this month's flower
Edgworth and District Horticultural Society



See also the picture gallery

  Friday 29th July 2011

50 members of the EHS set off early by coach for the start of our 4 day holiday.

At lunch time we arrived at Sudeley Castle. The house was surrounded by magnificent trees and formal gardens including yew topiary, a knot garden, Tudor physic garden, herb garden, white garden and carp pond. There was also a pheasantry in the grounds. 

Sudeley Castle

Sudeley Castle

We also enjoyed looking aound a superb exhibition of textiles, embroidery and lace plus Tudor costumes which has been made for the TV programme "The Six Wives of Henry VIII". Two local ladies were showing their skills at lacemaking and some members tried their hand at this.

After leaving we made our way to the Sherbourne Hotel for dinner followed by a quiz.

  Saturday 30th July 2011

After breakfast (and a run for Phil) we left for Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens. Set in over 20 acres these gardens contain many rare and tender plants. We marvelled at the enormous Chusan palms, huge trees and gunnera so big you could get lost between them. The garden benefits from a mild micro-climate due to its location near the sea and there were many rare plants we did not recognise amongst many we enjoy in our own gardens. There were camellias, magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas and a few were still flowering but hydrangeas in many different colours blanketed the slopes. The Jurassic pond garden contained plants that are close relatives of those that existed over 200 million years ago and plants that have been found in fossils. Whilst the tropical plants amazed, there was also a sunny Mediterranean garden, New Zealand plantings and formal lily ponds. For those energetic enough there was a short uphill walk to see stunning views of Dorset's Jurassic Coast.


Kingston Maurward

Our second garden of the day, at Kingston Maurward, was completely different. A series of garden rooms were designed by Sir Cecil and Lady Hanbury after they purchased the estate in 1914. Kingston Maurward College now runs hundreds of courses there in agriculture, horticulture and animal conservation.

Splendid stone terraces, ballustraded steps and yew hedges surround each garden and paths lead through an herbaceous border and borders of penstemons and salvias - the National Collection is held here. There is a Japanese Garden in a small valley, topiary and water features. Large lawns, containing many specimen trees, lead down to the large lake.     

Next a short visit to Domineys, a garden based around a 17th Century thatched house. The garden dates from 1961 and this year they celebrate their 25th anniversary of opening for the N.G.S. The front of the house, the yard, is dominated by a huge lime tree and surrounded by many interesting plants. At the rear there is a swimming pool, an interesting formal garden made on the site of an old tennis court, a shrubbery and lawns surrounded by hundreds of herbaceous plants. Across the road from the cottage we walked around the arboretum which contained around 300 trees and shrubs.

Back to the hotel to put our feet up and have a nice cup of tea before drinks, dinner and musical entertainment.


Mapperton Gardens


Sunday 31st July 2011

After breakfast we visited Mapperton Gardens. This is a unique valley garden which surrounds the 16th-17th Century manor house and stable blocks where delicious lunches, cakes and cream teas were enjoyed by all. At the side of the house we passed a croquet lawn surrounded by shrubs and plants and were then overwhelmed by the view of the garden below us. Steps led down to an Italianate formal garden, an orangery, fishponds, topiary and herbaceous borders. The garden was dotted with small summerhouses complete with fireplaces so that a former owner could sit and paint during bad weather. The slopes surrounding the garden contained specimen shrubs and trees, including a mulberry.

After lunch a visit to a private garden, The Mill House, in Netherbury where Mr. and Mrs. Ryan greeted us. Several small gardens are arranged around the mill, stream and pond. There is a formal walled garden, terraced flower garden, vegetable and fruit garden and mill stream garden. Lawns were surrounded by herbaceous plants and the stream bordered by water irises and other water loving plants. There is an area of 4 acres planted with a wide variety of trees.

Finally Mr. Ryan turned on the mill machinery and let us inside to see the workings.

Mill House

Mount Pleasant

Our final visit of the day was another private garden, Mount Pleasant, home of Douglas Gibbs. Mr. Gibbs met us at the local coach park where we had our photograph taken for the local paper before walking down to his garden. With a garden not much bigger that most of us have, he had crammed it with interest.  A water garden, Australian area, folly, subtropical garden and orchid house. Plants filled pots and every available area. 

Mr. Gibbs had been a postman, window cleaner, traveller, maker of artists smocks, gardener and painter. At 83 years of age he still rises at 5.00 a.m. to make the most of the day. He told us something of his life, showed us his paintings and a letter and cheque received when he sold smocks to Princess Diana for her sons. We were invited into his home to see his paintings and were given tea, coffee and biscuits served by his many friends and family who were there to support him. A warm welcome from a genuine and charming man.

On the way back to the hotel the coach drove through Sherbourne for a view of the church, Sherbourne Schools and the many interesting old buildings in the town. Then on to the hotel for dinner and entertainment. Whilst some of us were in bed soon after 10.00 p.m. others danced the night away.

  Monday 1st August 2011

After breakfast we checked out of the hotel on our way home but with a final garden visit to enjoy. This was to Ilford Manor to see a garden created by Harold Peto. The gardens are Italianate formal gardens with statuary, pools, fountains, loggias and colonnades underplanted with herbaceous plants. Steep steps lead to woodland areas and corners with huge pots of plants or trees and areas of clipped yew.  The garden contains a cloister where an opera season runs throughout summer. 

A walled garden containing fruit and vegetables, surrounded by topiary, has been added by the present owner. She has also planted a wild flower meadow, a puzzle garden surrounded by clipped yew and statues and wall pictures of shell, stone and pottery mosaics.  Great fun!

Ilford Manor

Bradford on Avon

After leaving the garden we had a short stop for lunch in the interesting town of Bradford-on-Avon. A lovely setting by the river and interesting old buildings.

Back to Bolton at the end of a wonderful holiday with good weather and even better company.

Thank you to Phil and Jean for organising such a wide range of different gardens to visit.

Where are we going in 2012?  Looking forward to it.