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.