The National Garden Scheme www.ngs.org.uk is a charity that raises funds for beneficieries connected with care & nursing charities. In the last ten years, among others, Macmillan, Marie Curie, Perennial & (for 2016) Horatio’s Garden have received £23 million in donations which makes the NGS the largest cumulative donor in the history of these charities.
At the weekend I visited Ulting Wick a garden in Essex owned by Philippa Burrough which was open as part of the NGS 2016 programme. Philippa is renowned for her tulips-quite simply they are breathtaking. Despite the cold the tulips put on a brave display, some of them kept their petals closed but nonetheless were still standing tall & proud. There were formal arrangements in blocks of colours in the parterre gardens & groups of blooms in the less formal parts of the gardens around the river banks. The river bank plantings were neatly protected with stakes & chicken wire as the garden is subject to invasions of Muntjac deer & rabbits.
The whole eleven-acre space is designed around three huge listed black Essex barns which provide really creative props for all the planting in the gardens. One of the barns acts as a tearoom but there are other outdoor areas where you can sit with refreshments. Large, graceful weeping willows line the pond & there is wild flower meadow which no doubt adds much interest later in the season.
After the tulips have finished Philippa replants the parterre beds & borders with a magnificent display of Dahlias, bananas, Cosmos, sunflowers & other annuals ornamental grasses.
I had a chat with Philippa whilst I was there & she mentioned how concerned she was with the tulip viruses so prevalent these days due to the winters being warmer. To be honest my untrained eye didn’t notice any imperfections in the plants but I can understand how frustrating it must be for a specialist like Philippa to see impurities in her carefully chosen planting designs.
September is also a good month to visit-all the late summer flowers will be out in full bloom. Two NGS days have been set aside that month, the 11th & the 16th & it’s less than an hour’s drive early on a Sunday morning from Berkhamsted.
TTFN, more next month-Helen email@example.com