Showing posts from August, 2015

Herterton House, Northumberland - a masterpiece garden created in just an acre

I had never heard of Herterton House before I headed north recently and only then discovered it because I happened to visit the walled garden at the nearby Wallington Estate in Northumberland. Both are within spitting distance of Cambo, birthplace of Capability Brown, yet you rarely see anything about either of these gardens in the press and I would never have found them, but for being told about them by friends in the vicinity. Herterton House Gardens will come as a delightful surprise to anyone who visits them. Hailed by well-known British garden writer, Robin Lane-Fox, as “one of the most influential English gardens to be created since the end of World War II”, they have been created by a husband and wife team, Frank and Marjorie Lawley, over the last 40 years since taking on the lease of a run-down National Trust property in 1975. They have renovated both house and garden during their tenancy and created an extraordinarily varied landscape in less than an acre, but with five very di…

Attadale - magnificent Scottish gardens with far-reaching views to the Isle of Skye

Attadale Gardens are situated overlooking the island of Skye at Strathcarron in Scotland and as soon as you walk through the gates you realise this is a very special place. The position of the property close to the Gulf Stream and the shelter from northern winds provided by the surrounding hills means that these are incredibly lush grounds, with a semblance of the tropics about them and a unique garden cherished and re-created by Nicky Macpherson and her husband Ewen since the terrible gales of the 1980s. Ewen Macpherson's father, Ian, bought the property in 1952. Previous owners had included Baron von Shroder, who had a real interest in trees and plants and imported many fine redwoods from overseas, as well as a substantial collection of rhododendrons, which flourish in the protected microclimate here. But it is Nicky who created the very personal garden at the house today, with help at the outset from Michael Innes, who had trained at Kew and the late Professor Douglas Henderson,…

Scottish Castle Gardens II - Cawdor

Another glorious Scottish castle - this time Cawdor, is within a stone's throw of Inverness. This one is much less imposing than Dunrobin, considerably smaller and has a colourful, well-kept garden and a well-publicised association with Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', in which the principle character is made 'Thane of Cawdor'. It draws visitors from far and wide and is one of the main tourist attractions in this area, so make sure to get there early to avoid the crowds.  The story of the castle is closely connected with the Thanes of Cawdor. 'Thane' is an ancient Scottish title, equivalent to Baron, and was once common across Scotland. It is thought that the third Thane of Cawdor started building the castle here as early as 1370, and it was later added to by successive generations. Records of the gardens date back to the 17th century, when the walled garden is first documented and much of the castle there today was already built. 
The castle has certainly made h…

Scottish Castle Gardens I - Dunrobin

Scotland has some of the best castles in Europe, which rival those built by the French in the the Loire valley, but sadly the weather there is not as clement and, if you are going to visit, you need to go prepared with wet weather gear and wellington boots. Dunrobin in the Highlands, near Inverness is a fairy-tale castle of monumental proportions with an impressive formal garden, best seen from the windows above to appreciate the scale of the grounds below.  The castle was remodelled in the 19th century for the Duke of Sutherland by Sir Charles Barry, who designed the Houses of Parliament with Pugin. It is certainly one of the largest homes in northern Scotland and the dukedom once covered well over a million acres, but there is not a happy history here, because it was the Duke who was the instigator of the Highland Clearances - a major event in Scottish history - when more than 15,000 crofters were cleared from his land alone. Dunrobin is perched high on a hill overlooking the sea and …

Yorkshire's 'Secret Garden' - Millgate House, Richmond

In the heart of Richmond, Yorkshire there's a secret garden that's quite exceptional, but first you have to find it! Hidden behind a grey door in a small street opposite Barclays Bank is a magical garden created by the owners of Millgate House - a sumptuous bed and breakfast, famous for its morning meal - and a sheltered walled garden chosen from more than 600 for inclusion by Alan Titchmarsh in his popular television series, 'Britain's Best Back Gardens' earlier this year.   Owners Tim Culkin and Austin Lynch moved here in 1980 and started creating the garden within the ancient boundary walls of the property. Their B&B ranks Number 1 in Richmond, offering a peaceful haven to guests at the end of a day's sightseeing in Yorkshire and instant access to the green sanctuary beyond, but few people realise the garden is open daily to non residents from April until October, daily 10.00-17.00. And it's definitely one to put on your 'Wish List' if you'…

August gardens - Up in the air with John Brookes at Denmans

In a determined attempt to get some new shots of Denmans early this morning, John Brookes (above) went and found a ladder and I perched on top to look at the garden. The walled garden was particularly interesting from above because you could see the lines and structure John has created there. Well worth a visit, particularly early in the day or later in the afternoon, so you get the best light. Open daily from 10.00-16.00.