Ems Valley

Gardening group 2

We spend most of the year visiting gardens within about a 20/25 mile radius of Emsworth but in the winter months we might meet at the community centre and have speakers, videos or discussions on gardening issues. We have a Christmas lunch and a summer garden party.

At the current time, November 2021, we look back on a year which still had some restrictions although rather less than in 2020! We do hope that you have remained well and are now fully 'jabbed'. How relatively fortunate we are! We only had to cancel two visits in February and March and were glad to be able to visit Bignor Park, near Pulborough on a sunny, chilly Tuesday in April. We were greeted by Louise Elliott who lives in Emsworth and is the head gardener. She and her team have worked hard to keep the garden in shape during a time when no visitors have been allowed and although it was early in the year, there was plenty to enjoy and admire.

The weather was kind to us on the second Tuesday in May for our visit to Bramdean House garden near Alresford. We are grateful to Edward Wakefield who opened his garden especially for the Group and was very welcoming with a short talk about the history of the house. He then handed us over to Maggie the Head Gardener who explained her vision and ongoing work.

Bramdean House garden has a backdrop of mature trees, two wide mirror-image borders which lead away from the back of the house where there are many unusual shrubs, plants, bulbs and climbers. At the end of the central axis, steps lead to a one-acre walled kitchen garden whose central beds are planted with a range of herbaceous plants, roses, perennials and bulbs. Here, too, is a large collection of old-fashioned sweet peas, a trial of hardy nerines, and flowers, fruit and vegetables grown for the house. The vista runs yet further, through an orchard underplanted with massed daffodils to an apple-house some 300 yards from the house. Nearby is a new small arboretum under-planted with wild flowers, and a boxwood castle.

Visit to Eastergate House Gardens in June

This is a combination of three gardens covering 3 acres - the original one for the House, Bramble Cottage which has been built in the grounds and the Old Stables which have been converted into a dwelling. Each has its own distinctive style and it was a joy to meet the owners of each garden and hear their story of the development of the gardens over the years.
It was the first year that Valerie, Joyce and Peter had opened their gardens for the NGS and they made us so welcome with coffee and cakes on the pretty terrace at the side and rear of the house.
Valerie’s love is roses and this was evident throughout the garden, but particularly in the rose garden where there is an abundant collection of different types of rose. The rest of the garden is divided into ‘rooms’ each flowing into the next and it retains its feel of a family garden with several retreats to sit and watch the garden activities or simply relax and enjoy the views.
The Rock Garden was originally the design of Montague Russell Page who was commissioned to design the Festival Gardens for the Festival of Britain in 1951. It was rediscovered by the present owner.
Joyce has created her garden over the last 30 years and it is a charming, undulating area with a small pond and a multitude of plants and trees providing welcome shady areas to relax.
The Stables is different again with an open area round a swimming pool, a wooded area with many original trees and a wildflower meadow attracting the bees and insects.
It was a very memorable visit.

July visit to Chanterelle, Chichester. This was an immaculate and very beautiful garden cared for by Julia, the owner, and her two dedicated and experienced Croatian gardeners. We had a fine, sunny morning and very much enjoyed hearing the story of building the garden to the one it is today. It is opened under the NGS scheme and highly recommended. The refreshments were excellent too! A notable plant in a pot was the Loropetalum chinensis Firedance with fine magenta flowers in spring.

August saw the resumption of our super summer lunch, very kindly hosted by Ann and Jack Moss in their fabulous garden in Prinsted. It was such a joy to be able to meet up and spread ourselves on their generous terrace with perfect shaded areas. It is a coastal garden with themed rooms of different garden styles from around the world, i.e. a Japanese garden, a Spanish villa garden and an antipodean area with tree ferns. They have introduced wonderful humorous touches too which bring a smile as you wander round. We are most grateful to them for allowing us to share their garden which also opens under the NGS scheme.

September took us to Heath Road in Petersfield to an extensive garden on the edge of the town. It is owned and looked after by Karen Llewelyn with very little help along the way. She has planted almost everything that is now growing so successfully in the garden; mostly having started in pots. Unfortunately the day was not bright but it did not detract from the enjoyment. We were very appreciative of her home made cakes and coffee at the end though! She had a wonderful succulent collection. Again a return visit is highly recommended in aid of NGS.

An old favourite and a very special garden we are lucky to have fairly nearby is West Dean Gardens which was a joy even in October. Dahlias and salvias continued to bloom and one wonderful white delphinium too. Tom Brown's innovative planting was good to see with purple cabbages growing alongside purple kale and tall orange cannas. The glasshouses are gradually being renovated and house a beautiful passion flower; some 'loofah' plants; as well as one full of ferns of differing species. West Dean has also been welcoming students from Wisley and I would think they would benefit considerably from working there.

We held our AGM recently and are making plans for next year and are glad to welcome quite a few new members. We are sorry to lose two or three members but Covid has made us all think hard about how to spend our lives.
December will bring our Christmas lunch which will be at Emsworth Sailing Club and we are much looking forward to being able to celebrate again.

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.

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Ancient Greece Art Appreciation
Birds & Wildlife Board Games
Book Group 1 Book Group 2
Brick Business Bridge
Camera Workshops Crafts
Croquet Cycling for Pleasure
Day Trippers Discussion Group
Drawing Family History
French (adv) French (inter)
French (mixed) Gardening group 1
Gardening group 2 Geology
Italian Beginners Jazz Appreciation
Line Dancing Local History
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Petanque Photography
Play Reading 1 Play Reading 2
Pubs and Churches Rambling
Roman History Science&Technology
Singing for Fun Spanish (beginners)
Spanish (intermediate) Sunday Lunches For Solos
Theatre Group Travellers Tales (winter)
Wine Appreciation 1 Wine Appreciation 2
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