Little Court is the home and 3 acre garden of Patricia Elkington who spoke at Fagus about using grey and silver plants. Little Court has been open under the NGS since 1984 years and is a favourite with painters and photographers.
The garden slopes up gently from the house and is divided into seven areas by old flint and brick walls. Patricia is a plants person whose main passion is perennials and this is obvious with the variety of plants especially in the deep borders around the area in front of the conservatory. We visited in early July when the relaxed planting relied on many varieties of geraniums in the long wide border. The borders were very full making it difficult to see the winter structure.
Up a few brick steps, under one of the many mature trees and past a collection of hostas with their pots cleverly hidden by a low brick wall we came to the wrought iron gate leading to the extremely productive vegetable garden. Many of the crops were in netted cages showing that garden pests abound at Little Court.
Retracing our steps and heading up the slope, past picturesque seating areas and an Indigofera in full bloom, was the spring garden in the orchard. Under ancient spreading apple trees are thousands of Crocus tommasinianus and other bulbs but in July all that remained was the ripening seed heads of Tulipa sprengeri. Here we found a Bantam cockerel crowing loudly as he had been separated, until a gate was left open inadvertently, from his hens and chicks.
Moving further away from the house the areas are more natural and are a wonderful place for children to explore and discover the lookout hide, a tree house and a zip wire. Seeing us eye up the zip wire Patricia’s delightful young grandson, Tom, solemnly told us, “It’s not really for adults. My uncle used it and he broke his leg”. We decided to move onto the wildflower meadow where we walked through the mown circle examining at close quarters the butterflies and wild flowers until we reached the stone owl at its centre.
Going over a low stone wall we came to a close mown area with goal posts and far reaching views to the south over the open countryside and in this very peaceful and natural garden we felt that we had reached our goal.