|Barnsley House, former home of Rosemary Verey, is now an exclusive hotel|
|Although the garden is quite small, there are wonderful vistas throughout, giving the illusion of a larger space|
Rosemary's husband David Verey, inherited the 17th century manor house from his family in 1951 and together they set about creating the garden that is there today. David was a distinguished architectural historian, and did much of the heavy work in the Barnsley garden, including construction of all the buildings, like the neo-classical temple below, which presides over a pond filled with lilies in the summer. But it was Rosemary, who created the garden that came to be so celebrated in the last quarter of the 20th century, with her unusual ideas and clever planting.
|The Temple Garden at Barnsley, featuring a neo-classical building reconstructed by David Verey|
|The site of the famous laburnum arch at Barnsley - planted with tulips in April|
|The famous laburnum arch at Barnsley, modelled on a larger one at Bodnant|
When you visit Barnsley you'll also be able to see why Rosemary Verey had so much influence on British garden design right up until her death in 2001, with her various books - "The Englishwoman's Garden", "The Classic Garden", and "The Garden in Winter". Today the garden is tended by head gardener, Richard Gatenby, who worked alongside Verey in her latter years. He has continued to nurture the garden and made many changes during the last couple of seasons, giving the garden a cleaner, fresher and less cluttered look.
If you visit, don't forget to cross the lane at the far side of the garden to take in the potager, which is a delight throughout the seasons (even in the rain). It makes its debut in springtime as a canvas of bulbs, with produce interspersed, and moves on to become a charming, scented lavender haven in summer. Espaliered fruit trees are underplanted with flowers and low, shaped box gives structure and form to this mini Villandry.
|The potager is filled with spring bulbs in April and May|
|Rosemary Verey favoured yellow and purple plants in her potager in high summer|
Barnsley House first opened to the public in the 1970's for the National Gardens Scheme and by the time Rosemary Verey died, the number of visitors exceeded 40,000 a year. But that has all changed since the house became a hotel. Now it opens for just a few days each year - with three open days later this year - on the 18th May (10.30-17.00) for the annual Barnsley Village Festival, and the 4th June and 13th August for charity, but check website for details.
|Clever use of space makes the garden at Barnsley seem much larger than it is|
When David Verey died in 1984, Rosemary turned her hand to garden design, writing books and lecturing around the world. She was entirely self taught, but her skills became so celebrated that she was asked by both Prince Charles and Elton John for advice on their gardens. Go and visit Barnsley House for yourself and you will soon see why this English woman gained such a formidable reputation in gardening circles. There are many wonderful gardens nearby, including Cerney House and Misarden Manor if you fancy more than one garden visit in a day.