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Visits > Past Visit Reports and Pictures > Hereford Garden Visits
Give one delightfully eccentric plantaholic 4 acres of land and the result is a collection of the probably the rarest and most unusual woody plants to be found outside the Hillier Arboretum.
Add a passion for peonies and Veronica Cross has her garden as she likes it, freely admitting that she is not a tidy gardener.
Sadly there are too many rare woody plants to fit into the space available and the result is an overcrowded collection where nothing has the space to achieve or display its full potential: and she is still planting!  
The winter had taken its toll on planting around the house but ever the optimist, Veronica was leaving the dead skeletons, just in case they recovered and a large magnolia next to the house was starting to sprout but how many years will it take to achieve an aesthetically pleasing shape again?

A row of white small flowered roses up the drive was a pleasing greeting opposite which was a row of Hydrangea paniculata obviously selected to give late summer colour after the roses have finished.
A promising start followed by a path leading away from the house with wisteria clad arches intermingled with every Cercis cultivar available to man or woman – another passion.
Having carefully negotiated an electrified rabbit fence, all reference to garden design vanished, and we were guided around narrow paths into grass clearings surrounded by rarities, too numerous to mention.
Any herbaceous plants were confined to the front edge of the beds and were definitely an afterthought.  This space was reserved for the herbaceous and tree peonies leaning forward in an attempt to see the sky. Humorous touches are to be found in the group of three topiary teddy bears having a picnic, whilst a pair of giraffes, carefully crafted out of Irish yew, lurked in one of the many glades.
As a plants person myself I started out appreciating the rareties I was seeing but fairly rapidly I began feeling sorry for the plants crammed into this arboricultural zoo and wanted to give them the freedom of space they well deserved.
Mary Payne
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