Blue Doors

Sue Marsh reports on our visit to Blue Doors, South Stoke, on 29th June: 

High summer at Blue Doors – and weren’t we blessed!  It had poured in the early morning, but the weather did nothing but improve as time went on.  The blues and whites of this chalky garden, echoing so beautifully its surrounding landscape, sang under the early clouds and became brighter as the morning went on.

Against the house beautifully rounded shapes of white Hebe and Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ emphasised the calm colours of the flint walls. Indeed for me the Nepeta was the star of the show; fireworks of dark mauvy blue anchored by topiaried bushes either side of a path leading from the lawns to the front of the house, overflowing onto a path beside the house.  And elsewhere Rosa Iceberg and white Hydrangea with, here and there, the silver of (perhaps) Miss Wilmott’s Ghost Eryngium and Alchemilla mollis at its absolute best, the last raindrops caught on its hairy leaves – God’s diamonds!  Our wonderful hosts, David and Sarah Surtees, had given the Nepeta, the Campanula (and perhaps the Alchemilla) the “Chelsea chop” so that all would be perfect for our visit – and it most certainly was!  The landscape was looking spectacular and the joy we felt as we drove away, the hogweed tall on either side, will stay with us for a long time.

This is gardening in a chalky landscape at its very best and we learnt a lot.  Not least the unexpected joy of the delicate white flowers of the Asparagus, in the garden juxtaposed with pale blue Geranium and under the cover of an outbuilding overflowing a vase.  The garden extending everywhere and all coming together under our blue Sussex skies and scudding clouds.