My car could probably drive itself to Coton Manor. The route is so familiar. I’ve been visiting the garden for about 20 years. And each time I learn something new. I take a pen and paper to make a note of planting combinations. I always have to walk around the garden in the same direction. First, the top terrace, by the garden school, where there’s beautiful terracotta pots of seasonal plants. Tulips today, mass planted in a single colour. Then on through the rose and lavender garden. Through the arch to the top woodland walk. Down the slope, following the stream, watching the ferns unfurling, spotting a patch of erythronium dogs tooth violets and some maroon tipped trilliums. Crossing over the rill, we walk through the wildflower meadow- full of cowslips and camassias. Not horticultural matters, I know, but the little speckled bantams that live at the bottom of the stream garden are such a delight to see. We chuckle over their fluffy feathered legs, and their funny little ways. Today, one spots a fly, and zigzags crazily through the orchard, neck outstretched to catch the tasty morsel. There’s flamingoes. Puzzling when first encountered. But a treat to look forward to on every subsequent visit. They are seemingly colour-coordinated with the orange pink tulips along the stream bank. Today we walked through the bluebell woods. We stood still and just gazed. A sea of blue, set against the smooth grey beech trees. And then, the scent. We store up such glory- to last the whole year. Until next time.
I am always drawn to houses built with the warm honey coloured Northamptonshire stone. The original Manor House was destroyed during the Civil War and rebuilt in 1662, using stone salvaged from nearby Holdenby House. The current owner’s grandparents moved to Coton in 1926, extended the house and created the bones of the current 10 acre garden. A history of the house and gardens has been written by Ann Benson, available through the Coton manor website http://www.cotonmanor.co.uk.
The lavender-edged terrace garden has Tulip Elegant Lady and double late peony flowered Black Hero. Soon there will be geraniums, erysimum and heucheras to cover the bulb foliage. The garden school is on the right. Courses still available (at time of publication) this summer are by Sarah Price, Tom Duncan,Johnathan and Peter Gooch, Martyn Rix, Brian Ellis, Rosy Hardy and the owner Susie Pasley-Tyler.
I always find plenty of inspiration for container planting. This is my favourite at Coton, the copper urn and Spring Green Tulips.
iris – possibly Plum Tart.
Plants, seeds and bulbs can be purchased at the nursery. The garden opens Tuesday to Saturday 12 noon to 5.30 from 25th March to 1st October. Mum and I have bought season tickets, which means we can visit the garden through the changing seasons and obtain lots of planting inspiration.
Do you have a favourite garden that you like to visit? What planting inspiration have you found? Please leave a comment so that I know I’m not talking to myself here.