Friday, 24 April 2015

"Must See" British gardens - Wollerton Old Hall, Shropshire

The Rill Garden at Wollerton Old Hall 
Wollerton Old Hall, near Shrewsbury is definitely a garden to visit this year if you can. This unusual four-acre property is a credit to its owners, Lesley and John Jenkins, who bought the house nearly 30 years ago and have created an Arts & Crafts style landscape here in a series of garden rooms surrounding a house that in part dates back many centuries.  But you will have to plan your visit carefully because the garden is only open two days a week - on Friday and Sunday afternoons from 12.00-17.00 - from Easter until the end of September (Fridays only in September), plus Bank Holiday Mondays.
The gardens at Wollerton Old Hall are set around a Grade II listed 16th century house (not open to the public)
Lesley Jenkins spent part of her childhood here when her parents originally owned the property, but they eventually sold up and moved away and when she and her husband John bought it back in 1984, there was a very different garden to the one you see today. Lesley studied Fine Art and has created a landscape with strong architectural lines and colour schemes within a framework of garden rooms that run across three north-south and three east-west axes, allowing striking glimpses of what is beyond. Hedging and paving play an important role in drawing your eye through this garden.
A visit to Wollerton Old Hall in the spring will allow you to see the structure of the garden
I visited in May, but have spoken to colleagues who have gone later in the season and am assured that Wollerton retains its interest throughout the open period because of its imaginative planting. Clipped yew, box and a variety of shrubs give strong structure to the various different garden rooms and the borders are planted with many different perennials that come into flower throughout the season. 
May was a little too early to enjoy some of the garden rooms at their best, but there were plenty of spring bulbs in bloom and with the promise of summer soon, the chance to see the bare bones of this charming garden with all its walls and gates. What really struck me was the vast array of different greens in the spring palette here and the chance to see the promise of what's to come later in the season. So this year, I'm determined to return to Wollerton throughout the open period, as I head to more properties in the north of England and further afield in Scotland, in my quest for new gardens.
The full-time head gardener at Wollerton Old Hall is Andrew Humphris, who worked before at nearby Biddulph Grange. He is helped by part-time gardeners and a team of volunteers. There is also a nursery, stocked with many of the unusual perennials you see in situ here. I left there with a car load of healthy plants which look wonderful at home. Located near Shrewsbury and Market Drayton, there are many other stunning gardens nearby including the Dorothy Clive Garden, and, a little further afield some of the gardens in Herefordshire.
Wollerton Old Hall is a sea of green in springtime
Part of the joy of spring in any garden is the startling array of green you see and Wollerton is no exception, although Lesley and John Jenkins have drawn on their plantsman expertise to ensure that both colour and structure appear throughout the garden whenever you visit. And once you reach high summer, the palette here is very different, with magnificent "hot" borders. 
There is also a series of lectures and classes available at Wollerton throughout the season, giving participants the chance to have a private view of the garden. For further details click on the link.

3 comments:

  1. What a wonderful garden! I love all the doorways and the way you photographed them is perfect. Ah that I could pop over for a tour irl. TTFN Happy spring : )

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  2. How delightful. I really must pay this garden a visit this year and Dorothy Clive! Love your photos in particular the arts and crafts gate in the wall :)

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  3. The first image says so much...and inspiring on this day at the office, designing!

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