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Glorious Devon Gardens

PUBLISHED: 11:17 14 September 2007 | UPDATED: 14:51 20 February 2013

View a selection of glorious Devon Life garden visits.

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Devon Gardens

A visit to someone else's garden is often full of surprises and great ideas that you can take home with you to try. When it is also situated in an outstanding part of the county, it makes a wonderful day out where you can enjoy the tranquillity, scents and colours of the place and appreciate the skill of the gardeners who have laboured to make it so beautiful.

In this compendium of garden visits, Terry Underhill, for many years Devon Life's garden writer, guides us through six quite different gardens in truly wonderful Devon locations - from the understated splendour of Tudor Cadhay House near Ottery St Mary to a Victorian walled garden at Halwill Junction near Okehampton.

We unwind in East Devon at Bramble Hayes garden at Uplyme near Axminster, devoted to the needs of insects and birds and... contemplation.

In Torbryan, in South Devon, we enjoy a garden created from an old orchard, which features a rill, and see how one couple have indulged their horticultural fantasies at their nursery in Sampford Peverell.

Finally, if you've always wondered why the leaves turn the fantastic colours they do, all will be revealed as we head for six gardens right across the county to take in the spectacle of their glorious autumn colours.

    Listed by Country Life as one of the top manor houses in the country, Cadhay House also has gardens that are worth more than just a passing visit.Shortlisted in 2006 Finest Manor House awards. The house is built of Salcombe sandstone and was part of the manor of Ottery St Mary and is included in Simon Jenkins's 'England's Thousand Best Houses'. Look out for the carved doorway statues of Henry VIII and his three monarch children and the medieval fish ponds. Plants of note: topiary yews, avenue of limes, Gunnera manicata, Cotinus coggygnia, Cosmea bipinnatus, Magnolia grandiflora, dahlia hybrids, Echinacea purpurea Open: May-Sept, 2pm-5.30pm Tel: 01404 812999

    We visit the enthusiastic family team of three who have restored a genuine Victorian walled garden at Winsford. A property spotted for sale on the internet with a garden in urgent need of restoration - a dozen ornate cast-iron glasshouses and an old walled garden, the south-facing wall bricks of which reaches 140ºF at the end of a hot summer's day!
    • Plants of note: Pandorea, Pyrostegia, Thunbergia, Passiflora (tender climbers); Bouganvillea, Podranea, Oriental poppies, passionflower. Extensive herb garden with over 50 varieties of thyme. Alpines Open May-October and by appointment. Tel: 01409 221477

    Bramble Hayes is a garden to relax in and its owner provides just the thing in which to do it - elegant swing seats. In NGS 'Yellow Book', owner is also a maker of garden swing seats ( Plants of note: native tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), native wildflower (Scabiosa columbaria); Echinops ritra (attractive to insects); Stipa gigantean, Oenothera biennis, Cynara cardunculus, Astelia 'Silver Spear', Lilium auratum hybrid. Open through NGS scheme and by appointment. Tel: 01297 443084

    An unusual water feature is just one of the attractions of this South Devon garden that was once an old cider-apple orchard. Plants of note: Rosa 'Grace', Lespedeza thunbergii, Liriodendron tulipifer, Hemerocallis 'Stafford', Salvia uliginosa, Aster amellus, Metasequoia glytostroboides, Lonicera nitida, Sorbus 'Joseph Rock'. Catalpa bignoniodes, Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff'. Open through NGS scheme and by appointment. Tel: 01803 812339

    Finding out precisely the sorts of conditions under which plants flourish in their natural state has proved an invaluable lesson for one-time animal-feed researcher Martin Hughes-Jones. Plants of note: Artemesia, Lobelia tupa, Tulipa humilis, Euphorbia stygiana, Zauschneria and Eryngiu, There are bananas, ginger and canna all grown from seed gathered from expeditions. Stone garden at best late Aug/Sept; prairie planting; bird and wildlife haven Open till end October. Tel: 01884 821164,

    In spring and summer, gardens abound with floral offerings. Come October and it's the turn of the foliage. Why does this happen and where can you best see it? • Plants of note: Acer palmatum altropurpurea, Acer palmatum 'Sango-Kaku', Sorbus alnifolia 'Skyline', Parrotia persica, Liquidambar styraciflua, Acer x freemanii 'Autumn Blaze'. Suggested gardens to visit: RHS garden at Rosemoor; Bicton College at Budleigh; Dartington Hall Gardens near Totnes; Killerton at Broadclyst; Marwood Hill Garden near Barnstaple; Mount Edgcumbe at Cremyll, across the Tamar from Plymouth.

Devon Garden Visits


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