Monday, 11 June 2012

The fabulous Tewksbury open gardens, and a peek at Hornimans

With the last bed weeded and the vast majority of plants in I felt I needed a break from gardening and headed over to Forest Hill to visit the newly re-opened gardens of the Hornimans museum, and the Tewksbury Lodge group of 6 gardens that open for the NGS.

Firstly stop chuckling about the name (Charles this means you). Seemingly every day on the bus home from school when we passed the museum the girls from the local girls school would start sniggering about it 'ooooh its the horny-man' this would stop momentarily when the bus passed central Forest Hill, but then resume at the top of the hill on passing the Horniman bar.

For those that dont know, Hornimans is a fabulous museum, full of the kind of ethnographic art that makes my jungle drum go boom boom boom. The gardens have just had a big refurbishment and they now have a central area that is dedicated to growing different types of plants including edibles, dye plants, medicinal etc. I was pleased to see that there were still lots of banana trees (they used to have a fabulous mature stand of about 20? M basjoo's) however I think I will come back at the end of summer when things are a bit more established.

Above is their renovated bandstand with a great view across the Central London, and below is the rather sparse dye garden

But on to the put it simply they were fabulous and one of the best NGS experiences Ive had. I think it was because they were well organised, with a central patch in the middle of the area where they did the tickets and plant sales and gave you a map. There were also 6 of them, each of them sizable enough to be a good visit, but variety is the spice of life.

They were also in an interesting area, as they were at the top of a hill with commanding views of London, but lots of slopes to contend with.

Finally the planting was of high quality, the gardens were all different and there were lots of ideas to take away

Apologies that Ive completely forgotten which house was which, but some highlights...

I love chickens, and this is one mother of a coop

Geranium so pretty and seeing it grown well makes me realise how badly I treat my own as it is never this good. The lady who grew the best ones said she cut them down to the ground after flowering which seemed to make them grow better and better cope with the winter. a must have plant as the leaves look tropical, and the flowers are robust with glandular stalks...very exotic

I need a new greenhouse, 8x6 is not big enough

Forests of bell flower...would look good in a jungle/woodland setting if they grew through something like a bed of ferns

This lady liked her topiary....elsewhere there were lots of box chickens...

see the view.....

pretty flower innit....

Here all the bamboo supports were painted red which I thought very interesting. Quite if I had the patience to do it is another matter!

This house had an amazing summerhouse with a proper old style chaise longue in it....I waitied for a while for them to move so I could take up residency but these squatters were more determined than the St Pauls Campers....

great terracing
So lots of different gardens, great cake and different inspirations which combined with getting most of my plants in the ground means I have lots of leeway to buy lots of stuff at Gardeners World Live in Birmingham on Wednesday. hurrah!

Its all exciting seeing all these NGS gardens, and all of a sudden my own opening in September seems to be drawing closer (it is 12 weeks to go ug!). Certainly I hear excited murmerings from Lincolnshire and people are asking about it more. It is however strange to be visiting gardens that are open, and at their peak now, which mine is rather a lot of mud and seedlings which I hope will be a little more jungly in a few weeks with the rain. Please grow!


  1. But lush and exotic garden peak in late August and early September so have patience! Have fun at GW live and happy shopping, looking forward to your pics!

  2. What wonderful gardens. Lush and full of beautiful blooms. What fun to visit places like that.
    Cher Sunray Gardens