This is a truly beautiful garden planted in a naturalistic woodland style. We always visit in the Spring when the magnolias, viburnums and bulbs are at their peak of beauty. From the pale blooms of magnolia wilsonii to the smaller stellata, the intoxicating scent follows you around the grassy paths that curve in and out of plantings and swirl around the sculptures placed within this chalk-pit landscape. Unusually for a chalky area, ericaceous plants do well here mainly because of the ‘green sand’ soil allowing the happy growing of not only magnolia but azalea, rhododendron and the most spectacular camellias which do well in the dappled shade.
Children love this garden because it hides secret areas, reveals surprising sculptures and installations and has the amazing ‘Plug Hole’ feature. A circular swirling grass dip with mown inset paths, this invites little legs to run round and round until they reach the ‘plug hole’ at its base. Surrounded by silver birch trees which provide dappled shade, the plug hole is an intriguing and interactive living installation.
One of our favourite plant genus’ can be seen here- the giant dogwood, cornus- Eddie’s White Wonder- a graceful tree that looks as though thousands of green butterflies have alighted upon its stems. A cornus needs a woodland setting with careful management of light and space to be seen at its best and this specimen, said to originate from Kew, has just that.