105. Furzey Gardens

When it rains it pours

When it rains it pours

This weeks How Does Your Garden Grow? represents the past week in the UK well, the images are all rather soggy. Photos this week were taken on a rainy day, and I mean non-stop rainy day, at Furzey Gardens with Victoria from Southbourne Gardens and her partner Derek - and Kitty riding shotgun. I'm ashamed to say I hadn't visited Furzey before but it won't be the last time we visit as it was just a magical place - and if a place can win you over in the rain then you know it's a good 'un. Yes, we got soggy but there's something really grounding about being outdoors watching the rain water the plants that really need it.

Rain on echinacea

Rain on echinacea

Furzey Gardens in the rain

Furzey Gardens in the rain

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

Although I'm not sure this chap needed watering...

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

I had a real 'moment' when I saw this next plant, it was like the 1980's were back, in real time in front of my face. This is testament to the power of nature, how things you see as a child can come back to you with a 'BAM!' Rarely seen growing and often seen in floral displays and covered in a fine layer of dust, this is the plant of the 80's for me. Named Honesty, (thanks Victoria), this plant offers purple and white flowers earlier in the year, changing to these flat, silvery seed pods at this time of year. They look to me as it they should be hand painted in many colours like little stained glass windows.

Honesty

Honesty

In hindsight I wish I'd taken more photographs but I wasn't sure exactly sure how much rain is too much rain for camera - so we both kept whipping it out and snapping before swiftly getting it back under cover.

Victoria snaps

Victoria snaps

Those with no camera to care about favoured trying to catch raindrops on their tongue instead, obviously.

Catching rain drops

Catching rain drops

There's many nooks and crannies at Furzey Gardens to explore - and shelter...

Black and white rain

Black and white rain

... and admire the view.

Rainy hills

Rainy hills

One thing I've been noticing more and more this week on my travels to Furzey and in the New Forest is lichen. 

Lichen Love

Lichen Love

Elsewhere in Furzey Gardens...

Raindrops on leaves

Raindrops on leaves

Furzey Gardens - there's a little ladder through this nook that leads to a platform above.

Furzey Gardens - there's a little ladder through this nook that leads to a platform above.

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire 

Furzey Gardens, Hampshire 

Lovely isn't it? In all it's wet and soggy glory. Well there's an even lovelier side to Furzey Gardens - it's part of a charitable organisation whose aim is to support people with learning difficulties to live as full citizens in society through support to achieve greater independence and lead meaningful lives. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it on here, but I used to work with men with learning difficulties so this is something close to my heart. When visiting the Gardens you support the inspirational and supportive environment that Furzey offers students, where they can develop their horticultural skills and life skills such as social skills, concentration, literacy and numeracy and more.

In 2012 Furzey Gardens won a  Gold at  RHS Chelsea  with a garden, built with a learning disability team of students, that is now permanently sited within Furzey Gardens overlooking the lily filled lake. At the center is a unique thatched structure, containing many glass leaves (see below), each leaf is unique, hand made by students, staff and volunteers. What a perfect celebration and showcase of the talents of people with learning disabilities that can be enjoyed by all for years to come.

For more information about Furzey Gardens, please visit furzey-gardens.org.

Gold winner, Chelsea Garden Show, Furzey Gardens, Hampshire 

Gold winner, Chelsea Garden Show, Furzey Gardens, Hampshire