White greenhouses and white benches, 14th November, 2016

I feel I must share with you my feelings about white greenhouses and white benches in gardens.     Most gardens enjoy a much larger greenhouse that the one I am going to get,  and I have to say that I don’t like white ones as your eyes goes straight to them, and they don’t seem to blend in with the garden.     There are exceptions, at my home, Mostyn Hall, is a most beautiful greenhouse on its last legs, paint peeling off, in a 2 acre walled garden.   It is badly in need of repair, goodness knows if it will ever get it, as it is very expensive.    Funnily enough large white greenhouses sit well in walled gardens.     For example at Thenford (Michael Heseltine) Gresgarth (Arabella Lennox Boyd) and Victoria Wakefield at Bramdean House in Hampshire.       All of these as far as I know are modern.      My little one 8ft by 9 and a half feet, has a ten layer brick base, and it is going to be (the delightful name of pigeon blue).        Polly is already saying she missed her greenhouse as all we have is the brick base.      I. really am allergic to white benches or chairs of any kind.      Again the eye is drawn to them immediately, and as a result we have tw0 Edwardian ones from Aunt Venice painted pale mauve, a pale blue one by Nicky Hodges, and a plain oak one by him, a bit smaller.       As usual this is all a matter of taste, but I remember going to Princess Sturdza’s garden, Le Vastiveral, in Normandy, and there was not a bench, a painted door, or a statue to be seen.         This comprised of 30 acres, and she had created it in 50 years.   I have a vivid memory that she wore little white gloves.

The progress of the Glycyrrhiza Yunnanensis border

When I started doing my borders here I called them all by different names and colour themed them as well.      Slowly this has started to change, and the main change lately has been with the Burgundy border, now called the Glycyrrhiza border.     If I stuck to the theme of the Burgundy border, the whole thing would become too funereal, and as Clive pointed out to me ages ago that light does not bounce back from a deep maroon colour, hence he never photographed anything like my Cotinus Grace.      Slowly I have got fonder of green and white, it is so fresh, as long as the white is not too large and blobby.    I am going to say that you have to be careful with variegation, but where I have it I like it a lot.  For example Cornus Alternifolia Argentea, and Cornus Controversa.       These two shrubs have the most beautiful tiering shapes.      I am just thinking that it is funny that Clive said that to me, as he has planted in his small garden two very large deep maroon shrubs.     The best thing in this border at the moment is Aster latiflorus ‘lady in black’ which is flowering now (a bit late for my liking) but what a good shape it has, a lady with arms outstretched.   In fact in the Spring we are going to divide it and put two pieces at the back of the border on the diagonal..      Today is the most beautiful autumn day, still and warm, but I fear this is going to be the end of it, and it will get cold and frosty, hence the demise of the dahlias.   We have planted in this border three anemone hybrida Whirlwind,  which is a lovely clear white double anemone.      Now I have to go and work out how many of the allium Globemaster are going to be put back,  as they have all been displaced by the planting.

On Wednesday Thomas is having a launch party for his new book, How to be Cool.    Exciting.