A & S visited Knoll in the summer and raved, simply RAVED about the grass plantings, the Roy Lancaster put it in his Top 10 for Autumn in October 2009 Gardens Illustrated so it was really getting into the psyche. With Sunday predicted to be a 'good' day and at least 2 more Autumn garden border sets required for the soft landscape portfolio driving the 7 hour round trip became feasible! A little crazy, but feasible. I picked up AL, almost en route, and we headed down in early morning sunshine for the Dorset countryside.
Neil Lucas' garden turned out to be much smaller than I thought it would be a mere 4 acres. That said it is packed to bursting with grasses and stunning views into the garden and borrowed landscapes.
Autumn is the perfect time to see it with many of the grasses producing fluffy seed heads from the fronds of flowers, a light wind and some afternoon sun helped with the dappling light qualities so desired in plant photographers, at least by me!
It was certainly a lesson in how many and how similar grasses can be, Miscanthus up to this point had been a group fo 4 or 5 plants for me, ha ha ha there were so many in this garden all similar-ish and all different species or variety. Making notes on plant names and image numbers became much more important than usual!
There is a charming set of waterfalls in a far corner, planted with wetland and rockery plants below it, behind a large conifer hedge, is a formal grass and sculpture garden bordered on one side by a tall wisteria covered arch. Sitting down for a moment at the top of the waterfall pools the sun burst from behind the clouds and the view down across the ponds, through the formal gardens and beyond opened up. It shouldn't work this juxtaposition of styles and plantings, but it does and it makes it feel much bigger than 4 acres.
I enjoyed hearing the plant sales team telling a customer how to prune the grasses she had just bought.
"Take it down in spring, to the ground" she said, the customer looked a little dubious and her colleague chirped in
"we do it with a hedge trimmer actually, takes no time at all!"
The customer laughed, having just spent several hundred pounds she was certainly NOT taking a hedge trimmer to them, no way!