Petersham House opened its gardens last Sunday (part of the National Garden Scheme) and this was my first opportunity to have a look around. I’ve glimpsed tree and blossom from behind high walls and hedges, and through the iron gates into the Kitchen Garden, but this was more like it!
I’ll let the photos do the talking, suffice to say the house overlooks a large lawn studded with Yew topiary sentinels – and the solitary figure of a man (sculpture Antony Gormley) – and through tall, filigree gates, the view extends down a wide double herbaceous border, with more topiary, great domes punctuating the high Yew walls. The kitchen garden, with chicken house, strikes a less formal note.
Large buttresses in the borders adjacent the large lawn, facing the house – I must make a note of the roses here – Lady Hillingdon I think – Lady Waterlow elsewhere. Constance Spry and Mme Gregoire Staechelin are here somewhere?! The gardens are open again on 1st June as part of Petersham Village Open Gardens, so I will make some notes well before then…
The Camassias are the stars of the borders just now – adding bright blue to the mix in advance of the Alliums which are just coming through. With the bright orange (Fireglow?) and the lime greens of the Euphorbia, it proves their worth in a herbaceous or mixed border. Though they looked stunning at RHS Wisley, a whole field planted with them, we can’t all do this…. and they fit in well with the domes and ‘sheep’ shapes of many of the perennials – themselves a mix of starry vertical interest and domed groupings.
Meanwhile, in the nurseries adjacent – the cutting garden
Lady Banks’ Rose
Rose Dusky Maiden (above and below)
White-streaked Rose Fabvier (below)
An unnamed white climbing rose, very like the Noisette, Madame Alfred Carriere
Plants for sale – salvia, aquilegia and veronica in flower – Ceanothus and Exochorda at the back. Spears of blue-grey Iris leaves – Jane Phillips, rhubarb leaves of Rheum.
And in the meadows outside, the Belted Galloway cattle have returned – a 15-strong herd, taking a Summer Break from Box Hill, whence they will return later in the year.