Here at The Vyne we are constantly reviewing our priorities and plans centred around conservation, renovation and development of the property. Projects often have to wait their turn on our short list, sometimes for many months or years before surfacing into reality. Planning authority, budgets and conservation concerns are but a few of the hurdles.
Over the course of 2012 our team of staff have been busy overseeing various projects and improvements to the property and gardens. This with the view to making your time with us that much more interesting, enjoyable and exciting. Always our aim is to enhance our properties while staying true to the spirit of the place and it’s heritage. Not an easy balance to strike but none the less challenging and exciting for the staff and our volunteers alike.
A little history
To the rear of the stables between the mid 18th century and the present day there has existed an enclosed garden [formally known as 'little' or 'lesser' kitchen garden] which during it’s 250 year history has gone through several transformations. To day it is somewhat neglected and seldom seen except for occasional visits by staff and volunteer gardeners tasked with it’s basic upkeep.
1756~1840s – A walled garden existed around the Summerhouse and was referred to as the ‘Kitchen Garden’ presumably this may have supplied the needs of the kitchens with fresh seasonal produce and perhaps herbs in addition to that from the primary walled vegetable garden situated near the lower lake. It was laid out along formal lines with beds and paths.
1872 – A subdivision of the this garden came into being creating what is still known as the ‘Staff Garden’.
1880s - The Walled Kitchen Garden is converted into a Flower Garden by Mrs Wiggett Chute who also removed the path walks.
1911 - The current subdivision of the old Walled Garden into the present day Staff Garden and Summerhouse gardens becomes clearly depicted in the archives. By 1960 the current boundaries are clearly visible on local OS maps.
1998 - Records show that a swimming pool was removed from this area and the resulting hole filled up and grassed over.
->2002 The area known as the Staff Garden is used by staff on occasions for privacy from the public and other domestic functions.
2002 ~ 2012 Apart from general maintenance the garden is little used.
A garden re-imagined.
The time has come for this little secret garden to rise again and step into the lime light. Providing a place for adventure, especially for families and our younger visitors subject to the usual planning permissions.
During the coming weeks between late November and February 2013 the area will be awash with activity as the landscapers and developers move in to create a children’s adventure play area with something to fill everyones imagination.
At the moment the area looks a little unloved, featureless and lacking in colour and structure as you can see from the image below. Here you can see the Summerhouse building to the far left in the image and the stables area to the far right.
However over time this Hidden Garden will be transformed into an area full of colour and texture provided by a forest of bamboo of various species, secret entrances and tunnels, ferns, ornamental grasses, fragrant plants and wildflowers. There will be bridges to cross, hills to climb and a wooden fort to scale and play in along with other elements to create and encourage exploration and engage adventurous minds. There is even a nod towards Tolkien’s story of the Ring within it’s theme.
For those unfamiliar with The Vyne house, a little known fact. No visit is complete without careful inspection of the Drawing room. Here you will discover what is thought to be the ‘Ring’ that may have inspired Tolkien to write his book ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
Below is a plan of the area showing the basic layout and structure of the play area which will sit adjacent to the Summer garden.
All being well our intention is to open the new garden area which will be known as the ‘Hidden Realm’ sometime in April of 2013. So stay tuned for further updates and don’t forget to put a note in your diary to visit us sometime in 2013 for a little adventure of your own.
In the meantime the gardening crew wish you all a happy and prosperous new year.
Another season is drawing to a close here at The Vyne. A quiet calm will descend over the estate during January and the first half of February as nature takes a breath after which our new season gets fully underway. You’re probably thinking the gardening team pack up, tools down and feet up in front of a roaring open fire, mince pie in one hand and hot toddy in the other. The thought had crossed our minds but alas there is always work to be seen to over the entire winter period, both inside the house and the expansive gardens.
As I write this work has begun on the Secret garden project which is scheduled to open in the first quarter of next year, so stay tuned for updates over the coming weeks. Numerous renovations, repairs, tidying up and planning for next year need our attention which can all be beset by the potential for heavy snow fall something we deal with but hope doesn’t arrive. Here in Hampshire we have already expereinced a smidgen of snow and contended with the arrival of hard frosts which are not the best friend of manicured lawns. The local deer population [Roe and Muntjac - the latter known also as Barking deer] will be eyeing up some of our herbaceous border plants over the coming weeks. The new shoots being to their particular liking will need some protection if we are not to lose developing flower stems early in 2013.
For you our visitors and keen gardeners out there this is a good time to be thinking about your own gardens as the nights draw in. Yes, it’s cold out there but a little effort invested now is not only good for the circulation it will also be repaid handsomely by your plants and our feathered friends too.
Six tips to prep your garden for winter:-
- Add a good mulch to your herbaceous border plants to protect and feed them.
- Clear up the last of the autumn leaf fall.
- Clear out your bird boxes ready for the next season.
- Purchase new flower seeds for your new season planting schemes.
- Add a good manure to your vegetable garden to improve the soil.
- Put out some food supplies [Nuts and seed] to help the birds through winter.
In the mean time the gardening team wish you all a merry christmas and a prosperous new year. We hope to see you all again in 2013 to enjoy another exciting season here at The Vyne.
Nestling in the Fig garden is an unassuming shrub from China and Japan, Harlequin glorybower [Clerodendrum trichotomum]. The plant is cultivated for it’s fragrant flowers, autumn colours and ornamental berries.
The name Clerodendrum is derived from two Greek words, kleros, meaning “chance or fate” and dendron, “a tree”. It refers to the considerable variation in reports of the usefulness of the plant in medicine. Extracts of the plant were traditionally used by people of North-East India to alleviate symptoms of diabetes, obesity and hypertension among others.
The fragrant flowers are borne in late summer on branching stems. They have white petals, held within a green calyx [sepals] which turn red as the fruits ripen. The fruits (drupes) are white, changing to metallic bright blue on maturity.
Based on plans from Graham Stuart Thomas around 1960, the West garden has been carefully developed and maintained over the last 10 years to ensure it has remained faithful to the original vision. The full and varied herbaceous borders provide colour and interest throughout the summer season between mid May and sometimes well into October. Over a year ago now the rose borders leading to the Stone Gallery entrance to the house were renovated with new stock of Gruss an Aachen a floribunda rose with an “Old Garden Rose” form bred by Philipp Geduldig 1909. This is a hardy, shade tolerant variety and has since it’s introduction into our garden performed pleasingly well, providing a delicate and very fragrant pink bloom.
Over the coming weeks the gardening team will be busy adding a new central border to the lawn on the right of the Stone gallery entrance and renovating the existing square lavender border to the left of the entrance.
These will both be planted with Tulips [Daydream] to provide interest during the spring period and additionally add colour and form to support our traditional herbaceous borders.
The weather gods have been keen to help us on our way, providing copious amounts of water which mixes well with our somewhat clay bound soil. This stuff as any keen gardener will attest to sticks to tools and boots like glue and thus makes the project that much easier!! Over the next few days the area will be double dug and organic matter introduced to break up the clay with the view to creating a more open structured soil in readiness for our new acquisitions the tulips.
Come April 2013 these borders will be ablaze with delicate orange blooms framed by the green lawns. We hope you enjoy them.
Author: Tanya Aldridge [Seasonal gardener]
The 13th October saw another highly successful and busy autumn festival staged within our Walled garden. Despite a mixed day of weather approximately 1600 visitors enjoyed apple tasting, Hog roast, various crafts, tree climbing, prize raffles and even discovered bee keeping with support from our friends from the Basingstoke Bee Keeping Association.
On the run up to the event there had been a growing chill in the air as the first frosts started to appear. It is a real pleasure to work here at the Vyne, tending the various gardens and being outdoors makes you acutely aware of the seasons. Autumn is particularly beautiful with the changing trees reflected across the North and lower lakes.
Although the soft fruit season is drawing to a close now in the Walled Garden, except for the later fruiting raspberries, there is still plenty of activity as work needs to continue into the winter.
Most of our pumpkins have now been harvested and stored ready for our forthcoming Halloween events.
During the last few weeks running up to the Orchard event our volunteers have busily picked over three thousand apples, quite a challenge bearing in mind the news of other properties having experienced very poor harvests due to an exceptionally wet year hampering our valuable pollinators the bees. All this effort delivered apples galore available for all our visitors to taste and buy on the day.
Judging by the crowds and smiles, people genuinely appreciated being given the opportunity to try all the different varieties of apple on offer, many of them not available in the supermarkets. The event created a great atmosphere as visitors sampled apples, discussed their merits with our friendly garden volunteers and staff and drank locally produced cider whilst Morris men entertained everyone in various parts of the grounds.
Our children’s toys continue to be ever popular in the walled garden and although some have suffered from over enthusiastic playing, most are thankfully still intact for next year.
The Orchard harvest event is a regular occurrence here at The Vyne so if you missed us this time round hopefully we will see you next season for some delectable fruit tasting and a great day out for all. With that in mind why not put a note in your diaries to check our forth coming events for 2013. See our events
In the mean time our ‘International Garden Photographer of the year‘ exhibition runs until 22nd December 2012 and is located in the Stone Gallery. It’s well worth a visit to see some of the wonderfully creative scenes from selected winners of this prestigious competition.
Looking ahead to 2013
On the horizon, we are all looking forward to the start of the ‘Hidden Garden’ project which subject to planning permissions work will commence on over the coming months. This will create an exciting and interesting new attraction for 2013. As always we will keep you posted on developments over the coming months as work takes shape. Stay tuned…
Generally speaking most clematis are both easy to care for and their pruning requirements are modest and straightforward. On the whole clematis are divided into three groups to make it easy to approach the pruning process. The objective here is to encourage strong healthy new growth and profuse flowering for the coming season while also controlling the shape and size of the plant within certain boundaries. As with all pruning, ensure you have a good pair of sharp secateurs to hand. Use of garden antibacterial spray is also advisable so as to avoid spreading disease between plants.
Group one and evergreen varieties
- These flower early in summer on old wood. Very little pruning is needed other than to remove dead and damaged stems after flowering. Train new stems to fill supports as needed.
- If the plant gets too large you can prune back to maintain the desired size.
cirrhosa, C.armandii, C.alpina, C.macropetala. fall into this group.
- This group produce two flushes of flower – before early summer and again in late summer on new growth.
- Again all that is needed is the removal of dead and dying stems in late winter. Cut back to a strong pair of buds.
- Secure old and new growth with twine as required.
C. ‘Nelly Moser’ and C. ‘Niobe’ are notable varieties in this group.
- These plants flower after early summer on this years growth and respond well to hard pruning.
- In late winter to early spring cut the top growth of these plants down to a healthy pair of buds above the base stems formed be the previous season.
C. viticella, C.orientalis, C.texensis are examples of this group.
Herbaceous clematis varieties, these can generally be cut to near ground level between autumn and early spring.
Despite the weather and shortening daylight there is still plenty of interest and colour to enjoy in the garden. The pink Sedum [spectabile], Cosmos, Aster [frikartii] and Persicaria [amplexicaulis] are still to be spied as you walk along the herbaceous border.
A visit to the Summer garden reveals plants from tropical regions such as the Mediterranean and East Africa. The Castor oil plant – [Ricinus Communis] is indigenous to such areas of the world. Surrounding planting includes Pennisetum [Purple Baron]. This genus of grasses is native to tropical and temperate regions of the world such as Australia, India and even the Galapagos islands.