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A trip to Ness Gardens, September 9th, 2001
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The Laburnum Arch

After another fuel stop at the Tea Rooms and an extended browse around the surprisingly well-stocked plant centre, the flatter, north-eastern edge of the gardens could be explored......


Obviously, September is not the month to see the Laburnum Arch at its best, but even so, it's an impressive sight and well worth exploring, if only to discover the enchanting Cupheas dotted all around, including one variety in a pink and yellow dolly mixture colour scheme, and others in reds, scarlets and deep purples.


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The Ledsham Herb Garden

The herb garden The Herb Garden is actually built on what were the Ness Lawn Tennis Courts until their closure in the 1960s and sits on the edge of the Sorbus Lawn, wherein grows the original Sorbus 'Pink-Ness'.

The herb garden is edged with Lavender and Artemesia, and is much used as a Teaching Area, to explain the relationships between the families of plants, such as the Umbellifers like Parsley and Fennel, and the distinctions between monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants.

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The Rose Garden

Another out-of-season feature is the Rose Garden, which is a shame, as the garden has been set out to explain the history of this most popular of flowers. Created in 1964 from what had been the Bulley's Kitchen Garden, there are Damask roses, claimed to have been a favourite of the Romans, through to 19th Century stars such as the Noisettes and Bourbon types, and bang-up-to-date modern varieties of Hybrid Tea and Floribundas. rose garden

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The Pine Woods

The Pine Woods were originally planted on this stretch of thin, sandy, acidic soil in 1900 to provide shelter to the Orchard that grew where the Specimen Lawn now lies. Towering Pines are underplanted with Rhododendrons, Camellias and Azaleas, and the meandering paths are littered with needles and cones.

Every now and again, a the gleaming trunk of a Silver Birch shines through, and their are Camassias, Lillies and other woodland dwellers distributed throughout the undergrowth, for the explorer to find at their leisure. This is obviously a garden that needs to be seen at various times through the year to develop a full and proper understanding of all it has to offer the avid plantsperson.


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The Specimen Lawn

Specimen Lawn There's something about a Lawn, and this has to be one of the most impressive; it seems to stretch away to the horizon in one long strip of pure verdancy. It is the epitome of a good lawn - not cut too shoprt, but densely-leaved, springy inderfoot without being damp and so, very, very green. Obviously, the free-draining soils help, as does its position on the high-side of the site, but just imagine the mowing!

Rhododendron border Specimen Lawn
Of course, you need something in the background to contrast the smooth, inviting emptiness of a lawn to its best, and what better than a Rhododendron border? Ness boasts some of the most impressive specimens in the country, brought back to the gardens by such noted plant collectors as George Forrest and Frank Kingdon Ward, whose plant-hunting expeditions to the Far East were funded by Ness' founder, Arthur Bulley.

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And finally.......

Before you knew it, Tempus had well and truly fugitted and it was chucking out time! The Parky was doing his rounds, making sure all was safe and sound and that the stragglers were rounded up and escorted out before he padlocked the big gates, and we still hadn't seen the Terraces. Or the Upper Heath, the Azalea Woodland, The Flint View, the Willow Collection, The Glass Houses, The Hollies, the Species-rich Meadow....

Aaah well! We'll just have to do it all again another day! :~)


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