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Friday, 17 September 2010

Autumn Glory

Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire are proof that even when nature is starting to shut up shop for the year, you can still have a spectacular display.

Yesterday, as the sun came out, the famous herbaceous border had people literally stopping in their tracks as they rounded the corner and saw it for the first time. Most of the plants are the sort you can come across in any suburban garden, but the planting - against the mellow bricks of the old kitchen garden wall - shows them to perfection. Michaelmas daisies, goldenrod, helenium and sedums are replacing the delphinium, achillea, verbascum and phlox and are set to bloom until the first frosts.

The Formal Garden is also ablaze with colour, much of it from an intricate knot garden with swirls of different medicinal herbs, which lies immediately behind the 'Lamp of Wisdom' statue.

Behind the sunlit patch of this corner near Seb's Garden, a path leads down to the River Thame. The swathe of island beds have been planted so they can be enjoyed from any angle.
Waterperry began life as a School of Horticulture for Ladies early in the 1930s. After this closed in 1972, the grounds were extensively developed and now cover 8 acres. Herbaceous nursery stock beds (such as those above) provide a living catalogue of plants. The teaching tradition also continues. On the current agenda are three Grow It Yourself workshops:
24th November 2010 - Hardwood cuttings, root cuttings, herbaceous plant division
16th March 2011 - Growing plants from seed
15th June 2011 - Softwood and semi-ripe cuttings

Another Waterperry Gardens must-see is the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, right next to the old manor house. It has an unusual wooden tower, the original Saxon chancel arch, some beautiful 15th century brasses and stained glass dating back to 1220.
Waterperry Gardens are open every day and are near Wheatley in Oxfordshire. OX33 1JZ . Regular events include an Apple weekend (Oct 8, 9 and 10) and a Great Pumpkin Hunt (Oct 23).
ph 01844 339254

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