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. 




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.

Formal dining at Mottisfont

While looking for a photo to accompany last Friday's link-up post I rediscovered my photos from the National Trust's Mottisfont in Hampshire, and there's many which I've not shared here yet, so I plan to put that right and today I'm starting with some formal dining.

For me, seeing these properties set out as they would have been in their heyday is what brings the place to life on a visit, an it's something the NT does well. Clearly as I wander around the place I'm imagining the house is mine, I have staff and will be entertaining again that evening, and this scenario has yet to become tiresome. 

I'd be happy to have dinner served on this jade patterned dinner service.

Crockery on the dining table at Mottisfont

And the dining room is pretty special too, isn't it? 

Stepping back and admiring the trompe l'oeil

The panelling isn't quite what it appears though. It's believable and very effective, but is a trompe l'oeil. But it was the chairs and their upholstery that caught my eye  the simple, yet elegant fabric, no doubt silk, provides enough bling, sparkle and classic detail to be quietly, but confidently, understated. 

The detail on the chair

And when you see the floor, it's clear why that simplicity is needed. Now for the life of me I can't remember if the flooring is carpet, as we'd expect it to be, or another trick for our eyes. Logic tells me it should be carpet, but then again it looks too flat, and perfect, so perhaps it isn't.  

And how about that for a carpet


It's a looker though isn't it? If you've been to Mottisfont and can put me out of my misery, then please post a comment and let me know: carpet, or clever trickery?