the last garden to visit on our trip and is in the village of Hartley
Witney Hampshire. This garden surrounds The Manor House built in 1720
and is owned by Marylyn Abbott an Australian who spends her summers here
in the UK and winters in Australia.
arrived after lunch just as it was starting to rain, but as keen
gardeners that did not put us off. West Green is divided into a series
of walled gardens opening up onto a lake, five bridges, woodland,
fountain garden, Chinese garden and chicken garden.
entrance is through the shop which takes you into the first walled
garden known as The Alice garden. This depicts the famous character of
Alice in Wonderland, designed as a chequer board of box hedging with
plantings of red, white and silver. There are many Topiary shapes with
characters such as The Knight and a teapot.
next walled garden is in two separate squares divided by apple arches
with one side devoted to herbaceous planting and a lawn in the middle.
The colour scheme is of pink roses various shades, the blues of
campanula latifolia and whites such as hydrangea Annabelle. Trees within
this garden were Mulberry, Magnolia and Apple. The other square is a
potager, divided up by Box hedging, with a mixture of flowers and
vegetables, and large fruit cages designed by Oliver Ford. In the
spring, visitors will see 10,000 tulips planted in this garden. Sadly,
as in many gardens, there was extensive Box Hedge disease.
easy to find was the Chicken garden tucked away in a corner off the
walled garden. This area has a magnificent chicken house with some very
pretty Pekin bantams. Their cage has a lovely yellow canopy and can only
be described by a friend of mine as ‘ a design out of Versailles’
Inside the cage are willow pattern murals, and a beautiful china water
bath, what luxury! The cage is set in a geometric parterre infilled with
water tanks containing water lilies, and the garden walls are covered
with white roses, Rambling Rector, R. Seagull and R Long John Silver.
Guarding the garden there are topiary chickens.
Nymphaeum is entered through a Victorian moon gate before going up
steps with water rills either side, and leading up to a cascading
waterfall and dominant fountain designed by Quinlan Terry. This
Italianate garden was redesigned by Marylyn Abbott ten years ago.
entering the Lake from the walled garden there are white lanterns in
the trees in readiness for several operas to be staged in the garden
during the summer. This lake was restored in 2000, and has a small
island linked by a bridge. In early spring this garden has fritillaries,
daffodils, bluebells, carnassia, growing by the lakeside were Southern
Marsh Orchids, and under some trees we came across a small group of
Lilium Martagon. Standing quietly for a few minutes by the lake we
witnessed two Terns diving for fish.
the side of the Lake is the Paradise garden based on an Islamic design.
This is intersected by waterways and fountains, with the main planting
being trees of Malus and Silver Birch Jacques Montii.
the perimeter of the lake are five interlinked bridges over a stream
which meanders through the woodland. The stream and bridges have a
planting of pale lemon heamerocalysis ‘Joan Senior’ with iris sibirica
‘Papillion’, plus hostas, hydrangea paniculata, ferns, white foxgloves
and lazula grasses. On some of the bridges are Wisteria and Clematis
crossing the five bridges you enter into a new garden, only planted
this year. This has a farm hedge consisting of a mixture of fruit and
nut species such as wild cherry plum and crab apple, hazelnut and
blackberry. The intention is to create a flowering meadow between the
curved hedge with topiarised beech, yew and hornbeam.
along the gravel path this takes the visitor through the woodland,
passing the Doric Temple and shell encrusted Grotto which is the
overflow mechanism for the lake, with planting of foxgloves, ferns and
the woodland the last garden to see is the Chinese garden with two
large sculptures of red dragons. These were either side of a row of
Hornbeams surrounded by various species of Acers and interspersed with
The greenhouses are a new addition and surrounded by pleached hornbeams.
is a garden still evolving and worth visiting in spring as well as
summer, but as all gardens have suffered with the rain, flowers are late
and there was not so much colour as one would have expected at this
time of year.
More cake I asked myself? How can Fagus members refuse afternoon tea and scones with jam and cream at West Green House?