14. Devon

Thursday 24 June 2021

Wildside, Buckland Monachorum
Keith Wiley

Wildside Tour 14

For 25 years Keith Wiley was the Head Gardener at The Garden House, Lionel Fortescue’s legendary garden in Devon. He very successfully extended the garden and introduced his own particular style of naturalistic planting. In 2004 he and his wife Ros moved half a mile to the west to start a nursery and a new garden from scratch. The four-acre site was a young cider orchard with a wonderful southerly aspect. Keith got to work on a digger and transformed the flat site into one of the most remarkable contemporary gardens in Britain. From the central semi-formal courtyard garden with a 90 metre Wisteria pergola, the garden drops down into the lower garden, where Keith has carved out banks and hollows with paths meandering through the intensively planted slopes which provide an almost bewildering range of different habitats to accommodate both sun-loving plants on the well-drained tops to shade loving woodland plants on the damper, cooler north facing slopes. It is still a work in progress, as the upper end of the garden, known as the Canyons, with dramatic six-metre-high cliffs, carved by Keith, now includes a tribute garden to his late wife Ros due to be finished this spring, featuring a water garden inspired by South African wild flowers.


Hotel Endsleigh Tour 14

Hotel Endsleigh, Milton Abbot
Endsleigh is perhaps the best-preserved Picturesque garden in England. The house was built for the 6th Duke of Bedford between 1810 and 1815, designed by Jeffry Wyatt, who went on to transform Windsor Castle for George IV. In 1814 Humphry Repton, who had already provided the duke with a Red Book for Woburn in 1805, was called in to advise on the garden and produced another Red Book for Endsleigh. The situation is superb, Wyatt’s cottage ornée looks over the valley of the River Tamar, with wooded hills rising in gently undulations beyond. Repton realised that he need do little with the “Grandeur of the Landscape…. I must only turn frame maker instead of Landscape Gardener.” Nevertheless, a garden was created around the house. A grass terrace links the house with a Shell House, above this is a spectacular Long Border and Repton’s 100 metre Rose Walk. A children’s garden was created outside the nursery wing with a curving rill to sail toy boats. Wyatt built an Ice House and a Dairy for the duchess in a dell below the house and Repton, and subsequent generations of Russells planted magnificent trees. In 2005 Olga Polizzi was seduced by the charm of the setting and bought Endsleigh to run it as an hotel.

Meet at Wildside. Lunch at Hotel Endsleigh