Sunday, 3 June 2012

Paradise found at Brook Farm in Berrington - a garden with a heart!

The ancient hop kiln makes a perfect backdrop for the cottage garden at Brook Farm
It doesn't get much better than this - Brook Farm in Berrington, Worcestershire - a delightful Grade II listed farmhouse with a cottage garden to die for! Owners Willy and Sarah throw open their picket gate later this month for the NGS, but if you really want to enjoy the garden here, stay as a bed and breakfast guest, or rent their self-catering accommodation and you'll get free run of the garden, early evening and morning, and have the chance to visit some of the other magnificent gardens in the area.
Wonderful early morning colours at Brook Farm
Tucked away down winding country lanes in the village of Berrington, near Tenbury Wells, it's a perfect place to base yourself for garden tours all around this part of England, and will also give you the chance to get further afield to see some of the wonderful gardens in North Wales. I arrived on a dreamy summer's evening last week, stayed for two nights, and finally tore myself away on the third day to head back south. But not before I'd spent several hours exploring here - and Brook Farm gets my vote as the perfect cottage garden.
Entrance to the ancient Grade II listed farmhouse
When Sarah and Willy moved here from Oxfordshire nine years ago, there was no garden to speak of, so they began at the beginning and have created a cottage garden that is nothing short of bliss! Add to that a charming farmhouse with low ceilings, original flagstones on the ground floor and higgledy-piggledy floors upstairs, plus Sarah's subtle decor and you'll find paradise in one of the loveliest parts of England. 
Above average rainfall in this part of England ensures a verdant spread that's hard to beat and if you're staying here and rise sufficiently early in the morning, you'll get the mist rising off the ground to complete the magic.
     Although both are happy to admit they've made mistakes along the way, Willy comes from an impeccable garden pedigree, as Dorothy Clive's grandson. And whilst the garden that takes her name is very different (and within an hour's drive of Brook Farm if you want to visit), he spent a lot of time there in his youth, so gardening is in his blood. You won't find azaleas and rhododendrons here, but you will find a magnificent range of cottage garden perennials that will make you want to emulate the planting back home and many original touches like the  the old chair (left) where the seat has been replaced with a planter! 
     Sadly, I was there too early for the roses, which I'm told are spectacular - but those who make it to the NGS openings on June 30th and July 1st this year (14.00-18.00) will see them in full bloom. Definitely dates to put in your diary if you're a rose lover! The garden is also open by appointment if you can't make those days. 
Elsewhere at Brook Farm you'll find different areas like the blue garden (above) with its subtle blue and grey hues and the brick garden (below); the vegetable garden (Willy's pride and joy); and a large orchard and area laid to grass at the rear of the property, bounded by the brook that the property takes its name from. Hornbeam hedges create a focal point for this area of the garden called the "The Ride" which has wiggly borders filled with late summer flowering plants. There is also a seeded bank of wildflowers and a bog garden here. But I suspect that Sarah and Willy are planning further changes, judging by the number of new plants I noticed when walking in this part of the garden.
Location wise, this property couldn't be a better place to stay if you want to visit other gardens in the area, including Stone House Cottage at Kidderminster - another stunning cottage garden; some of the great Herefordshire gardens including Hampton Court and Hergest Croft; and for those who don't mind driving the extra miles, you can easily access the North Wales coast to visit Bodnant and Plas Brondanw. There are also plenty of good pubs and restaurants nearby for evening meals. 
The wiggly borders in The Ride. Hornbeam hedges give a feeling of seclusion to this part of the garden
For further information contact Sarah Wint at Brook Farm, Berrington, Nr Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire WR15 8TJ. Tel: +44 (0) 1584 819868 or visit www.brookfarmberrington.com

8 comments:

  1. Oh thanks - will have a look to see when it opens as must be near me

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  2. What a lovely garden so glad I popped by

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  3. How nice. I would, like you, choose to visit as a cottage guest so that I wouldn't have to compete for views with other tourists. You have some nice photos of the place. Thanks for taking me along.
    nellie

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  4. I just loved the Blue garden, with the blue and grey plants...I want to try something similar in my own garden. Stachys lanata there just makes all the difference. Thank you!

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  5. Another wonderful tour. I really do live vicariously through your garden visits. I dream to visit those gardens on my own but after my botched summer attempts (always overruled by the rest of the family, LOL) I think realistically I will stick to reading your blog and just hope for the best. - Bom

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  6. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us! This is the sort of garden that fills my head with ideas of what I'd like my own borders to be like.

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  7. I like your description of the "wiggly borders." It does, indeed, look like the perfect cottage garden--and one to emulate. The mist in the background is magical! Very nice!

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  8. What a stunning place to visit! I think typical cottage gardens have a universal appeal but so hard to get it spectacularly right. Lots of ideas to inspire here and it's close enough to my relatives to plan a visit - I would love to see Willy's pride and joy vegetable garden!

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