2017 One Day Outing
Henry Woolston

Our first call was at White Cottage Garden and Nursery at Stock Green in Worcestershire.  The garden is just under two acres and has many features and areas, including a formal garden, a fern garden, a rose garden, a rock garden, a small stream with adjacent bogside planting, herbaceous and shrub borders, as well as many fine trees, mostly planted by the present owners when they took over the house and garden in 1981. Apparently it was mainly scrub in those days so that the owners have created the garden virtually from scratch.  Since then additional adjacent land has been acquired as the garden has been developed to its present size.  There is a small area of nursery incorporated devoted mainly to herbaceous plants but also with some shrubs, almost all propagated from the garden.  The garden is opened for the National Garden Scheme at various times throughout the year but private visits can be arranged for individuals and groups.
Refreshments were provided and our party enjoyed our visit in such a peaceful setting and well attended garden.

We then went on to Meadow Farm Garden and Nursery in Feckenham in the same county, owned and run by Diane and Rob Cole.  This is well known to many of us, with its extensive nursery and lovely adjacent garden, providing a wide selection of good quality of herbaceous and other plants to be seen and purchased.  The owners concentrate on taking stock to customers at various plant fairs held throughout the summer, although group visits to the nursery and garden can be arranged.  There is a well adapted barn where we received a welcoming introduction from the owners and light refreshments were available.  The garden below the house is extremely well maintained and planted by the owners and is a joy to walk round and to sit in for a while.  Its sloping site contains extensive lawned areas and paved walks, connecting large areas of colourful herbaceous, shrub and tree planting, with occasional sculptural and other features to provide points of additional interest.  Lastly, for those of us who enjoyed a pleasant stroll, the owners have created in an adjacent piece of pasture a wooded and meadow area to encourage butterflies, other small creatures and wild flowers.

Finally we visited Morton Hall Gardens near Inkberrow, described by the present owners as “a journey from Georgian elegance to Postmodern reflection”.  The garden can be visited on Open Days under the National Garden Scheme but otherwise visits are for groups of 10 or more by appointment only.  The late 18th century manor house of the Morton Hall Estate is perched at the top of an escarpment with breathtaking views of the Vale of Evesham.  Its lovingly restored eight acres of garden and park combine historic and new features in an unusual way. Earlier in the year it apparently contains one of the country’s most impressive fritillary meadows which is being extended in its period of flowering interest  by extensive planting of crocus (beforehand) and after with narcissus, camassias and alliums.  Moving through a succession of garden areas we toured, under the guidance of the Head Gardener, herbaceous borders, a potager, an impressive rock garden in a wooded area descending to create a waterfall effect in stone and plants and an elegant Japanese style garden looking over an informal water garden, bordered with waterside loving plants such as candelabra primulas, irises, ferns etc.  The present owners took over in 2008 and engaged Charles Cheshire early on to create the design and layout and appointed the current enthusiastic Head Gardener two years ago.  We were told that apart from the latter and his assistant, with occasional help from estate staff, the enthusiastic lady owner provides practical help three days a week under the guidance of the garden staff.  Her encouragement and support is apparent in making this garden  such an enjoyable and interesting  place to visit.

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