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Return to Waterperry – part 1

Waterperry in Oxfordshire is a garden we have visited a few times in the past and enjoyed it every time, so finding the opportunity to drop in while traveling down south we welcomed it.

Set up in 1932 the garden is the home of the School of Horticulture for Ladies run by the stern-looking Beatrix Havergal. Today it is a glorious garden which gave us several hours of enjoyable wandering.

We visited at a time when I was writing a new garden talk titled, “Fabulous Foliage, the unsung hero of our gardens”, so many of my photos focused on the way the gardeners put foliage colours and textures together. The pear orchard was a very peaceful place and looked to promise great crops before too long.

The garden is punctuated with pieces of sculptures varying widely in style, from the beautiful figure in the canal to the rather formal to the beautiful obelisk with words from the Koran on each face.

  

Probably our favourite part of the garden was the designated ‘quiet place’ which was an enclosed garden exuding calm and peace. The planting softened the formal layout and the beautiful sculptural figure with the lamp pulled us towards it. I was so impressed by the simple but effective plant combinations at her feet.

   

The most colourful areas in the garden were the trial beds and the long richly planted herbaceous border.

 

Waterperry Gardens have so much to offer and there is so much we haven’t shared with you in this post, so I will continue in part 2.

 

 

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Another friend’s garden – Holly Cottage

We love visiting small gardens listed in the National Garden Scheme’s famous Yellow book but even more enjoyable is visiting the NGS gardens of friends. So as we drove along miles of narrow lanes winding their way in and out of the counties of  Shropshire, Powys and Montgomeryshire we couldn’t wait to arrive at Holly Cottage, the home of Allison and Martin. As we approached the gateway our anticipation levels rose steeply as we spotted beautiful brightly coloured plantings running along the drive banks. The planting here varied and flowed from meadow planting to prairie style plantings and other areas of Alison’s own style. What a beautiful way to welcome visitors with a garden that embraces you so warmly.

Alison met us at the end of the drive and took us up to her home and garden. We had to wait a bit longer to explore the drive side plantings.

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This is also a garden with wide spreading beautiful views affording vistas of farmland leading to distant hills.

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Allison and Martin have built the garden to wrap around the house. The design is such that the garden surrounds the house and feels and looks as if it hugs the house. There is a beautiful link and bond between home and garden. Martin has built borders, walls and terraces in which Alison gardens with flair. A great team!

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Wildlife is welcomed into the garden.

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We started our tour of the garden in the courtyard behind the house where Allison is developing a collection of delicate Violas. Placed on shelving on a wall means that you can look these little beauties in the face and be engulfed by their scents. Such a clever idea!

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Moving around the side of the house we turned a corner to be greeted by more scent, but this time the scent came to us from shrubs, Philadelphia, Buddlejas, Rosa and more. There was also a richness of colour and texture. We wandered the narrow paths to study every beautiful plant and appreciate the way each plant worked with its neighbours.

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Through an archway beneath scented roses we moved into the little front garden enticed by the gentle bubbling sound of water.

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Exploring further steps took us around a series of raised beds holding herbs, cut flowers and nursery beds. Scent was evident here too, the warm relaxing scents of herbs. Soft coloured flowers burst from glaucous blues and grey of herb foliage. Temptation made us rub leaves between our fingers to savour the aromas and flavours.

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After a break for a chat enriched with tea and cakes, we excitedly wandered off towards the amazing borders clothing the two sides of the long drive.

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The simple and very common Moon Daisy is as beautiful as any rare tropical plant. Against a blue sky viewed from low down they present ethereal shapes, colours and patterns.

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To one side tall trees grew skyward from a native hedge and gravel paths invited us to discover the borders of meadowy prairie planting.

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What a beautiful afternoon we enjoyed in Allison and Martin’s garden. We came home with gifts of plants grown from seed by Alison in the greenhouse designed and made by Martin.

The garden at Holly Cottage