Author Archives: jwey

11. Herefordshire – Friday 29 June

Brockhampton Cottage - Tour 11

Brockhampton Cottage

Brockhampton Cottage, Brockhampton
Peter Clay Esq

Peter Clay inherited Brockhampton and its wonderful views towards Ross-on-Wye and engaged Tom Stuart-Smith to create an ever-expanding garden immediately around the house. The result is a romantic mixture of structural planting and borders filled with Euphorbia, Alliums , Geraniums and Erymurus spilling away from the rose-covered house. Topiaried columns of beech march along a grass terrace on one side of the house with views between them onto an orchard of perry pears. In the valley, Peter has created a lake around which he has created a second, less structured, garden of trees and shrubs, approached through a spectacular wild-flower meadow. Visits to Brockhampton Cottage were, in past years, always in the early autumn to see the late summer-flowering perennials (see Tour 16), but now that wild-flower meadow is well established with five or six species of orchid in swarms it has become a garden to visit in June as well.

Kentchurch Court - Tour 11

Kentchurch Court

Kentchurch Court, Pontrilas
Mrs Jan Lucas-Scudamore

There have been Scudamores at Kentchurch for a thousand years. The square tower’s foundations are Anglo-Saxon. The 14th century house was remodelled by John Nash in 1795. It sits snugly under the lea of wooded hills with its park, containing not only a herd of fallow dear, but the largest specimens of field maples in the country. The gardens were laid out after 1815 in a series of walled enclosures where riotous perennials are barely contained within their borders and have indeed taken over an otherwise abandoned greenhouse. In contrast, the kitchen garden is immaculately ordered, with delicious combinations of vegetables and flowers, such as an eye-catching pairing of cavolo nero and blue cornflowers. Sweet peas, Clematis and roses in abundance fill the other beds. Jan Lucas-Scudamore will show us the interior of her house, before giving us lunch.

The Green, Welsh Bicknor
Mr and Mrs Patrick Vaughan

The Green, almost impossible to find, seems very remote, but its setting, gazing eastwards on a shoulder of hill surrounded on three sides by a loop of the River Wye, is magical. In 1981 Patrick and Lorna Vaughan moved into an abandoned farmhouse and Lorna began to create a garden from scratch. The hillside setting lends itself to terraces and the highest point of the garden is an enclosed south facing courtyard, filled with roses, citrus trees and grey-leaved perennials sprawling over wide cobbled steps. Curving steps lead down to a box parterre, whose clipped lines are softened by clouds of Euphorbia wulfenii. Below this is a productive potager to supply the house. The lowest level is a long blue and white border edged with Nepeta x faassenii. A woodland garden slopes down to a new pond and nearby Lorna Vaughan and her gardener Anna Stankiewicz are establishing wild-flower meadows and keeping bees.

12. Norfolk Wednesday 4 July

Raynham Hall - Tour 12

Raynham Hall

Raynham Hall, Fakenham
The Marquess and Marchioness Townshend

William Kent was active in decorating Norfolk houses during the 1720s, particularly at Holkham and Houghton, but it is a particular and rare pleasure to be able to see his work at Raynham. The house was started in the 1620s by Roger Townshend, inspired by the work of Inigo Jones, and continued to evolve throughout the century. It was only in 1724 that Kent became involved with the interior decoration of the house for ‘Turnip’ Townshend, the second viscount. He designed the magnificent Marble Hall, the very typical enfilade of rooms on the east side of the house (which reveal how surprisingly intimate this large house is) and the State Dining Room with its screen based on the Arch of Severus in Rome. Lord and Lady Townshend will take us around the house and we will also hope to have talk on the portraits by Conservationist Restorer Kiffy Stainer-Hutchins.

Sennowe Park - Tour 12

Sennowe Park image © Sennowe Park

Sennowe Park, Guist
Mr and Mrs Charles Temple-Richards

The approach to Sennowe is spectacular. The arrow-straight drive enters the park between a pair of lodges and blocks of woodland before opening into parkland undulating down to a lake and the River Wensum. The house which stands on a shoulder of hillside gazing proudly out over park, lake and the landscape beyond, was originally built in 1774, remodelled by Decimus Burton (of Kew Palm House fame) in 1855 and then transformed in 1907 in the Edwardian Baroque style for Thomas Albert Cook, grandson of Thomas Cook, whose descendants live here still. The Italianate garden of the same date falls towards the park in monumental terraces. This is a wonderful and very comfortable house, whose history will be explained to us by Charles Temple-Richards, the current owner, before lunch in the winter garden.

Silverstone Farm - Tour 12

Silverstone Farm

Silverstone Farm, North Elmham
George Carter Esq

George Carter has been gardening the two acres at Silverstone Farm for the last 20 years. He was originally a sculptor who turned garden designer during the 1980s. His style is architectural, classical and green. He has divided the garden into a series of beautifully proportioned, predominantly hornbeam-hedged theatrical spaces and vistas, decorated by sculptural objects ranging from gates formed out of garden implements (very much his trademark) to urns made from plywood. Invariably the practical is made beautiful; a modest garden shed is given a Vanbrughian makeover, a wooden post has a delicious apple-shaped lead finial. This is a garden concerned with structure and ornament, but based on a very sound knowledge and appreciation of plants.

There are seven extremely comfortable double and twin bedrooms, all with stunning views across the terraced gardens and park at Sennowe available for bed and breakfast. If you would like to book, please contact Virginia Temple-Richards directly at info@sennowepark.com. The website is www.sennowepark.com

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.

6. Worcestershire – Tuesday 19 June

Conderton Manor, Conderton, Tewkesbury
Mr and Mrs William Carr

Conderton Manor dates from 1675 and formed part of the neighbouring Overbury Estate. In the 1930s Brenda Colvin designed the formal terrace behind the house. With the exception of some of the larger trees, particularly the magnificent cedar which dates from 1880, the tree planting started in the 1950s when the garden was extended. The Carrs took over in 1970 and continued to plant trees which have now reached maturity. From the terrace, steps lead up to the vegetable garden, now planted ornamentally. At this point the garden becomes, as Jane Carr describes it, “a walk among trees” and good trees there are, including a well-established Pterocarya fraxinifolia. The walk culminates in an informal grass terrace with long views of the Cotswold escarpment and the Severn valley.

Birtsmorton Court - Tour 6

Birtsmorton Court

Birtsmorton Court, Nr Malvern
Mr and Mrs Nigel Dawes

Birtsmorton is a medieval dream of a house. Sitting in a wide moat, the house, built round a courtyard filled with pots, is, in fact, a wonderful mixture of styles dating from the 14th to the 20th centuries, giving a very mellow sense of continuity. A terrace outside the great hall is generously planted with Salvias, Nepeta and Erysimum. In the garden, the large Westminster Pond supplies water to the moats. Clipped yew hedges conceal the white garden, designed by Veronica Cross, which is centred on a large old lead cistern. Outside the yew hedges, sheltered by walls on two sides, are sumptuous mixed borders awash with roses, tree peonies, Geraniums and Hemerocallis. Behind this is a potager with tunnels planted with Vitis purpurea trained amongst silver Pyrus salicifolia.

Moreton Hall - Tour 6

Moreton Hall

Morton Hall, Redditch
Mr and Mrs Rene Olivieri

The fritilliaries growing in the wildflower meadow were the clincher for Anne Olivieri when she first saw Morton Hall in 2007. However, the garden around this handsome 18th century house which looks out over the Vale of Evesham towards Wales, required much work; trees were thinned, overpowering laurel hedges reduced or removed, the drive moved and ground subtly re-landscaped. The result, in an astonishingly short time, is a journey through a series of discrete, but interlocking, spaces. From the meadow, where fritillaries have been joined by mass plantings of Narcissus, the path leads past a tea house into a sunken Japanese garden. Monumental rock steps lead to the south garden planted in blues and pinks and from there to the walled kitchen garden, where vegetables and perennials are planted in hot colours to reflect the passage of the sun.

8. Wiltshire – Thursday 21 June

Seend Manor - Tour 8

Seend Manor

Seend Manor, Devizes
Mr and Mrs Stephen Clark

Pevsner maintains that Seend is full of good houses and among them is Seend Manor, built in 1767 and blessed with a wonderful stable yard and a walled garden. Stephen and Amanda Clark have lived and worked all over the world and the brief that they gave Isabel and Julian Bannerman was to create a four-part garden that reflected their lives. So the garden spectacularly commemorates, in quarters separated by avenues of pleached hornbeams, England, Africa, China and Italy. Summer-flowering perennials and roses predominate in England, a swimming pool and loggia, reclaimed from a 1820s house in Bristol, for outdoor entertaining suitably in Italy. China is dominated by an antique pagoda which is encircled by a beech hedge cut into a wave pattern or maybe a Chinese dragon. The Bannermans and the Clarks have collaborated closely on the garden to produce architectural detail of great quality and with strong personal symbolism.

Manor Farm, Huish, Marlborough
Mr and Mrs James Roberts

Hidden up a lane running into the southern flank of the Marlborough Downs is the tiny hamlet of Huish. The garden at Manor Farm, which is a combination of good planting, clever design and wit, lies on the gentle slope to the south of the house. A terrace separates the house from the main lawns and to one side an enclosed allée is contained by pleached limes under-planted with Pittosporum and Euonymus. A woodland garden planted with hydrangeas leads to a willow-fringed lake and an impressive sculpture of a crowing cockerel. The swimming pool is discreetly walled with a distinctively modernist flourish and furnished with elegant, almost spherical, pots. An adjacent walled garden is adorned with a fossil encrusted pavilion, designed by Julian and Isabel Bannerman.

A garden near Marlborough
After an interval of seven years I am delighted to be able to return to this very private garden where water plays such a major role. The Kennet fringes the garden and feeds mill streams and pools with gin-clear water. On one side of the house lie the formal gardens created by Avray Tipping. Here, Arts and Crafts spaces, divided by walls and yew hedges, run from the arched entrance towards the walled kitchen garden. A wooden door in a wall opens onto a sloping lawn decorated with yew cones, from where an archway leads to raised double borders awash with shrub roses and peonies. Cordoned apples are trained against the walls of the kitchen garden and brick raised beds are filled with vegetables. Beyond this is a recently planted maze. In contrast, on the far side of the house the planting is more relaxed as paths meander through groves of willows to a fishing hut on the bank of the river.

9. Oxfordshire – Tuesday 26 June

Rousham House - Tour 9

Rousham House

Rousham House, Bicester
Mr and Mrs Charles Cottrell-Dormer

The house and garden at Rousham is the masterpiece of the 18th century architect, interior designer and landscaper, William Kent. Not only did he remodel the house for General James Dormer (whose family still own it), creating what Pevsner describes as “one of the most exquisite small rooms of the 18th century in England”, but he redesigned the 25 acre garden into its present form, miraculously preserved. Statues and temples, carefully positioned by Kent, act as eye catchers, drawing the visitor further and further into the garden. As if all this history were insufficient, there is also the lovely 20th century planting in the walled garden. Entering though a wrought-iron gate concealed behind ancient bulging yews, the double borders stretch the length of the garden towards the church. Low box hedges segregate the roses by the pigeon house and a long border of Dahlias riot away at the end of the summer.

Court Farm, Tackley
Mr and Mrs Andrew Peake

The entrance to Court Farm, a tall 17th century stone farmhouse, gives no indication of the expansive garden behind. The garden was originally created from a working farmyard by Andrew Peake’s parents and in more recent times was replanted with advice of plantsman and nurseryman Christopher Brown. Since then, the garden has been gently transformed to open it up to the landscape beyond which includes not only a series of remarkable geometric Jacobean stew ponds, but also a large 18th century lake which the Peakes have, very recently, restored. A long stone terrace which separates the lawn from the house border has, at one end a pergola-covered seating area, with views across the park towards the church and, at the other, a woodland garden which has been replanted.

Worcester College, Oxford - Tour 9

Worcester College, Oxford

Worcester College, Oxford
The Provost and Fellows

The garden at Worcester College is much older than it seems, dating back to the end of the 13th century. The 26 acre garden seems to have attracted serious botanists and gardeners throughout its history, from the 18th century planting of specimen trees, the creation of the lake inspired by Picturesque theorist Richard Payne Knight in 1817, to the donation of rare specimens by Miss Ellen Willmott at the beginning of the 20th century.  Today under the care of Simon Bagnall, the Head of Gardens, the gardens are as not only as immaculate as one would expect, but borders are filled with rarities as well as old friends. The spirit of horticultural experimentation continues unabated; rare trees including Aesculus Wilsonii, Catalpa speciosa, Quercus shumardi and a recently planted Quercus suber (Cork Oak). Wonderful Jekyllesque borders are enlivened by exotic plantings of, among other delights, two different kinds of banana.

13. Norfolk – Thursday 5 July

Chestnut Farm, West Beckham, Holt
Mr and Mrs John McNeil Wilson

John and Judy McNeil Wilson moved into Chestnut Farm in 1963 and immediately started work on the garden. Initially they were concerned with levelling to create a croquet lawn, but soon planting became the priority. The result is a garden filled with wonderful horticultural delights growing with great vigour in this mildly acidic glacial soil. In the woodland garden a Pittosporum and Griselinia, more trees than shrubs, show how big these can get if grown well. An old paddock has been transformed into a botanic sweet tin with Hoheria, Sorbus and Malus species, Acer griseum, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Calycanthus among so much else. This is a garden of huge charm gardened with great expertise and enthusiasm.

Hunworth Hall - Tour 13

Hunworth Hall

Hunworth Hall, Hunworth, Holt
Henry and Charlotte Crawley

Hunworth Hall was built in 1699 and the Dutch style of the house is echoed in the formal layout of the garden. This is no mere historical recreation, although old estate maps provided the inspiration for the contemporary layout, but is an original design, from scratch, by Henry Crawley. Clipped beech, Thuja and evergreen oak hedges divide the gently sloping area into different rooms along a central vista that runs the length of the garden. Two canals which run at right angles are overlooked by a charming pavilion based on the original at Westbury Court in Gloucestershire. The last section of the garden is a working kitchen garden.

14. Dorset – Wednesday 5 September

Farrs - Tour 14

Farrs

Farrs, Beaminster
Mr and Mrs John Makepeace

John and Jennie Makepeace moved to Farrs in 2001 from nearby Parnham and set about a complete restoration of the 1730s house, and the design and replanting of the gardens. The house was finished in a year, but the garden was only completed in 2008. The first section wraps around the house in a simple, but effective combination of lawns and ancient yew hedges which have acquired that organic undulating shape that only antiquity can bestow. Beyond the yew lies a wonderful contrast and exactly the sort of garden one would expect from one of our leading contemporary furniture designers. A slender tapering wooden bridge arches across a pond set in a sea of grasses towards a stone and knapped-flint pavilion. Beyond, and again in contrast, lies Jennie’s garden and studio. It is a delicious mixture of cutting and kitchen garden, with beds crammed with fruit and vegetables jostling with annuals and perennials.

Harvard Farm - Tour 14

Harvard Farm

Harvard Farm, Halstock
Mr and Mrs Tim Hobson

Harvard Farm is a garden that reveals itself slowly. The house sits on a windswept hill protected from the east by mature shrubs and trees, mostly grown from seed. The main lawn and garden are on the west side, sheltered by walls and the remaining barns. It has been a labour of love, which becomes apparent as Dilly Hobson talks about the conditions they encountered when they bought the property; derelict farm buildings, yards of concrete and a punishing wind. It is difficult now to imagine that there has not always been a garden here and one in which first-rate planting is mixed to perfection with the structure of old barns and the cloud-clipped evergreen shrubs which are the contribution of her son Jake Hobson, whose company, Niwaki, supply wonderful clippers, secateurs and ladders.

The Old Parsonage
Ben Pentreath Esq and Charlie McCormick Esq

The Old Parsonage - Tour 14

The Old Parsonage

The Regency Old Parsonage stands above the mainly 1850s church looking across a lovely Dorset valley. The garden was originally laid out by Ben Pentreath some nine years ago, but has acquired a new lease of life since Charlie McCormick took it over. New double borders, backed by yew hedges, which have already achieved a remarkable maturity, stretch away from the french windows of the drawing room and below this is the tour de force of the Dahlia walk that runs for almost the whole length of the garden and looks its spectacular best as late summer merges into autumn. An ancient beech stands above the parson’s path to the church and beyond this is Charlie’s passion, the vegetable and cutting garden. A smart row of white painted cloches span the borders between rows of competition sweet peas, more experimental dahlias and vegetables for the house.

16. Herefordshire – Wednesday 12 September

Brockhampton Cottage - Tour 16

Brockhampton Cottage

Brockhampton Cottage, Brockhampton
Peter Clay Esq

Peter Clay, the founder of Crocus, the internet plant company, inherited Brockhampton and its wonderful views towards Ross-on-Wye and engaged Tom Stuart-Smith to create an ever-expanding garden immediately around the house. The result is a romantic mixture of structural planting and massed perennials in borders spilling away from the house. Topiaried columns of beech march along a grass terrace on one side of the house with views between them onto an orchard of perry pears. In the valley, Peter has created a lake, which by careful contouring of the hillside, is perfectly visible from the house. Here he has created a second, less structured, garden of trees and shrubs, approached through the wild-flower meadow.

Grendon Court - Tour 16

Grendon Court

Grendon Court, Upton Bishop
Mr and Mrs Mark Edwards

The garden at Grendon Court is also by Tom Stuart-Smith and shows his versatility as a designer. The scale of Kate Edward’s vision for the house and garden is breathtaking: on one side, part of the house was buried to create a new garden space; on the other the hillside was excavated to form a new terrace. The final result justifies her bravery and confidence in her designer. The garden surrounds the house and settles it happily into the landscape. Late perennial borders run away from new terracing by the house on either side of the main lawn leading to box and grass borders at the far end. The main part of the garden, which lies above the house and is visible from the first floor rooms, is approached by steps up the steep bank. A path through late summer-flowering herbaceous planting leads to a summerhouse and a swimming pool entirely screened by a mass planting of Miscanthus, which in September, will be at its best.

Scatterford Farm - Tour 16

Scatterford Farm

Scatterford Farm, Newland, Coleford
Sean Swallow

Scatterford Farm stands in a shallow valley on the western edge of the Forest of Dean. Around the 15th century yeoman’s house and farm buildings Sean Swallow, a garden designer,  has created a garden over the last seven years. It is a garden that sits comfortably with its landscape, designed for the late summer when the mass of Lobelias, Asters and Eupatorium come into their own. There is a firm structure to the garden, particularly by the house where a hornbeam tunnel, under-planted for spring-flowering, runs along one side of a lawn which has an elegant oval pool at its centre. Dry-stone walls divide the various spaces of the house and moss softened steps lead gently up the slope onto another large lawn which, amphitheatre-like, has been sculpted into a series of curving grass terraces. A large stone barn, partially covered with Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’, stands between the lawn and a large natural pond, lushly planted with marginals and drifts of Lythrum, Astilbes and Primulas.

10. Monmouthshire – Thursday 28 June

High Glanau Manor - Tour 10

High Glanau Manor

High Glanau Manor, Lydart
Mr and Mrs Hilary Gerrish

In 1923 Avray Tipping, the  garden writer and architectural historian, built the house at High Glanau and laid out the garden. When Helena and Hilary Gerrish moved here they were determined to restore Tipping’s garden. The result is a wonderful Arts and Crafts garden with distant views over the Usk valley towards the Brecon Beacons.  Double borders in white, blue and yellow lead away from the south side of the house, parallel to a lower Sedum walk.  A restored wooden pergola ends the borders, behind which a wall coceals the vegetable garden and the large Edwardian glasshouse by Messenger & Co. To one side of the house retaining walls support perennial-clad terraces, between which steps run down to an octagonal water-lily pool.

Llanover - Tour 10

Llanover

Llanover, Abergavenny
Mr and Mrs Ross Murray

Elizabeth Murray’s family have lived at Llanover since 1792, when the bones of the garden, particularly the ponds, rill, the Round Garden and the landscaping of the park, were created. Later generations have added to the gardens, particularly in the planting of trees and shrubs, most notably Elizabeth’s father, Robin Herbert CBE, who was President of the RHS. Apart from the rich collection of spring-flowering Magnolias and Rhododendrons, the two arboreta in the garden have fine specimens of Taxodium, Davidia, Cornus, Acers, Nyssa and Liquidambar for autumn colour. The garden is blessed with abundant water which flows from the hills above to fill the ponds, pour over cascades, meander through the bog garden and eventually join the nearby River Usk. In summer the roses abound, and the bog garden is filled with Rodgersia, Persicaria, Iris and Primulas.

Allt y bela - Tour 10

Allt y bela

Allt y bela, Llangwm Ucha, Usk
Arne Maynard Esq

Arne Maynard created a wonderfully formal garden of rooms around his first house in the Fens and here at Allt y bela, an isolated, tall, cinnamon-coloured, late-medieval farmhouse, reminiscent of a Borders’ Pele Tower, he is making a very different sort of garden. The house sits in a shallow valley and the garden is restrained and understated to allow the house and landscape to take centre stage. Yew cones and spheres punctuate the garden, beech is trimmed into spirals and tiered stands, box, clipped into organic shapes, create patterns in the wildflower bank. Beyond the highly productive vegetable garden, a stream fringed with marginals flows past fruit trees and then turns and runs in a controlled stone-walled trough past the house and away down the valley.