Category Archives: Day Tours 21

15. Berkshire

To be confirmed

Folly Farm, Sulhamstead
The house and garden at Folly Farm were one of the most successful and charming designs created by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. An existing farmhouse, with origins as a 17th century cottage, was incorporated into the design for H H Cochrane in 1906. This was extended for Mr and Mrs Zachary Merton in 1912. The garden was laid out around the 1912 house, with a canal garden running away from the 1906 ‘Dutch’ addition, a formal parterre garden in front of the new wing and an axis leading to the large walled kitchen garden. The final surprise was the yew-enclosed sunken rose garden. When the present family bought Folly Farm they embarked on a major restoration of the house and garden. Instead of recreating Miss Jekyll’s planting plans, Dan Pearson was commissioned to design an entirely new garden within the bones of the old garden. The result is an utterly contemporary garden of which Miss Jekyll would most surely approve.

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.

Woolton House Tour 15

Meet at Folly Farm. Lunch at Woolton House

16. Kent

Wednesday 30 June 2021

White House Farm, Ivy Hatch, Ightham
Maurice Foster VMH

Maurice and Rosemary Foster bought White House Farm in 1972 with five acres, high up on what he describes as “the Kent Alps”. He has, over the years, added so extensively to his collection of plants that the garden and arboretum now cover 15 acres. Maurice describes himself as a tree man, but, as a long-standing member of the RHS Woody Plant Committee and a recipient of horticulture’s highest award, the Victoria Medal of Honour, he is much more than that. It is an almost impossible decision when to visit; in Spring his extensive collection of Magnolias, Rhododendrons and Camelias are in flower, followed by billowing masses of climbing and rambling roses in high summer, the autumn colour is spectacular, but his great passion is the growing and breeding of Hydrangeas, particularly blue-flowered Hydrangea serrata, which line about quarter of a mile of paths through the garden, and the velvet-leaved Hydrangea aspera. Forms with dark-coloured foliage in particular interest him and the very desirable Hydrangea aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’ with chocolate and burgundy-coloured leaves is one of Maurice’s plants, now commercially available. This is a very remarkable garden that would be overwhelming were it not for the generous enthusiasm and kindness of the gardener.

Long Barn Tour 16

Long Barn Tour 16

Long Barn, Sevenoaks Weald, Sevenoaks
Mr and Mrs Lars Lemonius

Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson created the garden at Long Barn, with a little help from Edwin Lutyens, from 1915 to 1930. The Nicolsons then moved to Sissinghurst and rented the house to, among others, Charles and Anne Lindbergh. Thereafter the garden acquired other owners and modest changes were made to the layout and planting.  Lars and Rebecca Lemonius have triumphantly shown that it is possible to live happily in an historic garden. The planting feels crisp and contemporary and yet utterly sympathetic to this Kent farmhouse. The garden bows to its former owners and yet has moved on. The Lemoniuses maintain and nurture it to an extent that would arouse admiration even from Vita.

Meet at White House Farm. Lunch at The Chaser Inn, Shipbourne

18. Buckinghamshire

To be confirmed

Eythrope, Waddesdon
The Lord Rothschild

While the widowed Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild was building Waddesdon, his sister, Miss Alice decided, in 1875, to build a house on the estate for her own use, where she could escape the grandeur of Waddesdon. By 1890 a park and garden of 60 acres had been laid out. This all but vanished after her death in 1922. In 1991 Mary Kean was asked to design a new garden and Sue Dickinson was appointed Head Gardener to oversee and manage the garden. Today the four-acre walled garden at Eythrope is not only a productive garden, supplying vegetables, fruit and flowers for the Rothschild family and Waddesdon’s restaurants, but also, in true 19th century style, an ornamental garden with herbaceous borders, rose borders and an Auricula theatre. A working walled garden on this scale is now almost unheard of and Eythrope has long been a byword for the excellence of its gardening, its remarkable array of glasshouses and a haven for traditional techniques.

Eythrope Tour 18

Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury
The Rothschild Foundation and the National Trust

Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild acquired the Waddesdon Estate in 1874 and commissioned the French architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur to build a house in the French Renaissance style to house his collections and where he could entertain his friends. The hill was leveled and formal gardens, the drives and tree planting were designed by Elie Lainé, who was responsible for the slightly later restoration of the gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte. The garden, immaculately maintained, is still, inside the curtain of trees, planted as mature specimens by Baron Ferdinand, intensely formal. Baron Ferdinand planted 41,000 bedding plants, with four changes a year and it is one of the rare places where this practice continues, perhaps on a slightly reduced scale.

Waddesdon Manor Tour 18

Waddesdon Manor Tour 18

Kingsbridge Farm, Steeple Claydon
Mr and Mrs Thomas Aldous

The house at Kingsbridge Farm sits low and mellow, old red brick under a warm tile roof and the largely informal garden, created by Serena Aldous, mirrors the house. The lawn is enclosed by softly curving and interestingly planted borders. Winding paths lead into a woodland garden on either side of a small stream, criss-crossed by a variety of bridges including a plank, which is not for acrophobics. But the structure of the garden is very sound, the hedges are beautifully clipped with sloping tops. The formal elements, particularly the central vista leading the eye across the main lawn, past egg-shaped yews, a semi-circle of pleached hornbeam and out across the ha-ha into the countryside beyond are done to perfection.

Meet at Waddesdon Manor. Lunch at Waddesdon Manor.

22. The Borders

Friday 9 July 2021

Carolside, Earlston
Mr and Mrs Anthony Foyle

The elegant 18th century house at Carolside stands in its park on the banks of the meandering Leader Water. Wooded hills rise on either side, giving a sheltered feeling not usually associated with The Borders. Behind the house, Rose Foyle has created a hugely romantic garden both outside and within the oval-shaped walled garden. Through a gate in the surrounding wall, a central path leads between borders overflowing with Delphiniums, lupins, Veronicastrum, Salvias and Nepeta to south-facing glass houses, home to a spectacular fig. But the glories of the garden are the roses, which, as behoves the National Collection of pre-1900 Gallica Roses, are breath-taking when in flower. Outside the walled garden, a walk leads to the Secret Garden and on to the Winter Garden, a Potager and Herb garden before returning to the lawns by the house. The garden was shortlisted for the HHA award 2020.

Whitburgh House, Pathhead
Mr and Mrs Alastair Salvesen

The dignified Neo-classical Whitburgh House stands at the top of a south-facing slope with long views over its magnificent dovecot to the Lammermuir Hills beyond. But behind the house lies its chief glory, the walled garden, originally created by Elizabeth Salvesen and her gardener Vincent Dudley in 1998, but redesigned in 2005 following extensive touring of gardens in the UK and abroad under the guidance of Noel Kingsbury. The result is an inspirational garden, that rises to a crescendo in the second half of the summer, with the structure of pleached beech hedges, yew pyramids rising out of a carpet of Sesleria autumnalis and Prunus cerasifera ‘Pissardii’ hedges, complemented by perennial planting which has to be robust and low-maintenance and anything but dull. The planting is intriguing even before entering the garden, with galvanised troughs of Darmera peltata at the entrance. Inside the plant combinations are very striking; swathes of brilliant green parsley underplant Crocosmia, Miscanthus curves sinuously in a beech enclosure, Argyranthemum ‘Jamaica Primrose’ is planted in bins framing the greenhouse door, red-flowered Schizostylis edges paths and Stipa tenuissima winds through red-leaved kale.

Corbet Tower, Morebattle
Mr and Mrs Simon Fraser

Sheltered by the surrounding Cheviot Hills, almost a stone’s throw from the English border, Corbet Tower is a garden of great charm and variety. Over the past sixteen years Simon and Bridget Fraser have continued to develop the garden they inherited, adhering to the happy mixture of wild, formal and productive themes. A substantial herbaceous border introduces the abundant walled vegetable and cutting garden, whose beds are filled with 12 different varieties of Rhubarb, Sweet peas, Delphiniums and Dahlias, with paths lined with Nepeta, Lavender and espaliered apples. From here the ground descends to a formal rose garden filled with old shrub roses including Ispahan, Tuscany Superb and Madame Hardy, before falling away into a woodland dell with the original medieval Corbet Tower and adjacent pond. The Victorian Scottish baronial house stands proudly on a terrace overlooking the garden, the surrounding parkland and the gently rolling hills.

23. Oxfordshire

Thursday 23 September 2021

The Grange, Chalgrove
Mr and Mrs Peter Farren

Vicky and Peter Farren bought the Grange for its ten-acre garden, which had been so neglected that apart from the structure of trees and the lake, they had to rise to the challenge and start from scratch.  An arboretum surrounds a rectangular pool, once used for swimming. Behind the house, curved borders are sheltered by yew hedges beyond which lies an orchard of venerable apples and a vegetable garden with raised beds.  The garden runs down to a stream and beyond to the willow-fringed lake, crossed by elegant wooden, Wisteria-clad bridges onto a densely planted island. On the far bank, borders filled with Miscanthus and late summer-flowering perennials lead past paddocks fenced with cleft chestnut to the wild flower meadow and new woodland walk.

The Grange Tour 23

The Grange Tour 23

Wormsley, Stokenchurch
Mr Mark Getty

The two-acre walled garden at Wormsley was built in 1740 in the most sheltered spot in this cold windswept valley high in the Chilterns. The estate fell into a state of disrepair until it was bought by Sir Paul Getty in 1985. Penelope Hobhouse was commissioned to rebuild and redesign the walled garden. Following her brief, the garden was divided into four quadrants separated by brick and knapped flint paths and buttressed yew hedges. Two quadrants are for entertaining, a green theatre in one and a croquet lawn in another. The third is the kitchen garden proper, growing fruit and vegetables and backed by an array of glasshouses, Charlotte Tremlin, the Head Gardener, aims to keep this quadrant looking as much like a potager as possible. The fourth quarter is a flower garden with a mix of shrubs and perennials which, not only have to be in perfect form for the opera season in mid-summer but have to continue to perform through into the autumn.

Meet and Lunch at The Grange

6. Northamptonshire

Wednesday 9 June 2021

The Old Rectory, Quinton
Mr and Mrs Alan Kennedy

The three-acre garden at the Old Rectory was designed by Anoushka Feiler and completed in 2015. Starting with a blank canvas, the garden is divided into separate sections, in front of the house, the drive is now decorated by sculptural shapes of cloud-pruned Parrotia persica, hornbeam and domes of yew softened by swathes of Hakonechloa. Behind the house, the old lawn has been excavated to create a sunken terrace, with shade provided by roof-form trained plane trees. An avenue of pleached hornbeam, separating the terrace from a planting of Osmanthus fragrans and Rosa ‘Winchester Cathedral, leads to an eye-catching glass garden room. Stone-edged rills run between blocks of late summer-flowering perennials and grasses. Elsewhere an old pond has been transformed into a natural swimming pond and a woodland garden gives onto the wild flower meadow and orchard.

The Old Rectory, Quinton Tour 6

The Old Rectory, Quinton Tour 6

Old Park Barn, Stoke Goldington
Mr and Mrs James Chua

Twenty-one years ago, James and Emily Chua acquired an empty three-acre field and set about creating an elegant and very personal garden.  Immediately behind the house a rectangular lawn is backed dramatically by a stone amphitheatre. Above this, gently formal, abundantly-planted, perennial borders, designed to provide year-long interest, are arranged with an avenue of hornbeam forming a central axis. This leads past an enclosed vegetable garden to an open flower meadow with bee orchids and a nearby pond and then into the informal woodland garden. Here the scale becomes more expansive and relaxed, walks, cleverly-edged with recycled branches between sinuous planting of deciduous trees, underplanted with woodland perennials and bulbs, lead to a hawthorn circle.

The Menagerie, Horton
Monsieur Hugues Decobert

The Menagerie at Horton was designed by Thomas Wright in the 1750s for Lord Halifax as an eye-catcher and zoo for the now demolished Horton Hall. It is a one-storey building with corner pavilions and a raised central block in the style of William Kent and is a very grand country house in miniature.  In 1972, the architectural historian Gervase Jackson-Stops bought the house, restored it and created the contemporary formal four-and-a-half-acre garden. From an open lawn directly behind the house, a central avenue of limes strikes out across the garden. On either side, a pair of radiating hornbeam-hedged vistas lead to circular pools and then onto two pavilions, one classical and one gothic. An immaculate walled garden, designed by Jinny Blom lies discretely to one side of the house. Gervase Jackson-Stops died in 1995, but The Menagerie, an intriguing 20th century interpretation of 18th century design, is in very good hands and beautifully maintained.   Over recent years the gardens have undergone restoration and a Stumpery and Exotic Garden have been added.

The Menagerie Tour 6

The Menagerie Tour 6

Meet at The Old Rectory, Quinton. Lunch at The Cowpers Oak, Weston-Underwood

9. Gloucestershire

Thursday 18 June 2021

Bywell, Sapperton, Nr Cirencester
Mr and Mrs Alex Kininmonth

Bywell Tour 9

Bywell Tour 9

Bywell is in that remote portion of the Cotswolds where the ground falls into steep and hidden valleys. It is hard to find, but very well worth the effort. Nearly everything has been built, planted and maintained by Alex Kininmonth himself. The scale of his achievement, on this steeply sloping site, only dawns gradually as the garden slowly reveals itself. The forecourt of the house is backed by a vertiginous south-facing bank lushly planted with Cistus, Helianthemum, Perovskia (and more) and crowned with a line of Italian cypress. Around the house water, encountered and crossed, at the foot of the bank, becomes an important and unifying feature of the garden, first as a canal, then a circular infinity pool, a cascade and, finally, a naturally planted pool. Everywhere the planting is sumptuous and the garden ornaments are witty and downright impressive.

Daglingworth House, Daglingworth, Cirencester
Mr and Mrs David Howard

David and Etta Howard have a two-acre classical garden with humorous contemporary twists.  There are reflective pools, a new pergola and sunken garden, some wonderful sculptures, and imaginative areas, backed up with good planting of roses, grasses, and perennials, set against beautiful Cotswold stone walls. The position of the late-Georgian house, next door to the church with views across the village is enchanting. This garden has been created with passion, and the owners have achieved a rather unusual and remarkable garden in the 25 years that they have been at Daglingworth House.

Rockliffe, Upper Slaughter, Nr Stow-on-the-Wold
Mr and Mrs Simon Keswick

The garden at Rockliffe is the perfect blend of informally-planted trees and shrubs and generously filled borders, balanced by a good strong structure of hedges, topiary and pleached limes. It recalls the best of 20th century gardening, but has a contemporary edge to the layout, not surprising as Emma Keswick has designed gardens for others. The crisp simplicity of a long canal is offset by the softer planting of Cornus controversia ‘Variegata’ overhanging a sunken pool near the house. Beyond lies a series of enclosed gardens, reached by a walk with a wonderful long border. On the other side of the house, a shallow valley contains one of the best maintained kitchen gardens in the county. Above and beyond this, acting as an eye-catcher from the house, is a stone dovecote approached through an avenue of topiary doves.

Rockcliffe Tour 9

Meet at Bywell. Lunch at Daglingworth House

5. Derbyshire

Tuesday 8 June 2021

Renishaw Hall, Renishaw
Mr and Mrs Richard Hayward

The Sitwells built Renishaw in the 1620s, originally an H-shaped Jacobean house, later Sitwells enlarged it. Sitwell Sitwell built the stables, gothicised the house and added the drawing room and ball room, the latter containing, amongst other treasurers, Salvatore Rosa’s stupendous painting of Belisarius acquired by Osbert Sitwell from Raynham Hall in the 1920s. Sir George Sitwell, dividing his time between Derbyshire and Italy, commissioned a billiard room from Lutyens and himself designed the magnificent garden to the south of the house. This is Italianate gardening at its very best. Yew hedges divide the garden into intimate sheltered spaces, restrainedly adorned with statues and vases and planted with remarkably tender shrubs and perennials. Beyond the final water jet and across the ha-ha, the Sitwells boast that one can see Hardwick Hall “with the eye of faith.”
We will be given a tour of the house before exploring the garden.

Renishaw Hall Tour 5

The Dower House, Melbourne
Mr and Mrs William Kerr

William Kerr inherited The Dower House in 1982. The family came to Derbyshire in 1988, but shortly thereafter moved to Hong Kong leaving behind a totally abandoned garden. From the early years of 2000 Griselda returned for short periods spending two years at The English Gardening School, then Broomfield College and Brooksby.   Since then she has not only created a fabulous garden, which is a plantsman’s dream, but also written the most useful and practical gardening book to have been published for years (The Apprehensive Gardener). The early 19th century house stands at the top of a slope looking across Melbourne Pool. On the highest ground is a woodland garden on the remains of a tennis court, below which a network of paths lead down banks planted with specimen trees and interesting shrubs to a glade and bog garden on the edge of the Pool.   The return to the house takes in a large lawn surrounded by a rose tunnel, late summer borders and a bank of flowering shrubs at their best in midsummer.

The Church of St Michael and St Mary, Melbourne
Melbourne Hall was once a residence of the Bishops of Carlisle, who may have considered it more convenient and safer to venture no further north. This explains the magnificence of the neighbouring Norman church which Pevsner describes as one of the most ambitious parish churches in England. While it is sad that the twin towers on the west façade are unfinished, the spectacular Norman interior is indeed worthy of a bishop.

Melbourne Hall, Melbourne
Lord and Lady Ralph Kerr

The original hall at Melbourne was extended by two wings, that to the east, facing on to the garden was added in the early 18th century. The gardens were designed in 1699 and laid out in 1704 by the royal gardeners Henry Wise and George London for Queen Anne’s vice-chamberlain Thomas Coke. He required them to “suit with Versailles”. The scale is somewhat smaller, but the proportions of the terraces bounded, by yew hedges, running down to Robert Bakewell’s superlative ironwork arbour, give it a sense of grandeur. The garden contains many good lead figures by John van Nost and, at the top of The Grove, a formal woodland and water garden, is the spectacular Four Seasons vase, given to Thomas Coke by Queen Anne.

Meet Renishaw Hall. Lunch at The Dower House

10. Wiltshire

Friday 18 June 2021

Ferne Park, Ferne, Nr Shaftesbury
The Viscount and Viscountess Rothermere

Lady Rothermere and Rupert Golby originally designed the garden around Quinlan Terry’s classical house at Ferne and, when the house was enlarged in the last few years, Rupert returned to adjust the garden to accommodate the new layout. Double avenues of limes stretch to the hills to the south and garden rooms of clipped hedges decorated with standard Wisterias echo the architecture of the building. An immaculate potager, a decorative orchard, a cascade into an informal lake and a minimalist swimming pool with a pool house, based on the Praeneste Terrace in the garden at Rousham, are among the many delights of this magnificent garden.

Shute House, Donhead St Mary
Mr and Mrs John Lewis

The River Nadder rises in the garden at Shute and is the soul of this intriguing and mysterious garden, which was designed by Geoffrey Jellicoe in 1969. Bubbling up in a pool adjoining the lake, the water takes two courses; one informal and natural, the other formal and classical. From a rectangular canal overlooked by three Roman busts, the water falls away from two throne-like chairs in series of cascades, bounded by densely planted perennial borders, into pools inspired by Moorish gardens. The water in the lake runs into a stream and at this point the two water courses meet. Suzy Lewis, who understands this garden so well, has added to and enriched it, re-organising the entrance to bring the lovely east façade of the house into the garden, adding an allée, contained by hornbeam hedges and creating a new garden in a courtyard outside her kitchen. Jellicoe’s masterpiece is in very safe hands.

Shute House Tour 10

Shute House Tour 10

Meet Ferne Park. Lunch Shute House

4. Derbyshire

Monday 7 June 2021

Rectory House, Kedleston
Helene, Viscountess Scarsdale

The handsome, red-brick rectory at Kedleston, standing on the edge of the park, may have been designed by Samuel Wyatt, clerk of works at that time to Robert Adam, who was rebuilding the big house at Kedleston for Nathaniel Curzon, the first Lord Scarsdale. It is possible that Adam himself designed the elegant south façade with its gently-recessed arch. Some of the planting dates from this period, but the present, delightfully informal, woodland garden is the work of the present incumbent, Helene Scarsdale. An open lawn has a Cumbrian slate sphere as a focal point and  leads on into the woodland garden, planted with Rhododendrons and Azaleas for the spring, followed by roses and other flowering shrubs. The edges of a large pond, in the centre are softened with Primulas, Gunnera and Darmera.

Culland Hall, Ashbourne
Mr and Mrs Simon Thompson

The four-acre garden at Culland Hall is almost entirely the creation of Lucy Thompson, who has created it around the comfortable late 1930s house, built by her father-in-law on the site of an earlier house. The view across a shallow valley with lake and woodlands is perfect and the garden steps down from the house in terraces so nothing is obscured. Borders are filled with long-flowering perennials and balanced by the strong structure of box and yew hedging and lovely old garden buildings, contemporary with the earlier house. Vistas urge one from one delightful space to another: a box-hedged rose garden, double borders with great billowing masses of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, a woodland and fern garden and a long rose pergola in the kitchen garden underplanted by peonies.

Culland Hall Tour 4

Culland Hall Tour 4

Bluebell Nursery and Arboretum, Ashby de la Zouch
Bluebell Nursery is an exceptional family-run nursery with a very tempting array of interesting and desirable plants, which include trees and shrubs, as well as perennials, climbers and ferns. It also has a nine-acre arboretum, containing an extensive collection of trees and shrubs, informatively and helpfully labelled. This was started in 1992 and so it is interesting to see how fast trees and shrubs will grow and a walk through the arboretum to see the potential size and habit of a plant before buying is useful as well as a pleasure.

Meet at Rectory House, Kedleston.  Lunch at Culland Hall