Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west

Garden visits

Yews Farm, Martock, Somerset

There’s a theatrical feel to the planting in the large walled garden at Yews Farm with outsized plants in a jungle garden. Sculptural planting has been chosen for height, shape, leaf and texture. There’s a self-seeded gravel garden, a box and bay ball border, espalier apples, eclectic cloud pruning, and much block planting. Yews Farm also has a working organic kitchen garden, hens, pigs, an orchard and an active cider barn. Owners Louise and Fergus Dowding grow the Martock broad bean, the only known survivor of a medieval variety of broad bean.

Blicks Hill House, Malmesbury, Wiltshire

Alan and Valerie Trotman’s garden on a one-acre stepped and sloping site has mature trees providing a backdrop to the colourful beds and borders created since 2004 for year-round interest. A pergola leads to a woodland glade, while a water feature and stream has been constructed in green slate; there are hanging baskets, tubs and bedding plants to add extra impact. This is a plantsman’s garden containing many unusual and special plants.

Old Droxford Station, Soberton near Southampton

Jo and Tony Williams’ garden is a sympathetically restored railway station with a fascinating history: Winston Churchill was based in a train here immediately before D Day in June 1944 where he met General De Gaulle and other senior leaders. The garden was replanted from 2010 but has many established specimen trees including an Indian bean tree and Metasequoia. A new orchard was planted in 2009 and a kitchen garden using railway sleeper raised beds. The former track and adjacent paddocks are an established wild flower garden.

4 Nightingale Mews, Locks Heath, near Southampton

A new opening for the NGS this year, Mrs Kath Stratton’s garden is three miles west of Fareham, and won a gold award for hanging and wall baskets in Fareham in Bloom. It’s a very colourful steeply sloping terraced garden 65ftx75ft, established over five years and divided into varied sections including a shady white garden with a water feature. A shelled gazebo at the top has stunning views of the striking planting, sculptures and planted roof garden. A lower patio, with hanging baskets and pots, has seats to see different perspectives of trees and shrubs in the tiered garden.

Wick Village Gardens, near Pershore, Worcestershire

Opening their gardens biennially, Wick village just a mile from Pershore has some new gardens to show to visitors this time, as well as the spectacle of 25 acres of confetti fields (Wick is the home of The Real Flower Petal Company). With new alpine gardens, a small arboretum, pergola walks, courtyard gardens and a display of garden implements there is something of interest behind every garden gate.

Avon Dassett Gardens, Southam, Warwickshire

There’s a whole range of gardens to explore in this pretty Hornton stone village seven miles north of Banbury, sheltering in the lee of the Burton Dassett hills, with kitchen gardens, gravel and tropical gardens, and plants including alpines, herbaceous, perennials, roses, climbers and shrubs. Apart from visiting the gardens there’s lots to see at the art exhibition, another exhibition, book sale, plant tombola and the two churches are open.

The Mill House, Netherbury, Dorset

Michael and Giustina Ryan’s six and a half acres around the River Brit has a mill stream and mill pond, formal walled, terraced and vegetable gardens, and a bog garden. Wander through the wild garden planted with many rare and interesting trees including conifers, magnolias, fruit trees and oaks. The next opening is combined with 2 Pyes Plot, a small front and back courtyard garden where every inch is used creatively. Cream walls and black paintwork make a striking framework for softer planting. Climbing plants, foliage and a running water feature enhance the peaceful atmosphere.

Luscombe Farm, Buckfastleigh, Devon

This walled garden two and a half miles from the A38 junction at Buckfastleigh was designed and created by Julian and Jasmin David in the 1960s. A formal garden with fastigiate yews and box hedging and topiary, loosely planted with roses, shrubs, perennials, annuals and bi-annuals, it has a magical feel and great views across the Dart valley.

Open for the NGS: Saturday 13th, Sunday 14th June, 10.30am-5pm. Admission: £3.50, children free. Plants for sale. Dogs allowed. Wheelchair access.

Lower Grenofen, Tavistock, Devon

Another new garden for the NGS this year, there are 46 acres at Lower Grenofen near Tavistock in a designated Area of Natural Beauty (mainly a Site of Special Scientific Interest) with woodland walks on the banks of the River Walkham. Nicola Evans and Steven Nash’s two-acre cultivated secluded garden has lawns, wildlife ponds, a rill with raised beds, also a bog and waterfall to a terrace with glazed outdoor rooms. There are perennial cottage plants and native wild flowers, and specimen acers.

Woodbury Gardens, Woodbury near Exeter, Devon

A new opening for the NGS this year, these are two pretty gardens in the centre of this attractive East Devon village. Tim Andrews Gallery and Garden is a compact, well stocked garden with emphasis on foliage planting, punctuated by sculptures from leading artists. There’s a pond/water feature and a vegetable/fruit garden. The attached gallery with a current international exhibition will also be open. Haydons, in Bonfire Lane, is a cottage style corner garden landscaped into three different areas.


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