Sunday here in Blighty did not bode well weather wise. There was chillsome nip in the air despite the fact that it is almost June.
But it was a bank holiday weekend and it also happened to be the first weekend that I was up here in my home from home (I moved in a month ago, but due to family issues I have been up and down to Portsmouth a lot since). I was supposed to be cutting the monster of a front hedge.
But instead we (that is my good friends Rob and Andy) decided to visit what must be one of my favourite gardens (actually, it probably is my favourite garden) - Coton Manor, just north of Northampton. As always, it did not disappoint!
I am no plantsman, so don't ask me to name that Rose - but it had the smallest and most exquisitely perfect little yellow flowers. It was scrambling up the garden wall.
Every detail is thought through - the plant support were woven willow.
I have been several times before but never quite this early in the year and consequently saw the very best of the irises (though sadly the bluebell wood had 'gone over', though it was easy to get a sense of how it would have looked a couple of weeks before).
And little stone troughs planted up with jewels.
And possibly one of the best pelargonium collections - both hardy and tender (this one was such a hit that Rob bought a couple from the nursery on site. A fabulous place to buy plants because they all really love plants and gardening and it shows in the quality and selection of plants available.)
What I love about the garden is both it's domestic nature (it all feels as though you can re-create bits of this at home) and that round every corner there is a surprise.
And we found a rill, the sun came out so an opportunity for a bit of posing.
And bantams keeping the slugs and snails at bay (though I did keep wondering how they manage with the foxes) and even flamingoes! But no photos of those.
And the odd primordial gunnera!
And there is a beautiful wild flower meadow. Clearly they struggle to maintain the balance of flowers so this year there was a family of longhorns - an ancient and once endangered breed of cattle - happily grazing in there.
The bull was a chap of immense bulk! With spectacular horns! But he would not oblige for a photo so here is his rear end! Rump steak anyone?
The garden is on a sloping site - in the heart of such a beautiful county (it had a bit of a feel of Devon about it!) and makes so much of the borrowed adjacent landscapes.
Native tulips in a walk way leading to the plant sales area (even the sales area looks lovely)
That's a real house - as in people actually live there! Jealous? Moi?
And time to sit and ponder on life, the universe and ducks!
Go visit. But normally it is only open Tuesday to Saturday - only on Bank Holidays is it open Sunday and Mondays too. (So you will have to now wait until August for the next open Sunday - but so very worth it!)