Warming to glorious gardens

PUBLISHED: 16:20 15 June 2009 | UPDATED: 15:13 20 February 2013

Glorious garden

Glorious garden

Warwickshire Life editor Colin Clark focuses on two great gardens well worth a visit

Warwickshire Life editor Colin Clark focuses on two great gardens well worth a visit

If the warmer weather tempts you into the open air this month a visit to one of the county's many gardens can be a great way to enjoy yourself and pick up some tips for when you get back home.

Situated in Mill Hill, Bagington, Coventry, Avondale Nursery's display garden is a hidden jewel well worth exploring. Laid out in a formal style the garden is bursting with perennials and ornamental grasses which reach a crescendo. This year there will be four new show gardens planted on the themes of shade, gravel, prairie and cottage.

Early summer sees a fine selection of geums, astrantias and geraniums and in mid summer you will be enthralled by shasta daisies, euphorbias and poppies. By late summer there is a 'firework display' of heleniums, crocosmia, asters, sanguisorba and ornamental grasses making Avondale a garden that you must visit more than once.

Entry is £2.50 but refunded on purchase of plants. Proceeds from group visits to the garden are donated to various local charities. The gardens open as part of the National Garden Scheme and further details are available at www.ngs.org.uk

Avondale's nursery is adjacent to the garden and stocks an amazing variety of rare and unusual perennials as well as a vast collection of bamboos and ornamental grasses. Owner Brian Ellis is available for garden talks on a variety of subjects but be warned - his enthusiasm is highly contagious! For details of the nursery visit www.avondalenursery.co.uk

Once you have visited Avondale then don't miss Russell's Garden Quarry - the two are based on the same 20-acre site. The Quarry Garden must rate as amongst the most spectacular gardens in the county. Take six acres of wasteland in an old quarry, filled with rubbish and old vehicles. Add countless hours of blood, sweat and tears, thousands of pounds worth of plants, and a generous helping of inspiration and genius, and let them grow together for twenty years.

A series of ponds, streams, and waterfalls combine with mature planting to provide a stunning year round display. Visitors in May are especially rewarded by the hundreds of azaleas & rhododendrons, which blanket the garden with glorious colour. Many visitors refer to the quarry as "The Secret Garden", and it is indeed a special haven for wildlife. Tucked away on the edge of a busy city, you could be lucky enough to see roe deer, muntjac, badgers, foxes, weasels and rabbits. Birds too find the garden to be a haven, and green woodpeckers regularly nest there, along with bullfinches, kingfishers, herons and a host of others.

If you are especially lucky (and quiet) you may catch a glimpse of the harmless grass snake, or a common lizard basking in the sunshine, whilst the water attracts dragonflies, Mayflies, frogs, toads and even salamanders.

Russell's even has its own maze so younger members of the family may well enjoy an adventure finding their way out!

Admission to the garden is 2.50 which is refunded with purchases over 10. The garden also opens as part of the National Garden Scheme. For further details visit www.russellsgardencentre.co.uk

To book a group visit to the or a talk by Brian, contact John Marron on 024 76 411176.

For panel

Open days

May 4&5, 10.30 - 4.30pm: Russells Quarry Garden, Baginton. Entry 3.00.

May 5, 11 - 4pm: Earlsdon Gardens, Coventry. Entry 3.00.

May 18, 10.30 - 4.30pm: Avondale Gardens, Baginton. Entry 3.00

June 15, 11- 6pm: Styvechale Garden trail including Avondale gardens. Entry 3.00

June 21&22, 11 - 5pm: Outside Art - Garden Sculpture Exhibition, Avondale Gardens & Russells Quarry Garden. Entry 4.00.

June 22 , 11 - 5pm: Earlsdon Gardens. Entry 3.00

August 10, 10.30 - 4.30pm: Avondale Gardens. 3.00

September 15, 10.30 - 4.30pm: Avondale Gardens. 3.00

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