Luxurians', the trees also provide some shade to
In the borders five large obelisks support Clematis viticella 'Madame Julia
Correvon', C. texensiss 'Gravetye Beauty', C. Herbaceous 'Arabella' and 'Sylvia Denny', plus Rosa 'Pink Ocean', the wooden obelisks also provide structure and height to the garden.
A feature wall near the house, with an arched door was constructed to replace
an old wooden fence. Passing through the doorway we have made floral mosaics that
are fixed on the house wall to brighten up the passageway to the back garden.
The Back Garden, was inspired by many holidays in Andalucia, southern Spain, walking in the villages and countryside, observing the wildlife and the many
different plants in, and out of gardens.
The first 'exotic' plants we acquired, were Cannas and Agave, followed by Oleander
and Bougainvillea. At the far end of the garden we built a white wall, with a
ceramic lions head, which we purchased while in the pottery town of La Bisbal, Catalonia, northern
Spain. Water spouts from it into a large blue pot with ivy growing around. In several
corners of the garden are groups of pots with Agave americanum variegata, Agapanthus,
Hedichiums, Canna 'Aphrodite', C. 'Roit ley', C.'Wyoming', C.'Black Knight', C.'Louise Cotton', and C.'Lucifer' with a yellow edged red flower, which
we like very much. Sadly our collection of cannas have been depleted due to the
canna virus, but we still have a few.
Near the conservatory we have a mill stone set in a pebble pool, surrounded on three
sides by Hostas, Ferns, Irises and a Ligularia, with Clematis and Ipomea at the back
climbing a blue trellis. The millstone was obtained from nearby Bournemouth International
Airport, when they had no further use for it, due to additional buildings, which were
to cover the original site of a Japanese style garden.
Our conservatory houses many more plants, to name a few, Dipladenia sanderi 'Rosea', Plumbago Auriculata, Hibiscus, Lantana, and five different colour Bougainvillea.
Outside in the summer, we have 10
different Brugmansias, including a yellow that has had one hundred flowers out at one time. They
all give a lovely scent to the air in the evening.
As Brugmansia are very thirsty plants, with the large area of leaves they support, we
stand their pots in a container, which we keep full of water.
We opened our garden for the first time on Sunday 22nd July 2001 in the afternoon,
for the National Garden Scheme. It was a damp showery morning that greeted us, which made us wonder if anyone would come! On our plant stall we had seventy
cannas that had been specifically over wintered for the garden opening, we divided up
perennials the previous autumn, and a few plants were 'bought in" to give more variety.
As we had decided to sell tea and cakes, we had baked eight assorted cakes,and wondered if we would end up eating them ourselves, if no one arrived.
Our prayers were answered; as by lunchtime the rain had stopped and the sun came
out, as did the visitors, bless them, By mid afternoon the garden was crowded with people, and despite having to wait to
take a photo, or queue for a cake, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There
were many compliments and questions. "How do you keep your lawn so green?" "Is it
real grass?" "All your plants look so healthy, what do you feed them with?" "What is
that tree?" we didn't know the answer to that one, the tree had been there for years
before Lyn bought the house.
These seemed to be the most popular questions asked, at this, and our subsequent
opening. We have never had so many complimentary remarks in such a short time, the
nicest we thought was "We have visited a lot of gardens large and small but this is the
best we've ever seen". And at the end of the day tired and happy, with a few crumbs
of cake, and a nearly empty plant stall, we had 162 visitors in the three and a half
hours we were open.
In 2002 we broke our previous record for
attendances, 222 on the first opening in July, then 224 in August, and 130 in
September. We don't think we will ever beat that ???.
But we did!! 232 in August 2003. And the numbers have continued
to rise, 242 in August 2005 Help........ we need a bigger
Now in 2009 after having our garden shown on BBC Gardeners
World, attendances for the year rose by 38% more than our previous record. The
new record for a Sunday opening is now 326, pretty well bursting point for the
Still the visitors rise, in 2010 just on a Wednesday 3 hour afternoon opening we had
our email address