Loseley Park

Loseley Park, home of the eponymous icecream, has been lived in by the More-Molyneux family for over 500 years. The house, set in 400 acres in Surrey, was built in the 1560s. Its walled garden was set out in the 16th century, re-designed by Gertrude Jeckyll in the 19th century and was redesigned again in 1991.

Loseley Park 9 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Of course there's a rose garden, with over 1,000 roses, and a vegetable and cut flower garden.

Loseley Park 13 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

But in high summer it's the various flower gardens that really grab your attention. The Flower Garden is designed with hot colours in mind, but these only develop in late summer. Now there is a tasteful palette of blue and yellow.

Loseley Park 16 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

I like the way the plants are packed in, those with looser structures like Geranium pratense and Cephalaria gigantea scramble through evergreen Buxus and Euphorbia, with the frothy Alchemilla mollis skirting the floor.

Loseley Park 14 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Sissinghurst is not the only white garden in the country. The one at Loseley Park is based around a tranquil pond. It's no surprise this is a popular place for weddings.

Loseley Park 2 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

One of the things you notice about the White Garden is that not all the plants are white. There are creams, silver, pale yellows, pale pink, dark greens and plenty of variegated leaves.

Loseley Park 11 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

One of the more unusual features at Loseley Park is the moat. It's not clear what function it has served but it's now planted with water lillies and Gunnera and home to at least one mallard family with no less than seven ducklings.

Loseley Park 7 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

From the moat there's a short walk through the Rose Garden. At the end of June most of the roses are in full bloom. There was a sculpture display there when I visited. The overall impression was marred somewhat by the sorry-looking box hedge. I couldn't tell what was causing the problem but they have my sympathies, it's getting harder and harder to keep box looking good.

Loseley Park 8 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The Tennis Court Border would have been easy to miss as it's a bit out of the way.

Loseley Park 10 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Again there's a blue and yellow theme here, with the full range of Verbascums, from the statuesque V. bombyceferum to the more delicate V. chaixii. It can't all be in good taste though as these poppies were unlikely to have been blue or yellow.

Loseley Park 17 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The stone walls make an attractive backdrop. I was surprised there weren't more climbers in the garden. There is a magnificent and ancient Wisteria but it was obviously not in flower now. There are a couple of roses but really there is the potential for so much more.

Loseley Park 18 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

There are tea rooms aplenty here but unlike these two I didn't have time even to taste the icecream let alone sit down.

Loseley Park 15 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Loseley Park - http://www.loseleypark.co.uk/

You need to plan your visit. There is a tedious diversion in place to get there until the end of July 2018, and the house and gardens are not open on Fridays or Saturdays.


Return to the Hungry Cyclist's Garden

It's a treat to go back to a garden you've fallen in love with and see it anew in a different season.

Hungry Cyclist autumn border Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg
Hungry Cyclist Asters Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Last time I was in The Hungry Cyclist's garden it was, literally, blazing June with many of the flowering perennials at their peak

Hungry Cyclist Persicaria Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Now at the end of September its the turn of later flowering plants, fruit and trees.

Hungry Cyclist by the mill race Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The low light early in the morning (8am rather than 5.30) filters through the wilting flowers and grasses, highlighting the dew and cobwebs.

Hungry Cyclist cobweb Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The stalwarts of late summer include Sedums and Persicarias, whilst Lavander and Perovskia are just about hanging on to their faded blue stems.

Hungry Cyclist autumn border Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The fruit trees are fully laden, the changing leaves are drifting towards earth and a deep mist hangs across the valley after a night of heavy rain.

Hungry Cyclist apples Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

It's tempting at this time of year to get into tidy-up mode. But if you do it now you face a long winter of stasis

Hungry Cyclist Lavandula Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

This is when you might be glad of a little more structure in the garden, like these rough square beds, creating views across the garden.

Hungry Cyclist square borders Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

At the other end of the day the light is softer.

Hungry Cyclist evening Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Early evenings in autumn are a real pleasure in good weather, a good time to enjoy the view.

Hungry Cyclist Lodge Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

And the fruits of nature.

Hungry Cyclist walnuts Arthur Road Landscaoes.jpg

The Hungry Cyclist/Gardener.

Hungry Cyclist Tom Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

A big thanks to Tom, Chris, Desna, Nicola, Rob, Sarah and Susannah for a fab week. And finally, the real star of the garden - Mirabelle

Hungry Cyclist Mirabelle Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The Hungry Cyclist - www.thehungrycyclist.com

Return to Allt-y-bela

Unable to resist another invitation to see Allt-y-bela, I trogged down the M4 in the pouring rain.

Alt-y-bela Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Last time I was here it was raining too. But, like then, the sun did come out, briefly. In late July this garden is all about the cottage garden and the vegetable plot. In early June it's all roses and wild flowers

Alt-y-bela Leucanthemum Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

It's the wild flower meadows that help the garden merge with the surrounding landscape. Of course they're not really wild in the sense of always having been here; they haven't, they've been planted and sown in the last ten years, but you wouldn't know it just by looking.

Alt-y-bela Meadow Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

But even old wild flower meadows need to be managed - mown at the right time to allow seeds to fall and germinate, the flowers not allowed to lie in situ after mowing but be picked up so the soil fertility doesn't increase and additional species planted that may or may not be typical wild flower meadow plants. Like these Trollius.

Troilius Alt-y-bela Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The meadows are in fact quite a bit of work, but definitely worth it I think.

Allt-y-bela rambling rose Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The roses were over by the time of my visit last year but this time they were just getting into their stride. I'd love to be able to tell you the names of them all but I found myself a bit distracted.

Allt-y-bela Climbing Rose 1 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

As the garden is in a bit of a valley the scent is captured and remains in the air, even on a wet day.

Alt-y-bela shrub rose Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Often I have clients say they don't want any roses in their gardens. Memories of municipal monoculture or a faint whiff of the crematorium perhaps? But when planted amongst other shrubs or perennials they can really shine when in flower and disappear into the background when they've finished.

Allt-y-bela rose Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

And roses' ability to climb makes them doubly useful, especially if you are short of space or have a few old apple trees that might not be looking their best.

Alt-y-bela roofline Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Having a beautiful house does give you a bit of a head start in the gardening stakes. It does take a degree of bravery to turn an off-white ugly duckling into an uskan orange beauty (yes the typo is deliberate).

Alt-y-bela topiary Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

And when garden designers witter on about good bones and structure this is what they are refering to - good quality hard landscaping that has a beauty and a purpose and fantastic evergreen plants.

Allt-y-bela copper beech Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Or purple ones.

Cobblers Cove Hotel

Every year the Barbados Horticultural Society manages to persuade some of its members to open their gardens to the public. The last open garden of the year was the Cobbler's Cove Hotel in St Peter.

Cobblers Cove Hotel 10 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Every year the Barbados Horticultural Society manages to persuade some of its members to open their gardens to the public. The last open garden of the year was the Cobbler's Cove Hotel in St Peter.

Cobblers Cove Hotel 1 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

his boutique hotel is owned by the Godsall family. The garden is as much of a draw as the luxurious rooms and beautiful setting on the coast

Cobblers Cove Hotel 2 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The garden has undergone a gentle upgrade under the eye of garden consultant Niki Farmer. From my conversation with her it has been an enjoyable job, despite the fact the owner doesn't like yellow flowers or variegated leaves.

Cobblers Cove Hotel 3 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

All the rooms and suites open out onto or look over probably the most immaculate garden I've ever seen.

Cobblers Cove Hotel 4 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

There are many tropical and meditteranean plants and flowers familiar to us in the UK, usually as house plants, such as Bourgainvillia, Brugmansia and dozens of different palm trees.

Cobblers Cove Hotel 5 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Some are less well-known, as plants anyway, such as this Ylang-ylang tree, whose flowers are used in many perfumes.

Cobblers Cove Hotel 6 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

One of the guests had not checked in but was making himself at home anyway. I was just dying for this green monkey to nip in to the room and help himself to the hotel soap, but he was very well behaved.

Cobblers Cove Hotel 7 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The green monkeys are not native to Barbados but come orginally from Gambia and Senegal. Over 75 generations they have developed different behaviours and characteristics to their ancestors.

Cobblers Cove Hotel 8 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Its amazing to think this garden is just a few metres from the beach. Shelter from the prevailing winds, plus plenty of sunshine and rain, makes Barbados gardens lush. Large trees can reach maturity in just 25 years.

Cobblers Cove Hotel 9 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Brightly coloured flowers can co-exist in close proximity with shade-loving ferns, something that's almost impossible to achieve in the UK.

Of course there were refreshments. Tea, naturally, iced-coffee and, rarely to be found in an NGS garden, rum punch. The icing on the cake was a plentiful supply of fresh Bajan fish cakes, so hard to find after the strange disappearance of the world famous fishcake stall from Speightstown.

Cobbler's Cove Hotel - http://www.cobblerscove.com/

Niki Farmer doesn't have a website but I'm guessing she can be contacted through the Cobbler's Cove Hotel.


Allt-y-bela is designer Arne Maynard's garden in Monmouthshire. Initially, it was Arne's intention to make a simple garden using his favourite components - roses, topiary and wildflower meadows. There was no garden here when Arne bought the restored medieval farmhouse five years ago, just a few outbuildings set across an ancient drover's road.

Allt-y-bela 1 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The topiary, mostly set around the house, is huge and dramatic, and seemingly randomly placed.  His gardener, Steve, said it was not unusual for Arne to receive deliveries of large pieces without much forethought as to where they would be placed.

Allt-y-bela 2 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

None of the pieces are alike and there is no attempt at placing them in a formal pattern. The larger pieces are a mixture of yew, hornbeam, purple beech and box.  Low hawthorn hedges have just been planted to create rustic edges for the few formal borders.

Allt-y-bela 3 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

There is a pleasing lack of formality to the garden as it is the designer's intention to blue the boundaries between the garden and the wider landscape.  Beyond the immediate vicinity of the house the garden is surrounded by wildflower meadows.  At the end of summer the flowers have all faded but in spring thousands of bulbs are in flower, designed to make the meadows look as though they've been there for hundreds of years.

In keeping with the house's agricultural history there is a productive and beautiful Kitchen Garden.

Allt-y-bela 4 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

By the way, the house was white when Arne bought it. I don't know how he came to choose orange as the right colour to paint it but it makes a stunning backdrop to the garden, mainly because green really stands out against it.  And when you've got an orange house you need a few orange flowers.

Allt-y-bela 5 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Next to the Kitchen Garden is the Cottage Garden, full of flowers to be cut for the house. The paths are made from stone found around the house and are angled to provide interesting glimpses of other parts of the house. These foxgloves are Digitalis ferruginea gigantea.

Allt-y-bela 6 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Despite his best intentions Arne has been unable to resist the urge to go beyong his original brief. The stream behind the old granary has been canalised with local stone and divides the stage from the terraces that form the Garden Theatre.

Allt-y-bela 7 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The gardens immediately outside the house are more complex, though still informal.

Allt-y-bela 8 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The Courtyard Garden at the front is enclosed with a pleached hedge and filled with smaller pieces of topiary and cottage-style planting, making for an interesting view from the kitchen.

Allt-y-bela 9 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

One of my favourite spots in the garden is at the back of the house. Box hedging reaches out towards the meadow.

Allt-y-bela 10 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

It is here the roses are most in evidence. Although by late summer they are mostly past their best they must look and smell amazing in June.

Allt-y-bela 11 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Back towards the front of house, next to the granary, is Arne's latest project, the Lattice Garden. Low hedges of hawthorn frame herbaceous planting and topiary.

Allt-y-bela 12 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

espite being a two-time gold medal winner at Chelsea, there's still room a little whimsy in the garden (or was it there already when he bought the property?).

Little of this garden would be possible without full-time gardener Steve Lannin. Although the topiary is only trimmed once a year apparently it can take weeks to get all the way round the garden.  Steve was a warm and knowledgeable host on our visit and really brough Arne's design ideas to life.

Allt-y-bela 13 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

t is difficult to explain how much I enjoyed this garden; it's quite different to any other garden I have seen. There really is a blurring between the garden and the wider landscape and the huge topiary adds unexpected scale and drama. I didn't feel as though I were in a garden in the normal sense - there were no boundaries  - just endless possibilities of walking round the garden with different views at each turn.  Quite an achievement.

The garden at Allt-y-bela is not open to the public but group visits can be arranged. Alternatively, you can stay in the house as a B&B and have the garden all to yourself.

Allt-y-bela - http://arnemaynard.com/portfolio/gardens/my-garden-in-wales/#.V8bC9aJM1YU

Steve Lannin's garden diary - http://arnemaynard.com/journal/garden-diary/?tag=Steve%20Lannin#.V8bDcaJM1YU

The Hungry Cyclist's Garden

I've just returned from a fab five days in Burgundy, staying at the beautiful Le Moulin Prunier, home of the Hungry Cyclist, Tom Kevell-Davies. Restoring the old mill as a guest lodge, running cycling tours, cooking, brushing up on his wine knowledge (for research purposes only) has been a labour of love for the past four years.

The Hungry Cyclist 1 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The Mill is set in five acres of land, including a stream, mill pond, orchard and nuttery and a garden. Unusually for me I was up most mornings at 5.30am and I finally discovered why most garden photographers think this is the best time of day. The light is soft, the shadows long, there is still dew on the ground and, most importantly, no one else is around.

The Hungry Cyclist 2 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

The English Border, as I like to call it, was initially dug over by wild boar. The perennials here are mostly gifts and swaps with a few purchases.

The Hungry Cyclist 3 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

At this time of year there is a predominance of soft blues, purples and grey

The Hungry Cyclist 4 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Stunning when back-lit against the early morning sun.

The Hungry Cyclist 5 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

At the top of the garden is the mill pond. It was fascinating to see how this changed with the different light and weather conditions.

The Hungry Cyclist 6 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Early in the morning, before the sun falls on it, the water is a deep and cool green. A kingfisher uses this bird house as a fishing perch apparently.

The Hungry Cyclist 7 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

After a huge thunderstorm the water level rose nearly a foot in height. Most of the plants became submerged and the water fully reflected the surrounding foliage.

The Hungry Cyclist 8 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Successful country gardens reflect and draw on the countryside around them. Tom's garden is no exception, with views of the vineyards that surround the village.  Pinot noir and chardonnay, if you're wondering.

The Hungry Cyclist 9 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Tom's other passion is collecting - cycling memorabilia and bric a brac. The garden contains a few well-placed pieces of furniture, including this old bench.

The Hungry Cyclist 10 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

This bridge across the stream is made from an old wine barrel, quite a large one by all accounts.

The Hungry Cyclist 11 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

I couldn't work out if this collection of pieces was deliberate or random in its placing, next to the cellar.

The Hungry Cyclist 12 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

During my stay I was lucky enough to borrow a macro lens for a day. It was quite tricky to get the hang of (more practice needed), but some beginner's luck resulted in a few good shots.

The Hungry Cyclist 13 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Tom is aided and abetted by the delightful Mirabelle.

The Hungry Cyclist 14 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

Really the best thing about being up this early is that someone else has made breakfast, ready just when you need it.

The Hungry Cyclist 15 Arthur Road Landscapes.jpg

A big thankyou to Tom, Desna, Susannah, Sarah, Chris and Rob for a fab holiday.

The Hungry Cyclist Lodge - http://www.thehungrycyclist.com/