Presumably named because of the bell-shaped gable, the garden gate was open in Wilburton, a village off the A10 just north of Cambridge.
Open for both Saturday and Sunday 20th and 21st May, for the second year running, the entrance was down the side of the house.
After being welcomed by the owner, we nipped under the shade of the cherry tree and, guided by a line of potted hostas, we stepped onto the bark path and into the garden.
It was like entering an elegant reception area, freshly decorated with generous seating and flowers on the table.
From this terrace you can look out onto the garden.
But first we take the path around to the small walled garden on the side of the house where we find a secret space overlooked by the church of St Peter.
Low box hedging and clipped bay bring structure to the planting,
whilst aquilegia sows itself daintily around the paths.
Coming back out of this intimate area I am delighted to find a neatly positioned ramp which takes you down a level to the lawn. Having for many years pushed a wheelchair and struggled with slopes I wonder why more gardens couldn’t possibly take the trouble to be a little more friendly to the disabled.
The owners moved here in 1980 when the garden was just a field. The west side was permanently boggy so they dug out and lined the pond with clay. Richly planted it looks as if it has been there for ever.
There are plenty of mature trees and the group of ash makes an obvious site for a tree house.
A more recently planted holly has been encircled with box.
Leaf fall here must be great for the bin is quite a structure.
The flower parterre is positioned at the far end of the garden, where bearded irises beckon us over. Enclosed by box it is of mixed planting,
with a central path running straight to a bench. Clematis scramble over shrubs and
climb up unfussy metal supports.
It is shipshape all around the garden and even the spare bricks are stacked precisely. Oh to be so tidy.
A Viburnum seen from across the water appears to imitate a waterfall, in the foreground along the water’s edge grow blue irises and a striking arum lily zantedeschia aethiopica. The lawn is carefully edged with brick.
There is plenty of colour, a splash of early yellow honeysuckle,
and the roses are blooming so early this year. It is a joy to find them clearly labelled and although the labels may not be permanent, at least you can see what is written on them.
So this has to be Fruhlings Gold,
and gentle Alfred Carriere.
Clean wheel barrows are poised for action. The detail of the paving is fine and well proportioned.
It is an architect’s garden and her studio too is conveniently in the garden. It is open today and it is a delight to wander around.
We are back at the beginning, looking at the steps which lead down from the ‘reception area’.
It is amazing to think that 37 years ago this one acre plot looked like this.
With an architectural eye and a surveyors’ skill have it has turned into a horticultural haven……….