Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Wynyard Hall Gardens.
A Happy 2nd Birthday

So when Wynyard Hall Gardens opened their doors at the weekend to celebrate their second birthday, it was the perfect opportunity to pop along and see why this beautiful place is becoming ever popular.

On first impressions as soon as I walked through the door there was plenty for the eyes to feast upon with the gentle natural music of the water fountains. I headed along to the side path which were edged with beautiful pinks, purples and whites. The scent of lavender welcomes you in making you feel calm and relaxed. The borders were crammed full of Verbena Bonariensis, Scabious, Salvia, Stipa Tennuissima, Agapanthus and of course Roses. Wynyard Hall Gardens are renound for their huge collection of David Austen roses and have an impressive 3000 blooms on show!! You couldn't help but notice their pretty flower heads and gentle perfumes planted perfectly amongst the other plants so they were little mini show pieces all around. Tucked up the backs of the borders growing up the walls were luscious apple and pear tree's that almost enticed you in to pick a few! 

 More Walled Garden goodness

The central borders with winding paths that lead you to little blocks of flowery goodness, your senses literally pop with colours,textures and smells! Stacks of grasses are spattered with Astrantia, Cosmos, Lupins and Rudbeckia to name a few. There are some great structures within these parts that offered support to allow the climbing roses to be on show as well as giving some shade to allow for a different dimension to the planting schemes. There were some magnificent trees that lined the big water ponds and  brought some extra grandness to the garden. Whilst wandering around the walled garden you cant help but be taken in by the energetic sound of the bee's that were working hard and the beautiful dancing butterflies all feasting on the luscious nectar on offer to them. I loved how the garden had little tiers which were lined with fabulous waterfall features up the top to the pergolas in the centre followed by the circular fountains at the bottom.

 Edible Gardens

WOW! This has to be the prettiest 'allotment' I ever did see! Bountiful of delicious crops to salivate over. Currants, Rhubarb and Strawberries all side by side in one section. Pumpkins, Squashes and courgettes were guarded by soldiers of Sweetcorn and Sunflowers. The raised beds were stuffed with Cabbages, Broccolis, Parsnips, Leeks, Carrots, Chard, Lettuces and Beetroot. One of my favourite plots was the sea of Lavender species with accompanying Apple trees. What a beautiful sight and splendid smell!! The herb plots were cleverly planted into blocks of 1 herb per block but different varieties which made it more inviting to touch and smell. A wonderful walkway of arches entices you to stroll under and take in the lovely varieties of climbers such as Honeysuckle and Jasmine. Set to one side was a very colourful Sweet Pea wall. The  height was something to be admired (although being only 4'10 might add to that!) Surrounding the food beds were mixed borders of beautiful colour clashes between Achillea, Dahlias and Crocosmia to single out a few. You couldn't help but smile at the vibrancy they brought to the edible garden and very reminiscent of what you would find on a traditional allotment.

The Grand Marquee Garden

The stillness hits you immediately as soon as you pass under the arch. No water, No noisy rustles of grasses just gentle whispers of the trees that line the boundary. This part of the garden is definitely an escapism of all the energy you feel from the other gardens. It makes you stop and soak up the peace it offers you in abundance. With simple planting schemes of Sedum, Echinops and dainty Chinese Meadow Rue that edged the soft grass walkways it made you feel calm and relaxed as you floated around or sat at the tables outside the Grand Marquee itself.

A time to ponder!

After all the excitement of exploring it was time to have a rest in the lovely cafe (which the edible garden supplies!) Here my thoughts turned to how clever the gardens are split into their sections which offer happiness and energy from one to peace and tranquillity in the other. The way the atmosphere changes is very noticeable. 

The final word!

A visit to Wynyard Hall Gardens should be added to everyone's list of places to visit up in the North East. Ideal for all ages to stroll around (or roll around like Maximus did!) There is something for everyone here be it history or a little kids play area but regardless of whether you are interested in gardening or not you certainly will leave this place feeling like you can recreate a little piece of it back home, be that something pretty to look at or to dig up and eat!

Until next time
N x 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Put the breaks on!!

My goodness me where does the time go?! 

Since my visit to Gardeners World Live I just don't seem to have stopped much at all. Although it has all been great fun from exploring a local National Trust hall, making progress in the garden to even managing to run the fab Ali Brownlee 5k Riverside Run!!

A local piece of beauty!

For many of my childhood years I only lived a short distance away from Ormesby Hall, but I have never been along to discover what it has to offer. Sunday 25th June they held a free open day to all Teessiders and what a perfect opportunity it was to spend some of my birthday strolling around and taking in this beautiful hall with all its history and beautiful gardens. Even Hollie and Maximus enjoyed playing old fashioned games on the lawn and seeing how the house would have ran with all its staff. The gardens where stunning too with nothing overly fussy and natural looking borders it added to the calm and relaxing atmosphere. I will definitely be heading back there again.

Ormesby Hall

Practically living outdoors

The summer months become peak season for us keen gardeners and more often than not over the last few weeks I have been in mine pottering, planning and creating. A heavy drizzle wasn't going to stop me from weeding and tidying up the front garden either (even if the neighbours thought I was mad!). I finally got round to making up my hanging baskets which are just now starting to fill out nicely. I've even stepped up in the grow your own game. I was pleasantly surprised at how many veg varieties can still be sown this month. Having my fab little VegTrug has helped my confidence with growing veg and allows the kids to easily see the progress they make so we opted for some Dwarf French Beans and Dwarf Turnips. Don't be put off by the time of year you can grow some great veg for later pickings and can just use good sized pots/troughs. 

French Beans & Turnip
Hanging Basket all ready


Come and find me

Alongside this blog you can find me over on social media. I love to see what you all get up to in your own gardens and hope that I can encourage/inspire more to reconnect with your surroundings which will benefit you in so many ways and also give nature a helping hand. I would love to see you over there. You can ask me questions & I'll do my best to answer or share what has made you smile from your own gardens/spaces


Keep growing & nurturing

Until next time 

N x

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Gardeners World Live 50th Birthday

My First ever gardening show of any kind!

Wow, what a day and experience it turned out to be! The 3 hour journey (starting at 6am) was so worth it. I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived, but what greeted me as I entered through the gates completely overwhelmed me. Once me and mum studied the map and got our bearings we headed over to the show gardens. I literally gasped! I had seen them on telly and social media leading up to Sunday but you cant help but feel in awe of the skills and thought processes that go into creating these wonderful gardens that put a huge smile on everyone's faces. There was inspiration for everyone whether you wanted something peaceful & tranquil, practical & space savvy to bold & vibrant or wildlife friendly.

Show Gardens

I had 2 favourites. The 1st was the Anniversary Gardens(By Prof.David Stevens)

The gardens were a real walk down memory lane.I remember some parts of my Nanna & Grandads garden being very similar as well as the garden from my childhood days. They were real family gardens that brought back fond memories.

My second favourite had to be the beautiful 'Romance in the Ruins' (Claudia de Yong for Wyevale Garden Centres).

This really did take my breath away! I loved how it was all so soft not just to the eyes but touch too. It was so natural. No harsh structures or industrial materials. The gentle trickle of water coming down the ruin was a perfect song to guide you under the romantic rustic arches that were surrounded by gentle kisses of pink & purple hues. The whole garden just flowed so peacefully allowing you to take in everything it had to offer. The little benches that were tucked into gorgeous spots offered beautiful angles to gaze upon & spot the hidden creatures. A truly lovely heart warming piece of paradise.

One thing I loved about all the gardens was how relatable they were. They could easily be recaptured back home in our very own gardens. There wasnt anything that was too over the top. They were real homely gardens, exactly how they should be.

The Dominators

I noticed how dominant grasses were in many of the displays. There were so many varieties used that either added softness and height or broke up bolder plants and added texture. I fell in love badly with them and bought two fabulous Stipa Ponytails. Also featured just about everywhere(even in little posies on tables) was the beautiful Astrantia. With plenty of shades to pick from I opted for 'Moulin Rouge' a gentle nod to one of mine & Hubby's favourite love film.

So much Choice!

The Floral Marquee was very dangerous territory! I was like a child in a sweetshop. A massive variety of plants on very impressive displays and also to purchase too. I only wish I had bought the rose that caught my eye when I first saw it. Sadly I missed out when we went back round again, but I am sure we will cross paths again. I did however pick up the beautiful Salvia 'Love&Wishes' used in the 'Romance in the Ruins' garden in the hope to have a little reminder of its beauty.

Beautiful Borders & Barrows

We had a wander outside were we went around the fantastic 'Meal in a Barrow' displays. What an amazing idea and inspired way to get children involved with growing from scratch & learning essential skills that should be compulsory! We then marvelled at the Beautiful Borders. They were definitely a collection of celebrations that were all delightful in their own way. You could really see and feel the past & present throughout. A lovely tribute to celebrate 50 wonderful years of Gardeners world.

An unexpected surprise!

The day was so hot we had to head inside to cool off. We couldn't have timed it any better as we noticed a big gathering around the Potting Shed stage. To my delight & surprise out stepped Monty Don!! I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. I got completely star struck. I couldn't believe that little old me was stood watching him in the flesh. He was so honest with how he feels about stepping into such a prestigious role, but I think he definitely holds his own and is a pleasure to watch along with Nigel and Nellie of course! I even got to watch the Skinny Jean Gardener in action on the Vegtrug stage being fabulously energetic and getting the children involved from the audience!

Sad Goodbye but....

After such an amazing day being swept along in the atmosphere and even meeting some lovely guys from Twitter & Gardentags ( Annabelle @Lifeatno27 and Kim Johnson aka Jonners73) it was sadly time to make the journey back home. As sad as I felt about leaving, my heart was full of happiness and ignited with more passion and inspiration! Gardening truly is my therapy and makes me so happy. I hope that others will feel inspired to get into their gardens and embrace everything it has to offer!

Until next time

N x

Friday, 2 June 2017

A time to reflect

How on earth did that happen? I'm pretty sure I blinked and very much missed an entire month!! May was a full on challenging month to say the least. Me and Hubby sadly lost his Mum on the 2nd of May aged 54, which as you can imagine just threw everything up in the air. Its amazing how much there is to sort out in these sad and tough situations in life even though Josie was a very impressive organised lady!! It certainly puts a lot of perspective on your own lives too, just when you think you had it all figured out! 

Josie 1962-2017

One thing that definitely hasn't changed much (actually its grown even stronger) is how much time I ended up just sitting in the garden be it Josie's or my own and appreciated it all so much more. There were moments when being in the house was too much or as soon as I was up in the morning I'd take my coffee out with me where the garden gave me the space to reflect or clear my head to deal with the up and coming challenges about to be thrown at us. The garden was and still is a very welcome escapism and I managed to find the strength to tend to it. Sowing seeds, weeding, potting on seedlings, mowing, photographing plants and dreaming up potential projects(Some nods to Josie) has been a great therapy and made me even MORE passionate about gardening!!

Sowing & Potting on
Stewart Park-Middlesbrough
Incy Wincy Spider
Armeria (Sea Thrift)
Maximus & his Dahlia

Bumblebee enjoying Lavender
Tree in Stewart Park-Middlesbrough 

Some shots of life's simple but greatest pleasures (And most are FREE!!)

So what else could I do other than tweet and write this blog to share my passion and inspire others? I decided to set up my own Facebook Page, I made a little video of Me and my little boy Maximus planting Dahlia's and I have created a hastag #greenteesside to try and encourage the great people of Teesside to embrace and showcase our surroundings, be it in the local parks, our back gardens or the beautiful countryside. Life is too short & precious! And what better way to nurture it all than by getting into the garden/outdoors and help create and care for the basic things in life that have such a huge impact on it both physically and mentally!!

So I thank you Josie for being the great woman that you were and thank you for the 'do what makes you happy' attitude. 

Gardening certainly makes me happy & I will use it as a positive force to encourage others.

Until next time

N xx

Dedicated to Josie Walker 1962-2017