On a very wet weekend we decided we needed to get out whatever the weather so a quick check in the famous Yellow Book of gardens open under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme and we were off to visit a garden in the neighbouring county of Herefordshire.
Herefordshire is a county of great gardens mostly created on rich red clay soils. Ashley Farm Gardens was described in the Yellow Book as a 5 acre garden designed as a series of formal rooms with the rooms getting less formal as the visitors move further from the house. We were presented with a plan as we entered the garden which showed a very formal layout. As we moved into the garden through farm buildings we could appreciate the way the gardeners had planted imaginatively and boisterously within the formal structures.
The old farm buildings were interesting and beautiful in themselves and featured some fascinating artifacts reminding us of the farm’s cider producing heritage. The buildings are softened with plants and interesting collected and found objects.
We made our way past the formal pool through blue borders and made our way towards a wildlife pool in woodland.
Seating around the pool encouraged us to sit, look and listen, although on closer inspection they looked a bit algae-covered and far too rickety to risk.
Through the trees along the edge of the wood the neat and tidy kitchen garden came into view.
The next stage of our garden wander took us through an interesting and very varied assortment of garden rooms.
Beyond the formal garden rooms we encountered meadows growing within orchards, a nuttery and unexpectedly a rose garden linked the garden to the countryside.
We moved back into the main garden where more rooms awaited us and a wonderful arbor made by a local craftsman in local oak. It was so tempting to have a seat and look in detail at the wood working skills.
Tea was served in an outbuilding constructed of wooden beams and stone. Inside were artifacts aplenty. The chocolate cake was excellent!
We explored the old farm buildings after our tea break before calling it a day – a really good day.