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GARDENING – WI TH CAMI L LA BASSE T T-SMI TH


Clematis were vital to the garden plan with their ability to hide ugly spaces and scramble sensationally across anything not looking its best and surely a leading lady in this truly romantic offering.


Over a period of 15 years, exciting discoveries were made as historical gems were uncovered. An old stone folly appeared from behind a sea of shrubbery, leading to the creation of the Summer House garden with its special atmosphere and informality of roses and peonies. An old print revealed that land on the other side of the Summer House wall had at one time been used as an orchard and so a plan to re-instate such a collection of fruit trees was put into action. A mixed orchard was the result and medlars and mulberries now dance a medieval dance with quince, plums and a fabulous selection of local heritage apples including Lady’s Finger of Hereford, Herefordshire Quoining and Hereford Beefing.


Lavenders were brought in to surround the base of the ruined south transept wall of the Abbey and many shrubs were chosen to enhance the grounds, Philadelphus being a favourite of John’s and currently preparing to burst forth next month. Traditionally June flowering, I have watched these flower earlier and earlier each year to the point that I am now considering this a must have for May. Informal beauty abounds from every angle in this Herefordshire


haven, from bright yellow trumpet daffodils dotted along ancient walls to dainty cowslips erupting from the surrounding grass.


Most successful gardens often offer an air of tranquillity and this is no more evident than in The Cloister Garden, its ancient 18 feet high wall originally surrounded by the long meadow grass, with a single red rose fighting its way through the overgrowth. The serenity in The Cloister Garden is unique, differing from more exposed parts of the garden. Grass panels with planters and an impressive stone bowl at the centre reflect the ordered calm of the surrounds. Finally, a yew hedge on the southern border seems the perfect choice due to its sacred associations, protecting all around as John and his wife have protected the future of their home and truly English plot.


You can meet John at Toby Buckland’s Garden Festival on the 27th & 28th April at Powderham Castle in Devon, just a short drive down the M5. This fabulous festival will feature plant sales, talks and all things horticultural, as well as the chance to purchase your own signed copy of ‘Wigmore Abbey: The Treasure of Mortimer’, John’s beautiful new book about his home and garden. It really is the most exquisite of coffee table publications, glorious photographs and the most engaging of text as you follow this enchanting journey. Signed books also available online at: www.wigmorebooks.com


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