BDHS Visit to Waterperry and Adwell Gardens

Posted by Judy Lambourne on 20 June 2023

Wednesday 15th June dawned bright and sunny and a coach loaded with excited members of the Society left Balsall Common for our trip to Waterperry and Adwell gardens in Oxfordshire. We stopped first at Waterperry, with its beautiful 8-acre garden, which was founded as a school of horticulture in the 1930’s. The formal borders and gardens reflect how planting styles have changed through the ages and provide interest throughout the seasons. By David Cotterrell On the Sunday after Samantha Hopes’ talk “Plants with a story “ we were fortunate to be able to visit their garden in Halesowen as part of the West Midlands Open Gardens scheme. Samantha’s husband Nigel is Head Gardener for John Massey at Ashwood and the couple’s shared passion for plants was evident in their gorgeous garden. It was full of surprises, beautifully cared for and a real treat for plantaholics. From the upper terrace you were greeted by flag iris in delicate lemon, through many shades to dark blues and purples. The garden was quite steep with glimpses of the Clee Hills beyond. The upper half of the garden had a variety of herbaceous plants, roses and shrubs. Some like the climbing the akebia quinata, delicate acer, peony and the tall fluffy thalictrum were already giving delight in May, while many others waiting in the wings, would in turn give interest through the year. To one side the childrens’ garden was an area designed with unusual play ideas for their two young sons – lots of opportunities to play with water here! One of the downward paths passed through a row of cordon apple trees to the greenhouses. One housed auriculas, another the collection of epimediums which will be a fine display for their open day in June. A third greenhouse holds Roscoea. Some planted in the garden borders were already flowering. A plant new to us, the roscoea resemble a tulip leaf with a bloom similar to an orchid or iris. Of course we had to buy a pot from the sales table. Throughout the garden were hostas and ferns, their contrasting leaves, colours and sizes setting off the other plants to good effect. We had received a warm welcome from Samantha and Nigel and after taking our time to appreciate their beautiful garden we were able to sit and enjoy coffee and cake, thinking it would be well worth another visit at the next open day on Sunday June 25th . Visit to Nigel and Samantha Hope’s Garden, Halesowen BDHS Visit to Waterperry and Adwell Gardens 3 Waterperry was bought by its present owners , the school of philosophy and economic science, in 1971 and now occupies 20 acres, having the benefit of the artistic and horticultural expertise of its owner it has a fabulous plant selection as well as a good lay out; trees, shrubs, roses, classical borders, a walled garden, a riverside walk, traditional and modern garden planting, long vistas… And finally, just to tempt us to replicate what we have experienced, there is a quality plant centre as well as a shop, gallery and museum. A short drive of 30 mins took us to our next stop – Adwell House and gardens. The gardens cover 4 acres and were laid out by the present owner’s ancestors in the 1780’s and have been developed and enhanced by each generation since then. As we walked around the side of the house, we were greeted with a magnificent herbaceous border which sweeps around the drive. A short rest in the cool of the Parish Church which nestles within the grounds before we moved on to the impressive walled garden, with its herbaceous borders, roses and a superb collection of salvias. The original design included the gently sloping lawns, which are now bordered by impressive mature trees, and incorporated the diverted Mill Stream into a system of pools and cataracts with a rocky waterfall which remain a major feature of the garden and a very tranquil space. Then, after refreshments and some time to “chill” in the stunning gardens, all too soon it was time to get back on our coach and return home

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