I always thought that calling your gardens the Pleasure Grounds was really beautiful and old fashioned. Some years ago BD and I went to Kenilworth Castle where the Earl of Leicester created the Pleasure in the Marsh for a visit by Elizabeth I. For me the Pleasure Grounds had a ring to it that really appealed.

DSC01245And at the moment the Pleasure Grounds are at their very best. Many plants are slightly behind because of the cold spring, but the light of course comes whether there is heat or not, so some specimens just go for it with the light alone. The Azalea is one of them and here you can see this lovely planting at the edge of the Rockery.DSC01248

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The Rockery was created by BD’s great-grandmother around the early 1900’s. It has an artificial stream which ends in a little water fall. In the winter I can this from the kitchen, but by now the Gunnera manicata is fully grown, it hides the water fall. The Marsh Marigold is looking particularly endearing by the bridge…. bridge and bridge, it’s a few bits of wood nailed together for those who have shorter legs, so they can cross more easily.

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Walking back from looking at the Rockery I pass the Paeonia lutea var ludlowii which is particularly lovely at the moment. It grows very easily here and I have several of them in the Long Border. It self seeds and when they are of a reasonable size I dig them up and spread them about. I’m beginning to think that in what was the Rose Garden where we no longer have enough gardeners to keep the roses looking good, we could plant some of these ludlowii volunteers. If they were well spaced and we could standardise them so I can mow around them easily. I could also be sure that ground nesting birds – especially pheasants – will not settle under them……… ah, stuff and stuff; planning in the garden is such a lovely passtime.

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