Yeo Valley gravel garden – a little-known gem

by Jane on September 27, 2017

Yeo Valley, the company that produces organic dairy products, has a gravel garden and organic cafe in the countryside south of Bristol.  It’s a beautiful, open area near Blagdon Lake.

It’s only open Thursdays and Fridays from 29th April to Sept 30th – but it’s worth diarising a visit.  It’s £5 entry.  A few plants are for sale in the car park, and there is a great little ‘car garden’ as you go in:

Garden in a Mini

There are veg beds near the cafe, growing what’s needed for lunch:

and some of the growing techniques are ingenious.  Wool from their sheep is used to keep out slugs:

Below this are herb beds and one of the several wrought iron sculptures that are integrated into the gardens.

Herb beds and fountain sculpture

The place is pretty child-friendly, with a little grass garden and a straw bale maze:

Straw bale maze

OK, now (after a nice quiche lunch) on to the main garden.  A pair of fiery beds follow the veg beds, with a nice combination of deep red dahlias, day lilies, crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ with its deep purple older leaves and lime green new shoots.

Red border

Two red beds

Then to the main gravel garden, constructed with gentle hillocks and island beds which one walks over and round.

Some lovely agastache in the foreground, with the blue globes of echinops behind:

Terrible photo below but verbascums nicely contrasting with a haze of pale purple verbena bonariensis:

Contrasting shrubs in flower – a hydrangea paniculata with its conical white flowers, and berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’:

Hydrangea and pink berberis

And lastly, some quirky ‘accessories’:

Pretty iron gate of 'grasses'

Cabinet of succulent plants framed with wood 'curtains' like a theatre

I hope you have gained some ideas out of this post, even if you haven’t got such a huge space to fill.  If you want to buy some late summer plants like these, now is a good time to establish them in your garden before the winter, so they have a head start in spring.

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