A combined opening with Brockhampton Cottage (47) and just a few miles away is Grendon Court near Ross-on-Wye, another garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. We drive right up through the old farmyard to park the car in the field on the other side of the house and so enter the garden
through the tall hedges at the bottom of the garden.
Here we find Otis the terrier busy digging in the wacky box parterre,
with its wonderful wavy form.
The garden is on two levels rising up a steep bank
we take the steps up and pass through the opening in the hedge.
where a mown path
leads us through the miscanthus grass
to the hidden swimming pool up above the house.
It is a warm windy day and we head straight to the teas, passing a wall seemingly decorated with different shades of centranthus ruber.
The doors to the magnificent barn stand wide open for teas.
Inside it is spacious and a cool white. Peonies grown in the garden fill the vases on the table. The garden owner is doing sterling work on her own. The choice of cake is simple, it is a good idea, saving the buyer many moments of indecision.
We are revived by the delicious slice of coffee and walnut cake and two mugs of tea, and return through the door in the wall into the upper garden.
The pool looks so inviting,
with the blocks of miscanthus grass rustling in the wind.
It is not just a pool area; in this walled part of the garden, there is a mixture of planting divided by narrow paths.
The peony beds are here and we admire in particular this beauty ‘White Wings’.
You can understand why the tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipfera, is not for a small garden. A member of the magnolia family it is the largest American hardwood, reaching up to 200ft in eastern USA. First known in this country in around 1688 when it was being grown by Bishop Compton at Fulham Palace in London.
Looking more like lilies than tulips the tree does not produce flowers for many years; I am still waiting for mine and am envious of this one which has many buds and flowers.
There is a gentle hue of pinks and purples from geranium and veronicastrum.
Retracing our steps through the hedge,
We pause a moment to view the fine mown lawn, the waves of box and the agricultural land beyond.
Before admiring the fine array of stone pots that are planted simply and effectively.
A variety of climbers grow against the house and this pretty blue clematis is putting on quite a show.
There is a small garden to the east side of the house where a neat mulberry grows on the lawn.
Back to the front again the path runs through Alchemilla mollis, aliums, veronicastrum and phlomis with yew cones standing upright along the low wall.
It is a quite a drop from the wall and through the rose we can enjoy the sweeping undulation of the green fields below.
It has been a record number of visitors this afternoon. A gentle face has enjoyed the trickle of nearly hundred.