A visit to Noel Kingsbury’s garden at Montpelier Cottage

2 Written by Lisa on 14th Sep 2015 in Inspiration

Montpelier cottage NGS open day Lisa Cox

Yesterday we visited Noel Kingsbury’s garden near Hay-on-Wye which was open under the National Garden Scheme (NGS). I wanted to go because I saw Noel speak at a conference last year and I was really interested in what he had to say about his research into the robustness of plants and plant competition, especially in public areas where maintenance is key.

Big border and wild garden at Montpelier Cottage Lisa Cox Designs

Montpelier Cottage garden Noel Kingsbury Lisa Cox

I was also interested to see a less cultivated garden of which part is very much left to its own devices – any inspiration I am able to get for our own garden is welcome as I want it to be in touch with the landscape as much as it can be.

It’s sometimes hard to step away from a garden that is professionally engineered and laid out.  I want our garden to be as though it just happened rather than feeling too contrived.  Of course I’ll plan it on paper, but Noel’s garden made me realise that rough sleepers bedded into a slope do just fine as steps.

Looking over the nursery area Montpelier Cottage Lisa Cox Designs

The wild flower meadow was past it’s glory state so I’d love to go back when it’s in full swing.  Having said that, it was interesting to see an area which has not been added or forced.

The plants in this part of the garden were there when Noel moved in the house – similar to the bank we have allowed to grow over the summer months in our garden where we have a variety of wild flowers. I didn’t take any pictures of the meadow because it wasn’t looking very photogenic.

View from meadow to nursery area at Montpelier Cottage Lisa Cox Designs

The highlight for me was the area around the Pavilion, Noel’s studio and also has B&B accommodation (see link below).  The Pavilion itself is made from straw and clay and has a green roof too.

The Pavillion at Montpelier Cottage Garden Lisa Cox Designs

The gravel garden at the side of the Pavilion is also an experiment where they are trying to encourage a range of perennials and grasses to self-seed naturally within the gravel mulch.  The result so far is pretty stunning I think.

Noel Kingsbury pavillion at Montpelier Cottage Lisa Cox Designs

Gravel garden & Pavillion Noel Kingsbury NGS open day Lisa Cox Designs

This part of the garden includes an area of research plots where Noel is looking into plant competition with a view to commercial development and also a septic tank soakaway where various plant groupings are being tried which will create a more ornamental version of the well-known reedbed sewage system.

Research plots at Montpelier Cottage garde NGS Lisa Cox Designs

I loved this quirky way of literally “framing the view” – could be an idea I steal!

Framing the view at Montepelier Cottage garden Lisa Cox Designs

The rest of the photos were taken in the nursery area of the garden – a wash of yellow, blues and purples – yellow is always so stunning at this time of year…

Noel Kingsbury garden NGS Lisa Cox Designs

Montpelier cottage Garden NGS Lisa Cox Designs

Solidago rugosa at Montpelier Cottage Lisa Cox Designs

And the Hollyhocks hanging in there too are always dramatic and attention-seeking!

Hollyhocks in Montpelier Cottage garden Lisa Cox Designs

I’d love to go back when the meadow is is full flower so I may make a note in my diary for next year.  More detail about Noel Kingsbury can be found on his website (www.noelkingsbury.com) and if you’re interested in staying in the Pavilion, you can find details here www.ecopavilion.com.

 

(Images: Lisa Cox)

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “A visit to Noel Kingsbury’s garden at Montpelier Cottage”

  1. Great to see your take on this garden, Lisa. It’s the planting density that most stands out to me in these photos. I’m looking forward to your repeat visit earlier in the season.

  2. Lisa says:

    Thanks Janna – lots of inspiration for this garden and much of it was after the visit which is a new phenomenon to me! The planting was arranged in small blocks with pathways between – I guess because they were mostly trial beds, but I thought really good idea for large expanses of planting to help with maintenance – the overall effect was certainly just as impactful.


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I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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