The HGT morning visit to Ramridge Cottage was blessed with dry weather. Elizabeth Henley’s garden has many interesting elements. Her designer’s eye is evident in the formal areas with clever plant combinations, providing colour, structure and interest. We were advised on how the various elements of the garden had evolved and enjoyed the information on Elizabeth’s home-made compost. Future plans sound exciting. Lovely to be in a garden where continuing development is always being considered.
Ramridge Cottage Morning Visit – 25 April 2016
Jill Walmsley – Events Team Chair
Professor Timothy Mowl Talk at the Winchester Guildhall – 19 May 2016
Professor Tim Mowl, Emeritus Professor of History and Architecture and Designed Landscapes at Bristol University, has written with his co-author Jane Whitaker, a nationwide series on the historic gardens of England, county by county. His latest project on Hampshire was published in May 2016. In recognition of the help given him by the HGT Research Group, Tim offered to do a public talk and book signing for the Trust’s benefit. This took place on a lovely evening at the Winchester Guildhall in front of an audience of over 120 people, divided almost evenly between HGT members and people outside the Trust. The Guildhall was a splendid venue and Tim’s talk was informative, well illustrated and also entertaining, with plenty of anecdotes. The audience enjoyed wine and nibbles during the book signing afterwards by both Jane and Tim, and there was a ‘buzz’ about the evening, with no-one in a hurry to leave. As well as good publicity for the HGT, the event successfully made a wider audience aware of the extent and quality of Hampshire’s historic gardens. Tim will be coming to the annual HGT Christmas Party on 3 December, where he will be happy to sign copies of his book. The Trust would like to offer its members and supporters the opportunity to attend similar events in the future.
Ordnance House & Ashley Manor – 2 June 2016
Our morning visit was to Ordnance House June . The original house had been MOD accommodation and used as a store for munitions for the Royal Navy – hence the name. The existing, rather French provincial looking house, was built in 2009 and the present owners moved in 5 years ago, starting the garden from scratch. There are many flower beds and borders in linear patterns, with particular emphasis on unusual varieties of lavender and, at the time of our visit, purple and white alliums and foxgloves. A higher area, with long grass left naturally, softens the garden. There are also ornamental vegetable and soft fruit areas, a formal parterre and front garden with stone, box and lavender balls. This is a very precise and structured garden, which is immaculately presented.
Colemore House & Bighton House – 14 June 2016
Overcast weather and occasional rain threatened to spoil the day but both gardens lifted the spirits. We visited Colemore House in the morning and Bighton House in the afternoon. Colemore House is in a pretty hamlet with a C12 church in unspoilt countryside. We were met by the owner who, after a short introduction, escorted us around the gardens and proved to be very knowledgeable, as was his gardener who was also there to answer questions.
The garden has evolved over the last forty years since the present owners moved in. It wraps around the house and is surrounded by rolling countryside. The series of rooms range from a dramatic dark, reflective pool with an unusual thatched gazebo and magnificent views over the adjacent countryside, to more intimate spaces with unusually planted, herbaceous beds full of drifts of purple and immaculate lawns enclosed by handsome hedges.
On one side a rill runs down towards the house – carefully designed with alternating deeper and shallower areas and it magically creates diagonal shapes on the surface of the water. The rill is flanked by generous loose planting that softens the formality of its stonework. On another side a beautifully planted pergola invites you to walk under it and leads to open country vistas as does the small Amelanchier plantation further away from the house. We were treated to delicious refreshments by our hostess in the swimming pool garden and left feeling that our eyes had enjoyed a feast.Bighton House is approached up a long tree lined drive past several attractive estate houses that raised high expectations for the garden itself. We were not disappointed! The present owners have lived there for fifteen years, moving in with two tiny children, and have created a most interesting garden on a large scale. We were met by the owners in the beautifully raked stable yard and given a short introductory talk then offered excellent refreshments. The owner and three of the gardeners walked around with us and we set off into the enormous walled garden. The previous owners had taken out the Christopher Bradley-Hole garden and had started talking to Xa Tollemache about redesigning the space and she has continued to play a large part in designing many areas, not just the walled garden. The parterres take up most of the central space but there is also a very productive vegetable garden at one end, a lawned area where there had been an oversized pool, and down one side a most attractive area of gravel separated into oval shapes by low box hedging with a birch and box balls inside each oval shape. With wisteria-clad pergolas and herbaceous beds too there was plenty to admire. Leaving the walled garden, past more herbaceous beds, we came to the pond which is a complete contrast with wild flowers all around and a picturesque bridge, seat and gazebo all made by the same man for the owners. A long path flanked by catmint in front of gravel planted with box balls, grasses and pleached hornbeams leads alongside the house to an unusual area of rectangular-shaped blocks of hedging cut low enough to see over from the terrace and house, adding interest without detracting from the wonderful distant country views. More refreshments ended a fascinating day of contrasting gardens.
Hazelby House and Malverleys – 27 June 2016
At the end of a very wet June we were lucky to have a warm and sunny day for our visit to these two spectacular gardens. At Hazelby House, we were warmly welcomed and shown round by the owner, Patrick Hungerford. In the last 15 years, with the help of head gardener Kevin Rush, the Hungerfords have developed the garden into a series of ‘rooms’, with horticultural treats round every corner. The rose garden was looking especially beautiful, but the orange and yellow borders, the shrub borders, and the sweeping lawns leading down to the lakes were also stunning.
Then on to Malverleys, where we were shown around by the head gardener, Mat Reese. Another garden of contrasting ‘rooms’ with a contemporary feel, which flowed easily from one to another. Mat explained the importance of creating atmosphere and the work achieved so far in 5 years with the promise of more to come. From the quiet of the pool garden and courtyard to the opulent new parterre, the distinctive terrace borders and the stumpery in creation: the ideas, energy and skilled maintenance were evident. The visit concluded with an introduction to the wider team weeding and harvesting in the walled garden. There were many points to take away and ponder – including how self seeders were used, mixing meadow planting with border perennials … and whether the chickens realised they reside in the most romantic, rose-clad chicken house the writer has ever seen!
Cadland – 10 October 2016
The information provided by Gilly on the grounds tour brought to life the genius of Mr Brown. The smaller scale of this site and the wonderful sea views make this a very special atmospheric landscaped garden.
Jill Walmsley – Events Team Chair
Sandhill Farm – 18 October 2016
Our visit to the private garden of Andy and Ros McIndoe was blessed with beautiful autumn sunshine. We felt so lucky to see this inspiring garden in such perfect weather. We heard of the triumphs and tribulations of working with sandy soils and sloping sites. Andy gave us lots of great tips on designing with shrubs and trees for autumn colour. Also container planting and the debunking of some gardening rules. We look forward to visiting again in Spring 2018
Jill Walmsley – Events Team Chair