Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west

Garden visits

Horn Park, Beaminster, Dorset

A large, plantsman’s garden owned by Mr and Mrs David Ashcroft, with a magnificent view to the sea. This is a garden of contrasts, from the formal to the wild. There are many rare and mature plants and shrubs to discover in the terraced, herbaceous, rock and water gardens. Then wander into the woodland garden and walk in the bluebell woods. A lovely wild flower meadow has 164 varieties including orchids. Later in the year there’s good autumn colouring.

Middle Well, Stoke Gabriel, Totnes, Devon

Neil and Pam Millward will be opening their garden this year in aid of Avon Vale Tennis and Croquet Club (the second oldest grass court club in the country).  There will be tea and coffee in the morning and teas later, with plants, books, jams and other produce for sale.
The garden has a wide range of perennials, trees, shrubs and bulbs and several interesting architectural/hard landscaping features. The four-acre plot contains many different habitats including wet and dry woodland, pasture, streams and walled, intensively planted areas and vegetable plots – and work is ongoing!

Nailsworth Gardens, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

Two gardens in the village of Nailsworth, four miles south of Stroud are opening together, both for the first time for the NGS: Floris House, owned by designer and artist Elly Austin, is planted in a free-flowing style down a series of terraces, while Springfields, owned by Andrew Joyce, is more formal, with water features, beds of perennials, roses and shrubs, and several viewing points to give the impression of its being a much larger garden.

Pennington House, Lymington, Hampshire

A splendid seven-acre garden created around 1910 by Frederick Grotian, with expansive lawns and clipped yew hedging surrounding an Italian sunken garden, a rose garden, rejuvenated rockeries, ponds and a stream. The garden is under the management of head gardener Tom Maskell, with a large Victorian walled garden and glasshouse that are in full use and all has been organic for 24 years. The grounds of Pennington House, owned by Sue Stowell and John Leach, offer a relaxing visit in a rural, tranquil setting overlooking the Solent. 

Wortley House, Wortley, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire

Simon and Jessica Dickinson’s 20-acre garden will be opening on Tuesday, 23rd June for the first time for the NGS by pre-booked ticket only. This new initiative has been inspired by the reluctance in the past of certain garden owners to open for the NGS because of concerns about security and their ability to cope with large numbers.  Admission will be more expensive (£15 in this case), but as numbers will be limited, visitors will be shown round personally by the owners and will have the sense of being on a private, exclusive visit to the garden. 

Rose Cottage, Kempley, Gloucestershire

Open this year in June with more than 200 dahlias on display, Naomi Cryer’s garden of roughly an acre of flat ground at Rose Cottage is put mostly to herbaceous borders. There’s a hot bed and long border leading to a borrowed view, a small parterre in the orchard area, a grass bed and pond. The small wild flower pasture is at its best in June. Then there’s the rose garden to see, the iris bed, hydrangea bed, a vegetable plot with a nursery bed and cutting garden.

Barton House, Barton-on-the-Heath, Warwickshire

With many rare and mature trees including a 550-year-old Spanish chestnut, azaleas, species and hybrid rhododendrons, magnolias, and moutan tree peonies, a Japanese garden, a secret garden and a rose garden, a visit to Mr and Mrs I H B Cathie’s idyllic garden will make for a splendidly varied visit. There are six and a half acres to explore around the manor house by Inigo Jones (not open). The secret garden has many camellias and the fragile Magnolia delavayi that only fl owers for one day every year.

Ramblers, Lower Common, Aylburton, near Lydney, Gloucestershire

Winner of The English Garden magazine’s competition Britain’s Best Gardener’s Garden for 2014, Jane and Leslie Hale’s peaceful medium-sized country garden has informal cottage planting, herbaceous borders and a small pond looking through hedge windows onto a wild flower meadow. The front woodland garden has shadeloving plants and topiary. There’s a large productive vegetable garden and an apple orchard.

Open for the NGS: Sunday 3rd May, Sunday 14th June, 1.30-5.30pm. Admission: £3.50, children free. Home-made teas, plants for sale.

21 Chestnut Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Iain and Mary Hayter celebrate their tenth year of opening their garden for the NGS this season, and have planned a few surprises with some remodelling carried out over the winter. There are lots of mature colourful borders full of bulbs, shrubs and perennials and the kitchen garden,
with imaginative ideas for planting in different conditions, both wet and dry, sun and shade. Plants are chosen to blend sympathetically and encourage wildlife. Visitors can see lots of ideas with differing styles from formal to relaxed that are aimed to inspire.

Aller Farmhouse, Williton, Somerset

Mr and Mrs Richard Chandler’s garden is seven miles from Minehead. Covering almost three acres it is dry, sunny, and southfacing, surrounded by pink stone walls and the walls further dividing the garden into five separate compartments. The area known as Cliff Garden is an old three-sided quarry. As well as old magnolias, figs, a Judas tree and newer acacias, there are many unusual and/or tender plants in this garden including Eremurus, Beschorneria, Dendromecon, different echiums and Buddleia colvilei.

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