Matthew’s northern garden

You may recall dear readers that I received a very special collection of monkey puzzle trees from Matthew Pottage last year.

Matthew's book

Matthew’s book

This is Matthew’s collection of photographs of monkey puzzle trees which he put together as a young lad growing up in East Riding, in Withernsea to be precise. I duly mapped ‘Matthew’s monkeys’ and this is what the HU area looks like in monkey puzzle terms –  most of these red blobs are Matthew’s monkeys, grey are trees that have died or been felled. Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 15.44.01 I wrote up a full description of Matthew’s collection on a blog post here. And whilst mapping the trees I became curious about a part of the country that I’d never visited. The names sound magical and like another place – Welwick, Thorngumbald, Kilnsea, and, most magical of all Spurn, that curious thin strip of land hanging in the mouth of the Humber estuary. So when I read that Matthew’s ‘northern garden’ was open for the National Gardens Scheme in July, I decided a trip ‘out east’ was in order. The garden is described as follows:

The family home of Matthew Pottage, Deputy Curator at RHS Garden Wisley, this treasure is bursting with colourful, choice and exotic plants. You’ll be shocked to see what can grow in grotty clay soil on the Yorkshire coast as well as finding something to take home for your own garden from the selection of plants on sale. The Pottage family look forward to welcoming you!

I arrived at the Pottage home by taxi but didn’t need the yellow balloons to tell me I was at the right house. Because slap bang in the front garden is ‘Matthew’s monkey’. Matthew_01 Matthew's monkey Nice to meet Matthew’s monkey in person, so to speak! I then went round into the back garden, which is stunning. To give you an overview I’ll show you some photos from Matthew (because when I visited the garden was more people than plants). Matthew1 Matthew2 Do you get the idea? Brimming full borders with lots of beautiful plants in gorgeous colour themes. It’s also a garden that’s divided into different areas (a personal favourite style of mine), so when you turn a corner you find something you weren’t expecting. I start my exploration in the greenhouse, which is home to a collection of cacti and succulents. Matthew_03 I am ever so mildly jealous of this as it is heated – something I would love, but a paraffin heater in a polytunnel doesn’t quite create this lovely dry atmosphere. Matthew_04 Matthew_05 Matthew_07

Just outside the greenhouse there is a vegetable plot – so amazing tidy and weed-free that it could grace a text book!

Photo: Matthew Pottage

Photo: Matthew Pottage

Succulents are used around the garden, very decoratively.

Matthew_08 Matthew_11

This is the entrance to the jungle garden, tucked in behind the conservatory.


The greenhouse is hidden from the rest of the garden by this hedge, which Matthew has rakishly clipped. He told me his dad now takes care of this. Matthew_24 Matthew_25

The alstromeria look fabulous.


And – as you would expect from a self professed ‘conifer addict’ – there are lots of lovely conifers in the garden. These are the cones of the blue cedar in the island border. Matthew_14 Matthew_15

And I loved this combination – lime green and copper beech.

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The tree is Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese umbrella pine) – OK, I had to ask Matthew that! And another lovely conifer that Matthew identified for me is Abies Pinsapo ‘Aurea’.

Matthew_09 Matthew_10

In the south border there are exotic plants, all tied together with Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’. I was amazed, surely the climate of the east coast isn’t mild enough for these succulents! No, said Matthew, they are put out just for the summer. A really dramatic statement.

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Loved this plant too – but don’t have name for it.


And beyond the beech hedge there is more.


Behind the hedge there is a meadow.


Photo: Matthew Pottage

Photo: Matthew Pottage

Back up near the house there is a pond.

Photo: Matthew Pottage

Photo: Matthew Pottage

The gazebo is just visible behind the gunnera. And for the plant spotter not one but two Pseudopanax varieties. (Pseudopanax xerox and crassifolia). Matthew_27

In the shade north border there is Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’.


And in the front garden Colletia paradoxa.


Matthew also, like me, loves sempervivums and has lovely displays in pots.

Matthew_29 And then it was time for a cup of tea, with china lent by Withernsea British Legion Women’s Section. And homemade cake – as found in all the best gardens! Matthew_28   So thank you to Matthew and all the Pottage family. Matthew’s parents look after the garden in between Matthew’s supervisory visits, and keep this looking in fine shape.


3 thoughts on “Matthew’s northern garden

  1. Pingback: Balm | Monkey Map

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