Saturday, 2 June 2012

When small is stunning - Stone House Cottage, Worcestershire

The garden at Stone House Cottage in Worcestershire is best seen from one of the towers to appreciate the layout
It's almost impossible to appreciate the layout of the garden at Stone House Cottage in Worcestershire, until you climb one of the many towers that make this garden so unusual and see it from above. This is a plantsman's paradise, created by  current owners, the Arbuthnotts, over the last 35 years - and covers just under an acre of land that was once flat and bare - but clever use of hedging creates the impression this plot is much larger. as does the fantastic array of plants (many in raised beds) and the collection of unusual climbers scattered throughout the garden.
You enter the garden through a red-brick gatehouse and your first view will be the three different pathways (above), although you will probably be drawn to the middle path, laid with bricks and bordered by yew hedges. It doesn't matter which route you take, because there's so much to see in this tiny plot that you'll wind backwards and forwards, marvelling at the unusual plants and retracing your steps as you discover different planting schemes at every turn. And there's the added bonus of the adjoining nursery, so you can buy many of the plants that have caught your eye here and enjoy them at home.
The owners have spent the last 35 years creating this magical garden, which appears much larger and older than it is. James Arbuthnott is a self-taught bricklayer and he built many of the towers and follies from local recycled bricks. Add to that the skills of his wife Louisa - the plantswoman in the family - who has capitalised on all the extra wall space to provide homes for the many unusual climbers and roses that are such a feature of this garden, and you've got a winning combination and a really unusual and romantic plot.
Although early in the season when I visited and severely hampered by one of those heavy overcast days that we have seen so many of here in England recently, this garden is still a delight and there is so much colour and interest that the heavy skies did little to dim the magic of the plants and planting here. When the Arbuthnotts arrived the plot was completely bare, although the walls that form the backbone of the garden today had previously provided shelter for a kitchen garden. They continue to provide shelter for the many climbers here and the addition of the hedging has helped to provide a micro-climate for the many unusual plants that thrive at Stone House Cottage.
Behind the hedges you'll find wonderful borders, filled to bursting with colourful perennials and interspersed with many rare and unusual trees and shrubs that thrive, thanks to the micro-climate created by the owners. You'll also see many roses and clematis here that catch your eye, as well as unusual jasmines and honeysuckles, so don't forget to take a camera if you want to identify plants to take home and then purchase them from the adjoining nursery. I came away with many plants that I have never found anywhere else, including Solanium linearifolium, which is featured on Louisa's Potting Shed blog this week.
Stone House Cottage Garden and adjoining nursery opens four days a week to the public - from March through to the beginning of September, Wednesday - Saturday from 10.00 to 17.00. Entrance to the garden is £5.00. Definitely one to put on your wish list, especially if you are looking for new ideas and unusual plants for your own garden. It is located just outside Kidderminster in Worcestershire in the village of Stone and is well marked with brown garden signs. The sat nav reading for the postcode (DY10 4BG) is correct and will take you straight there.


  1. Dear Charlotte ~ I have to say that this garden is probably my all time favorite that you have shared with us. I just love it and could spend hours and hours wandering through it. Plus if I lived over there I know I'd want to take home some goodies from the nursery.

    Thank you once again for sharing all of these beautiful gardens that most of us will never be able to see in real life. These tours are a treasure and so are you.


  2. Charlotte, I read an article many years ago in the defunct UK magazine 'Practical Gardener' (which I was able to buy in one of our also defunct local bookstores) about this garden and I have never forgotten it. If I ever make it across the pond this has always been in my top 5 of gardens I would love to see.

  3. Wat een genieten van deze post, eind juni gaan wij met Garden Tours 4 dagen naar Engeland, helemaal geweldig.




  4. very beautiful garden............