There’s nothing like a visit to another garden to spark some ideas for new plants to grow, or new ways of growing them back at home. We’ve been going to Beningbrough Hall for so many years now – but I never get bored of visiting. There’s a playground there that kept the kids amused for hours when they were younger, walks around the grounds and woodland, and (my favourite part) a beautiful walled garden. A walled garden filled with all kinds of fruit, vegetables and herbs… perfect.
I came away from yesterday’s visit with a list of the plants that were attracting huge numbers of bees and butterflies. Some, like buddleja, nepeta and cosmos, I already have in the garden. But seeing them buzzing with bees has reminded me that it’s time to start taking cuttings of the best nectar-rich plants for adding to the garden next year. Then there were other bee favourites that I’ve been meaning to grow, and just need to find the right spot to plant them in. Globe artichokes fall into this category… next year there will definitely be a patch of them. They won’t be for eating, but will be left to produce big purple flowers – at Beningbrough the bumblebees were diving headfirst into them.
This summer there’s a corner of the walled garden that’s home to a Dig for Victory plot, a collection of wartime veg being grown as part of a range of displays and activities looking at how World War II affected life at the hall.
All of the vegetables growing in the victory garden are familiar favourites – potatoes, cabbages, turnips and beans among them. The plants all looked good and healthy, and I liked the plant labels, made from chunky sticks with a bit sliced off to make a flat surface to write on.
No doubt there will be more visits to Beningbrough Hall as the summer holidays go on – so we’ll be able to watch the progress in the victory garden, and with any luck find more ideas to use at home. Do you have a favourite garden to visit for inspiration?