The Giants of the Gardens

In our Cedar meadow, where the giraffes are now, we have four fine specimen conifers. Despite their size I think they were only planted in the nineteenth century.

Sequoiadendron giganteum, better known as The Giant Sequoia or Wellingtonia arrived in Britain no earlier than 1847 and the Cedars possibly replaced some much larger specimens. In the 1880’s the winters here were so severe that the ancient trees were killed outright. I think the plants we see today are the successors.

only visible with a magnifying glass the
tips on these needles are translucent.

It has taken me sometime to identify the Cedars correctly as they are closely related to the better known Cedar of Lebanon. Thanks to Hugh Johnson’s book ‘Trees’ I finally got out there with a magnifying glass to spot the only sure difference: A tiny translucent tip on the end of the needles which requires very close inspection. Ours have this and therefore are definitely Atlas Cedars (C.atlantica).

We have two fine specimens of Sequoiadendron giganteum, Wellingtonia or Giant Sequoia but, up until now, no specimens of the even taller Sequoia sempervirens or Dawn Redwood. So I started at the bottom and grew this baby (below) from seed. We have two and they are now around 7′ tall. Draped in ghostly fleece all last winter they should now be strong enough to go it alone. You can see them near the carpark.

Sequoia sempervirens

I’m not alone in wanting to grow these magnificent trees from seed and this site provides some lovely anecdotal stories from around the world.

The Giraffes arrive

In May I bumped into these two at the Chelsea flower show. For some time I had been looking for a sculpture that would fill the space at the end of the long terrace without costing a five figure sum. Being on the plebeian side of art appreciation, cones and helixes didn’t speak to me but these guys did. They arrived today and look perfectly at home looking dreamily over the park. I fear that, like the teas, they may become a bigger draw to the gardens than our carefully crafted planting schemes. Since I am mad about them already that suits me fine .


At 13′ tall this fellow could do with a name, any suggestions?



November in The Gardens


Autumn colour on the Lime trees in the village was especially good this year


Prunus subhirtella. Its fiery leaves fall and are replaced by delicate blossom whenever the weather is mild, from November to March.


Details from the cottage garden. Ornamental winter cabbage and a cherry grown on a very dwarf stock



The terraces ready for winter. On the slopes we are creating wildflower meadows. The colour in the wider park adds to the charm of this view in autumn

Berries and Leaf shapes get closer scrutiny at this time of year. The ghostly Gunnera has been hit by the first frosts and berries are bringing in migrating birds throughout the gardens.