Adventures in Boots – Anglesey Abbey & Lode Mill – March 2016

Full marks to the National Trust for managing to get Anglesey Abbey & Lode Mill in Cambridgeshire full of visitors on a flat grey day in the middle of February. Arriving at 11.30pm thirty minutes after opening my friend & I found the car park full with hundreds of cars & the reception area brimming with people eager to walk the gardens & grounds whilst taking up the full glory of the snowdrops, hellebores & winter planting. Winter planting when designed well is an uplifting sight in the gloom of February & the Anglesey Abbey gardeners had thought this through thoroughly when planting the Winter Garden beds.

Colourful two metre stems of Salix & Cornus formed the framework of the borders under planted with evergreen Sarcococca shrubs that were effusing a pungent aroma which my friend found a little overpowering. The colours of hellebores ranged from pure white to a smoky velvety aubergine & the snowdrops were plentiful. Although I’m not a Galanthophile, even I could see that the snowdrops had different petal formations & patterns, all very pretty dotted around the woodlands & shrub beds.

garden march

I had a little bit of flower bed preparation envy whilst I was there…the formal gardens had been treated to a healthy helping of well rotted compost waiting for display planting to begin at some point soon. The soil was heaped & dark & rich looking; I could just picture myself slicing my border spade into the mixture as easily as a knife into soft butter. What a dream these beds must be to plant up & heaven for small specimens to get their roots down into. We’ll return in the summer on quieter term time weekday to see the fruits of the gardener’s labour.  Anglesey Abbey & Lode Mill are about one hour’s drive from Berkhamsted.

And so, seed time is upon us once more. I gleaned the web site of my favourite seed supplier Higgledy Garden for new varieties of annual flowers & old favourites to propagate myself & to share at my Garden School seed sowing workshop Saturday 16th April 10-1pm at Haresfoot Brewery, Berkhamsted. We’ll be sowing about 15 different types of annual flowers, some edible, with full care & growing on instructions. Do get in touch if you fancy a horti fun filled morning with us.


TTFN Helen x

07708 643313