"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 25 April 2014

A Rather Special Organic Garden

I had a day out yesterday with a friend. It was a beautiful day - warm and sunny and we decided to revisit Ryton Organic Gardens as it had been quite a few years since our first visit.

Ryton Gardens which cover 10 acres are home to the UK's leading organic growing charity - Garden Organic (once called the Henry Doubleday Research Association). In 1985 the site was a bare paddock containing a riding school, barn and farmhouse. It took a year for a team of gardeners to clear this area and make a garden to open to the public. A mile of rabbit proof fencing was erected around the perimeter, a wildlife pond installed plus an underground irrigation system and 5000 hedging and tree saplings were planted, gardens were set out and paths laid. The gardens finally opened in July 1986. Since then the shrubs and trees have matured, wildlife has moved in and the orchards are fruitful.

I particularly liked the way wildflowers are planted among the various cultivated species.

Here Red Campion

Euphorbia's were attracting bees

Ryton consists of many different gardens and areas each with a different theme.

The Cook's Organic Garden contains many unusual vegetables, fruits and herbs. Each plant has a part or parts that is/are edible.

My friend rescued this female Orange Tip from a summerhouse as it was fruitlessly fluttering against the glass.

It didn't seem to want to leave her hand but eventually flew off to a nearby flower. The wingtips of the females are black rather than the orange tips shown by males.

The Growth Therapy Garden promotes gardening for people with disabilities or those recovering from illnesses. The beds are all raised.

The Memorial Garden has been designed as a sensory garden for the blind and partially sighted. It is also a memorial to the founder of Garden Organics Lawrence D Hill and his wife Cherry who both suffered failing eyesight in their later years. The plants here are chosen for their attraction to wildlife, bright colours, interesting textures, scent and sound/movement.

The Apple Orchard

This sculpture was wonderful and features a seat at the rear!

The World's Largest Flowerpot

The Herb Garden contains over 200 plants with a variety of culinary and medicinal uses. It is at its best later in the year when its just full of colour.

Rolypig Composter!

My favourite garden was the Bee Garden - I just wish I could have picked it up and transported it back home with me. It was such a delight with a mixture of plants mainly in blue (forget-me-nots, borage, bluebells, grape hyacinth) and yellow (cowslips, "marmalade" and yellow "allysum") with a few purple (honesty) and white (dead nettle) plants interspersed. The garden is six-sided to reflect the hexagonal shaped cells of a honey comb.

The Kitchen/Allotment Garden

The All Weather Garden which demonstrates how you can grow a selection of vegetables all round - this area was undergoing redevelopment.

Everywhere you looked there were trees full of blossom.

The Small Organic Garden was originally made for Channel 4's "All Muck and Magic" series and shows how even a very small garden can be productive and attractive and wildlife friendly - this seemed to be another garden that was being redeveloped/restored.

The Paradise Garden which is a tribute to Geoff Hamilton (who inspired millions with his tv programmes and books) is split into 2 parts - a town and country garden.

Great Bee Houses and Insect Hotels

Finally!!! - sorry I know there are far too many photos!

The Exotic Garden which demonstrates food crops from around the world that can be grown in the UK - interspersed with some beautiful cottage garden type flowers

There were several other areas that we didn't have time to visit and several gardens that are closed as they are in the process of being redeveloped but it was lovely day out. Thanks for your company J - I hope you enjoyed the visit as much as I did.


Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Hi RR. Well what a wonderful garden. I would have loved to have been with you and of course then we would have had even more photos! The flowers are gorgeous. Lovely how they are mixing the wild flowers in their plantings. Loved the sheds and various pots. Oh I could go on and go, it was just beautiful. Ever think go taking the robot thing off?

John said...

Thank you for sharing, looks like a magical place to visit.

Dartford Warbler said...

What an amazing garden! Wonderful to see how it has developed in a relatively short space of time.

Thanks for so many inspiring photos!

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks Margaret for such a lovely comment. I am so glad you enjoyed the Gardens - yes you would have loved it there (so many photo opportunities too!)

I will consider taking off the robot - the only problem is when I've done it before I get far too much spam come through and end up putting it back on!! I know its a pain though :(

John Wooldridge - Thanks so much John. So glad you enjoyed :)

Dartford Warbler - Thanks very much :) The gardens were inspiring and gave me lots of ideas - would love to replicate their bee garden!! If only my husband would dig up the main lawn!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I am so pleased that places like this exist. I am getting more and more interested in plants and gardens for wildlife, food and healing centers for people so this one is right up my street. Thank you so much for posting about it- I enjoyed every word and every pic :-)

Bovey Belle said...

What a wonderful place to visit. I loved the bee garden too. Some amazing plantings throughout and thank you for the many photographs to share it with us. Magic.

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales Thanks so much CT :) Yes, a wonderful garden in every way - so quiet and peaceful too apart from lovely sounds - bees buzzing and birds singing :)

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much. So glad you enjoyed. I can't stop thinking about the bee garden :)

Rohrerbot said...

Looks like a great place that has some planning and organization. I always enjoy the thought behind the garden. When it comes together, it's a hit:)My garden right now is awesome but my bamboo is turning brown and I think I may have overfertilized or not given it enough water.....sometimes I wish I had the people planning the gardens to come over to my place and work their magic:)

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks Chris :) Have to admit I picked photos where Ryton looked its best! Good Luck with the bamboo in your beautiful gardens! Our present problem in our garden is the dreaded couch grass which is appearing far too vigourously in the wildflower "meadow" :(

SeagullSuzie said...

Beautiful gardens. It's hard to believe it's nearly 30 years since planted...time flies by.
I loved Goeff H and have his book Paradise Gardens.

Anonymous said...

Lovely, simply lovely Caroline, I could enjoy looking at all these flowers and gardens all day :-) I really like the sculptures too and what a lovely tribute to Geoff Hamilton in the form of the Paradise Garden.

Wendy said...

A lovely post, Caroline, about a wonderful garden. I would really love to visit it myself one day and I think this time of year would be a good time too, when so much is out. I think the bee garden would be my favourite as well, although the Memorial garden and the Growth Therapy Gardens are fascinating with the special planting.
I love the little Orange Tip, I'm so glad it was rescued.

hensintheorchard.blogspot.com said...

What a wonderful day out you had. I would love to go one day. So much to see and lots of inspiration to attract all those busy bees. I will look for an Orange tip butterfly female with black wing tips. Thankyou for sharing another informative post. Have a good week.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much. I'll have to check out the Geoff Hamilton book :)

David Turner Thanks very much David :) I am so glad you enjoyed the post and photos :)

Wendy - Thanks Wendy. It is well worth a visit (we visited in June the first time and it was good then too). The 3 gardens you mention plus the Geoff Hamilton garden were particularly splendid! :)

Sarah - Thanks so much Sarah. Yes, it was so inspiring - the bee garden in particularly gave me lots of ideas. Have a lovely week too :)

Anonymous said...

Hi C
What a lovely interpretation of the Ryton Garden we visited by comments and those lovely photos you took. It was indeed lovely gardens and you captured it so well with comments and photos. Cannot wait to return with you again.

Ragged Robin said...

Anonymous - Hi J Thank you so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave such a lovely comment.

I am so glad you enjoyed my post and that you visited the gardens and enjoyed them too :) Best wishes C