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ARDEN LODGE GARDEN - Brief description
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The 2-acre garden is well drained and slopes south/south west, enjoying good protection from the north and east. The house was built in 1896, and we suspect that some of the choicest surviving shrubs and trees date from that time – e.g. the uncommon deciduous eucryphia glutinosa (lower south boundary) with its mass of creamy white flowers in August, and the three large witch hazels further up on the same boundary. Several of the larger rhododendron hybrids must also (just!) qualify as ‘Victorian’. We understand that about 40 mature trees were destroyed in the 1987 storm – before we bought the house on retirement in 1992.

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On arrival, we sought to prolong the interest of the garden from the traditional May/June display of an acid garden. The sloping lawns were partially terraced and retained, and new paved terraces laid out adjacent to the house. Most paths in the garden were realigned and now disguise their destinations, bringing a less formal feel to the garden. A triangular bed is dedicated to herbaceous perennials, and the many shrubs, shrub- and climbing roses, peonies and clematis that we planted then are now mature, including cornus controversa variegata, whose wedding cake habit is already several layers high.

The sunken garden was excavated, and revealed a wealth of flaky sandstone at a depth of about three feet . This spoil was used to lay out the rockery near the house. The pool and adjacent arbour here are now a feature of the garden, with wisteria ‘Purple Patches’ and clematis ‘Tetrarose’ competing with the drooping branches of a small tree – “Kowhai”, the New Zealand national flower (sophora tetraptera) – grown from seed sown 14 years ago.

A long pergola, planted with wisterias, climbing roses, honeysuckle and vine was added in 2005; whilst it will take a few years to mature, we feel it promises to give further interest to the summer display, which is enhanced by various interesting planted containers around the garden.

We have been agreeably surprised at the willingness of most plants to thrive on this soil, which we feared might have proved too light and dry, but the renowned qualities of the greensand have been confirmed by remarkable growth.

We welcome groups and individuals to the garden by appointment and are confident you will enjoy looking over our garden, which we manage (so far!) with one morning’s help a week.

Chris and Pat Bruce-Jones

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