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Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Garden at Cantock's Close: Part 2

I took some photos of the rock garden at Cantock's Close in Autumn (Fall) 2013 when it was in full bloom and looked glorious. At the moment it is pretty much empty except for the tall grasses. I am not sure what they are called. In any case I thought that I had better share some of the photos so you can get an idea of why I love this garden so much.

The focal feature of the garden the big rock or boulder which according to the plaque was one of two large Sandstone nodules discovered in the early nineteenth century during the building of the railway tunnel.

For some reason it was presented to the University of Bristol by British Rail in 1983 which I assume was when the rock garden was created with it as the center piece ... although technically it is not in the center but off to the side.

 Rock garden is a raised bed about chest height faced with cut rock. The bed of the rock garden is covered with white gravel or chalk perhaps. I may have been a rock collector when I was in school but I never studied geology so I'm guessing. In any case lets just say that it provides a nice clean visual background for the vegetation and flowers while complimenting the rock garden's wall and the retaining wall behind it. Nice, simple and natural colours.

Echinops ritro (Great globe thistle or Pale globe-thistle)

At the back there are these tall grasses with enormous feathery whitish flower heads and then in the mid ground there are a mixture of these stunning purple flowers Echinops ritro (Great globe thistle or Pale globe-thistle), equally amazing pink Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower or purple coneflower) and a maze of spindly stemmed bushes with delightfully delicate looking blue flowers.
Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower or purple coneflower) and unknown plant (lavander/pale blue)

 There were also the low shrubs with dense pink flowers you can see in the picture with the yellow flowers.

In the middle and foreground were the yellow flowers which I think belong to the same family as the Echinacea and Echinops, Asteraceae although I cannot be one hundred percent sure. To be same I will go up the ladder and say that they probably  belong to the Order Asterales. I do not think I need to go up another rank to Asterids although now that I have considered it, the only Family that the yellow flowers could possibly belong to is Asteraceae so that narrows it down. Well ... that is if narrowing it down to a Family with over 23,000 species and more that 1,600 genera can be equated with narrowing it down.

There was another variety also with yellow flowers but in tight clusters with fern-like leaves and a handful of thistle looking flowered plants scattered in the middle and foreground. There was a reasonable amount of open ground (covered in the white gravel) so the garden had a airy spaciousness and the plants were not crowded together.
I loved how the colours of the base and background (white gravel and brown rock wall) accentuated the mix of blue, pink and yellow flowers as well as the feathery white grass flowers. The additional dimension of who varied the flower forms and textures was another thing that I really found fascinating. Heavens ... even the leaves added to the visual feast.
What I found sad was that hardly anyone stopped to admire the masterpiece that this garden was and only a few people even bothered to glance at it as they walked past.

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