My family are all keen gardeners which made the decision to earn a living from my gardening knowledge fairly straightforward. Setting up as a Garden Designer on the outskirts of Bath brings back memories of past generations who shared my love of the garden. Last weekend I was lucky enough to return to a garden that probably is the greatest influence on that passion.
The gardens are at North Court in Shorwell on the Isle of Wight.
My grandparents moved there when they retired in 1964, splitting the house three ways between three brothers and their families. The garden was also apportioned and being around 14 acres in total there was plenty for everyone!
After restoring the house they set about the gardens which include a wonderful acre of Victorian walled garden. My grandfather was keen on growing fruit and vegetables and my grandmother loved her roses. They won many medals at the local Brighstone Flower Show for their exhibits over the years – contesting many of the categories with a very able gardener by the name of Bob Bucket.
The house is now owned by my grandfathers nephew and he is wildly passionate about the gardens. There are some fabulous plants in the gardens – some with interesting connections.
This Paeonia mlokosewitschii - affectionately known as Molly the Witch was given as seed to my grandmother by Vita Sackville-West (Lady Nicholson) from Sissinghurst.
It now flourishes in the borders of North Court and John Harrison kindly gave me a small root cutting to propagate on. The plant is wonderful and always seems to attract masses of bees.
Here are some of the other plants that were in bloom or looking special.
The gardens are very extensive and are frequently opened as part of the NGS Scheme – there is plenty to see!
There were also some very private moments for me when I felt the very strong presence of my Grandparents – the last time I visited here was for the funeral of my Grandmother in 1996 – so it was pretty emotional!
I hope that I have captured some of the spirit of these wonderful gardens and that it helps explain my passion for gardens and gardening – I feel very lucky and am delighted that they are in such safe hands now. I am already planning a return in the Autumn!