Visiting Arley Hall is like returning to a favorite college haunt, perhaps this is because the estate was one of my favorite places while I was in England studying garden history. I discovered Arley by happenstance while on my way home from dropping my sister off at the airport. During this first tour I met Lady Elizabeth Ashbrook, mistress of the house, and we became fast friends. Over the years I’ve maintained my connection to Arley – Lady Ashbrook’s son Michael has even been to Moss Mountain Farm – and go back whenever I’m in England.
Arley is open to the public March 2015 – October 2015
(Monday – Sunday inclusive) 11am – 5pm (last entry 4.30pm)
Visit www.arleyhallandgardens.com for more information.
Friends of the Spade! Lord Ashbrook and Lady Tollemache and I take a walk around the gardens at Arley.
The park surrounding Arley Hall includes the 18th century approach to the hall. The massive English Oaks and sheep add to the bucolic mood.
Arley Hall, in its present form, was built in the Elizabethan style in the 1840s.
The herbaceous borders, often cited as the crown jewels of the gardens at Arley, were laid out in 1846. The alcove serves as a terminus and a place to sit and admire the borders.
Yew buttresses€� punctuate the borders and provide evergreen structure to the garden.
Loose plantings of bulbs and annuals provide contrast to the structure provided by the yew.
Many North American native plants can be seen planted in the borders.
Topiary yew finials and benches frame the view of the park from the borders.
A sequence of flowering from early May through October makes the borders interesting through the season.
The Ilex Avenue is made of large clipped cylinder shaped holly oak – Quercus ilex.
The terminus of the Ilex Avenue is a sunken garden punctuated by a sundial. The large urns were added by my great friend Lady Elizabeth Ashbrook.
This week begins a series of English garden tours on my blog highlighting a recent trip to Cheshire – Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Surrey. I have seven gardens to show you starting with this one at Helmingham Hall, the home of my good friend and garden designer Xa Tollemache.
Hellmingham Hall gardens are open to the public May through early September.
Opening Times – 3rd May to 20th September 2015
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday 12.00 – 5.00pm
Open Bank Holiday Mondays
(opening times on event days may vary)
In addition to the gardens at Helmingham Hall, Xa has designed landscapes for homes in Great Britain, the U.S. and Europe. She took me to see the gardens she designed at Denston Hall.
Maestro guards the knot garden at Helmingham.
The parterre gardens are a favorite spot of mine. I love the combination of grey and green.
Head gardener Roy Balaam has been working at Helmingham since 1952.
A grand urn surrounded by white â€˜Sonata’ cosmos is a beautiful focal point.
Water plays a magical role in the garden’s design reflecting the sky and the hall. An eco-friendly bank of wildflowers edges the moat.
A lovely urn planted with Campanula â€˜Pritchard’s Variety’ and purple bell vine (Rhodochiton)
Deer in the park are beautiful to observe at the end of the day as they move closer to the hall.
The element of whimsy is incorporated into the garden with fanciful topiary like this comfy chair and jolly snowman.
Â Xa discussing the merits of Deutzia.
The herbaceous borders feature a glorious and diverse range of plants. Many American native wildflowers are in the garden such as Joe-pye weed and purple coneflower.
This sundial is a subtle focal point.
A beautiful late flowering clematis.
The dahlias were magnificent.
I discovered my inner Anglophile shortly after college while studying garden design and history at the University of Manchester. England felt like a home away from home for me and I don’t think there was a more ideal place in the world for me to hone my landscape design skills.
I recently returned to England on a tour of houses and gardens. While I started in Cheshire for a stay with my friends at Arley Hall, the majority of my visits were made in Norfolk and Suffolk. There was so much to take in and discover. I certainly came home with more than enough material to share with you on my blog. Over the next few months I’ll post a series of installments about my trip. This first one gives the 30,000 foot view.