Visting Windy Ridge, Percy Thrower’s Garden Centre and Cruckfield House, there is an article about this trip in the autumn newsletter.
2/3rds of an acre village garden; winner of several awards including Gardener of the Year (Daily Mail) 2006.
Lying half way up the Wrekin, Windy Ridge is the masterful creation of Fiona and George Chancellor who moved here 25 years ago. From inhospitable beginnings and often hostile weather conditions they have transformed their 2/3rds of an acre plot encircling the house into a spectacular garden. With over 1000 plants, many unusual, George and Fiona, whose original training was in Horticulture, have made a fascinating garden for all seasons with clever design, using strong shapes, different vistas and interesting and amusing hidden corners. Informal planting with good texture and colour enhances the more formal landscaping of the garden, which is often based on circular forms.
The house also has an interesting history. Built in the '30s, it has some unique features. Fiona has researched and discovered that many of the older wooden and stone structures included in the house had been reclaimed from a much older mansion that the builder was demolishing. And Fiona has reflected some of these design features in the shapes of the garden planting by the house.
This garden has won several awards in recent years including Garden of the Year in the Over 2/3rds of an Acre category in 2005, South and West Country Garden of the Year in 2006 and the Daily Mail National Garden Competition in 2008. And I understand that an HPS Group touring the area last year voted Windy Ridge the best of their trip! It also has recommendations from Roy Lancaster!
4 acre garden with much interest and variety in design and planting.
By contrast this larger, 4 acre garden encompasses wide spaces and vistas. The south facing garden is also quite formal in design but with informal and intensive planting, and many unusual herbaceous plants. A small lake with bog and moisture loving plants is surrounded by shrubs and species trees; this area is named “Nick’s Garden”. There is an ornamental kitchen garden with some interesting outbuildings, a rose and peony walk, a courtyard fountain garden where we shall probably have our afternoon tea and cake (supplied by the League of Friends), and an extensive shrubbery, as well as a large rockery and lily pond. The wide variety of planting also includes quite a large collection of clematis.
The July meeting was an away day to Orleton House. We had a talk by the owners before they took us on a tour. The gardens are closing to the public after this year so this is a last opportunity to see them. They were originally designed by a former secretary of the Worcestershire group of the HPS.
As we have speakers at our September and October meetings whose topics are Trees for the Garden and The Fascination of Foliage, we thought an autumn visit to an arboretum appropriate. So I have booked a coach for Sunday October 17 to Thenford House Gardens and Arboretum, with a leisurely lunch stop at the National Herb Centre.
THENFORD HOUSE, Middleton Cheney, nr Banbury is the home of Lord and Lady Michael Heseltine. Four times a year this garden and arboretum are open for specialist groups, such as ours, with all entrance fees (£10 pp) going to a nominated charity.
The arboretum and ornamental gardens cover 65 acres. The arboretum, created in 1977, contains over 4000 different and some rare species of trees and shrubs. Many of the rarities were wild-collected by well known plantsmen including Roy Lancaster.
The many features of the Estate include lakes and water features, some fairly recent; mediaeval stew ponds, an ancient yew avenue, ornamental gardens and borders, sculpture, some by modern artists; a walled kitchen garden, herb garden, an aviary, and heated glasshouses, as well as a knot garden and a rill which passes through formal ponds and eventually into woodland pools.
In fact with so much to see it is reckoned to take about two and a half hours to tour the gardens, but it is apparently easy enough to return to the starting point at any time!
But it is not all easy walking and stout shoes or boots are recommended!
Tea and cakes are served in the Church Barn in the grounds, at a modest cost, by the village ladies and those profits go to Thenford Church funds.
We have been asked not to publish photographs taken in the garden, but Win Botterill has written an article in the spring newsletter giving her views of the visit.