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A Tale of Two Gardens – Part 2 – Esme’s Garden

After enjoying a couple of hours and fine refreshments at Nancy’s home town garden we drove a short way to her other garden which is dedicated to her mother-in-law, Esme.

Through a gap between two rows of terraced cottages we discovered a narrow grass pathway between hedges on one side and gardens on the other. An open gate within the hedge invited us to enter the magical world of Esme’s Garden.

We thought Nancy’s home garden was something special but what awaited us at Esme’s was simply amazing, a large beautifully designed space packed with interest. Again the planting was beautifully and thoughtfully put together and the use of foliage exceptional. A network of paths, arches and path junctions directed us around borders packed with trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials.

 

There were Gothic touches throughout the garden and Nancy herself had created a great folly at the bottom of the garden, which impressed us all.

There is so much to enjoy at Esme’s Garden that I think the best way to share the garden with you is to create a gallery of my photos. As usual click on the first pic then navigate using the arrows.

 

 

So now I have shared both of Nancy’s gardens with you and I now presume like me you think she is one amazing gardener. Just thinking about creating and maintaining two gardens makes me breathless!

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Stone House Cottage Garden – rare plants and follies

A return visit to a garden that we have not seen for a few decades is a rare treat. We returned to Stone House Cottage Garden and Nursery as part of a day out with our Hardy Plant Society Shropshire Group friends. In the afternoon we followed up with a wander around Arley Arboretum, another place we have visited before. Both gardens open for the National Garden Scheme during the year too.

We were greeted by Stone House’s owner and gardener, Louisa Arthbutnot, who invited us to wander freely but saying she would be around to answer queries. We entered through a round tower and were soon reminded about what makes this such a special patch, interesting plants combined well and brick-built grottoes.

Entering the garden through the first folly we are given a choice of paths straight away, so enticing.

But we did not make a choice straight as we were attracted to the unusual selection of plants growing right alongside the back door of the entrance folly.

 

Brickwork and follies feature so strongly in the is cottage garden and enhance it in a unique way.

 

As we moved through the garden we discovered unusual shrubs with loose meadow-style planting beneath them.

 

But what makes this cottage garden stand out as being something rather special is its collection of rare and unusual plants and the way Louisa places plants in communities so effectively.

 

As we left the garden we all made for the nursery where many unusual plants were waiting to tempt us.

 

 

 

 

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A Water Garden around an Old Mill

A while ago now we visited this wonderful water garden created around an old water mill on the outskirts of the beautiful Herefordshire village of Pembridge. We decided it was about time for a return visit and also time to peruse the Old Chapel Galleries in the same village. After spending some time and too much money on new sculptures for the garden we drove a few miles on and parked up in the garden car park under lovely mature trees. We collected our hand drawn plan of the garden and set off to explore the Westonbury Mill Water Gardens. Immediately we were impressed by how fresh everything looked and were drawn to bright patches of colourful planting among the greenery.

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As in any good garden the quality and choice of individual plants is a key factor in making it an enjoyable place to visit. Take a look at these beauties at Westonbury Mill. Being a water garden designed around a series of streams and pools we searched out the water and marsh loving plants first and found many in flower including the following specimens. Irises including varieties of I.ensata, the wild flowerheads of Butomis, the flowering rush and various Primulas including P. florindae and Rodgersias.

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Even though this was a water garden there were plenty more perennials flowering well and catching the attention of visitors.

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Westonbury is well-known for its collection of follies, built by the garden owner for the sheer fun of it and to amuse the visitors, although they can also have a secondary purpose.

We discovered the first just as we approached the garden itself and so we could enjoy it from outside the garden and within. Water rose up a water ladder from the stream beneath to be released into the hands of gravity thus sending water spewing from the mouth of a stone gargoyle.

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Through a structure of willow rather than stone we moved on to discover further eccentric buildings including a glass bottle igloo, towers and shelters.

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To give you an idea of the feel of the garden and the quality of the planting and structure I thought I would finish this post about Westonbury Mill Water Gardens with a selection of broad shots taken as we wandered its many winding paths.

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What a lovely atmospheric garden this is! Full of interest and full of interesting plants and features.