In The Frame ~ A Garden Treasure Trove

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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.

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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.

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Restored from this:

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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.

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And here are some planting schemes that especially caught my eye:

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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.

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P.S. There is a fee for going round the garden, but we thought it worth every penny.

Lens-Artists: Framing the shot

59 thoughts on “In The Frame ~ A Garden Treasure Trove

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 🙂

  4. 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

      1. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  7. 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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

  8. 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.

      1. 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.

  9. 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.

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