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!
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.
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.
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)
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.