|Colour and contrast in the main garden|
|Will's house - fight your way in with a machete!|
The approach to the garden is through a dense plantation, mainly of bamboos but including a number of other trees and evergreens. I remember seeing this area when it was first planted many years ago and the plants were small, the whole area looking very raw and bland. Although still predominantly green, there is much of interest in this area. The eucalyptus are now towering specimens and even the bamboos bend over the footpaths. Will has removed much of the lower foliage, displaying the colourful canes. In particular, yesterday I was impressed by a plant of Liriodendron tulipiferae, the tulip tree which Will stools annually, pruning hard to the ground. Inevitably the result is a forest of vigorous growth with huge handsome green leaves. I also made a note to get myself a plant of Broussonetia papyrifera.
|The garden entrance - pleasant enough but the surprise awaits!|
|Giant leaves of stooled Liriodendron|
|Naked stems of Phyllostachys Aurea|
|Juvenile foliage of Broussonetia papyrifera|
|Two giant plants of Tetrapanax papyrifera - one is 'Rex' - difficult to see much difference|
|Hemerocallis and Persicaria mingle with the exotics|
|Bromelliads, very much Will's favourites, thrive outside in the summer|
|A perennial black-eyed Susan (without a black eye!) Thunbergia gregorii - I think.|
|Mature Trachycarpus throughout the garden seed freely. Will says he's going to let them grow so that when he can no longer maintain the garden he will have a forest of palms to sit under!|
|The dahlia in this mixed border has been outside for years|
The upper garden is an arid, Mediterranean style of garden, complete with small ruined logia, just the spot for a quiet glass of wine on a summer's evening. The planting includes the inevitable spikies, yuccas, phormiums, and a number of Agave. Amongst those are various cacti and succulents. Will tells me that although he takes some plants under cover for the winter, the majority of these stay outside all the year and many amazingly survived the tough winter of two years ago.
|The arid garden and logia all built from local and recycled materials|
|I just love this huge dinner-plate version of Aeonium - forgotten its name|
|Typical arid planting|
|The tree house - summer home for Jamie|
|One of the gardens sculptures with the top pond behind|
|So much to see|
One welcome new construction this year is the huge new polythene tunnel. Rather than have this sit empty during the summer, Will decided to plant it up with a variety of surplus exotics, which have not surprisingly performed better than some of those outside. After a very splendid lunch yesterday, which featured three types of potato and various vegetables grown by Jamie, one of Will's helpers, we sat and drank coffee in the sunshine in the polythene tunnel, surrounded by a mini rainforest! Reluctantly I set off to the station fortified for the second three hours in a crowded train.
|The new polytunnel|
|Caladiums - tricky to grow but thriving in the warmth of the tunnel|
|Colocasia esculenta 'Fontanesii'|
|Will Giles - exoticist extraordinaire!|
Will's garden is open each weekend until mid October - DO go and visit if you possibly can! Full details on The Exotic Garden website or read Will's blog to learn more of the garden.