Garden visits are a bit like buses, you wait quite some time for one, then two come along at once! When we visited Killerton a couple of weeks ago to get inspiration for a late border, I never realised that I would find another garden with late double borders closer to home just a matter of days later. We just had to call at Cadhay Manor which is barely 5 miles away. This first photograph shows the view over the Medieval stew pond which is where you enter the garden.
Turning round from the stew pond, the view that greets us is of the back of the Elizabethan manor house with a formal garden of clipped yew in the Jacobean style.
While re-reading some of my old gardening magazines from last year, I found an article in the August issue, 2011 of Gardens Illustrated about Cadhay Manor. Why didn’t we visit last year, then I remembered, that was when all my muscle problems started. Last September I was very ill, so better late than never. These are the 120ft long borders which we had come to see, unfortunately just past their best, but look at the wonderful splash of yellow at the right front. I was completely mesmerised, they were absolutely covered in bees and other insects.
The cone in the centre is green and not brown like other rudbeckias, I’m assuming it is a rudbeckia, certainly an insect magnet. There were no labels, no one to ask, so it was onto Google when I got home.
But does it really have to grow this tall!! I will have to try and find a place for it at the back of the border, maybe a chelsea chop would sort it out! My search has made me think it may be R. Herbstsonne ( Autumn Sun ), which grows to 7ft but with all the rain we had earlier could account for this one being about 10ft, maybe someone could help with the identification please.
There were also quite a lot of single dahlias in the long border, this particular one was obviously very attractive to an unidentified moth, I have looked through my butterfly and moth book but can’t come up with a name, more help needed here please!
Just before we set off for a walk around the pond into their woodland walk, I found this roller under a tree, reminiscent of a bygone era.
A border full of various grasses was at the far side of the pond. Some lovely specimens but being all grouped together, you weren’t able to appreciate them individually. Musn’t be too critical of the gardener, this isn’t a National Trust property or English Heritage with professional gardeners, it is privately owned and the gardener used to be the gamekeeper on the estate, he is the first to admit that he is still learning. He manages the large garden with the help of volunteers.
We are now at the far side of the stew pond being dwarfed by some magnificent Gunnera.
Beside the Gunnera was a beautiful drift of Pontaderia, I don’t think the same variety as mine as the leaves weren’t the same paddle shape and the flowers seem to open up much more, will have to try and find out which one this is.
Lovely reflections looking back to the manor house across the stew pond. Stew ponds were essential in medieval times when the country was Catholic and fish was essential for eating on Fridays, they would have had plenty here with their 2 ponds. Today we didn’t see any fish but there were lots of damsel and dragon flies flitting around, too fast for me to photograph unfortunately.
Star of all the shady borders is a brilliant white phlox, it shone out so well, must get some for shady borders here.
This is the front of Cadhay Manor which you can hire for self catering holidays, weddings, anniversaries etc!
We couldn’t leave without visiting the walled garden, half of which has espaliered fruit trees planted across the width and the other half has been given over to allotments which people from the nearest town of Ottery St. Mary can rent.
All the plots looked very neat and tidy and they all had lots of flowers as well as veggies. The greenhouse in the background is for everyone to use, the allotmenteers, the estate gardeners and overwintering plants for the house.
On the west facing wall were some really fantastic fan trained fruit trees, these are Victoria plums, so many of them and so very tempting!
Lots of gorgeous, huge, juicy pears…..
…..and hundreds of beautiful, huge Damson Merryweather, so huge, they looked like plums. Had a look at mine when I got home, mine are only half the size!
Time to go, the smaller building to the right used to be the tool store but now has a new lease of life as the tea room, no we didn’t this time, we were only 10 minutes away from home, so came back here to have a refreshing cup.
Once again, I came home inspired, this time by two plants, the wonderfully tall rudbeckia and all the white phlox in the shade. I’m so glad I re-read the article about Cadhay a year later, before taking my magazines to the local cottage hospital which is where I have to go for physio for my shoulder. This is why I love garden visiting, there is always something that inspires us so much that we incorporate it into our own garden to try and improve it, always striving for perfection, thank goodness we will never get there, otherwise we would have to stop!