Well it has been a busy week – holidaying in the English & Welsh countryside, with sunshine and rain in equal parts and some beautiful castles, gardens, nurseries and stately homes to keep us company.
Based for the the first part of this last week near Shrewsbury in Shropshire (the excellent Wollaston Lodge B&B http://www.wollastonlodge.co.uk/ ) we took in Wollerton Old Hall Gardens on our first day – and my photographs of this exceptional gardens are above.
Coming up – our itinerary for the week –
- Attingham Park https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park
- Powis Castle and its magnificent terraced gardens https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/powis-castle-and-garden
- Fortress-like Chirk Castle https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chirk-castle
- A transformed Erddig https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/erddig
- Humble Jacobean Chastelton House https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chastleton-house
- For plants Derwen Nursery https://www.derwengardencentre.co.uk/ and Country Garden Plants https://www.countrygardenroses.co.uk/ (an excellent specialist rose nursery where I bought Perennial Blue, a rose that caught my eye on the Peter Beales show garden at Chelsea recently).
- We popped into Woodstock in Oxfordshire (staying pleasingly but unexpectedly in a suite at The Feathers http://www.feathers.co.uk/ to visit Blenheim Palace http://www.blenheimpalace.com/ and called by Daylesford Organic https://daylesford.com/locations/kingham-gloucestershire/ for some provisions
- …. before calling back at Teddington HQ to vote – and then high-tailed it down to the Sussex coast to stay at the Lamb in Angmerming. http://www.thelamb-angmering.com/
- From here, the jaw-dropping extravagance of Arundel Castle – http://www.arundelcastle.org/ – and the Bannerman’s amazing, whimsical, lush and theatrical gardens therein. Today, a walk along the shingle beach at Climping – http://www.westsussex.info/climping-map.shtml – towards Littlehampton and a few miles through the National Trust estate at Slindon https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/slindon-estate , a couple of miles inland, to explore the beautiful architecture and the South Downs chalk upland and woodland.
Wollerton Old Hall Garden (near Market Drayton, Shropshire)
Postcards from all of these places there will be but Wollerton Old Hall is our first stop and a garden I had long been wanting to see. Of course there is the beautiful David Austin rose of the same name and it is a garden truly feted even before I turned up and photographed the life out of it. Sorry about that but an abundance of images is going to be the overarching theme of the next few posts (just wait until I get to David Austin Roses and their show gardens at Albrighton).
Wollerton Old Hall Gardens are not large, though they are thoughtfully divided into garden rooms, with lines of sight into adjacent gardens and all set within a rigid geometry and with some beautiful topiary to balance the exuberance of much of the planting. ‘Linearity’, their garden guide explains, ‘is probably the most important element in the Garden. Curves do not work. Straight lines are created by the four repeating elements of Yew, Beech, Brick and Oak. Following very closely is the design element of scale. Everything must be in proportion to its surroundings.’ Everything springboards from this (save for the more relaxed informality of the Shade and Croft Gardens).
The rooms comprise
- The Courtyard Garden
- The Old Garden
- Yew Walk,
- The Rill Garden
- Lime Allee
- Llanhydrock Garden
- Sundial and Rose Garden
- The Long Walk
- The Well Garden
- The Font Garden
- Main Perennial Border
- The Salad Garden and Chillii Farm
- The Shade Garden
- The Croft Garden
Well maybe these are large gardens after all, though individual spaces may seem quite intimate, with their own atmosphere. My favourite must be the Well Garden, with the crowded, tall sentinels of yew topiary, white ironwork, central still stone-filled pool and ravisihing, cool planting.
John and Lesley Jenkins have created this all, together with their gardeners, and it was a treat to see for myself. Clive Nichols, Marianne Majerus and other luminaries have captured ithe charm and beauty before me. This is a quite comprehesive catalogue of shots to give you an idea of the design, colour palette and planting styles that are found here with the clarion call to get up there and visit. So much the better if they let you in at 5am on a bright crisp morning, or 8pm on a summers’ evening, when you have the gardens quite to yourself. My visit was on a dull/bright, rain is coming, busy lunchtime and still there was magic to be found.