Monday, 3 May 2010

A Spring Delight: Ridleys Cheer.

View of Ridleys Cheer Garden from upper terrace.

O.K. O.K. so who hit the fast forward button? Is it me or is time just flying by at the moment? I am feeling like I am terribly behind with everything. The quads are running me ragged. They are growing so quickly and demanding bottles every five minutes. Their bounces are very nearly perfected along with their excellent hair nibbling techniques. It is my own fault I suppose for having long unkempt hair that looks rather like hay. If I don't give them their bottles quickly enough it gets nibbled. Ooooch!

So here I am realising it is May already and I have not even shown you where I visited in April....*hangs head in shame* I better get better get a move on I suppose as we have two more goats due to kid this week and if I carry on losing hair at this rate I am not sure I will be aloud out next month!

Lathyrus vernus

Back on the 11th of April I visited an exceptionally charming, rather special little garden. The name caught my eye from the start. Ridleys Cheer sounded such a jolly place, not what I would ever have expected a garden to be called, so I decided that I should go and see exactly what was so cheerful about this place! Unfortunately on the morning I went to visit I was not feeling very cheerful, neither was the weather. I had had a difficult morning and my head was in the clouds, which were in abundance along with a rather chilly April breeze.

Acer Triflorum

The garden is privately owned by Garden and Landscape designer Anthony Young and his wife and is not normally open to the public, except for NGS days and by special arrangement. By chance I had been visiting Wiltshire on one of the Gardens NGS open days. I scurried along on this blustery April Sunday morning in need of a bit of garden therapy to pick my spirits up, but when I arrived at the very empty car park and gingerly made my way out of the car to read the sign at the entrance I realised with horror that I was several hours early, as the garden was not scheduled to open until 2pm. "Oh bu**er" I thought to myself  "That is just typically me, can this day get....?" but my train of thought was interrupted by Anthony who had spotted my arrival and came bounding up to greet me. He assured me that he did not mind that I had got in a muddle with the times and although he was still getting things ready for the afternoon he was more than happy for me to wander about the garden.

Despite being exceptionally busy moving tables around for afternoon teas and setting up a stand of plants for sale Anthony took the time to talk to me about his garden with great enthusiasm, pointing out what was looking particularly good at the moment and showing me plants that were dear to his heart such as an Acer he had grown from seed he had collected from the wild in Korea. He has spent over 40 years carefully tending Ridleys Cheer and it really shows. This is a garden that even in early spring oozes charm and character. Every little twist and turn has something to take in; unusual plants, interesting stone troughs and an array of unusual trees all provide welcome distractions for the visitor.


Beautifully trimmed box shapes offerd a structural focal point to the area close to the house but this was wonderfully counterbalanced by the self seeded euphorbias in the patio and walls nearby which hinted at a slightly less formal spirit being present in the garden too.


Akebia quinata

A well established chocolate vine smothered the side of the house and was covered in deliciously delicate purple flowers. The garden boasts fifteen different magnolia trees, many of which were just coming into flower on my visit. One of the most beautiful was the yellow Magnolia "Butterflies".



Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'


White Snakes Head Fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris var. unicolour subvar. alba)

Wood anemones


Pheasants Eye Narcissus



Ridleys Cheer is an enchanting garden, it was clear from my visit that much time and love had gone into it. I must confess I would like very much to return and visit it again in the summer. It has a two acre arboretum and three acre wild flower meadow and an extensive collection of roses. It is the sort of garden that every time you visit it you will discover something new to fall in love with.



azplantlady said...

What a beautiful garden. I particularly like the formal topiary shapes. The euphorbia looks very similar to that which grows here. I hope to see more baby goat photos in the future :-)

Jim Groble said...

Wonderful pics. I Share the same feelings. I couldn't wait to get into the yard during the winter. Now that spring is here, I can't seem to keep up. the weeds are growing too fast, plants need to be moved and on and on. I love it though, how can you not? jim

Andrea said...

Hi RO, sometimes i also feel what you said, that something is getting ahead of us. But your post here surely made up for all, as everything here, magnified by the lovely composition is beautiful and awesome. But i love most that chocolate-colored flowers. I haven't seen them though.

apple said...

Beautiful garden, house (and photos!) I'd love to spend time there!


janerowena said...

That is a lovely garden - I love the twisted tree, do you remember what species it was?

Rothschild Orchid said...

More baby pics to come soon Noelle, we had another little girl born last night and I left two very large pregnant heffaflumps in their pens this morning as they looked as if they were ready to burst!

Jane the twisted tree is I believe a white standard wisteria.

Thanks for the comments everyone :o)

RO xx

Unknown said...

You did a woderful job capturing the feel of the garden's design with some lovely close up shots. Don't worry about being late. Northern New England was that far along last week so it was timely for me.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

What a delightful post, RO! Thank you a hundred times. This is what I like!

Autumn Belle said...

Wow, your photography is superb! I have never seen such a big magnolia tree. I can imagine how very scented the air around will be.

Unknown said...

Oh that looks nice and might be doable from me, off to look it up in the NGS book

Rothschild Orchid said...

It would be great combined with a trip to Special Plants which is just down the road ;o)

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

I'm sure you are really being kept busy with those babies (dont know what baby goats are called) - and ooch a goat nibbling at my hair I'm sure is not the most pleasant of things.

Thats a beautiful spring garden RO especially those trilliums and thats an epimedium I've not seen before - those gardens from the little yellow book are wonderful to go and see - glad to see you got a decent picture of that sweet pea - I have that growing in the garden too and it flowered for the first time this year but its been the dickens to photograph!

Juliet said...

What a lovely-looking garden - and a lovely-sounding owner too :-D

Time is flying by for me at the moment as well - I can't think where the last couple of months have gone, I am struggling to keep up with everything.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the beautiful garden tour. Although I agree that time is flying by, your tour slowed it down to a lovely pace for a few minutes.

Barbara H.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

What a fantastic place. I love the name and I love the garden too. I wish it were not so far away and I could whizz off and visit it! Beautiful photos too.

HappyMouffetard said...

Beautiful garden, beautiful photos. And what a nice chap. I love the trimed box by the house.

Silver Stone said...

Beautiful garden, and beautiful pictures, as always RO.