Manor House Garden, Upton Grey, Hampshire RG25 2RD.
‘The most authentic and complete Jekyll garden’
Having arranged our visit in June, we will see this garden at its best. Arrival is at 10:00 when coffee, tea and cakes will be served.
Just over 32 years ago, the garden at Upton Manor was nothing more than a jungle but amongst the undergrowth the new owners, John and Rosamund Wallinger, discovered the foundations of what was a very special garden, one that Gertrude Jekyll had designed in 1908 for Charles Holme, who was a leading figure in the Arts and Crafts movement and founder of its flagship magazine, The Studio. Thereupon the Wallingers embarked on a voyage of discovery.
They found a full set of the garden plans in the Reef Point Collection at the University of California at Berkeley and recreated what they believe is the most complete and authentic of the four hundred gardens that Jekyll designed.
Ros Wallinger will take us on a tour of the garden and tell us of the history of the restoration. The tour will include the many features for which Jekyll is famous; sumptuous herbaceous borders filled with colour and delineated with immaculate hedging, arbours and a wild garden all within the purview of the Elizabethan manor.
Our next garden is West Green House, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire RG27 8JB
‘The neo-classical combined with the contemporary’
We start with a tour of garden, followed by lunch, when the celebrated Australian garden designer and author, Marylyn Abbott, will give a talk. Marylyn had already established her reputation with her celebrated garden, Kinnerton Green, in Australia, said to be Australia’s most visited garden and which was featured by Monty Don in his series, Extraordinary Gardens of the World
The current gardens had been designed for the Playfair family in the early 20th century, with the Duchess of Wellington, living there, until her death in 1939.
The garden itself had a huge overhaul and redesign after 1976, when Allastair Macalpine, art collector, aesthete and garden lover, and later Chairman of the Conservative Party, took occupation.
Lord Macalpine, commissioned the classical architect Quinlan Terry, to help design many classical additions, follies and features in the garden in the 14 years he lived there.
The gardens combine neo-classical style with the contemporary. The walled garden has been faithfully restored. Fruit cages, flowers and vegetables are divided from an elaborate potager by an extensive alee of apple trees.
Beyond is the Lakefield, which contains one of England’s most eclectic collections of garden follies. A path leads from the lake to the Paradise Water Garden, the contemporary garden, the Garden of the Five Bridges and thence the Theatre Lawn. (There is an annual summer Opera season held here as well).
Throughout, the contribution of topiary is plainly evident, providing structure to the planting and other schemes. An endorsement of Marylyn Abbott’s design skills with topiary was the award of a silver-gilt medal for her Topiarist’s Garden at Chelsea in 2014. She has since created a new garden at West Green, based on the Chelsea design.
After lunch we visit Bury Court Barn, near Bentley, south of Odiham, Hampshire GU10 5LZ for a quick visit to two adjoining simple contemporary landscaped areas at Bury Court, by two top international garden designers.
The Courtyard garden of the barn was designed by the owner, John Coke in collaboration with Piet Oudolf, the renowned Dutch garden designer, nurseryman and author. He is a leading figure of the “New Perennial” movement, using bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses which are chosen at least as much for their structure as for their flower colour.
(The EBTS have visited Piet Oudolf’s own gardens, Hummelo, in the Netherlands, with their wonderful use of topiaried hedges, tunnels and shapes as backdrops, to his use of perennial grasses).
Here at Bury Court, they have incorporated four large yew topiaries of organic abstract sculptural design, a massive perfectly clipped box half dome, and a knot garden. The lawn shapes are pleasingly organic and interwoven with bedding of Oudolf grasses, which should be fully grown by the time of our visit, although autumn is said to show the grasses at their best with contrasting colours and textures. There is also a circular gazebo shape of clipped weeping pear, Pyrus Salicifolia.
(Oudolf initially successfully experimented with Pryrus Salifolia at Hummelo as a topiary plant, where he clipped and train specimens into tall square columns as a foil against a wavy hedge in the background).
The Front Garden, designed by renowned international landscape designer, Christopher Bradley-Hole, is alongside the Bury Court house itself.
It is a simple geometric contemporary garden space, with squared off beds, with the design based on a grid pattern with rusted steel edging. Each grid is filled with flowering perennials and at the centre is a small modern wooden pavilion set by a tranquil pool. The Front Garden contrasts with the nearby John Coke/Oudolf barn Courtyard garden, with its gentle organic simplicity.
Christopher Bradley Hole is author of ‘Making the Modern Garden’ and ‘The Minimalist Garden’, winner of several Chelsea Gold medals, and many national and international commissions. His 2004 Hortus Conclusus was best in Show in 2004 at Chelsea.
The last garden of the day is Colemore House Gardens, Colemore, Alton, Hampshire GU34 3RX.
‘Sheer heaven’, says Rosemary Wallinger.
Colemore House garden is found in unspoilt countryside: four acres of many unusual plants, a spectacular arched rose walk, water rill, mirror pond, arboretum and borders of flowers of great diversity. We will be taken round in two groups, one led by Simon de Zoete, the owner and the other, his gardener.
The main gardens comprise a series of rooms all surrounded by yew or box hedges.
The owner emphasises that the garden is very much a personal and private garden and one that is in continual development. He has had problems with box but is reluctant to pull it out and will appreciate any advice that we can give.
All proceeds from visits to Colemore garden go to a charity called Unique, which supports people, who have rare chromosome disorders of which there are many that have no names.
The day will end at 17:30, after tea and cakes.