The vehicular entrance to the Old Vicarage contains our interpretation of a municipal roundabout. This has at its centre a clipped lollipop of Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Umbraculifera’. This is surrounded by eight clipped Ilex ‘Golden King’ and these are encircled by a hedge of variegated box. This arrangement looks comely at every season, pared down in winter, and extravagantly bedded in summer.


We are gradually making the planting within our ‘Roundabout’ more permanent, last year we added eight blue Picea which we will train into pyramidal shapes to echo the shape of the hollies and other permanent plants
will follow.

Moving on we pass through a blue gate, its supports oamented with gilded spheres and find ourselves in the pedestrian entrance court. The gate here we refer to as the ‘Postman’s Gate’ because he or she is the only person to use it. Above this gate is a large terracotta coat of arms of the City of Manchester. We bought this many years ago, not because either of us has any connection with Manchester, but for the motto Consilio et Labore. By counsel and labour, roughly interpreted by discussion and damn hard work. Not a bad one for two jobbing gardeners. This area has very gravely soil and is free draining. Each year we bed this out with a variety of succulents, Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ taking
centre stage.

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