Sunday, 2 February 2014
Winterbourne House Gardens
I first discovered Winterbourne House and Gardens, located at the University of Birmingham, a couple of years ago and was entranced by the magical gardens. I've been meaning to pay a return visit ever since and today when chauffeuring E around I was in the locality with an hour to spare and decided to finally revisit.
Winterbourne is a rare surviving example of an early twentieth century villa and garden in the style of the Arts and Craft movement. The house was built in 1903 for John and Margaret Nettlefold of Guest, Keen and Nettlefold (GKN). It was designed in the style of a small country estate. Margaret designed the garden having been inspired by the garden design and books by Gertrude Jekyll.
The last owner was a John Macdonald Nicolson who developed new garden areas such as a scree garden and alpine area. He died in 1944 and left the House and Garden to the University of Birmingham.
The Botanical Gardens (used today by students at the University) cover 7 acres and contain 6000 plant species from all around the world.
The Walled Garden
Alpine plants appear throughout the gardens.
The plant in the photo below reminds me either of a Triffid or the man-eating plant in "The Little Shop of Horrors"!!
Cyclamens carpeting a woodland floor
The first snowdrops I have seen this year
This area of the Gardens is called "The Geographics"
There were several Witch Hazels in flower - I'd love one of these in my garden but they are very expensive to buy.
Old Garden Office
It was a shame I had so little time (to allow for travelling time) I only spent about half an hour there and you need several hours to explore the gardens properly. There is also access from the gardens to a Nature Reserve with woodland and a pool which I missed last time. Fortunately the ticket I purchased today is valid until the end of March so I plan to go back when it gets a little warmer and I have more time to spare.
If you do want to see more photos of the gardens in the summer I did a post in August 2011 which should be easy to find in the archive section on the right hand side of the blog - sorry no point in trying to insert a direct link as I can never get them to work. I also took some photos inside the house during that visit.