Wakehurst place. 09.07.13

What a lovely thing to arrive at Wakehurst Place at the start of summer. We had a brief diversion through Kent which seems to have become the emergency run-off lane for the M25 but we saw some lovely little villages on the way and weren't tempted to stop for a single moment.

Wakehurst place sits atop a spit of stone jutting into the downs. The farm occupies the centre and the gardens are woven around it in a ring, occasionally sweeping down the sides to the valley below. The house is built in a cold grey stone that emphasises the crisp lines and complex shapes of the building. It has a precision to it that one might admire in an accountant. The surrounding garden has yet to soften its stern aspect.

It is the season of roses, and they seem to be at their very best. This is 'Gertrude Jekyll', a beauty but less fragrant than I had hoped. I'm not quite sure which scent Miss Jekyll favoured though I am sure the information is now available. Whatever her choice, her namesake has renounced it.
People commonly thrust their noses deep among the petals and then sneeze in violent reaction. Gloria does not like to feel that she is inhaling the sneezes of uncountable infectious children every time she visits a rose garden and restricts her activities to recording their beauty with her camera.

Campanula are just slug fodder in my garden, though I continue to try. This is C.lactiflora 'Blue Cross' making a magnificent show.

This complex mixed border is one of the delights of the walled garden to the side of the house. It is possibly the most intensively managed corner in the gardens and captures the very best of the spirit of herbaceous romance that we all look back on when we pretend to remember the good old days. I have been round for a while now, and I don't think it was ever as good or herbaceous or romantic as it is now. I think these are the best of times and Gloria has suggested that we have call centres and internet banking to keep us from realising it.

Lupins have been out of favour for many years now and I can't see that changing. They are wonderful for a few weeks but before long one starts to wish they would just die and save all the trouble of hiding them. Many of them do, and you can be sure that a good display one year will be followed by a failure the next. That said, when they are as wonderful as 'The Governor' I am glad that they occasionally escape from the cutting garden.

It is always fun to find something unexpected and in a corner of the garden reserved for Australian plants we found Stlidium dilatatum. It seems to be at home in the dry soil.

The rear of the building has a much kinder face. The cafe weaves around the outbuildings and creates a warm atmosphere. I love Wakehurst Place but I sometimes find myself wondering what it's all about?

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