Given the traffic gridlock in Harpenden caused by the closure of the M1 motorway and further problems in the High Street, a surprising number of members and guests made it albeit a little later than normal to enjoy our guest speaker Andrew Sankey talk entitled ‘Six of the best! (he admitted to being a teacher in earlier years!)
With a colourful series of slides he featured his 6 favourite lesser known gardens in the UK.
The Dorothy Clive Garden. The garden was created in the 1940’s by Colonel Harry Clive for the pleasure and enjoyment of his wife Dorothy. Originally a disused gravel pit, the garden was transformed into a woodland garden for Dorothy who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
There are plenty of landscape features including a woodland garden and waterfall, displaying a large collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, a hillside pool and a spectacular 30 metre long laburnum arch.
Powis Castle, a paradise in Wales dating back to the 17th century. The world class Italianate terraced gardens blasted from solid rock display a theatrical mix of sophisticated borders with colourful planting, amazing topiary of the massive yew trees forming a cloud effect soaring over 30 feet in height above the terraces.
As you wander along the terraces you can experience the wonderful panoramic views of the Welsh countryside for mile upon mile.
Chatsworth, famous for it’s rich history, historic waterworks including the 300 year old cascade fountain, the willow tree fountain and the amazing gravity fed fountain, plus the spectacular 6 acre rock garden created by Head Gardener Joseph Paxton the most innovative garden designer of his era.
In addition there are 5 miles of walks, rare trees, shrubs, streams and ponds to discover.
Knightshayes Court a country estate on a grand gothic scale. The formal and woodland gardens contain one of the finest and most varied plant collections in the country. Over 1200 plant species are unique to Kingshayes. A walled kitchen garden is packed with fruit and vegetables used in the onsite Stables restaurant. Out in the parkland there are woodland walks and acres of tenanted farmland- home to the Exmoor long haul sheep.
Hestercombe Gardens a unique garden spanning three centuries of garden design. Set in 50 acres includes a Georgian shrubbery, a Georgian formal garden, a Georgian landscape garden and an Edwardian formal garden all offering a different experience as you explore Hestercombe. A spectacular Great Cascade is the centrepiece of the landscape garden. Two ponds, the Box pond and the Pear pond make tranquil places to rest and enjoy the views. The formal garden houses the Dutch garden and the impressive Orangery.
If Shrewsbury was used as a centre point, the Dorothy Clive garden, Powis Castle and the Garden of the year winner Hodnet Hall Gardens,(recorded in the Domesday Book with its series of attractive lakes and waterfalls are all within easy reach.