Brockworth Court

143Today we took some visiting relatives to Brockworth Court, a Grade 2* Listed Building on the outskirts of Gloucester and close to Cheltenham which opens for the National Gardens Scheme. Dating back to 1540 and originally built for Richard Hart, the last Prior of Llanthony Secunda Priory. 115

The buildings are truly magnificent and of great national importance. The Tithe Barn pre-dates the house by almost 100 hundred years and was completely rebuilt in 2000 after it was nearly destroyed by fire.104

With the adjacent St. George’s Parish Church, formal gardens on three sides and a kitchen garden over the lane, the current owners must be working very hard to restore and maintain this ancient pile. The ‘Monet’ bridge over the pond to a thatched round house we found rather twee and served no real purpose other than as a visitor attraction. 078

However, the borders and planting combinations were colourful and inspiring.123                      I was particularly impressed to find the Rose Campion, Lychnis coronaria, planted with the bright yellow Potentilla recta ‘Sulphurea’  which worked for me. The strong magenta  coloured Lychnis is lovely on its own but awkward to place unless it is with white. I might try it with Geum ‘Lady Stratheden’ which is long flowering, equally tall and bright yellow.098

The strong yellows and purples were a big feature of this garden and made excellent photographic subjects.124

Equally attractive were the reds and purples of these Monarda, Knautia and Salvias flanked by Solomon Seal and Acer palmatum.129

But sometimes a simple pot or urn is enough.114

I think I would have steered away from rusty peacocks and stone ladies playing the flute in a cupola topped gazebo but everyone to their own! I think this is where garden design and ‘marketing’ often bump awkwardly together in places open to the public.

Overall, a ‘good’ garden to visit, lots of good ideas and some not so good. A place of heritage and history and somewhere we will visit regularly to note the seasonal changes.

Problem Corner

017Each year I grow Lupins because they are a classic cottage garden plant. They are colourful, the bees love them and they are easy to grow. But I am getting fed up with the constant attacks of Lupin aphid.020

No matter what I do (apart from insecticides which I don’t use) it returns each day, devastating the stems and flowers. The sticky residue is unsightly and the flowers are ruined. I think they’ll have to go.045

The other problem is the powdery mildew which attacks the Knautia macedonica as a matter of course each year. I have always associated powdery mildew with dry soils, lack of air circulation and overcrowding but I reckon I could plant this Knautia anywhere and it would suffer. I believe it is systemic in this plant. I have seven plants in various positions and every plant has powdery mildew. It is such a shame but it too will have to go.