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Garden visits 2016

Garden Visit to Chipleigh Farmhouse and Reeds Court
Garden visit Chipleigh farmhouse On Friday May 13th, not perhaps an obvious day to choose, the group had its garden visits to Chipleigh Farmhouse and Reeds Court. Chipleigh Farmhouse, the home of David Victor has been on our wish list for three years now and we finally got there. When your author arrived somewhat belatedly as a result of having to return home the garden was already full with 18 members and guests already there. This is a very sheltered garden and a very warm spot so notably ahead of many of us. Asparagus in the neat vegetable plots was well advanced. The mixed borders featured a large number (over 100) of peonies with a few in flower including the very attractive dark red flowered P.tenuifolia. There were also a good many geraniums, particularly dwarf forms, and erodiums with those in a raised bed near the house making a particularly good show. A Clematis armandii was clearly also thriving, this, like most of the plants in the garden were brought in by David from his previous garden.

Yellow flowered pelargonium Most of the plants mentioned thrive in the alkaline soil. We had, however, also come to see David’s collection of unusual pelargoniums which were in the greenhouse. These are mainly summer dormant species with some having already entered that state but others were in spectacular flower. Colours, including yellow like the one shown on the left, were unfamiliar to most of us in this genus.

Reeds Court woodland garden After an excellent, if somewhat leisurely, lunch at the Rising Sun, arranged for us once again by Jenny and Alan, we travelled to Reeds Court where Chris gave us a brief introduction to his long association with the garden and its previous owner. The garden is now to be opened by the new owners for the yellow book and what we saw suggested that it should be a popular destination in spite of the narrow roads in the area. In the courtyard where we entered Asarum procumbens was seeding into cracks in the walls and paving. The lower, shaded part of the garden shown on the right had a small stream with candelabra primulas and an old wisteria trained as a standard.

Unknown shrub probably an Aesculus sp. There were rhododendrons and choice herbaceous plants such as trilliums. It was obvious that this garden had acidic soil. Amongst the shrubs a Fothergilla in full bloom stood out while a plant that looked like an Aesculus with a lovely bronze tint to the foliage (see picture left) had us all foxed. Chris, unfortunately, does not have access to the old planting records.

Wisteria sinensis The two most spectacular plants were surely the wisteria trained against a wall and in full flower and the enormous eucalyptus with its wonderful bark and silvery foliage. The amazing copper beech hedge, all plants grown from seed collected in another garden, made a superb backdrop to the borders. Pruning it must be a major undertaking. Other plants that attracted attention were the large Lithodora diffusa (shown below) which was also attractive to the bees, and Dryas octopetala growing down a wall. These are just my impressions and I am sure many of the party will have their own different ones from both gardens. One thing we would all agree on, however, was how fortunate we were with the weather and what a privilege it was to be able to visit both gardens.

Lithodora diffusa

Richard Horswood
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