Seasonal Planting (Late Winter 2017)


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Late Winter 2017

8th & 9th March : Day 1 at Allt-y-bela 9.45 to 5pm and Day 2 at Ilford Manor and Hanham Court - with transport from Allt-y-bela leaving at 8.30am and returning by 6.30pm

Day One: At Allt-y-bela. Planting for the winter garden is to a large extent about creating structure and using plants that define spaces.  The clipped topiary shapes and hedges, trained fruit trees and strong bare branches of all the trees that make up the garden at Allt-y-bela are worth pausing to observe. We need a little time to consider the habit and size and silhouette of a tree -or how to train the branches on hazel rods, which especially in the winter, happily pose as thicker branches of the juvenile trees they are supporting. In winter, almost more than summer, the importance of the choice of plant material from which topiary is clipped is most revealed, do you choose the warmth of the beech holding onto it's leaves, almost terracotta in colour; or the strength of the dark green yew? On this day we will consider all these things, but we will look too, at the sweet scented treats emerging in the woodland, the hamamelis, the narcissi lobularis in great swathes across the common, and the hellebores still in flower. On the banks at the back of the house the Iris reticulate and crocus stud the grass, and pots of treasured bulbs are clustered by doorways, where you'll spot them, however fast you pass to get in from the cold.

Day Two: The garden visits for this day include, Iford Manor (south of Bath) - where the genius of Harold Peto's design is the combination of architecture and his love of formality, combined with a deep understanding of plants. It's a skill which Peto put to impressive use in the way he turned an uncompromisingly steep slope behind the house, into the most enthralling series of terraces. In the afternoon we'll visit  Hanham Court (between Bath and Bristol), originally designed by Julian and Isabel Bannerman, where the structural planting divides and encloses garden spaces making any walk around the garden a wonderfully intriguing adventure, full of great discoveries. In the 'Dell' below the main gardens water cascades from a magnificent fountain and stumpery and flows through a wonderful valley, the steep wooded sides of which are colonised by late winter and early spring flowering plants. Lunch will be taken at The Pig Near Bath.

Course cost: £475 for two days including all refreshments during the course days. Travel to and from Allt-y-bela is included though accommodation costs are not included for the visit days unless indicated.

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