Last weekend I went to my first NGS opening of the year at Little Malvern Court. I was particularly keen to go to this one as I know the Head Gardener who is fairly new to the post and I think it was his first opening. Two weeks before he had been worried that the grass wouldn’t dry out enough to be cut; however, as you can see the weather in recent weeks had allowed him to make sure all was shipshape.
I have to say that writing this post is somewhat bittersweet to me since I am ashamed to say that I had forgotten it was my late sister’s birthday on the day I went to the opening and only realised my oversight last night. I have spent the day feeling awful as though I have betrayed her memory but some stern and forgiving words from my mother and a few tears has put me on the road to feeling a bit better. I certainly won’t forget it next year.
Little Malvern Court was originally a 14th century Priors Hall and you can still see the original tower of a 12th century Benedictine Priory. The grounds cover 10 acres and are dominated by a series of three pools with interconnecting cascades running down the slope of the property. At this time of year there are large planting of bulbs primarily narcissus although it would appear I was too distracted by the topiary and shadows to take any photos of these!
I visited this garden some years ago and I can’t say I was struck by the amount of clipped hedging then but this visit it was quite obvious. My previous visit had been in the summer so maybe I was distracted by flowers or maybe it was the people I was visiting with. Anyway, as you can see not only are there many hedges but also buttresses of yew which create interesting viewpoints – obscuring and blocking the view.
Near the house the garden is more formal with rose gardens set amongst box edging. I have to say not only was the standard and amount of hedging cutting impressive but also the standard of the pruning of the roses and training of climbers on pergola and trellis. I spent a pleasant time sitting on a quite bench listening to gentlemen of a certain age discussing the quality of the pruning and training – there was much admiration!
I have said the main flower colour was from spring bulbs and I was particularly taken with this planting of anemone nemorosa and celandine.
So pretty and a combination I might try to copy. A planting I won’t be able to copy is this planting of magnolia which were just about to break into flower.
Although my photographs imply that the garden was virtually empty of visitors this certainly was not the case. I arrived about 10 minutes after opening and the first car park was already full and the overflow car park in use. By the time I came to leave the queue for the teas and cake was some 20 people long and the car park probably had around 100 cars in it. I suspect that fact that this was one of the first local garden openings of the year contributed to the success as well as the unusually warm weather but I also think it is a wonderful romantic setting.
Maybe next year I will return and bring my mother and my niece to mark my late sister’s birthday – I think they would appreciate it.