Cleveland Square visit – April 2015

MPG members were invited to visit Cleveland Square Gardens by the Honourable Mrs Sue Baring on Friday 24 April. We met at her lovely home for a very welcome cup of coffee on her terrace, which leads straight into the gardens.

Introductions on Sue’s terrace

Coffee over, off into the garden

We split into two groups, one guided by Suzanne and the other by head gardener James Leonard and another gardener Catherine, and we swapped guides at half time. My group started off down the centre path, and immediately noticed the flowerbeds, colourful and naturally planted with small shrubs, narcissi and tulips.
A little further on, there were two standard wisterias, in full bud, soon to be clouds of white.  In the centre of the garden is a large raised circular bed, planted densely with hellebores and fritillaries in flower. There were many clumps of beautifully wrapped spears of leaves and around the centre were various fruit trees – apricots, plums, figs, cherries. The figs are planted in bottomless large pots hidden underground to constrain their roots and encourage fruiting.

Further on, down the path was a Malus ‘Evereste’ in full flower, in a heart-shaped bed with many bulbs including large white Tulip ‘Purissima’ and hellebores. Quite stunning!

Jubilee bed with Malus ‘Evereste’

Looking back at Sue’s terrace

Circular beds in the centre of the garden

The plane trees on three sides of the square were only just coming into leaf, and they made a lovely pattern against the white houses on the south side of the square. We turned along the path towards the west side of the square and walked to the woodland corner. There was a slight rise leading up into it. Inside a Clematis armandii is growing happily up what looked like a hawthorn tree, very naturally. The woodland changes slowly into a shrubbery along the west side of the garden. Sue told us that the shrubs may be pruned back as often as three times a year.

Steps in the woodland garden created by long-legged James

On the south side perimeter

This garden has been so expertly stocked. The plants are chosen with understanding, planted densely (and companionably), skilfully pruned, and they are abundantly healthy. Each season must grow gracefully out of the last. It is a happy garden. It was a wonderful visit, and thank you all – Sue, Suzanne and the gardeners – very much for an excellent day.

Anda Wayland

…….  for your own garden, noted by Geraldine Freedland on the day

Cut the flowers off when they no longer look OK.   Feed regularly every month!  Remove the old leaves in the winter so that the new growth shows in the spring.
Many are not worth keeping from year to year and may not come up in their second or third year.
Give lots of compost during the growing season.

Veratrum nigrum – Large hosta-like green leaves, common name black false hellebore
Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’ – in large terracotta pots on path
Selinum wallichianum – White umbels, flowers June/July – likes dry shade
Buxus sempervirens – Plant two or three together to make an interesting button shape
Euphorbia starlight – Likes shade, needs to be kept from the cold or take cuttings to overwinter
Artemisia vulgaris ‘Oriental  limelight’ – grown for their leaves, needs to be cut back a lot
Lamprocapnos spectabilis –  Bleeding heart, but white
Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ – white; feed with Murphy’s Sequestrene or similar if on lime soil.
Corylus maxima ‘Purple filbert’