Sunday, June 3, 2012

Another wet Felley!

Unlike the thousands that lined the Thames today, I didn't see the Queen but in sympathy with them, I got very wet and cold!

For many years I have been helping with the Plant Heritage Rare Plant Fair at Felley Priory. I am one of the advance party that arrives early, 7.30am actually and puts out the signs by the roadside, checks in the nursery exhibitors and generally helps set up and man the event! Over the years I have both experienced sunstroke at this June event and more often mild hypothermia! Each time it's a wet year I swear it will be the last and this year I mean it - well I think I do! Sadly, all the volunteers are older people and as I'm one of the younger-older people, I feel guilty not volunteering! I always pack two sets of clothes for a rapid in-car change when drenched by mid morning or on those changeable days, shorts and sunscreen, although I didn't need them today!

Sadly today there were barely 200 visitors whereas a good day will bring out 600 to 800. Less gate income for Plant Heritage, less income for the nurserymen and all those bedraggled plants for them to take back home again. However, the tea room did a roaring trade on hot chocolate and homemade soup!

The accompanying pictures are from past events, because today was just too wet to get the camera out. Pity - in the garden there is a  huge specimen of an exquisite tree peony. It was in full bloom today but the blooms were just too waterlogged and drooping to get a picture. Such a pity because the gardens are beautiful and well worth a visit.

Plant Fair on a drier day!
Topiary Garden
Herbaceous borders
The lake at Felley

The gardens contain many unusual species, some great planting combinations, a number of small themed gardens and a tiny arboretum. The garden has its own nursery stocking mainly plants propagated from the garden.

Cornus kousa 'Satomi'

Dactylorhiza elata

Eremurus stenophylla

Paeonia 'Sarah Bernhardt

Papaver orientale and Polemonium
Inevitably I spent some money and bought some plants for myself. Maybe nothing spectacular but ones I like and will fit into the schemes I am developing.

Asplenium scolopendrium 'Cristatum'
Abutilon vitifolium 'Album' - I'm going to replace my blue one which is in the wrong location.

Astrantia 'Sunningdale Variegated'

Heliotropium 'Princess Marina' - one of the darkest and great scent. Note this is not the same as the seed raised 'Marina' which is generally scentless.
Buddleja 'Santana' - I'm a sucker for variegated plants!
Felley Priory is regularly open to the public and has a great tea shop serving wonderful cakes. Good plants, a great garden, coffee and cakes - what more can you want? Well - maybe a nice sunny, warm day but perhaps that's too much to ask in the UK!


  1. It's frustrating when weather doesn't cooperate! The plants you showed are stunningly beautiful! I put some of them on my last, for ex., dactylorhiza and asplenium. Thank you!

  2. Blame the very wet weather for the disappointing turnout at today's plant fair. Shame really as on a sunny day it looks like a fab plant fair to go to, basing it on your photos as well. You bought some really nice plants there, and I've never seen that variegated buddleia before.