Tour. 15 Essex -Tuesday 24 September

Ulting Wick, Maldon
Mr and Mrs Bryan Burrough

In one of the driest areas of the country, Philippa Burrough has risen to the challenge of creating a show-stopping garden. The gardens are designed to be at their best in the spring and then, after a major replanting in May each year, again in the autumn. Dahlias are the backbone of the strong autumnal flourish and bold colours flaunt against a background of the mellow tone of the house and the black wooden barns. The combinations change yearly, but staples include Ricinus communis, Salvias, Cleome, Cosmos, grasses and tender exotics. A cooler note is struck, by way of contrast, in the white and pink gardens. The vegetable garden is still productive and, in the autumn, squashes and chillies are to the fore. As if four intensive acres were not sufficient, Philippa has extended the garden into four more acres of woodland and a wild flower meadow.

Horkesley Hall, Little Horkesley
Mr and Mrs Johnny Eddis

Horkesley Hall
Horkesley Hall is a remarkable neo-classical house with an entrance portico of gigantic columns which are matched in style by the handsome stable block beyond. Johnny and Polly Eddis took over the house in 2002 and inherited a garden that had been extensively planted with trees by his father. On the south side of the house a terrace gives on to lawns which slope down to a lake, fringed by many of Richard Eddis’s trees, particularly Acers, Prunus and Malus among an older generation of trees which include an ancient Acacia, the largest Ginko outside Kew and substantial plane trees. A mixed border lines the south wall of the kitchen garden to the west of the house and a more formal garden, a mass of Dahlias in the autumn, lies to the east. The garden is a reflection of its owners; relaxed, informal and charming.

The Old Vicarage, Wormingford
Mr and Mrs Jeremy Allen

The 16th and 18th century Old Vicarage lies concealed in a sheltered hollow. One might have expected a traditional English garden around this classic English house, but Jeremy Allen, a garden designer, has created a more exciting and interesting garden, with planting designed to peak from mid-summer onwards. The garden, a wilderness of sycamore seedlings when the Allens arrived in 2005, has developed outwards from the house, starting, deceptively formally, with rectangular beds of Molinia set on a lawn against a background of clipped Photinia. A wide perennial border with lots of late-flowering Asters, Sedums and Verbena runs from the elegant Regency veranda towards the Rill Garden, planted with white-flowered Hydrangeas and Pyrus salicifolia. On the bank above the house, the planting becomes much less formal, with grass paths running through drifts of Persicaria, Echinacea and Deschampsia, ultimately merging into the surrounding landscape