Monday, 23 April 2012

Arley Hall

Recently I ambled off up north for a spot of garden visiting, battling through the rain and elements to visit the likes of Bodnant, Holker Hall and Wollerton Old Hall. One of the highlights of the trip was a poke around Arley Hall, a private estate and garden set amongst the beautiful Cheshire countryside. This garden has an impressive and ancient history, and has been entirely designed and improved over the centuries by each successive heir. In 1846 the ‘Alcove Walk’ was laid out for the display of perennial plants, with large double borders divided by a gravel path. This garden area is now known as the Herbaceous Border, and is widely accepted to be one of, if not the, first of its kind in the country, designed 50 years prior to the likes of old Gertrude Jekyll getting in on the act!  At over 160 years old, it remains to this day an utterly magnificent example of herbaceous planting and border design, and along with the rest of the garden is quite frankly enchanting. Arley is a little over an hour away from wonderful Wollerton, and I would strongly encourage visiting both!

Arley Hall, the same family have resided in a property on this site since 1469

Rain still visible in the Flag Garden, you find yourself stumbling upon these delightful little garden spaces as you meander about the place

The curious crimson blooms of Ribes speciosum

Topiary entrance to the Herbaceous Border, and the thick clouds that passed overhead all day

Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’

Detail of these charming flowers

Playful and fascinating, those huge yew buttresses are a joy!

Grand proportions and incredible structure, all that is lacking are the flowers! (please see below)

Two Magnolia trees form an arch leading to the Ilex Avenue. Oh dear, somebody’s left the mower out!

Clipped columns of Quercus ilex create this imposing scene

Sambucus racemosa 'Sutherland  Gold', we were so desperate to discover the name of this great beauty we hounded some poor chap passing by in a boiler suit! Alas, he did not know, or was perhaps too startled to tell us

Staphylea pinnata, the exciting seed pods of S. colchica posted recently here

A full glimpse of the Staphylea!

In the Kitchen Garden, tulip displays provide some early colour

An August view of the Herbaceous Border I took several summers ago


Gardener in the Distance said...

Hello Bertie,
I really enjoy the bulkiness of the hedges and topiary here at Arley, the long, uncluttered vistas, the space of the lawns, the quiet monumentality.

Janet said...

I have never come across Arley. There must be so many gardens in England! I wonder what the garden was like originally prior to the planting 160 + years ago. It must be difficult to keep true to the original design but still keep it fresh and interesting as the years go by. The exochorda close-up is stunning. Where's my list?

Prue said...

I love those clipped columns of Quercus ilex! I know it grows quickly but they are massive. Must take a lot of clipping.
A cracking garden, Bertie. One to put on my 'must see' list.

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

I just saw a feature of this garden in the English Garden magazine. The author estimated the borders at 250 yrs old! And never with help from a designer. The structure of the yew is a real winner. Thanks for sharing!

Bertie Bainbridge said...

What ho chumrades!

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