"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

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Upton House Gardens

I visited Upton House and Gardens last year for the first time with a friend. Brian's never visited this particular house and gardens and as he's on holiday this week, I persuaded him yesterday it would be a nice place to visit and get some value from our National Trust membership :)

If you walk along the Main Lawn at the rear of the House you have absolutely no idea of the delights awaiting you as the gardens are hidden from view. When you reach the "Ha Ha" this is the view that is suddenly revealed.

At the top of the Terraced Garden there is a sequence of 3 terraces running East to West on the south facing slope - together these are known as "The Dry Banks" and contain a huge variety of shrubs and plants. The flowers were just full of bees, hoverflies and butterflies.

View down to Mirror Pool

The Cedars of Lebanon (there are five altogether) are on the west side of the garden and were planted in the 18th century.

View down to the "Formal Gardens" and Mirror Pool

The Aster Border - this is at its best in September. Upton has looked after the National Collection of Asters since 1985.

The Herbaceous Borders which were created by Kitty Lloyd Jones (1898-1978 - a pioneering English garden-design consultant) are just stunningly beautiful

There are three small enclosed gardens - The Rose Garden containing a statue of Pan, Lady Bearsted's Garden (with a pale pink and white flower colour scheme) and The Hibiscus Garden collectively they are known as the "Formal Gardens"

The Kitchen Garden is huge and looks very productive. It soon had Brian reminiscing on the days when we used to have a large vegetable patch and fruit cage at the top of our garden. I bought a marrow and red currants on my way out to make Stuffed Marrow and Red Berry Cheesecake.

You can walk all round Mirror Pool which was teeming with fish - red finned Rudd. The border which runs along the length of the far side of the pool is full of shade loving plants which were attracting a great variety of insects.

There were lots of coppiced hazel along one side of the pool full of ripening hazel nuts.

At this stage of the visit my camera started giving urgent messages that the battery was running low - sadly I only possess one battery and I really should have charged it before I left home.

Luckily, it kept going for long enough to take some photos of a part of the Gardens I didn't visit last time.

The Sunken Lawn

The Bog Garden with a sequence of stew ponds

The cottage (now known as Bog Cottage!) was built in the seventeenth century and originally used as a banqueting hall. In the 1930's it was the home of the Head Gardener.

We returned to the House via a zig-zag path through the Yew Terraces - yew berries are appearing on the trees.

At this stage the camera battery decided to completely run out - I am sure there are a lot of sighs of relief out there - as I have already posted far too many photos!!

We went and had tea and cake - fresh strawberry and cream sponge which was absolutely delicious and then had a look round the inside of the House.

Upton House was the country home of Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted, and his family. He bought the estate in 1927 and remodelled it extensively to provide room for his art and porcelain collection and installing rooms and entertainments expected of a wealthy host such as a billiard room, squash court and swimming pool.

If you are ever in the South Warwickshire/North Oxfordshire area - the House and Gardens are well worth a visit.


Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Well in your own words, this garden is "stunningly beautiful". so much to see, I would love to visit there sometime. Now I think you should go out and buy a back up battery. I learned this lesson many years ago and now never miss a shot. There were wonderful surprises round every corner of this pot. Thanks for sharing.

Countryside Tales said...

Oh, what a glorious place. Thanks so much for posting all those lovely photos- it gave a real sense of it and has made me want to visit! It looks beautiful and all those different plants and types of garden- wow! Must take a team of gardeners forever to keep it looking so wonderful :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks so much Margaret. Yes, I will buy a back-up battery. The one I have is about 4 years old so presumably won't last for ever anyway!!

Countryside Tales. Thanks CT - yes the gardens are so lovely and well worth a visit as is the house. I saw a notice somewhere and there were far fewer gardeners than I imagined employed there but they do have a lot of volunteers.

Wendy said...

Your lovely photos show some beautiful gardens. The Mirror Pool looks wonderful.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Many thanks :) Its one of the things I enjoy about blogging - it gives you the chance via people's blogs to see places that may be too far away to visit! Mirror Pool is lovely - as well as the fish we saw moorhens/coots and last year there were loads of dragonflies :)

SeagullSuzie said...

What a wonderful place, thank you for the tour of these lovely gardens. I especially like the bog area all green and lush. Very nice cottage for the Head Gardener but then when you have invested so much in it I guess you want a good gardener. I have yet to visit Agatha Christies Greenway House, as I have been told the gardens are beautiful-I hope to visit soon and take you on a reciprocal garden trip!

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thank you so very much for your lovely comment - so glad you enjoyed the Gardens. I liked the Bog Garden too - was so pleased to get to see it this time as I missed out on it last time!

So look forward to your visit to Greenway House - have heard and read all about it but never been myself so it will be wonderful to see your photos and read all about it :)

Em Parkinson said...

Imagine having a garden like that. What an absolutely perfect place and a wonderful tour round it from you. There was nothing I didn't like, which is quite unusual!

Ragged Robin said...

Em Parkinson - Thanks so much :)So glad you enjoyed :) It was also great to see so much effort put in for children to enjoy themselves too - as well as games on the sunken lane there was a wonderful adventure trail through the woods.

quacks said...

lovely set of pics.....

get a spare battery.... or new camera :)

but cake a good idea!!

Ragged Robin said...

Quacks - Thanks Pete!!! I SO wanted to get a photo of the cake to show you too :)

Trouble is want two new cameras!!! Something like one of thePanasonic GF models (that's smaller and lighter!!) and a Canon or Nikon set up - but can't justify cost of either :(

Chris Rohrer said...

Loving the basket on the bike idea. Very nice! The Mirror Pond and Bog are really nice features creating very different gardens. What a nice getaway!!!

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Many thanks Chris :) Lovely place - grounds and gardens large so easy to get away from people :)