We’re back in Corvedale, the lovely valley that lies between Wenlock Edge and the Clee Hills, not far from the ancient Heath Chapel that featured in Over the Edge and faraway.
Wildegoose Nursery is a plants persons’ dream, conjured within an old Victorian kitchen garden. The owners lease the walled garden from Millichope Park and, over the last few years, have transformed decades of dereliction into a magnificent showpiece for uncommon varieties of herbaceous plants. We went there because my sister Jo kept saying we should. You’d love it, she said.
She was right. We did.
So: I’m posting this set of photos in response to Lens-Artists’ weekly theme. This week Amy asks us to think about how we frame our shots, and as this happened to be my particular challenge during our garden ramble: how to capture the essence of the whole, as well as the particular, it seemed a good opportunity to post them.
The colourways and combinations of the Wildegoose planting schemes are captivating, painterly, often flamboyantly informal, sometimes riotous.
Incidentally, I think this lily is hosting an invader harlequin ladybird. They originate in Japan and according the Royal Horticultural Society, were deliberately spread about the planet as a biocontrol for aphids, though not in Britain, whence they came of their own accord. They began arriving here in 2004. Unfortunately they also eat butterfly and moth eggs and our native ladybirds, and there are fears they will outstrip our native strains.
One particular challenge camera-wise was how best to photograph the astonishing Millichope Glasshouse. This too had been restored, all 12,500 postcard sized hand-made glass overlapping panels replaced. The glasshouse dates from around the 1830s and is highly unusual with its curved profile.
Restored from this:
Originally a Victorian kitchen garden such as this would have been cultivated by a small army of garden men and boys, all under the stern eye of a head gardener like Charles Ashford, my own grandfather. The glasshouses would have been devoted to producing exotic fruit, tropical plants for table and drawing room display; the garden walls used to support espaliered fruit trees – peaches, apricots, cherries, apples of many varieties, pears, each sited according to the most beneficial aspect. There would have been hot beds for melons and cucumbers and for forcing early crops, strawberry and asparagus beds, salad crops and vegetables of every kind, and also borders for cut flowers. Such production units were very expensive to run and by the interwar period most big gardens like that were beginning to be abandoned.
Wildegoose Nursery does have some vegetable beds, but mostly the garden is given over to exuberant herbaceous planting. There is also a small, beautifully arranged plant sales area, and a very welcoming tearoom which served such lovely food, we forced ourselves to stay for lunch, even though we’d not long sampled their coffee and cake for a late elevenses.
And here are some planting schemes that especially caught my eye:
And here are some general garden views with Clee Hill in the background. I should add there was also a particular soundtrack to these scenes: above the hum of a million pollinators and the soft chatter of garden volunteers, the thrum of combine harvesters in nearby fields, and overhead, the plaintive mew of buzzards.
P.S. There is a fee for going round the garden, but we thought it worth every penny.
62 thoughts on “In The Frame ~ A Garden Treasure Trove”
Beautiful, beautiful. Tish! Wish I were there, thank you for taking me this way! The old glass house was marvelously restored, and the colour scheme of the Alliums and Achilleas is a dream.
So happy to take you on a Wildegoose chase, Ann-Christine. Been dying to work that in somehow 🙂
Thank you Tish. I just spent a pleasant part of my morning marveling over your photos of butterflies, bees, bugs, and flowers with my tiniest grandson. What a wonderful way to start the day.
That is very lovely of you to say so, and now I have an image of you and grandson looking at my photos across the world. A gift returned several fold 🙂
Looks to me like more than a penny worth. Beautiful and I love the old greenhouse restored.
It is one fabulous glasshouse. I covet it tremendously.
Such a beautiful garden, Tish. I love how you captured these flowers. The restoration of the greenhouse is enormous. Love the image of the lady sitting there surrounded by beautiful plants.
Thank you for sharing with us. 🙂
Thank you, Amy for inspiring us.
Sigh worthy photos Tish – thank you!
~ June Lorraine
Thanks for dropping in, June 🙂
What a beautiful spot Wish – you owe your sister a big thank you! I especially liked the way you showed the revitalization of the panes in the glasshouse. Definitely told a great story
Many thanks, Tina. My sister invariably seems to know what is best for us (in a nice way that is).
What a lovely place, Tish!
It truly is.
You’ll be returning, then?
Oh yes. It closes over the winter, so we need to keep it on the Farrell radar to go before then – always iffy, getting Farrells to remember what day it is.
I had you marked down as the alert type…not so,, then??😉
That is very nice of you to think that, Sue. Alertness in some quarters seems to lead to much losing track in others 🙂
Well, I’m on the same page, Tish!!
Achillea is one of those plants I like to pat – its flat heads are so inviting to touch as well as landing stages for small winged visitors. Lovely blended with heuchera and dahlias though the purple haze can’t be beat.
I learned from a visit to the Royal Society one year that Harlequins are being bio controlled with a venereal disease that effects fertility. I do not think they can pass it on to our natives!
I’d seen a lot of headlines about ladybirds with STDs invading Kent homes! So thank you for explaining that, Laura.
Great photos. The butterfly and flower is stunning!
Thanks a lot, John.
Gorgeous. And the first shot is a knockout.
And a very happenstance shot too, thanks Ark. was amazed it was sufficiently in focus.
Awesome captures! Love the vibrant colours…The first one is a real show stopper 😃
Many thanks for visiting. Love your blog title.
So glad to hear that 😃 thank you so much 😊
it is absolutely wonderful to see the old greenhouse so well restored.
Photographed from the inside we realize its gigantism
If I understand (thanks to the translator), it is the cost of production that caused the culture to stop and so probably from this moment the abandoned greenhouses started to deteriorate.
Now it’s a nursery that bought the place?
The place is absolutely wonderful, thank you for these beautiful pictures
Bonjour, Yoshimi. Many thanks for your comments and questions. After World War One, the owners of big domains found it hard to find house and garden servants. Or they could not afford to pay wages for the numbers of people needed to work in the gardens. Heating the glasshouses was also very expensive so gradually all fell into ruin.
The Wildegoose Nursery greenhouse and garden had been decaying for 60 years or more. The people who have restored it rent the garden from the Millichope domain.
thank you very much for the explanations
You are very welcome. It is very nice to have your interesting questions.
Great post and images.
Thanks a lot, Pete.
When can I move in?
Oh yes!!! I want to. NOW!
I’d have to be physically dragged away from a place like that. 😀
Ah, yes, WW. There was a nice looking Shepherd’s Hut in the veggie garden that looked ideal for camping out . Imagine waking up there – summer at first light. Or at night with the stars over the walled garden and glittering on the glasshouse panes.
Stunning, Tish. We’d love wandering round there – your photos are lovely!
Thank you, Mike.
Interesting place, especially the greenhouse. God to see you were on the Fentiman’s – Hexham’s finest 😉
A mad moment of sobriety!
As usual your photos are beautiful. The only things missing are sound and smell 🙂
Thanks a lot, Joanne.
I think the fee is worth every penny to
and how cool that your grandfather was a head gardener- the green thumb and nature love must run in the genes.
and the photo of the achillea reminds me of “sedum autumn joy” which I used to have in my garden for years – now gone
Hello Yvette. Yes a lot of gardening in my genes! Suggest you get another sedum – the bees love sedum. One of the best places for them to get their final nectar stoke-up before winter.
Oh I didn’t realize they offered that storage fill up. I was so happy with how hearty it was – it came as a small starter and found a place it liked – I might not get anymore because I have scaled back a lot the last few years – so maybe way later in
So interesting and so nice the garden has been brought back to life and is now so well planted and successful, I had no idea that kitchen garden greenhouses even of the well-to-do were so large and ambitious in scope. Fantastic that it has been so thoroughly restored.
I think all English ‘big houses’ had large glasshouses during the Victorian era, and some were whopping e.g. – the forerunner of the Crystal Palace was at Chatsworth, the Duke of Devonshire’s personal palace, Joseph Paxton the man behind it:
Thanks for Paxton link Tish. Very interesting. The extravagances and innovations of that era are quite breathtaking. I had not realized (or perhaps forgot?) that the connection between the Crystal Palace and the glass conservatories that preceded it was so direct.
And all because our upper classes had to have pineapples and fresh grapes on the dinner table 🙂
Tish, stunning gallery … that top image with the butterfly. The Glasshouse they have done a marvelous job with. Thank you for bringing me along. What paradise.
And lovely of you to join, Viveka.
The pleasure is all mine, Tish.
So very beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
Many thank, Lakshmi.
What a glorious place. And your photos are wonderful.
Many thanks, Alison.
The flowers are beautiful ! And at the breakfast table, the food, makes me hungry!
Thank you for commenting.
It’s my pleasure !