|The buttressed borders at Arley Hall are thought to be among the earliest in Britain|
|Arley Hall in Cheshire is home to Viscount Ashbrook and his wife, Zoe|
|The Walled Garden at Arley Hall with its unusual fountain designed by Tom Leaper|
|The Ilex Avenue at Arley Hall - one of the garden's most astounding features|
One of the most striking features at Arley Hall is the avenue of 14 evergreen or holm oak trees (Quercus ilex), planted in 1840 by Rowland Egerton-Warburton. The tree is Mediterranean in origin and normally spreads to a width of about 60 ft, but here the 14 trees are meticulously clipped into cylinder shapes and appear almost to be pillars of a temple with no roof (above). Equally impressive is The Rootery (below) - a rock garden - which has astounding early and late season colours.
|The long-established Rootery at Arley Hall has astounding colour displays early and late in the season|
Although the gardens here have been open to the public since the 1960s, they have managed to retain their charm and sense of privacy, which, apart from their rather grand scale, makes them feel like a family garden. Located sufficiently far off the beaten track to ensure they're not over-crowded, they're certainly worth making a detour to see. And one of the highlights of the calendar here is the annual Garden Festival - due to take place on 21st and 22nd June this year.
|Arley Hall sits at the heart of verdant parkland in Cheshire|
Make sure you don't miss any of the secret corners of this property including the richly-scented rose garden with its charming tea cottage, the Fish Garden, the wildflower meadow and the extensive woodland area, which sports many fine trees and unusual shrubs. The gardens are open daily from March to October, 11.00 - 17.00 (16.00 at beginning and end of season). For other gardens in the area, check out Cheshire's Gardens. Arley Hall is a member of the Historic Gardens Association (so friends visit free) and is also an RHS Partner Garden.