The Bath WI had a real treat, when Jane Moore, The Priory Hotel Head Gardener, came to talk to us about ‘Brilliant Gardens all Year Round’.  She brought an amazing selection of slides to whet our appetites and started off by speaking about her training at Cannington College, and then ending up in the equivalent of a horticultural Swiss finishing school – only in the Netherlands.

Jane was very much an advocate of looking at the bone structure of what is naturally available and adding to it – grasses, water, arches and hedges for example.  She likes to look at the wider picture and sbarrington courtpoke of designs including broad grass paths adding a softness and setting off the plants.

Photos of Barrington Court in Somerset  featured  greatly as it has some amazing paving with herringbone patterns, which complement the plants and flowers. Sounds as if it’s definitely worth a visit.

She highlighted the fun of cloud hedge topiary and was very much of the ethos of just having a go at things.  She pointed out, that even if something goes wrong, it will grow again!  I really must remember that next time my husband can’t be bothered to go to the barbers and persuades me to trim his hair .

Jane pointed out that you can have interest without flowers and cited using the paper bark maple tree as an example or the red stem birch.  She’s also a fan of the red dogwood, which her photos showed as a glorious colour against the starkness of a winter garden.  Speaking of which, Jane’s answer to the lack of colour in winter garden, are hellebores (especially helleboredarker colours), snowdrops and dogwood.  Really, that should almost become our gardening mantra!  She pointed out the expense of hellebores and  helpfully told us that it was one plant you could get away with buying the cheaper varieties – that’s my kind of shopping!  Moreover,  she stated that it is best to buy them in flower,  as you are then assured of the colour!

Jane is going to let us have a list of the plants that she spoke about and also some of the pictures to put on the website.  Hopefully she’ll include the English names as well as the Latin! My school girl Latin has long been put to rest, however, I did note that our own ‘head gardener’ Kitty was very able at throwing in the Latin names of plants when chatting with Jane at the end of her talk.

So, happy gardening to you all.  I hope you got some good tips and remember, hellebores, snowdrops and redwood!