English Country Garden – June 2011

I spent a wonderful day yesterday at Lower Hope near Ullingswick in Herefordshire.  I was there on a Pests and Diseases Workshop organised by the WFGA and I have to say I think it is fair to say all of us were bowled over by the gardens and location.

Lower Hope is tucked away in amongst the valleys of Herefordshire with the River Lugg running not far away.  It is a private garden although it does open to the public under the National Garden Scheme and also for visits from horticultural groups.  I don’t think I have seen a private garden on this scale so well maintained.  It is looked after by Brian Hall, the Head Gardener (who was our host for the day), 2 other full-time gardeners and 2 part-time trainees from WFGA.

The first thing that really struck me about the gardens was the quality of the lawns – they are simply immaculate.  I have never seen such pristine lawns so it came as no surprise that Brian revealed that his original career plan had been to maintain golf courses. We were given tips and advice on how to achieve this sort of lawn though I am sure if Brian saw mine he would agree it was a lost cause.

There are around 5 acres of formal garden with an ornamental lake, stream, croquet lawn, italian garden, bog garden, rose borders, and huge herbaceous borders.

After the lawns you notice the roses – there are a lot of roses.  Personally I’m not a fan of rose beds but apparently the owner, Mr Richards, is and after all it is his garden.  Not only were there numerous large beds of roses but climbing roses and standards; all in tip-top health – tips were shared and noted.

But for me the real attraction was the herbaceous borders.  There were two long borders running parallel either side of one lawn which you can see a bit of in the top photo; there was also another long border leading down to the formal lake and then some island borders.  All were well stocked and staked and a good example of what to me is a prerequisite of a real English country garden.

Interestingly there is no kitchen garden although there is a very pretty formal herb garden tucked away.  But even more fascinating are the conservatories.  There are three – one your more traditional pool side conservatory with seating etc but then there is a tropical greenhouse which is kept at such a level of heat and humidity that tropical butterflies seem to be thriving, in fact we were privileged to see a newly hatched Atlas Moth.  There is also another conservatory which is kept less humid.  These are all ornamental glasshouses, there are working ones and a poly tunnel as well.

During the day we looked at various glasshouse pests through a hand lens and the biological  controls, we visited an award-winning fruit farm and ate cherries off the tree destined for M&S (nothing but the best!) and we had our lunch sitting by the large lake in the wildflower meadow (below) and we even saw a trout jumping.

I have to say there really is no nicer way to spend a sunny June day.


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow!
    What a high standard of maintenance.
    Realize looking at that herbaceous border how naturalistic mine has become!
    Thanks for the feel this post gives of the garden.

  2. Christina says:

    Everyone seems to be garden visiting this week, and I am grateful that the visits are being shared via blog-land. Your description is beautiful, a mix of detailed information about the garden and your personal view – nothing could be better. Thank you. Christina

  3. Alison says:

    It looks an interesting garden, as you say very traditional with all the elements that we have come to expect from the english country garden. Sounds like you had a good afternoon.

  4. Lona says:

    Wow what a lovely garden. I would love to be able to visit some of the English gardens someday. The Blue Lupines and Yellow daisies look so beautiful.

  5. I too would love to see the English countryside gardens. I am glad that through blogging that I can. You can grow the same plants as here, but so much better. The blue spires of the Lupines just don’t happen here quite as well.

  6. Barbarapc says:

    It’s been a year since we were in England visiting gardens. Thank you for sharing those magnificent borders. For some ridiculous reason we can’t really do delfs – too hot? not enough snow cover? They’re one of my favourities. So glad I’ll be able to drift through the day thinking of those in your photo.

  7. debsgarden says:

    I can imagine eating lunch in such a setting! The gardens are fabulous. Thanks for a look at what three full time gardeners and two part time assistants can do with five acres — and lots of money, no doubt!

  8. Stephanie says:

    I simply wanted to let you know how happy I am to have stumbled upon your gardening blog. I too am passionate about horticulture.

    I shall return 😉

  9. catmint says:

    amazingly well kept for a private garden, but it has the same kind of staff traditional grand gardens need. I love the wildflower meadow and the lake, was that part of the farm? They seem unlikely places to learn about pests and diseases, everything looks so perfect.

  10. patientgardener says:

    catmint – the meadow and lake are part of the property and just off the main ornamental garden

  11. Imagine having a garden like this. Imagine having five gardeners to look after it!

    I had a friend who kept a bowling green. What he didn’t know about grasses, grass mixes, heights of blades . . . well, there wasn’t anything he didn’t know about any of them!


  12. Anna says:

    Sounds a fascinating place to spend some time Helen. Thought from the first photo that you had been down to Kent.

  13. michele says:

    When I was in London, I did not have a chance to venture out to the countryside. What a beautiful setting.

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