The estate extends to 27.5 hectares (67 acres) with formal gardens, meadows, woodlands, arboretum, rock and water features. No doubt much of the spring colour and interest comes from the streamside and rock garden areas although these were rather 'end of the season' last week. The northerly location of this property means that many plants are slightly later than the Midlands and south and on the day of my visit, the herbaceous borders were looking spectacular. These immense double borders run through the centre of the garden and unlike the Wisley borders, have no backing hedge, so can be viewed from both sides. Planting is primarily herbaceous perennials with grasses and a few shrubs. The scale is immense with huge drifts of plants.
|Looking down the borders|
|Looking back up the borders|
The small scented garden is packed with plants to the extent that even in the midday sun, the air was richly perfumed. Roses, mingled with sweet bergamot, lilies, anise hyssop, lavender and a whole host more. The adjacent foliage garden was a little disappointing and clearly in need of refurbishment. There are so many excting plants with good foliage that could be featured here.
|The Scented Garden|
The kitchen garden demonstrates that edibles can be grown in very small spaces and can be mixed with ornamental plants. Raised beds allow for early soil warming. I particularly liked the woven spiral runner bean supports. Nearby and a slightly odd partner is the alpine house, a big airy modern glasshouse filled with beautifully maintained alpines. On the day of my visit, two volunteers were meticulously brushing dust and sand from the rock surfaces. I particularly liked the alpine gardens incorporating stacked tiles. Not only attractive but no doubt providing unique habitats.
|Purple kale with nasturtium and marigold - the kale is too good to eat!|
Beyond the Brammel Teaching Centre, there is an area described as the 'Gardens through Time' with seven small plots, illustrating the changes in style since the early 19C. Some of the gardens were good and illustrated the key features well, although others seemed to have lost the plot. The formal bedding in the mid-Victorian garden has been replaced with a meadow mix of annuals which really rather misses a key point! I think Victorian Head Gardeners would have been horrified by the scruffy informality of such a planting! The nearby Brammel Learning Centre itself is a fine building, set amidst meadow planting which here is entirely appropriate.
|Mid Victorian garden - a touch of Biddulph Grange?|
|Entirely un-Victorian meadow!|
|Festival of Britain 1950's garden|
|Outdoor Living 1970's garden|
|Contemporary 2004 Garden|
|Lovely and appropriate use of meadow planting|