The Edwardian Formal Garden at Hestercombe

It's about time I shared some of the photos from our trip to Hestercombe back in March. It's a garden that's been on my "to visit" list for a while, and had even got close to once before but only making it as far as the cafe after being caught in traffic unexpectedly.  Determined not to miss out again, our visit here was pencilled in for the day after our stop at the Bower Inn, so this time I was sure we'd make it into the garden. 

And despite the moody photo below, the weather spoiled us.  We were walking around the garden carrying our coats it was so warm, but little did we know that later that day we'd be dodging the hailstones at Castle Drogo.  Given the weather we've had more recently, I'm sure you can believe that.

THE SYMMETRICAL VIEW FROM THE VICTORIAN TERRACE

THE SYMMETRICAL VIEW FROM THE VICTORIAN TERRACE

The moody photo above is fully of symmetry isn't it, and the silhouettes of the statues against the sky, along with the reflections in the pool make it one of my favourite photos from our visit.  Throughout the gardens there was much to explore, and like the best gardens and the best gardening advice, almost at every turn there was something new to discover.

Encircling the pool was this stone wall that also housed the more formal nooks, whose weathering added to the whole effect. 

BUILT INTO THE WALLS THESE AREAS FOR SCULPTURES

It was the sort of garden that while formal, also was a haven for lichen, and lichen lovers like me.  I was shuffled along by MOH after taking many photos, most likely all very similar, and all equally as lovely...

LOOK AT THAT LICHEN...

LOOK AT THAT LICHEN...

The plants, especially the cheery euphorbias, seemed to be enjoying the sun as much as we were.  Seeing them here and in other formal gardens is I hope, helping see their versatility.

EUPHORBIAS ENJOYING SOME SUN

EUPHORBIAS ENJOYING SOME SUN

Beyond the pool, there was a view down to the pergola.  And as you'd expect there was another of these on the right-hand side of the garden.

LOOKING DOWN THE GULLY OF WATER FROM THE TERRACE
LOOKING DOWN AT THE FOUNTAIN FROM ABOVE

I couldn't help but peer over the wall to the fountain below, until MOH pointed out the sign which asked people to avoid leaning over the wall.  Oops.  Hoping the sign was there for safety and not because the wall was fragile, I still took a quick step back. 

Adding these photos to this post also made me smile at the memory, but also because quite unintentionally I've managed to line the flagstones up.  If only it was planned...

The last part of the formal garden I'm going to share is the pergola, the plants had yet to spring into life, but that did mean it was easy to see the structure.

LOOKING ALONG THE PERGOLA

The pillars were something else, and not the usual wooden structures, but more of the stonework in circular columns as well as the alternate square columns.  Take a closer look at the photo above, it's a small detail that many might miss, and I'm sure there's some significance, but I've no idea what.

A CLOSE UP OF THE PILLARS WITH THE HOUSE IN THE BACKGROUND

There's plenty more gardens to share from Hestercombe and I plan to do that intermingled (I love that word) with the other gardens we've visited and all the other posts I have planned.

Wow! Heather at Compton Acres

Compton Acres is a fabulous independent garden in Poole, Dorset and the Heather Garden there was just one of the gardens that blew us away when we visited in March last year.  The garden has over 100 different forms of heathers, and if I'm honest who knew there were so many?

I don't seem to have much luck with heathers in my own garden and while there's some heather around the lake in Greenwich Park, nothing on this scale. But we weren't aware of what lay ahead of us until we turned the corner and saw this:

Who'd have thought heather could give so much colour

Yes, exactly. 

I told you it was quite something.

Originally this space, which is south facing and full of rocky banks was the summer home of Thomas Simpson's cactus and succulent collection, which I'm sure would be equally as impactful. That was lost during World War II and after it was transformed into what would have been, at the time, a highly fashionable heather garden.

A lovely march day in the Heather Garden at Compton Acres

There were walkways and benches to get up close to the heather, and so that's what I did.  Each plant was full of colour, and nothing like the sorry plants I've had in my garden, and which has led me to give up on heather in this garden. It's all in the soil, and my woodland-like garden isn't where they want to be.

Getting close up to the heather at Compton Acres
 
waves upon waves of heather at Compton Acres in Poole

As you can see from the colour of the sky March last year was much different to this year, which I'm grateful for, but I can't help but wonder if the Heather Garden was as spectacular with a grey backdrop. It may well have been.

There was a bit more than heather in the garden though, but oh the colours

Despite being wowed by the overall sense of the garden there were still quirks to discover as you explored its paths.  These two lead statues were fun and elegant at the same time.

A couple of statues also enjoying the heather at Compton Acres

So who knew that heather could be this amazing, certainly not me and I couldn't help but be a little envious of the residents close by who overlooked this part of the garden.  I've plenty more to show you from this fascinating garden, and I'll do that over the next few weeks, but if you're in the area - or even close by - do go and have a look for yourself, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

The Memory Garden at Compton Acres

Today I'm sharing a small part of a garden in Dorset which I visited last March. Compton Acres is in Poole and is one of the most amazing spaces I've been to in a long while.  I've shared little of it here so far, I'm not quite sure why - maybe because there are so many photos to wade through, or perhaps because it's full of plenty of stunning gardens and I want to do it justice.

But I can't do it justice without starting so I'm doing just that and starting with one of the most poignant spaces and that's this small memory garden which was dedicated to the owner's three children in the mid-1950s. 

GARDEN OF MEMORY  AND WITH THE MORN THOSE ANGEL FACES SMILE WHICH HAVE LOVED LONG SINCE & LOST AWHILE

GARDEN OF MEMORY

AND WITH THE MORN THOSE ANGEL FACES SMILE WHICH HAVE LOVED LONG SINCE & LOST AWHILE

The names of the children, Dick, Elizabeth and Anne are engraved in wooden benches in the small circular space. The son was killed in 1942 while flying in the RAF and the daughters died of polio.

It's believed that their mother arranged flowers from the garden in what I fist thought was a bird bath, but is in fact described as a font. It is, of course, made from local Portland stone and somehow the reflection of the trees in the water echoed the poignancy of its origin.

Reflections in the Memory Garden at Compton Acres

For me this space proved you can have the smallest of spaces, but it can still be moving and as beautiful as anything larger and full of plants.