Boveridge House was built in the mid to late 18th Century. It now houses during term time 44 children with learning difficulties. The stable block has been turned into classrooms. The house is now run by a charitable trust.
In the garden, Mary drew our attention to a well-established stand of several Viburnum rhytidophyllum, large shrubs with glossy elliptical green leaves and abundant red to black shiny fruits. This shrub is excellent on chalk. (Hillier)
Thomas Mawson, a supporter of the arts and crafts movement, designed the hard landscaping. I consider it a great success, a series of terraces of varying depth making the most of the attractive views. Dyffryn, S Wales, is another of his designs. The canal pond, a very attractive feature of the South lawn, is occupied by Horace the carp and a flotilla of golden orfe. Let us hope that Horace is too big and the orfe too agile to escape the attentions of the local herons.
The planting, designed by Gertrude Jekyll, may have been appropriate in 1920/21 at a time of plentiful and cheap labour. Now, with one full-time gardener plus part time help, it is obviously a struggle, not helped by plentiful deer and rabbits who just love young roses and herbaceous plants.
There is little prospect of generating a large income in so inaccessible a place with no house available for conferences or weddings to command large fees. The planting scheme did not take into consideration the thin, hungry soil over chalk, not ideal for roses or labour-intensive herbaceous borders. This asks the question, ‘Why is it so necessary to restore the planting to Jekyll’s plans?’
Finally, we were served tea and home-made cakes on the South facing top terrace, protected from the West by a wing of the house and from the East by a large and very healthy looking horse chestnut.