I enjoyed watching Carol Klein's recent series on Channel 5 - Great British Gardens - season by season.  All of the four gardens she visited were fascinating - Great Dixter, Gravetye Manor, Gresgarth Hall and John's Garden at Ashwood.  The programme covered the gardens over several visits throughout the course of a year, so you gained a better idea of what the gardens were really like than you would normally get from just one snapshot visit.

It inspired us to make a visit to John's Garden, the private garden of John Massey VMH.  The garden is open to the public about one day each month to raise money for charity.

Naturalistic planting and beautiful reflections in the Pool and Rock Garden

View of the canal
 The Garden is set in a bend on the canal.  The beds of shrubs and trees edge the canal and here and there are viewpoints of the water.  Later in the afternoon a family of ducks climbed out of the canal for little snooze on the grassy bank near the urn.

The Iris Border

This border is known as the Iris Border.  A river of gravel runs through it for drainage and winter interest.  The astilbes were looking very fine.

Woodland underplanting
The garden has a variety of different borders, some designed to be viewed from the front, some could be walked through and there were island beds which were designed to be viewed from all around, of course.  The garden is filled with unusual trees and shrubs and the underplanting of these areas was very attractive. 

A woodland border to walk through
 I have a very scruffy woodland area in the garden that we jokingly refer to as The Arboretum.  This is what it aspires to be.  Maybe, one day..

Ferns and Streptocarpus
 The garden is full of surprises in its planting.  Streptocarpus is added among ferns in this border. I've only ever seen them used as a houseplant before.  I've never seen them used like this, but they are a
South African woodland plant so the position they have been used in is appropriate, as I'm sure John knows very well.

Wildflower Meadow
 The garden is immaculately kept.  The lawn edges are possibly the neatest I've ever seen.  Even in the best kept gardens there is usually one or two weeds that have escaped the cull, but there wasn't even one here.  So its a complete and lovely change of mood to wander through the wildlife meadow.  When we visited it was being made good use of by the butterflies.

Tender exotic plants
 This is another area where the plants we think of a houseplants have made their way into the borders.

Clematis Romantika
 I had to take a picture of this lovely Clematis, which I'll have to track down to add to my garden.  There were several large clematis growing through shrubs and other supports throughout the borders in the garden.

More tender planting near the house
 The garden contains much more of interest than I have been able to show here.  I've tended to concentrate on the woodland planting and plants that I haven't seen before, but there are also sunny borders and herbaceous planting too.

The garden is next to Ashwood Nurseries, which is owned by John.  Hydrangeas and Salvias are two of their specialities and some of each had to come home with us, as well as a stunning red clematis, a fern, an alstroemeria... I could have spent hours there.

And finally, I'd like to finish with another unusual plant.
I'm not sure if this is the regular Veratrum Album or something special, because it was very tall and basically I've never seen anything quite like it.

Many thanks to John for sharing his beautiful garden.


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