Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Blog Post Formerly Known As ......



'Take A Walk On The Wildside' but Arabella Sock beat me to it with the title! I started this post some months ago after visiting Wildside in August 2009. I faffed about trying to decide which photos to include as I took so many, that the post went on the back burner. Arabella's post came and went and still I faffed. Recently Rosthchild Orchid posed the question where should she go on her garden odyssey ? Without hesitation I suggested Wildside, at the same time deciding that I must stop dallying and write about our visit to this exhilarating garden.



We visited the garden at the end of the first week of August on way home from France. After embarking from the cross channel ferry at Plymouth in previous years, I have persuaded himself that our campervan must steer itself homeward bound via The Garden House in Buckland Monachorum, Devon some ten miles or so from Plymouth. However I had read that Keith Wiley, the former gardener at The Garden House had moved on and had been creating his own garden and nursery at Wildside, some short distance from from the Garden House. Oh joy of joys as luck would have it we got back to England on a Thursday, which last year was the only day that Wildside opened to the public! So once we had escaped from Plymouth we headed for the moors, circumnavigating (me with heart in mouth) the odd few wandering wild ponies and then on to Wildside. Above the noisy diesel engine that propels our van I was aware of himself muttering away that as usual that any garden/nursery I want to visit is in the back of beyond and takes some finding. All part of the experience I tell him.

Needless to say we reached our destination and off we went into the garden. Whilst walking around we found out when talking to other visitors that the garden had very recently featured in a national newspaper. The article which you can read here describes how a former cider orchard was turned into a garden and explains the inspiration behind its development and the naturalistic plantings. I will let the photos do the talking and do hope that you click on them to see the planting in more detail ~





Down by the water ~













It was a muggy and grey afternoon in the main but from time to time the clouds rolled back and we were treated to some glimpses of blue ~











There was also an excellent nursery at Wildside stocking many of the plants which were growing in the garden. A small exhibition of paintings by Keith's wife Ros was on display. There were also copies of Keith's books 'Shade: Planting Solutions For Shady Gardens' and 'On The Wildside: Experiments In New Naturalism' for sale. Another visitor was purchasing one of the books was asked if she would like a signed copy. She was told that although Keith was out in the garden on his mini-digger, that he would be more than happy to be disturbed to sign the book. Yes this is a garden that is still in the making. I would dearly like to return one day perhaps at a different time of year. In the meantime I am looking forward to seeing more glimpses of Wildside, when it is featured on 'Landscape Man' - a Channel 4 series due to be screened later this year. Meanwhile if you find yourself near Plymouth and the garden is open be sure to take a walk on the wildside!

25 comments:

  1. Anna:

    Keith Wiley's book 'Shade: Planting Solutions for Shady Gardens,' was one of my first purchases and has steadfastly remained a favourite! This is a wonderful winter respite - such a spectacular garden that tends to lend itself to Odulf's planting schemes as well.

    Weather here is warming with calls for rain. The West coast is home to the Winter Olympics in about two weeks time.... I do not envy them the warm weather they are also receiving! Thanks for rescuing me from yet another dreary grey day. Fabulous photographs as well!

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  2. And yet another garden on my UK-wishlist...

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  3. Very cool! I have Wiley's book On the Wild Sidebut haven't done any real experimentation myself. We have a lot of wild areas that are free range to native plants, so I call that my wild garden. Very low maintenance--I just admire it as I walk through it!

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  4. What wonderful images you have shared with us Anna - thank you. I particularly like the first one, the garden is quite inspirational.
    K

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  5. It looks so natural... As the Nature itself created it. I see why it was so difficult to select pictures for a post. Thank you for posting them. Each one can be a source for the ideas for my garden.

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  6. I loved looking at the pictures of these gardens. I can't wait for the day I get to see some of these gardens in person.

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  7. Thank you for finally getting around to posting about your visit to the Wildside. I had heard Keith Wiley left The Garden House, but didn't know anything about his new garden. I thoroughly enjoyed reading On the Wildside. I recall Keith's story of planting two pines together, one virtually on its side, just to get the right effect. Hearing how he sculpted his land is an inspiration. It makes me want to buy a tractor and start over. Amazing how he can combine so many different plants to such pleasing, stimulating and thought-provoking effect.

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  8. Anna~~ Is it me or is this the anti-English garden? It appears much more in keeping with the Pacific Northwest landscape. Not that we have exclusive rights. Obviously perfection has no boundaries.

    Now I've got that song stuck in my brain. Do do do do...

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  9. Hi Anna, this garden looks like what Mother Nature would do herself if she were just a tad more organized and all her kids did as she tells them :)

    Lovely!

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  10. What timing! Keith Wiley spoka at Bath Uni gardening club last week and I'll be posting about it later on this week.

    I'll link to both yours and Arabella's posts.

    He had some interesting things to say about the filming!

    And I also have a signed copy of the Wild Side book - it's gorgeous isn't it!

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  11. Just read Teza's comment. We spoke a bit about Oudolf's style afterwards because I mentioned it was a refreshing change to see lots of other plants used. Whilst I like Oudolf's style, I'm getting a bit fed up of the same plants being used such as echinacea/grass/rudbeckia/grass.

    It's clear from Keith's talk that he's basing his style not on Oudolf, but 25 years at the Garden House combined with his own observations of how plants combine in the wild from his extensive travels in places like South Africa, New Zealand and South America.

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  12. How lovely to revisit Wildside again through your photos. It's funny how just a few weeks later the garden had already changed - I don't remember the agapanthus or rudbeckia later flowerers had already taken their place. What struck me most was the incredible textures of the planting. I wonder what it is like at this time of year..

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  13. Dear Anna, Oh dear, I find myself isolated from so many of the other comments here.

    I have to admit falling in love with The Garden House before the arrival of Keith Wiley. Then the visitor descended a sharp incline and entered through a narrow garden door into a secret, walled garden, formally arranged but with unrestrained planting. Absolutely magical. From the house, a lawned area melted into the moors. During KW's time there, it seemed to me that it moved very far from the original conception by Lionel Fortescue which I very much preferred.

    It is perhaps better that KW now has the freedom to explore these ideas in his own garden, but I wonder how comfortably it sits in the surrounding English landscape?

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  14. Another wonderful respite from winter Anna, with this walk through Wildside. I did click on the photos and they look even better close up - so much detail. As other readers have commented, this style of naturalistic planting is somewhat removed from the more commonly accepted 'English' style of gardening and reminds me of the exotic gardens at The Old Vicarage in Norfolk (you will find a post on my blog if you are interested - back in July or so I think, I would be interested in what you think of it?)
    It was surely fate that you visited Wildside that day, the only day it was open!
    Thanks for all these interesting links and also for the tip off for Landscape Man - I look forward to watching that later in the year.

    Jeanne x

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  15. Anna,
    What a beautiful, beautiful place. I think it would have been hard for me to leave. The plantings remind me a bit of those featured in the book "Plant Driven Design" by Scott Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  16. Dear Anna, you post was well worth the wait! I need the Wildside book. The mutterings of Himself remind us very much of The Financier. But I want to say that over the many years of these types of sidetrips, I think he is getting much more interested and excited about the garden himself. He has learned the names of many of the plants and pays attention to their growth and vigor. This is from a man who at one time sprayed a plant that was growing in the brick patio that had just been pointed out as something good, do not weedwhack, pull or hurt this plant, with roundup. I was so mad that I moved to the downstairs bedroom. It proves that a horse CAN change his colors. :-)

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  17. I agree with Grace that it doesn't look like your typical English garden (said as a non-Englishperson). But beautiful, and another great destination discovered on Blotanical that I'm putting on my must-visit gardens list.

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  18. How lucky that you arrived back on a Thursday otherwise you would have missed this gem. Your photos are fabulous and I'll definitely watch out for the programme later in the year.

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  19. I would not have guessed this garden was in England! What a wonderful variety of textures. Thank you for taking us there.

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  20. Fascinating Anna. I have some of his books and this garden is one I will visit some day. I probably don't share his sensibility entirely being much more the kind of person to go with what you have than to bring in a JCB and mould the landscape. I am also not a lover of grasses even though I have shifted from an utterly anti to a maybe sometimes stance.
    Still I do think he is a great gardener and an original thinker.
    Really interesting to see so many pictures in grey weather too!

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  21. aloha anna,

    such a wonderful tour, i enjoyed it tremendously and all the fall colors and grasses are at their peak here....what a fantastic visit...thank you for sharing your virtual tour with us....i loved how the pictures pop to fill a whole page when you click on each picture...wow!

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  22. Such a beautiful place and filled with a lot of my favourite plants. I click the pictures to enlarge =) I'll put this garden on my Gardens-to-visit-list / gittan

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  23. What luck for all of us that you arrived here on a Thursday Anna!! This garden speaks to me and when I click on the images I feel as if drawn further in. It may seem wild but wow! There are so many plants packed in there ... even Agapanthus! A great deal of maintenance do you think? Thrilling to see this and yes I agree with others here that these gardens are similar to Oudolf. Fabulous post!! Your photographs are just stunning!! ;>)

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  24. So, I now have more to add to my Amazon basket!

    Very beautiful it all is and thanks for the tip off re 'Landscape Man' on Ch4

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  25. What a gem of a garden and to think I nearly missed it but for VP.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.