Calling at Cadhay.

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.

Stew pond, Cadhay Manor.

Jacobean 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.

Cadhay with double borders.

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.

Rudbeckia Irish Eyes

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.

Rudbeckia Irish Eyes

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.

Dahlia with moth

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.

Grass garden

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.

Cadhay Manor

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.

shady borders

Star of all the shady borders is a brilliant white phlox, it shone out so well, must get some for shady borders here.

Cadhay Manor

This is the front of Cadhay Manor which you can hire for  self catering holidays, weddings, anniversaries etc!

Walled garden Cadhay

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.

Walled garden @ Cadhay

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.

Victoria plum

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…..

Damson Merryweather

…..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!

Walled garden @ Cadhay

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!

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18 Responses to Calling at Cadhay.

  1. catmint says:

    even if we got perfection, the garden wouldn’t stay perfect for long. That does look like an unusual garden, I like the fact that it’s not perfect and it’s gardener is still learning and helped by volunteers. I would love to visit other gardens, but rarely seem to find the time. It’s something I mainly do via other people’s blogs for now – so thanks for the vicarious visit Pauline. cheers, catmint

    • Pauline says:

      It was a nice garden Catmint, we really enjoyed the fact that the gardener is just like us, still learning! I try to find the time to visit one garden each month, it’s usually only December and January that we feel its best to stay at home and keep warm, doesn’t always work though unfortunately.

  2. Christina says:

    Interesting garden, thanks for sharing your visit. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      It’s a pleasure Christina, we enjoyed our visit, probably only another month to go garden visiting, have to make the most of every opportunity!

  3. pbmgarden says:

    What a pretty blue sky you had for your visit. Thanks for taking your readers along on your tour of this nice garden. White phlox are especially a favorite of mine and these look beautiful (deer like them too much here so I no longer can grow them).

    • Pauline says:

      It was a lovely, sunny day PBM, we have to make the most of them when they come! We sometimes see deer on the field next to us and once when we had snow, their footprints were on the drive, but I don’t think they have ever ventured into the garden. I will risk it with one plant and see what happens, thanks for the warning!

  4. Thank you for the tour. The rudbeckia certainly looks like R. Herbstsonne. I have noticed it on a couple of blogs recently, and have also ordered it for next year – I think it is fabulous.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Karen for the identification, I will certainly buy one for next year. The information I found on Google said to keep deadheading for more flowers to open, I think I will need a ladder!

  5. wellywoman says:

    Looks like my kind of place, Pauline. I remember reading the same article in Gardens’ Illustrated and thinking it looked worth a visit. Probably won’t get the chance this year but I’ll make a note and hopefully get there next year. The reflections on the pond are beautiful.

    • Pauline says:

      The sky was so blue WW, it makes such a difference to photos doesn’t it! Amazing you remember the same article, must go again a bit earlier next year, maybe see you there!

  6. Anna says:

    Another lovely spot to visit Pauline and to be inspired by plants . What a great idea to offer some of the walled garden space to local folk. I imagine that there is a long waiting list 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      I agree Anna that the allotments in the walled garden are an inspired idea and I’m sure there must be a waiting list although I don’t know the rent that is being charged. It was a good garden to visit and we will certainly go again as it is so close.

  7. Anna says:

    P.S. I forgot to say that I like your new seasonal header despite the spider 🙂

  8. Cathy says:

    Just found an alert to this and your last post in my email junk box, so have probably missed others too – I have not intentionally been ignoring your efforts, Pauline! It was just the right weather then for gardening visits, and good to have them close by. Sometimes when you are busy it is good to have a nominal target of , say, monthly visits out – The Golfer and I do so many things ‘alongside’ each other and need to make a concerted effort to go out and actually do things together. Those phlox looked fantastic – it really shows the benefit of having groups of plants and not trying to get away with single plants, although Cadhay is on a different scale from most of our own gardens, of course. And it looks as if we all need high walled gardens for our fruit!!

    • Pauline says:

      Oh dear, glad you rescued me!! This happens here sometimes with other peoples posts, don’t know why. We also try to get out together once a month, my husbands passion is steam trains!! I am trying to plant more in drifts these days rather than one of everything, lots of seed sowing and cuttings being taken at the moment. I have read that bees and butterflies like lots of the same plant together rather than having to fly for some more of the same so will try and give them what they want! I’m afraid my cordon fruit trees will have to make do with a fence behind them, can’t run to a wall !!

  9. Cathy says:

    Hmmm – we get to see a few engine sheds too, and not just steam but diesel as well. Following your lead, we are off to Coughton Court tomorrow (via some golf courses to pick up some pitch repairers and score cards, a new collection for The Golfer) – watch out for the post later on! Your email alerts don’t come via WordPress, but from Admin at Lead up the Garden Path, and replies are not recognised in the same way as blogs are – but I have marked them as ‘safe’, so it shouldn’t be a problem now.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks for sorting out the problem Cathy, Steve is my son who set up the blog for me, will e.mail him to see what is going on. Hope you enjoy Coughton Court, will look forward to your post!

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