Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Lime Walk | Before and After

THE LIME WALK

The Lime walk at Sissinghurst

The Lime walk at South Acres farm was very close to my heart, and this post tells it's story.  This might also have had something to do with the re-naming of this blog from South Acres Farm where we used to live to "The Lime Walk".

I watched a programme on the Lifestyle last night, presented by Alan Titchmarch the very well known  English gardener, Tv personality and novelist.   Alan was visiting Sissinghurst.  I am not entirely sure I can explain why I have never visited Sissinghurst -  it seems unthinkable.  I have been fascinated with Vita for years and have read numerous books on  her life, her marriage and her wonderful garden.    I have known of the Lime Walk at Sissinghurst for years and have always dreamt of having my own Lime Walk,  and yet I have never visited the garden.    The lovely "FF" of the blog Faux Fuschsia recently visited a number of gardens in the UK,  Sissinghurst being one of them.  I am now hoping to  put The Chelsea Flower Show and numerous famous gardens in the UK into next year's travel diary.  Sissinghurst,  Great Dixter  and a few others.  Any suggestions of other great gardens to visit in the UK would be most welcome.    

Even in winter the Lime Walk at Sissinghurst is lovely in it's structure.



I have also been giving lots of thought about the design of  our new garden for the new house in Bowral which will be completely different from South Acres as it will be a small town garden.    As most of my gardening books are in storage,  including my book on Perennials,  this is proving to be problematic!    

Part of our previous garden in Cape Town - also a small garden.

When developing the garden on South Acres, in 2006,    I went on a tree buying binge.  It was difficult to restrain myself as most of the "exotics" available here in Australia,  had not been available in South Africa while I was living there.  It was during the tree buying trip to Victoria,  that I saw the Lime trees or "Tilia Cordata".  There they were, in their huge tubs,  with strong stout trunks.  I ordered 16 of them along with numerous other beautiful trees.  We had to wait for winter to arrive before the trees were delivered.  The day was very cold and it was raining.  The truck was packed full of huge bare-rooted trees.  At this stage,  there was no garden plan - just my plan for a pond and a Lime Walk somewhere. In the pouring rain,  we sited these trees and left the Lime trees to last.  I was panicking - they had to go in - the machinery and manpower was there.  I had no idea where to plant them. 
In the end,  the only place I could think of was to plant them in a curve, connecting the front garden to the back/side garden.  Try to imagine,  sodden mud,  minimal visibility, tired people and these magnificent trees being planted in my hand-drawn semi-circle.

The day after planting - see the mud-caked wheels of the trolley!  

Of course,  time passed, and the spring and summer came and so did the drought.  Mr R-I and I spent hours and hours each with meters of hose in hand,  watering all of these precious new trees - many of which were advanced.  Believe it or not - they all survived.  

The Lime Walk, however, almost didn't make it - and not because of the drought.   In his book  "The Complete Gardener"  Monty Don demonstrates how he prunes his Lime Walk and  one bright afternoon,  John our trusty gardener and I decided,  to follow Monty's  instructions and pruned the Limes to within an inch of their lives!.  The result was that they took years to form the pleached hedge I had been dreaming of.   Fortunately however,   they all survived, despite our eager efforts!


After their first severe pruning - stakes tied between the trees the side branches trained along them.


Slowly they start recovering - I planted white Valeria between the box hedges - the idea being that their billowing frothy flowers would be caught and held between the box hedges.



On the left of the walk is the Hornbeam hedge which struggled along for four years before it became established.






At the end of summer - unruly mess - Valaria smothering the box hedge and the Limes needing a good trim


That's better!













These beautiful 'exotics' beyond the Lime Walk in their autumn colours - 

Still lovely in winter.
Very early one morning

We also had a Pear Walk!


Unlike the Lime Walk - the Pear Walk was dead straight!



I wonder whether there are any other curved lime walks out there?



29 comments:

  1. Dear J

    Thanks for the shout out! I loved that Alan T show about Sissinghurst and am about to start reading Portrait of a Marriage this weekend, which I expect to be FABULOUS!

    Cannot wait to see your next garden and I so wish you could have been there at Sissinghurst with us.It was very emotional. The lime walk was just so fresh and clean and green and special. Know you will understand this xx

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    1. Thanks FF... I honestly must say that while watching Alan's show I actually felt tearful... that garden is incredibly special ... and the announcement has been made that it's on the agenda for next year.. You will LOVE Portait of a Marriage - what a woman - so unique in that time! xx

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  2. So beautiful! I can't believe you bought all those trees without a plan... and that it worked out! They're not exactly a small shrub to sneak into a bare spot somewhere...! It certainly was a fabulous result, I love the curved pleaching, and that you were so tough with them to start with - it probably was the right thing though, as they looked lovely when you left. I can't wait to see what you end up doing with your smaller block. I also have to say that the growth in your garden during a drought is nothing short of miraculous! xx

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    1. I know Heidi... it was such a leap of faith - The whole garden was basically a paddock - so it was rather terrifying making those snap decisions! The Robertson area of the Southern Hignlands has a high rainfall - very misty and damp - a bit like the UK!... but those first couple of years were very dry and it took such committment to make sure that everything survived... standing for hours at a time with a single hose filling the bowls beneath the trees! Thank you Heidi! xx

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  3. It was a very beautiful lime walk....very sad not to be able to enjoy it anymore....

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    1. It was darling... I remember little Kitty walking through it! xx

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  4. Replies
    1. Dankie Louis - everyone LOVES La Creuzette!!!... especially the Peacock! ...

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  5. Indeed it was a beautiful lime walk ... so glad I was able to see it and walk in it ... lovely post. xx

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    1. Thanks Liora - also very glad you got to see it too! xx

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  6. WOW! So fabulous. I am very much looking forward to what you achieve next in your new garden! All the pictures of the lime walk are breathtaking, especially the winter one!

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  7. Thanks so much Laura.. It's going to be fun and exciting designing a small garden - every square meter has to be perfect!!

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  8. Lovely Post and beautiful pictures

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  9. Holey MOLEY! These photographs are *beyond* stunning.

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    1. Hi Corrine!... thanks very much ... Hopping along to your website now x

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  10. Beautiful Jenny, it must have been very difficult leaving it behind x

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    1. Thanks very much Lesle and for leaving a comment!! Hope you are well!! xx

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  11. Love your walks! Excellent way to show us the progression! I've been to Sissinghurst twice, the first time in the 80's. The first visit was with two young children in tow - that had it's challenges, but the second time was very relaxed. I recommend going with a serious gardening partner or alone! Hidecote is also very special. If you are based in London, Hampton Court is lovely to visit, especially the Privy Garden. But judging from the lovely photos of your own garden, you would find the 60 acres of formal gardens right up your allee!

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    1. Thanks Jayne - am loving your posts on Nantucket too! Definitely important visiting these gardens with a gardening 'soul mate'... totally agree! Thanks very much for the other garden recommendations - planning a trip to Europe is always such a big thing as we are in Australia! xx

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  12. Hi Jenny, Just started reading your blog and loving it. Your Lime Walk is sublime, in fact whole garden. Must have been hard to leave but I guess exciting new building awaits and another adventure begins. I too adore gardens and gardening on a smaller scale - on an acre. Currently preparing our garden for our daughters wedding in the summer. Lots of hard work but very enjoyable at the same time. She inherited the gardening gene too. Lots of lavender, roses, rosemary etc. We are going for a grey/green foliage as we are in a bushy, native area with formal just around the house and the rest managed native. A lot of work has been done on bringing the house into sparkling order too and nearing the completion of that! Phew! Just some external painting to be done by professionals with scaffolding where we couldn't safely reach. We have a mud brick home and your French photos are reminiscent with the soft colours and textures. Just hope the weather is kind to us on the day. Tonkath

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    1. Thanks so much for the lovely comments Tonkath! ... so appreciated! How exciting to be having a wedding soon - especially your daughter's wedding!. I can imagine the nervous excitement of getting everything up to scratch and the happy frenzy as the day draws closer. I wish you all the very best with your preparations. Perhaps a little photo after the event? Jenny xx

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  13. Your Lime Walk is stunning at any time of the year and your previous garden in Cape town is equally beautiful. I've just looked at the photo again and you have included so many diferent textures, shapes and details - gorgeous1
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Thank you miss b!! I miss that garden every day!.... sadly, the new garden is not big enough for a Lime Walk! xx

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  14. Your Lime Walk is AMAZING!
    Your garden style is exactly what I love in gardens.... Can I ask, when you planted the Lime Trees, approx. how old were the trees you purchased, ie what height were they and how far did you space them apart?
    We have recently built a new home on our farm acreage and have a huge space to landscape for which I have plans drawn up, but I would love to incorporate a Lime Walk. I have never tackled something like this... Any pointers?
    TIA :-)

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  15. This looks like a wonderful place! Thanks for taking us along on the walk with you, it's wonderful to see some of those flowers blooming!

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  16. Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.

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