this month's flower
Edgworth and District Horticultural Society



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The county of Somerset epitomises the timeless and restrained beauty of rural England and is home to a fine  selection of classic gardens in a variety of different styles, from intimate cottage gardens to medieval manor houses and large formal estates.

East Lambrook Manor

East Lambrook Manor is an informal cottage garden designed by the late gardening icon Margery Fish, while Barrington Court is more formal, and greatly influenced by Gertrude Jekyll, whose unmistakeable touch is also much in evidence at her and Lutyen's masterpiece Hestercombe.

The medieval manor house of Lytes Cary is surrounded by an enchanting garden, and Montacute House looks every inch the film location it has been in the past, a fine Elizabethan house surrounded by stately lawns. 

At Cothay Manor we find a magical, flower-filled garden set around a classically proportioned house, and another cottage-style garden with an informal air and innovative features.  Finally there is Gant's Mill, a cleverly colour-themed garden packed with flowers.

                  Cary Manor

The sun shone as we left Edgworth on Friday morning on our journey to Somerset and it stayed shining for most of the weekend. 

Our first garden was Gants Mill and Gardens.  The owner gave us an interesting tour of the mill that he had refurbished.  His wife then showed us her small but beautifully arranged garden that included water feaures and rose arches. 

We enjoyed afternoon tea and cakes in her garden before travelling to our Taunton hotel.

Gants Mill

On Saturday we visited Lower Severalls - a large garden which has a roofed green pavilion and a living dogwood basket.  We stopped at Montecute House for lunch and a tour of the herbaceous borders.  Some people took the opportunity to look inside the Elizabethan house which was used in the film Sense and Sensibility, some of us just enjoyed basking in the sunshine smelling the scent of the roses.

Our last visit of the day was to East Lambroke Manor, once home of Marjory Fish who had a passion for plants and created a traditional English cottage garden.  We were able to buy plants from the nursery at a reasonable cost.  The evening was spent back at the hotel enjoying a pleasant meal and convivial company.

Montacute House

On Sunday we had an unscheduled visit recommended by our tour guide - and what a gem Wayford Manor proved to be.  The head (and only) gardener shared his love of this old garden whilst the owner was at the nearby picturesque church. 

The garden had been opened just for us.  Designed by Harold Peto, it proved to be a wonder of treasures - something unexpected around every corner - including topiary rabbits!  Of all the gardens this was my favourite - I didn't want to leave and gave it 10 out of 10!


Next to Hestercombe - a National Trust property designed by Gertrude Jekyll and Edward Lutyens.  Whilst there we had the only rain of the weekend - a short deluge that drove us inside the courtyard for a nice lunch accompanied by some young musicians. 

Next to Cothay Manor, a medieval manor with an unusual and interesting garden designed in rooms.  I walked through an arch in the hedge to find a small white garden; the next arch took me into a pink garden.  This garden was full of plants of all types and colours.  We were introduced to the garden by the owner who gave us a talk whilst wielding her secateurs and shouting instructions to her husband on the walkie talkie!  At the end of our visit an outhouse was laid for afternoon tea with cream scones - lovely.  This garden received another 10 out of 10 from me.

Hestercombe Gardens

On Monday we visited Lytes Carey Manor, another National Trust property very different to the grand houses we had previously seen.  This Tudor manor had lovely garden rooms being tended by volunteers.  The herbaceous borders were stunning and the hornbeam tunnel and secret garden were very relaxing.  The chapel was open and some of us took a little time to reflect before heading for the tea shop. 

Our last visit before heading off for home was to Barrington Court, another garden influenced by Gertrude Jekyll.  This had a white garden, a rose and lily garden and a fantastic walled vegetable garden.  More plants were purchased and stowed on the coach as we headed back up the motorway.  We returned home refreshed, inspired and ready for gardening.

Barrington Court