Borde Hill Garden

If you’re looking for summery days out, then I really recommend taking a wander around Borde Hill Garden. Situated near Haywards Heath, and with a beautiful Elizabethan country house at its heart, this outstanding English garden has something of interest in all seasons. It is renowned for a number of rare shrubs and is home to 73 champion trees, as well as breathtaking themed garden ‘rooms’ such as the Italian Garden and – my favourite – the walls of the Victorian Old Potting Sheds. I plan to visit again very soon, particularly to see the rose garden at the height of the season – keep an eye on my Instagram Stories as no doubt I’ll be sharing the view on there.

I visited in the middle of Spring with the Garden Media Guild, where Borde Hill owners Andrewjohn and Eleni Stephenson Clarke were warm & generous hosts. Head gardener Andy Stevens is the most enthusiastic guide, particularly proud of the champion trees including three magnificent magnolias in the Garden of Allah, abundant with vibrant green leaves and heavy with buds at the time.

borde hill house gardens haywards heath sussex garden photographysculpture and champion magnolia in the Garden of Allah at Borde Hill Garden Sussex

Enormous lotus-like flower of the Chinese tulip tree (Liriodendron chinense) shown below, collected by EH Wilson in 1903 and planted here in 1913.

liriodendron chinense chinese tulip tree flower and rhododendron at borde hill garden sussex

wild garlic and bluebells in woodland at borde hill garden sussex

Another champion tree native to China, Meliosma alba displays a mass of creamy-white flowers in the Spring.

meliosma alba flowering in Spring at Borde Hill Garden Sussexborde hill garden known for its rhododendron and azalea displays in Spring

This ‘Infinity Box’ installation houses a subtropical display in an area of the garden that had otherwise challenging growing conditions. Peering through the portholes feels a little bit like stealing a glimpse of something forbidden!

infinity box of subtropical planting at borde hill gardeninfinity box of subtropical planting at borde hill gardenMeconopsis cambrica Welsh poppy yellow

Paeonia ‘Mai Fleurie’ – took us a while to identify this beauty!

peony paeonia Mai Fleurie cream and pink Italian Garden at Borde Hill Sussex Haywards Heath gardenan early Spring view of Jay Robin's Rose Garden at Borde Hill Sussex

Head gardener Andy Stevens rounded off his tour by taking us through the abundant azalea ring.

The sculpture exhibition – included in your admission – continues until the end of September.

I enjoyed walking through the sheltered garden rooms of the Old Potting Sheds, particularly the play of plants against textured old walls and brickwork – here a chaenomeles (quince) set next to a leaded window.

 chaenomeles quince in the old potting shed garden at Borde Hill

Borde Hill Garden, Borde Hill Lane, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1XP.

 

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National Garden Scheme: Chilworth Manor

As part of the National Garden Scheme open gardens – look out for the yellow signs throughout the year! – Chilworth Manor in Guildford is ready to open to visitors on Sunday 19 May from 11-5. This beautiful site housed a monastery in the 11th century, with ponds in the grounds that were installed by the monks who lived there. It is home to an exquisite terraced walled garden, settled against the gentle slopes of St Martha’s Hill and designed by Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, in the 18th century. The wisteria here will take your breath away – not just the usual purple variety, but also windows of white wisteria forming a spectacular pathway and paired with alliums in the Spring.

The National Garden Scheme raises millions of pounds for charity each year with visitors paying a small entrance fee to spend some time in a thoughtfully planted space – gardens generously opened by the homeowners to aid charitable schemes such as one of this year’s chosen charities, MIND. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, the NGS has been championing #APathToHealth – encouraging people to take a walk in a green space, having seen and heard the benefits felt by visitors of spending some time in a garden. It really does lift the spirits, and Chilworth Manor gardens are feast for all the senses.

Chilworth Manor and Vineyard, Halfpenny Lane, Chilworth, Guildford GU4 8NN. Entry fee £6, children free. Open Sunday 19 May, 11am-5pm with refreshments, garden tours and wine tastings throughout the day.

view of the 18th century tiered walled garden Chilworth Manor Guildfordalliums and roses in the walled garden at Chilworth Manor Guildfordwisteria in May at 17th century Chilworth ManorChilworth Manor wisteria National Garden Scheme open garden Guildford Surrey

wisteria through walled garden gate professional garden photographer

view towards Chilworth Manor from the walled garden terraces

details of Spring planting at Chilworth Manor National Garden Scheme open garden

This is the right time of year to see the prolific flowers of the Judas Tree (Cercis Siliquastrum) – below.

Judas tree Cercis Siliquastrum in Guildford professional garden photographer

purple wisteria on brickwork in a Surrey garden Chilworth Manor

windows of white wisteria

white wisteria planting on the terraces of Chilworth Manor walled garden

spring details and pond at Chilworth Manor Guildford garden photographer

Chilworth Manor is also part of the collective of five Surrey Hills Vineyards, launching their partnership in June. Throughout the day you can sample this year’s rosé wine – a light, refreshing, summery blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes grown here on the slopes beneath St Martha’s.

Chilworth Manor Surrey Hills Vineyard at the foot of St Martha's Hill Guildford

details of vines growing in Spring Surrey Hills Vineyard

Chilworth Manor rosé reflecting the house in the glass

this year's rosé at Chilworth Manor Vineyard

terraces of wisteria and alliums garden photographer Surrey

this year's rosé wine by Chilworth Manor Vineyard Surrey Hills Guildford

view of the parterre and terraces in the walled garden Guildford

wisteria windows in the walled garden Guildford Surrey garden photographer

pond installed by 17th century monks at the former monastery Chilworth Manor

views of the wisteria and terraces in the walled garden Surrey

By purchasing any of the National Garden Scheme greetings cards at Chilworth Manor, featuring some of my photographs of the gardens, you’ll be donating more to the excellent charitable causes they’re supporting in 2019.

National Garden Scheme charity cards for sale Julie Skelton professional garden photographer

white wisteria in evening light in the walled garden terraces

view of Chilworth Manor Guildford Surrey professional garden photographer

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Watercress week

I love that watercress is grown all over the world but that the local Hampshire area is so well known for it. The Watercress Line is a clue (from the late Victorian times when the locally grown watercress was transported by train to the London markets). This Sunday marks the beginning of Watercress Week (19-25 May), with Alresford’s Watercress Festival (Sunday 19th) the celebration to kick it all off in the town centre.

As a garden photographer particularly interested in produce, I’m all for eating as locally and seasonally as possible, so watercress is right up my street. It’s also the original superfood: full of protein and Vitamins A, C, E and K to support the immune system, and fibre to help maintain a healthy gut. It’s also a natural source of iron, calcium, Vitamin B6, and folate – SO much more antioxidant-rich and nutrient-dense than other salad leaves.

watercress aquatic plant growing in Alresford Hampshire

The UK actually eats more watercress than anywhere else in the world, but if you’re not one of them yet, here’s why it’s really worth using it for more than just a sandwich or garnish… Firstly the taste is deliciously peppery and crisp. It’s a vibrant green aquatic plant, a member of the mustard (brassica) family and related to wasabi, broccoli, radish, horseradish and cauliflower, amongst others. Compare it to a regular mixed leaf salad bowl (cos, iceberg, spinach, lambs lettuce), and watercress smashes the nutrient stats with more than twice the amount of Vitamin K, twice as much iron, almost three times as much calcium, and nearly SIX times the amount of Vitamin C. On the Aggregate Nutrient Density index, this scores it an incredible 1000/1000 which, per calorie, makes it one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world!

I’ve come up with a couple of recipes that will make the most of watercress whatever the typical British summer weather throws at us – one for chilly days, and one to cool you down! And keep reading for a glimpse of where and how it is grown.

Watercress and Pear Soup – inspired by Gilbert White’s House

I visited Gilbert White’s House gardens a few years ago and when it started to drizzle outside, popped into the cafe for a bit of lunch. The staff told me that the day’s special was Watercress and Pear soup but that not many people had opted for it as it sounded an unusual combination. I’ve been experimenting to try and recreate it as it was SO tasty with a little gingery kick, and let me tell you – it’s a great pairing (jokes). It absolutely works beautifully well.

watercress and pear soup food photography Surrey

Ingredients:

A knob of butter and a dash of olive oil

2x 85g bag watercress

2 good-quality pears (I bought mine at Noel’s Farm Shop – choose the most flavoursome, organic where possible)

1 small onion, chopped

1″ piece of root ginger, finely minced

500ml vegetable stock

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Melt the butter with the oil, add the onion with a splash of water, and cook on the lowest heat until transparent and soft – about 10 minutes. Peel, core and chop the pears. Add the watercress to the pan with the pears and the minced fresh ginger. Pour in the stock, add salt and pepper to taste, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

I use a hand blender to combine everything into a smooth soup; add the lemon juice and mix well. Enjoy with crusty bread – serves 3 / 4.

watercress and pear soup with crusty artisan bread

Watercress salad with pomegranate, watermelon and feta

This summery salad is so fresh it could be the Prince of Bel Air – served with a citrus dressing. The peppery watercress is set off deliciously by salty feta and the sweet fruit additions.

watercress salad with watermelon and feta food garden photography

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 orange

1 tbsp olive oil

100g watercress

150g watermelon cubes

100g feta cheese

3 tbsp pomegranate seeds

Salt and pepper

 

Mix the orange juice with the olive oil – I used a bottle of oil from Leonardslee Gardens – and give it all a really good twist of seasoning.

Combine the watercress, watermelon and crumbled feta. Drizzle with the citrus dressing to taste and scatter pomegranate seeds on top. Give it lots of black pepper (I love pepper!) – also really nice with some spring onion and served with a poached egg. Preferably eaten in the garden!

watercress salad and leonardslee gardens olive oil

I visited Winchester Distillery in Old Alresford where the Watercress Company were busy beginning to harvest the crops. It’s the first time I’ve been able to see where watercress is grown, with the sound of fresh running water and birdsong in the sunshine…

If you haven’t tried Winchester Distillery’s Twisted Nose gin, it’s a must! There’s a distinctive peppery twist thanks to the use of on-site watercress being used as one of its botanicals.

Do let me know if you visit the Watercress Festival or if you experiment with watercress this month!

 

 

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New season of garden events

I suspect that most of you who love the outdoors and getting into the garden are enjoying the signs of Spring and the prospect of British Summer Time right now! The garden season ahead looks set to be a really exciting one. Recently I attended the Garden Press Event in Islington, where businesses are able to present their new-to-the-market gardening products and inspire enthusiasm for the busy year ahead. I met with a number of the Garden Media Guild members to have a look around the products and ideas on offer, and to chat to the people behind them.

garden press event at the business design centre islington

Sunday 12 May is a date to set aside to celebrate Garden Day! Why not put together a floral crown and enjoy tea & cake in the garden with friends? These are the people behind the scheme, and also the app Candide, which is like an Instagram-style knowledge-base to share your garden photos, identify plants, and to ask questions or find solutions to gardening problems from other users. Download it for free on your phone or tablet from the App Store.

team from candide gardening app wearing floral crowns to promote national garden day

These parcel-in-the-post subscription boxes from Mud & Bloom are suitable for 3-8 year olds (Key Stage 1 – I used to teach this age, and the boxes are pitched perfectly!). Each box has some seasonal activities including gardening, craft, and garden quizzes, all designed to help children understand the growth cycle and seasonal changes. They start at £7.95 per box including free shipping, and I fully support their ethos of encouraging children to enjoy the outdoors, for the sake of their wellbeing and to have that thrill of having a hand in the raising of plants.

mud and bloom garden subscription boxes for children

There was a buzz around the pretty stand of Dalefoot Composts all day – based in the Eden Valley, Cumbria (which I know well), they produce organic wool and bracken based composts that retain moisture and encourage healthy crops. I’m currently raising some tomato seeds in the wool compost pots they gave me! There was a strong emphasis at this year’s show on organic solutions, as well as mental health and wellbeing benefits of getting out in the garden – keep reading below to find more announcements in this area… I must also mention Strulch who produce a mineralised straw mulch suitable for deterring slugs and snails (you might know this is my ongoing battle). I’m trialling their mulch which is also used at RHS Wisley, the Eden Project, and Alnwick Castle Gardens amongst others – so far, so successful!

dalefoot composts display stand at the garden press event 2019

I visited Hever Castle for their ‘Dazzling Daffodils’ displays, and although the weather decided to be grey on that particular week, the daffodils were bringing their own ray of sunshine to the gardens.

hever castle edenbridge kent in spring with daffodils

details of spring flowers at hever castle kent open gardens

Plus, how beautiful is this Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’?!

clematis armandii apple blossom growing at hever castle kent

dazzling daffodils garden display in spring at hever castle childhood home of anne boleyn

spring daffodils and blossom at hever castle kent

camellia walk hever castle italian garden

dazzling daffodils seasonal opening of gardens at hever castle kent

This week, the National Garden Scheme launched their yellow bible, the Open Gardens Handbook for 2019. At the Press Launch in London’s Royal Festival Hall, guests were addressed by Lord Gardiner – of DEFRA – and Mary Berry, President of the NGS, while Chief Executive George Plumptre announced donations to charities totalling £3m over the past year. The NGS guest charity for 2019 will be MIND, aiding those with mental health struggles, and one slide showed a comment from a garden visitor that “visiting different gardens really helps boost my mood…not just the time that I’m at a garden but for several days after”. During the week of 11 – 19 May this year, the Gardens & Health Campaign will emphasise the importance of garden visiting as an act of self care, demonstrating the positive impact on our wellbeing of visiting, and being inspired by, the outdoors.

mary berry president of national garden scheme with chief executive george plumptre

The NGS will have 3,552 gardens open for visitors this year – 759 of which are new, or returning after some time. 34 of the open gardens will be allotments – something I’m really interested in as I aim to get my own dedicated vegetable garden up and running this year. 9 of the available places to visit are school gardens, and 14 are hospice gardens. There really is something for everyone, on top of which you’ll often find tea & cake being served and plants on sale. Do take a look at the NGS website and plan visits through all seasons of interest – you’ll be contributing to a considerable charitable fund for the coming year.

national garden scheme press launch for 2019 at royal festival hall southbank

Also announced was a £75,000 donation and 10-year support plan for Horatio’s Garden, who design and create the most beautiful accessible garden spaces for NHS spinal injury units. The idea of the garden as a therapeutic space was never far from anyone’s mind at the media launch for open gardens this year, and I hope that you’ll find joy in visiting one of these places in 2019. Here are Julia Palca, Chair of Macmillan Cancer Support, Martin McMillan OBE, Chair of NGS, and Dr Olivia Chapple, co-founder of Horatio’s Garden – the scheme is named in memory of her son.

charity trustees and fundraisers events photography for national garden scheme horatio's garden macmillan cancer care

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The light came back

“Every year, in the third week of February, there is a day, or, more usually, a run of days, when one can say for sure that the light is back. Some juncture has been reached, and the light spills into the world from a sun suddenly higher in the sky.”

~ Kathleen Jamie, ‘Light’ from her book Sightlines.

This is one of my favourite-ever quotes. I’ve hung onto it through winter for a few years now and it’s absolutely right and bang on time, every February. It always fills me with hope, when winter is dark, that the world still turns and the light will come back. So here we are, the second-half of February and the light reappeared as always. I visited the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens near Romsey because I’d been told how beautiful the Winter Gardens are. It really felt like an energy-giving visit, to see the colour and structure and texture of plants bringing winter to life.

sir harold hillier gardens hampshire grasses in sunlight in the winter gardens

Here the appropriately-named Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter fire’ looks aflame next to the creamy peeling bark of Betula ermanii.

cornus sanguinea midwinter fire and betula ermanii at the harold hillier winter gardens hampshire

a walk through the harold hillier gardens marked by acer 'gingerbread' planted by the Queen

Hellebores in their element on the woodland floor but I especially like the acidic-yellow of these Ashwood garden hybrids.

I always think witch hazel in the right winter light looks really eye-catching, but it’s more tricky to capture the details and bring out their best. I like the contrasty light and colours here.

hamamelis at sir harold hillier gardens hampshire garden photographer

I love the ruby-red peeling bark of Prunus serrula in our own garden – the pairings with golden grasses, the acidic colours of this witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Sunburst’) plus the ‘Black Mondo Grass’ (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigresecens’) makes for a stunning corner in the winter sunshine.

professional garden photographer at sir harold hillier winter gardens prunus serrula and hamamelis

galanthus at sir harold hillier winter gardens hampshire garden photographer

delights of light at the winter gardens, sir harold hillier gardens, hampshire garden photography

sweet box sarcococca hookeriana digyna purple stem evergreen at hillier gardens winter gardens borderLonicera purpusii ‘Spring romance’ – so fragrant…

Lonicera purpusii 'Spring romance' garden photographer surrey

I used the National Garden Scheme website to find out about snowdrop garden openings, and planned a visit to Welford Park near Newbury. These beautiful gardens open regularly throughout snowdrop season but this special ‘yellow book’ day through the NGS raised money for several charities, as well as having well-stocked plant stalls from galanthus specialists, Elworthy Cottage Plants and Foxgrove Nursery.

national garden scheme snowdrop open day at welford park berkshire

Snowdrops and winter aconites welcome you to the woodland walk.

snowdrops and winter aconites lining the way to the woodland walk at welford park galanthus open day NGS

Did you know that the leaves of snowdrop have hardened tips, to break through the earth while it’s still frozen solid? And that their sap contains a form of antifreeze? Amazing nature…

galanthus in the beech woods at welford park NGS

The beech woods had a thick, sumptuous carpet of galanthus. This spot by the River Lambourn provides them with their perfect growing conditions.

welford park newbury river lambourn galanthus snowdrops in the beech woods

A crew were filming a segment on snowdrop season for ITV’s ‘This Morning’, with Heather Skinner from the National Garden Scheme presenting the Puxley family with a commemorative sundial – a thank you for FORTY years of opening their gardens to the public!

national garden scheme heather skinner presents a commemorative sundial to deborah puxley of welford park

filming of ITV's 'This Morning' at Welford Park for the National Garden Scheme snowdrop open day

welford park berkshire in february beech woods carpeted with galanthus snowdrops

(Welford Park has also been home to the filming of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ for the last few years. Appropriately, there was an extended cafe area in a marquee for this open day, and I can thoroughly recommend the tea & cake!).

 

 

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  • Susan Banting - Beautiful photos showing how much colour can be found in a month usually thought of as drab.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - Beautiful work as always, Julie! Such a feast for the eyes!ReplyCancel

Winter in the gardens

sunrise on frosted vineyard chilworth manor surrey garden photographerRound here in Guildford, it seems as though there haven’t been many properly frosty, frozen mornings this winter. Perhaps they’re on their way later than we’ve been expecting… The down-time of late winter brings a bit of a slower pace, which I enjoy more than I used to – I look forward to the return of the light, and the new growth in the garden. This is valuable replenishing time for people and plants alike! I wouldn’t be able to do this job if I didn’t think I was able to be useful to people, and so it gives me time to think about what I do and why, and to plan ways in which I can be productive and helpful through the year.

I used to think that there was little to be enjoyed through the winter, but – although they might not shout as loudly – there are plenty of quietly beautiful elements in the garden waiting to be found.

deep frost on winter vine

melting ice and frost on hellebore at RHS Wisley Gardens Woking Surrey

I was wandering around RHS Wisley Gardens when I spotted this hydrangea skeleton dripping with melted ice like the most beautiful chandelier… I am obsessed with it <3

melting ice on a hydrangea skeleton seedheads with frost in morning sunlighthydrangea skeleton with beads of melting ice macro garden photography

A morning photographing around the gardens at Chilworth Manor found a few wintery delights too. I love the contrast of textures, light and dark in this picture.

snowdrops with fern garden textures in wintersnowdrop galanthus with melting ice and frost, hydrangea seedhead in sunlightwitch hazel caught in a shaft of winter sunlightcatkins in a woodland garden in Guildford, Surrey garden photographercream hellebores on woodland floor detail of hellebore flowers in sunlighthydrangea seedhead caught in dramatic sunlight in winter

The dormant vineyard at Chilworth Manor still has spectacular structure in the winter.

A viticultural demonstration to teach about checking for vine health.

(By the way, a flying visit north didn’t yield any snow either – appropriately, a morning at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead offered fairly Baltic temperatures outdoors, though!).

view of the tyne bridge Newcastle at sunset from high bridges, millennium bridge towards BALTIC centre Gateshead with frost

  • I am a Guildford-based member of the Garden Media Guild and the Professional Garden Photographer’s Association – if you’re looking for a garden photographer to capture images for print, publication or media in the Surrey / Sussex / Hampshire area, please contact me here.
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Florence flying visit

While we’re in the depths of winter, I wanted to show you some of the pictures I took in magical Florence during a visit with friends last autumn. A small group of us from both the UK and Europe enjoy meeting up for what has become a Photography, Food and Friends time that we all look forward to! Florence wasn’t somewhere I was familiar with and, with the focus on spending some time making photographs in the city, I think we probably missed a huge element of art and history by not wandering around the numerous galleries that visitors flock here for. So, we stuck to places where photography is permitted, ate very well, drank a lot of Yogi tea, particularly enjoyed a surprise rooftop bar one lunchtime, wandered the streets looking for interesting light at odd hours, and laughed and talked…

early morning cyclist by florence cathedral italy travel photography

The view from our AirBnB apartment window. Should come with sound so you can hear the opera singer buskers every evening…

airbnb apartment view from window in florencesunlit florence street with mopedschandeliers in a lighting shop florence italycourtyard and cafe in the backstreets of florence tuscany travel photographycouple holding hands walk in sunlit backstreet of florencea carriage driver takes a break in florence italybell towers of Florencevisitors to the Piazza della Signoria with ice cream, cameras, statues and pigeonsreflection of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florencepitti palace palazzo pitti in the boboli gardens florence

As a Garden Media Guild member, I was really interested to see the Boboli Gardens and the Medici’s Palazzo Pitti – more of a home to an extensive sculpture collection, with less planting than we’re used to in UK gardens. However it did have wonderful views of the city and the Tuscan countryside. Sadly this little planted garden was inaccessible and I had to take a picture through the locked gates!

tuscan countryside viewed from a planted area in the boboli gardens florencethe pitti palace and hills of tuscany

Sunrise on the ancient Ponte Vecchio is the only time you’ll catch the bridge without throngs of people.

ponte vecchio early morning at the Cellini fountain with love locks on the railingsearly morning sunrise glow on the 14th century ponte vecchio with moored boatsearly morning sunlight on ancient florentine stepsearly morning commuters and tourists in florence italyearly morning activity Piazza del Duomo Florence Italysunlit morning cycle ride at Piazza del Duomo Florenceview over Florence and the River Arno from the rooftop bar at SE-STO on Arno Westin Excelsiordesigner shop windows of florence prada gucci

The breathtaking 14th-century basilica of Santa Maria Novella is a sanctuary from the busyness of the city.

santa maria novella basilica florence artwork frescopanoramic view over florence at sunset from piazzale michelangeloantonio stradivari viola and violin in the museum of musical instruments florence

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Autumn visit to Hillier Gardens

One of my favourite outings in the autumn was to meet up with Garden Media Guild members to be shown around the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens near Romsey. It was my first time meeting fellow Guild folks in person, and we were rewarded with the sort of couldn’t-be-more-perfect weather that October likes to pull out of the bag on occasion. On top of that, our guides for the day were David Jewell – Head of Collections – and the warm and funny garden encyclopaedia that is Roy Lancaster CBE – patron of the gardens, former curator, passionate plantsman, and with a story for every plant that we stopped to look at.

We spent a good amount of time at the Centenary Border, where many species that had once been collected and trialled at the Hiller Nurseries now grow. The wide central lawn has had the addition of paving so that it’s now fully accessible for wheelchair users. The variety of grasses – especially viewed in autumn sunshine – drew everyone’s attention. I’m keen to visit again in the depths of January to see the Winter Gardens; David’s enthusiasm for this area, particularly when you’re looking for interest and colour in the winter months, means that I’m looking forward to some more garden inspiration in the new year.

The Sir Harold Hillier gardens cover 180 acres with over 12,00 species of plants, and many plans for further conservation and educational schemes. The wonderful arboretum is a joy to wander around. The Japanese practice of ‘forest-bathing’ – shinrin-yoku – is worth bearing in mind if you need to reduce stress hormones, strengthen your mental wellbeing, reboot and breathe deeply. When did a bit a nature therapy not do you the world of good? This might just be the place you’re looking for!

garden photographer surrey backlit grasses

centenary border at Sir Harold Hillier gardens

october border in hampshire garden photography

harold hillier gardens romsey hampshire

collections of grasses at the sir harold hillier gardens hampshire

miscanthus in autumn sunshine

side path from the centenary border in autumn harold hillier gardens

the centenary border in autumn, harold hillier gardens romsey

surrey garden photographer autumn border

surrey garden photographer autumn border inspiration grasses

professional garden photographer backlit dahlia

autumn sunshine backlit leaf sir harold hillier gardens

astrantia in the centenary border sir harold hillier gardens romsey hampshire

perennial Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescent black grass at Sir Harold Hillier gardens

Head of Collections David Jewell at Sir Harold Hillier gardens

roy lancaster and david jewell guiding visitors around the sir harold hillier gardens

Roy Lancaster and David Jewell guiding visitors through the plant collections.

sculpture of sir harold hillier at the garden collections in hampshire

cyclamen in the arboretum at Sir Harold Hillier gardens

Sambucus cerulean blue elderberry at Sir Harold Hillier gardens

Rarely grown Sambucus cerulean / blue elderberry

euonymus myrianthus rare eastern evergreen shrub

autumn at the Sir Harold Hillier gardens Hampshire

prunus serrula tibetan cherry with peeling bark planted with bright yellow grasses

I have a prunus serrula (Tibetan cherry) in my own garden and am now inspired to pair it with some bright grasses beneath…

roy lancaster guides visitors through the arboretum at Sir Harold Hillier gardens

the garden media guild are shown around the Sir Harold Hillier gardens by Roy Lancaster

abelia x grandiflora 'Canyon Creek'

Clematis terniflora sweet autumn clematis with sugar scent

The sugar scent of this clematis terniflora (sweet autumn clematis) is really something!

perovskia blue spire

garden spider in autumn sunshine harold hillier gardens hampshire

You can view my profile with the Professional Garden Photographers Association, as a Surrey garden photographer, here: PGPA Julie Skelton.

Opening your garden with the National Garden Scheme in 2019? I’d love to come and document your preparations in pictures – do get in touch!

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Launch of The Blend Academy Winchester

This autumn has seen the launch of a fantastic new gin-making experience, from the founder of Winchester Distillery and based in the heart of the Hampshire town. I’ve been along to photograph both the launch party, and a full gin-blending session – learning a fair bit along the way, about the history of gin, its renaissance right now, and seeing how Master Blender Paul Bowler is able to guide attendees in achieving a perfectly balanced set of flavours to create their own unique gin. Once you’ve been guided through some taste samples, and worked out the flavour direction you’re interested in, you set of to nose some of the distillates of flowers, herbs, fruits and roots among the shelves of the ‘Blending Library’. You’re then let loose amongst the botanicals, measuring tube at the ready to concoct your own juniper-based recipe – and you get to take home your own full-sized bottle with personalised label, to enjoy your one-of-a-kind gin at your leisure. Not only that, but your unique flavour ratios are kept on file by The Blend Academy so that you can reorder your personal gin blend again in the future.

surrey commercial photographer food and drink blend academy gin

A selection of these photos have featured in the society pages of Hampshire Life and in the winter edition of the Winchester Magazine.

If you are quick, you can enter into this competition courtesy of Hampshire Life, to win a blend-your-own gin experience for two: WIN.

The Blend Academy Winchester launch to make your own ginBlending Library of flavour combinations at the Blend Academy Winchestercommercial photography Hampshire stocked shelves of the Blend Academy

Paul Bowler of Winchester Distillery blending flavoured gin at the Blend Academycreate and label your own flavoured gin at the Blend Academy Winchestercommercial photography for the launch of new gin making experiencetaste testing commercial photography in Winchester Hampshiregin making experience and learn tips at the Blend AcademyThe Blend Academy blend your own gin experience in Hampshiregin cocktail bar as part of a blend-your-own gin experience in HampshirePaul Bowler of Winchester Distillery heads up the gin blending experience at the Blend Academytable laid out ready for guests at a blend-your-own gin experiencetaste testing from the shelves of flavourings at the Blend Academy gin experiencenosing distillates and sampling flavours at the Blend Academy gin experiencepicking flavours from shelves to blend your own gin in Winchestersampling distillates as part of a gin blending experiencenosing distillates in the blending library at Blend Academy, Winchesterbespoke labels on sample blends at a gin making experience in HampshireThe Blend Academy cocktail bar with sample bottles of ginthe Blending Library shelves of distillates at the Blend Academy in Hampshirea gin and tonic garnished with grapefruit using Winchester Distiller's 'Twisted Nose' watercress ginnosing the distillates among the shelves at the Blend Academy Winchesterevent photography for the launch of the Blend Academy gin blending experience in Winchester Hampshirelaunch party event photography, the Blend Academy gin blending experience in Winchester Hampshirethe mayor of Winchester plus local councillor and MP at the launch of the Blend Academyevent photography for the launch of the Blend Academy gin blending experience in Winchester Hampshireevent photography for the launch of the Blend Academy gin blending experience in Winchester Hampshirecommercial photography at the launch party of the Blend Academybespoke labels on bottles at the Blend Academy cocktail barPaul Bowler of Winchester Distillery headshota variety of drinks offered by Winchester Distillerysmall copper still to demonstrate the gin making processkilner jars and sample flavours for gin blendinglibrary shelves of flavourings at the Blend Academy

 

 

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Autumn planting at RHS Wisley

After a hectic summer, I’m enjoying the creative time to make some of my own photographs. I was fortunate to be accepted into the Garden Media Guild and Professional Garden Photographers Association this year, and I’m looking forward to doing more of what I love in 2019 – visiting public and private gardens, meeting horticulturalists, working alongside other Garden Media members, and creating portraits of gardens and gardeners alike.

These are a handful of images from one October morning when I took a walk around my local RHS garden at Wisley. It was the perfect sort of autumn day, when the leaves look as though they’re on fire and the sky is that perfectly complementary blue. Delicious light!

autumn morning at Seven Acres, RHS Wisley Gardens, Surrey

acer palmatum backlit by morning sun on Seven Acres hill, RHS Wisley Gardens

Acer palmatum var. dissectum

The Glasshouse at RHS Wisley Gardens, professional garden photographer Surrey

morning of autumn colours at Seven Acres, RHS Wisley Gardens

waterfalls and ponds with autumn colour, saxifraga, hosta, acer

Saxifraga fortunei leading the eye in at this peaceful water’s edge

details of Seven Acres at RHS Wisley Gardens Surrey garden photographer

giant gunnera backlit by sun

Gunnera manicata meets magnolia in the morning sun

gentle pink autumn hydrangea at RHS Wisley

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Unique’

pink autumn flowering hydrangea

macro detail of pink autumn flowering hydrangea paniculata

macro details of hydrangea Surrey garden photographer

macro droplets on fallen leaf

Morning dew & autumn light, fallen leaf resting on sedum

small tree with toffee fragrance in autumn

Toffee-fragrant autumn leaves of Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Boyd’s Dwarf’

autumn appearance of lunaria rediviva or perennial honesty

Lunaria rediviva / perennial honesty

perennial borders in autumn

Autumn planting at RHS Wisley Gardens

Leonotis leonurus / lion’s tail

purple asters in the autumn perennial border at RHS Wisley Gardens Surrey garden photographer

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’ / New England aster

salmon pink rose in the Bowes-Lyon rose garden at Wisley

Rosa For Your Eyes Only ‘Cheweyesup’

dahlia border with grasses autumn planting inspiration

Dahlia ‘Foxy Lady’

helianthus reaching for the light at RHS Wisley Gardens

Helianthus x laetiflorus

dahlia karma naomi autumn planting inspiration with fountain grasses

Hints of deep red in fountain grasses picking out the rich colour of dahlia ‘Karma Naomi’

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