"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 15 August 2011

Winterbourne - a Magical Garden

I've been meaning to visit Winterbourne House and Gardens for several years and yesterday I finally made the effort. I'm glad I did because I discovered a real gem of a garden.

Winterbourne situated in the Birmingham suburb of Edgbaston is a rare example of an early twentieth century suburban house and garden following the style of the arts and craft movement.

The house was built in 1903 for John and Margaret Nettlefold of Guest, Keene and Nettlefo1d. John Nettlefold carried out important pioneering work as chairman of the first housing committee in Birmingham. The house was designed like a small country estate with large gardens and outbuildings.

The gardens were designed by Margaret Nettlefold who was inspired by the books and designs of Gertrude Jekyll. The last owner of the house - a John MacDonald Nicolson - added various new features such as the scree garden. In 1944 on his death the house and garden were bequeathed to the University of Birmingham who still use it as the University's botanic garden and a teaching resource.

The gardens cover 7 acres and contain over 6000 plants from around the world.

On the Terrace

The Walled Garden

Glass House

Entering the Scree Garden

A wooden door marked "The Orchid House" led into a small, steamy greenhouse full of rainforest type plants. There was a magical atmosphere in here - it was like entering another world and took me back to my childhood (I guess I must have visited somewhere similar many moons ago)

A Fernery

Cactus House - like a very very miniature version of the one at Eden, Cornwall

Also in this area was an alpine house, coldframes with succulents and cacti and this lovely trough

I next walked through an area called The Geographics which contains plants from North and South America and China

Sandstone Rock Garden

Woodland Walk

which leads to a pool (shame about the coating of algae!) and a Japanese style bridge built in the 1930's

The Stream Lawn and Mini Arboretum

Walking back towards the house there was a pergola on the Lower Lawn

Herb Circle

Before leaving I just had time for a quick look around the house which illustrates how a traditional Edwardian home would have looked like

I wouldn't fancy lugging a camera like this around on my travels!!

I will certainly be returning to these beautiful gardens as there were many areas I didn't have time to explore and I would like to see how the gardens change through the seasons. Its also possible to access Edgbason Nature Reserve from the gardens so I'll take my binoculars next time!


Pete said...

that looks nice!

Ragged Robin said...

Well pleased with my discovery - I shall return:D

The Wessex Reiver said...

A great romp through the leafy suburbs of Birmingham Robin.... liked it all, but that slate wall callendar was quite something. The Edwardian's knew how to live!!

Ragged Robin said...

Thanks Andrew - glad you enjoyed the tour. I liked the slate calendar too :D

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind me commenting on such an old post but the garden looks even more spectacular in the summer. As you say it is a real gem and the Orchid House looks fascinating :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David (Wold Ranger) Thank so much David for visiting this old post and leaving a comment :) Looking at the photos again I don't know why I haven't re-visited sooner - lack of time no doubt :(

The orchid house from memory was particularly atmospheric and, for some reason, took me back to my childhood :) So glad you enjoyed :)