Garden of delights in rural Northumberland
PUBLISHED: 00:16 07 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:15 20 February 2013
Based on low maintenance and informality the 12-acre garden at Longframlington near Morpeth in Northumberland has glorious all year round interest. North East Life went to have a look Words and pictures by Linda Viney
Wonderful views over the open countryside can be seen from the 12-acre gardens at Longframlington near Morpeth, lovingly created and designed by horticultural plantswoman Hazel Huddleston.
And it is Hazels aim to make her own individual mark for future generations to enjoy and learn from.
The garden is south facing with predominantly clay soil and, although it slopes down to the east, it is not in a frost pocket. Vulnerable to easterly winds, air circulation is of paramount importance in achieving healthy plants.
Hazels aim is to create a living encyclopedia of hardy garden plants, showing what they have to offer, especially for gardens in the North East. It is not just a place to visit and enjoy but a place where you can gather information, from the many notice boards sited round the grounds, and also from seeing how the plants grow. If Hazel is on site you will find her enthusiasm and passion catching.
The gardens were started from green pasture fields in 1997 and are being developed on an ongoing basis as funds allow. is still a lot of work to be done, but as we all know a garden is never finished.
One area is about the plants and plant collection but there are other areas which allow a wild and natural garden to develop to encourage as wide a range of species as possible. An outgrown hedge is noted for having the highest number of wildlife residents and visitors, though Hazel is the first to admit this system of let it do its own thing cannot last indefinitely.
nce you have parked your car and started your journey through the gardens you are transported into a peaceful natural place. Dont expect regimentation or neatness, but you can see how plants grow and their texture and form.
Stop to read the notice boards and I am sure you will learn something. There are more formal areas with mown lawns, hedges with vistas leading to the next area, and billowing plants from shrubs and perennials. Pause by the amazing ponds and feel the tranquility the water provides.
Quirky rope features are found at strategic places round the garden. Hazel wanted something different and has made some functional, some abstract and some just for fun.
Atongue in cheek interpretation of a Knot Garden is actually a garden of knots made from blue polypropalene mounted on posts and a spare piece of rope means you can have a try at creating your own knot. Woven screens form an abstract three dimensional centre piece based on ships sails, and you can try your hand at quoits or stop for a swing.
Mown paths lead through wild flower meadows and you can recall skipping through the grasses like a child, pulling off the seed-heads and scattering them. Willow arches and walkthrough areas reminded me that was once told by a renowned gentleman that a garden isnt a garden unless you duck, turn and brush against plants, and it is certainly true here.
Hazel is very much aware of the effect climate change will have in our gardens. Bulbs are flowering earlier giving a welcome splash of colour early in the season. And despite the vagaries of the last two winters, where alpines have benefitted from the snow which has protected them from the wet, she feels the popularity of growing them in Alpine Houses will increase as the climate warms up and becomes wetter.
huge amount of ornamental and native trees have been planted, some in an arboretum, with nearly 1,000 different cultivars of shrubs and perennials. These are spread over a large area, allowing them space to develop and show off their potential in any garden.
Hazel has a nursery where if you see anything you want as you walk round, she will almost certainly have it. The interpretation boards have information from everything from soil, British native plants and trees, to the dreaded Himalayan Balsam.
You will need more than one visit for the change in the seasons. For opening times telephone 01665 570 382.
The print version of this article appeared in the November 2011 issue of North East Life
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