This is a précis of the Cornwall Garden Society holiday to the gardens of Worcestershire and the Malvern Spring Flower Festival in May 2019, organised by Alison Davy and written up in the CGS Journal by Tricia Howard of Hidden Valley Garden.
The first day involved visits to Morton Hall on an escarpment with superb views of the Malvern Hills, and Welsh mountains, near Inkberrow. The Georgian house has eight acres of gardens, including a large meadow.
The next morning was spent at the well-known Ashwood Nursery, a plantsman’s paradise. Later we visited the private gardens of John Massey, the owner of Ashwood Nurseries. The gardens are situated behind the nursery, alongside the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal, by his home.
Day Three saw visits to three gardens: firstly to White Cottage Garden, Inkberrow, a two-acre garden started in 1981. The garden is on heavy clay, and gets waterlogged in the winter. A giant 60 year old willow filled the centre of the garden, there were other mixed island beds, a formal pond area, and man-made stream. A small nursery enabled us to buy plants seen growing in the garden.
Next, to Spetchley Park, a Georgian house rich in history, set within a deer park. The 30 acres of informal and formal grounds were tended by over a hundred gardeners in its heyday, but now they just have just four gardeners, who were clearly struggling with the immense task of maintaining such a large and intricate garden. However, with the help of many donors including the Heritage Lottery Fund, a new garden entrance, car park and informative Heritage centre have been constructed. Other restoration projects are planned: dredging of the lake and new pathways in the deer park.
Finally ending up at Perrycroft Arts and Crafts Garden. Perrycroft is an Arts and Craft style house, with 10 acres of land, set into the hillside with sloped gardens. It has magnificent countryside views to the Herefordshire Beacon, an Iron Age hill fort.
Arriving the following morning at the RHS Malvern Spring Flower Festival, we raced off the coach to discover all the delights that awaited us. The floral marquee with its scent and colour from all the flowers vying for attention, the Fernatix stand with ferns in many shades of green and bronze. This won a Gold Medal and the Lyn Downes award for best floral marquee exhibit. Surreal Succulents, Penzance also received a Gold with their wonderful display, as did Kelnan Plants of Gulval Penzance.
On our last day we visited Miserden Gardens in the heart of the Cotswolds. This family run estate includes farms, woodlands and charming stone cottages. It was like stepping back in time when we arrived at this picturesque village. Miserden Gardens date back to the 17th century, when the Manor House was built, and is in an area of natural beauty, overlooking the Golden Valley. We ended our tour at the adjoining nursery, with a wide range of plants for sale, followed by a delicious lunch inside an old glass house, before making our way home to Cornwall.
A really enjoyable trip, with a great choice of gardens, the magnificent Malvern Spring Flower Festival, and the company of other Cornwall Garden Society members, many thanks to Alison for organising this garden holiday.
If you would like to learn more about garden holidays with the Cornwall Garden Society, please visit the events section of our website.
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Saul Walker fell in love with gardening as a result of his grandparents’ passion for visiting historic houses and gardens.
After a brief spell as an archaeologist, he trained as a gardener for the National Trust at Antony House in Cornwall.
After completing the Kew Diploma in Botanical Horticulture, Saul travelled to Australia, Southern Spain and the French Riviera to study and work in internationally-renowned gardens.
Following that, he became Show Manager for RHS Chelsea.
Unable to resist the call back to his native Devon, Saul was appointed Head Gardener of Stonelands House. His special interest is in woodland gardens
Join Saul for this lecture via Zoom on Tuesday 9th February at 7:30pm.
Juliet’s previous career in medicine informs her unique approach to designing gardens and communicating the importance of landscape to our wellbeing. She believes that access to good quality green space is a priority for healthy living and happy communities, especially in cities.
In 2016, Juliet designed the Modern Slavery Garden for RHS Chelsea – its first social campaign garden – for which she was awarded a Gold Medal and the People’s Choice Prize.
Fellowships of The Society of Garden Designers and The Landscape Institute followed in 2017 and 2020.
Juliet has been celebrated as a role model in the BAME community at the GG2 Leadership Awards and presents on BBC Gardeners’ World and Channel 4’s Village of the Year.
At her Sussex Garden School, she teaches design and planting to gardening enthusiasts.
Join Juliet on Zoom on Tuesday 9th March at 7:30pm