4. Berkshire – Tuesday 12 June

Woolton House - Tour 4

Woolton House

Woolton House, Woolton Hill
Mrs Charles Brown

Woolton House has been added to and modified by succeeding generations, until the Edwardians turned it into a practical, country house. Charles and Rosamond Brown completed the process with a stupendous glass extension. In the garden, they started with a completely clean slate and sought the advice of the French designer Pascal Cribier, whose work includes the Tuileries garden in Paris.  Cribier designed the magnificent contemporary potager in the walled garden. The rose garden, surrounding a cleverly enlarged formal pool, is a collaboration between the Browns and Cribier. Aralias by the pool give height and structure and  Rosa chinensis ‘Sanguinea’, a hard-to-find sibling of ‘Mutabilis’, droops over the edge of the pool. A spectacular oak stands on an expansive lawn beside the house. In the woodland Andy Goldsworthy has created a large mound in a clearing. This is a garden of great style, maintained with great care and gardened with enthusiasm and panache.

The Old Rectory - Tour 4

The Old Rectory

The Old Rectory, West Woodhay
Mr and Mrs Rupert Bradstock

Anna Bradstock has gardened at the Old Rectory for last 20 years. She trained at the English Gardening School and then worked at the Savill Garden at Windsor and more recently at Harcourt Arboretum. The entrance to the house is ordered and simple, with fastigiate Hornbeam and a pair of cloud–pruned Phillyrea at the front door. On the southern side, a wide lawn, framed with deep generously-planted herbaceous borders, backed by yew hedges, lead the eye over the ha-ha to the downs beyond. At the end of the lawn, Anna has planted a small arboretum, now maturing well. Specimen trees include Halesia, Davidia and Metasequoia among a mass of flowering Cornus and Philadelphus. The Cottage garden provides a variety of conditions for shade loving plants and a dry sunny terrace bed for Euphorbia and shrubby Salvia.

West Woodhay House - Tour 4

West Woodhay House

West Woodhay House, West Woodhay
Mr and Mrs Harry Henderson

Inigo Jones built the house at West Woodhay, but the garden is almost entirely the creation of Harry Henderson and his father.  The Hendersons acquired the estate in 1920 and, in 1948, James Russell of Sunningdale Nurseries began planting the Arboretum, taking advantage of the pockets of acid soil. Since 1997 Harry Henderson has extended the lake with a series of pools and considerably added to the arboretum, particularly with Crataegus, Sorbus, Malus and Betula. An Italian garden by the house is a new addition. A double avenue of Prunus sargentii and Tilia ‘Winter Orange’ runs east from the house and lake. The old walled garden has been replanted to the designs of Veronica Mackinnon, part ornamental with areas for good foliage, part working kitchen garden and part home for chickens and bantams.