1. Devon and Cornwall- Wednesday 16 May

Trematon Castle - Tour 1

Trematon Castle

Trematon Castle
Mr and Mrs Julian Bannerman

In 2012 Julian and Isabel Bannerman sold Hanham Court, their house near Bristol, and took on the lease at Trematon. They acquired a real castle, complete with battlemented keep, and a late Georgian house with spectacular views across the River Tamar to the navy at Devonport. In only six years they have created a sumptuous garden. To the side of the house, the keep stands on its wildflower-studded mound; cowslips and primroses in April, ferns, wild thyme and marjoram in summer. A great sweeping bank decorated with signature Bannerman obelisks is awash with Iris, peonies, roses, Salvias and Campanulas. Rambler roses are trained against the walls, the gatehouse border is another mass of roses and peonies. Euphorbias are everywhere in the spring and Echiums in the summer. It is a work in progress, but what progress has been made.

Thorn House - Tour 1

Thorn House

Thorn House
Mr and Mrs John Gibson

The views from Thorn House, built on a terrace above the Yealm Estuary, must be among the most spectacular in the country. Dartmoor rises dramatically to the north and, to the south, one can almost see the sea. The house dates from 1806, but the garden was created by William Arkwright who arrived in 1920 and laid out the formal lawn, rose garden and Long Walk which are magnificently decorated with vast marble urns originally from Trentham in Staffordshire. Eva and John Gibson have been gardening at Thorn since 1981 and they have restored the formal gardens and spectacularly replanted the woodland garden which is the great glory of Thorn. Here wonderful rarities rub shoulders with champion trees; Umbellularia californica grows close to the largest Eucalyptus dalrympleana in the country. The ground, carpeted in spring with cyclamen growing under Azaleas, Magnolias and Rhododendrons from Nepal and the Australian Blue Mountains, slopes down to the glittering waters of the estuary below.

Ince Castle - Tour 1

Ince Castle

Ince Castle
The Viscount and Viscountess Boyd of Merton

Ince Castle is approached by a long avenue and is an unusual and attractive, crenellated building, with low square towers at each corner, dating from the mid 17th century. It stands on a wind-swept peninsula of the River Lynher, part of the complex estuary that makes up Plymouth Sound. In 1960 Patricia Boyd started to design the garden, laying out the formal garden to the south of the castle, with a wisteria lawn leading down to a lily pond and built the enchanting shell house and dovecot in 1964. The woodland garden, planted with magnolias, camellias and other shrubs around the 19th century bowling green was created at the same time. The current owners, Simon and Alice Boyd, have lowered the lawn on the east side, added the wooded mound and the evergreen oak allée. Sadly Ince Castle is now on the market so this could be the very last opportunity to see it.