Inspiration at Killerton.

Inspiration is needed to add late interest to the border that we have at the side by the farmers field. Shrubs have grown rather large and are making the perennials lean forward at an alarming degree. Lots of cutting back to do which will leave lots of space for more planting. A few days ago we decided to go to our nearest National Trust property, Killerton House, which dates from 1778 and is where generations of one of Devon’s oldest families, the Acland family, lived.

Killerton House

Hot border at Killerton.

We had just started admiring the hot border when the heavens opened and with a bit of thunder thrown in, it was pouring down, so…….

Tea time

off we dashed for a bit of refreshment! The shower lasted for about 10 minutes, so one hot chocolate later we resumed our tour of the garden.

Lobelia Queen Victoria

Why are their stems of Lobelia Queen Victoria not eaten and chewed by slugs and snails like mine are?! I wish mine were standing tall and straight like this.

Opposite border

The cool border with pinks, blues and white was nowhere near as inspiring as the hot border, most of the flowers had gone over and there didn’t seem to be anything following on after the agapanthus apart from the pink roses.

Eupatorium and Sedum

The far end of the hot border had a magnificent group of Eupatorium purpureum, if only the sun had been shining, these would have been covered in bees and butterflies. Also there were some phlox and soon the sedum would be attracting bees and butterflies, competing with the eupatorium.

Far side of the hot border

This is the far side of the hot border, this time planted with Persicaria in the foreground with Ligularia Desdemona behind and to the left, dahlias and heliopsis.

Japanese anamones

By the side of the house where the tea room is, is another large border where we discovered this large group of beautiful white Japanese Anemones, they were stunning, but couldn’t help thinking that they were such a large group, what would be in this spot earlier in the year to keep the interest going. I decided in the end, that if it was me, I would have planted  lots of spring bulbs underneath.

House border

Lots more perennials in the house border.


There were lots of groups of asters dotted along the border, waiting for the sunshine to bring in all the bees and butterflies.


Tall white Agapanthus on the corner by the Tea Room. The borders had lots of late flowering perennials and bulbs, lots of inspiration for me and ideas to take home.

View over fields from garden

The view over the fields of the estate from the garden looks peaceful and pastoral, no problem with the cattle trying to get into the garden, there is a ha-ha where the mown grass stops.


For anyone who isn’t used to the term ha-ha, it is a ditch in front of a wall to stop sheep and cattle invading the formal garden. It means that the view across the garden into the countryside is uninterrupted by a fence or wall, an idea which was used a lot in the 18th century. Here they seem to have done a belt and braces job, there is an electric fence as well !

Plant Centre

Time to leave, out through the shop and plant area in the old stable yard, time to be tempted!!

Plant sales

So many to choose from…….

Rudbeckia Little Gold Star

…..but the one that came home with me was this one, Rudbeckia Little Gold Star. It is smaller than the usual Rudbeckia and has masses of small flowers so of course I was tempted and soon it will be planted in the garden here. I have seen lots of various bees enjoying it already but hopefully it won’t be too long before the butterflies find it.

We really enjoyed our visit to Killerton where inspiration was available for all those searching for it. They had plenty of flowers carrying on the gardening year so hopefully in years to come, the garden here will look just as good, well I can dream can’t I ?!

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20 Responses to Inspiration at Killerton.

  1. pbmgarden says:

    Enjoyed viewing this garden through your eyes. (Also fun to learn about a ha-ha).

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks PBM we enjoyed it too! I think the term ha-ha is typically english from way back a few hundred years ago, so thought I ought to explain. Whether this was said in surprise when someone came to the edge of the lawn or shouted when they fell in the ditch, I don’t know !!

  2. oh Pauline love your description of naming a haha, I think they originally had a fence in the ditch to stop the animals, some beautiful inspiration in those beds, the hot border especially has such a lot in flower, so slugs love the tall lobelias I’ll take them off my list of plants I’d like, I hate the holes in the ligularias I bought last year, thanks for sharing some inspiring plantings, Frances

    • Pauline says:

      Frances, I’ve never heard of a fence in the ditch, all the ones I have seen or read about, have a wall on the vertical side. We were especially impressed with the hot border so hope we can create something similar here.

  3. Christina says:

    I don’t think you need to dream too much, your garden is already lovely. It is great to visit gardens and be inspired. Thanks for sharing your visit, I really appreciate these virtual tours. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Christina, but the border by the field has stopped producing flowers now, it needs something to perk it up for at least another 6 weeks.I have also been to our local garden centre so have quite a lot of planting to do, must get all the weeds out first though, they have been growing strongly in all the rain!!

  4. wellywoman says:

    I love Killerton. It, and Knightshayes are stop-offs for us on our trips down to Cornwall. The gardens there are looking stunning. I’m sure you can away with lots of inspiration for your own garden. I have Ruckbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ and love it for its brilliant yellow blooms. Cheers up any dull day.

    • Pauline says:

      Knighthayes is my favourite WW because of its woodland garden, but both are visited when we have visitors, Killerton being the nearest to us. I have quite a bit of Rudbeckia Goldsturm dotted around the garden but feel that maybe I should bring them all together for a big splash of sunshine in the border. My new one, Little Gold Star is much smaller, the flowers are about half the size but there are so many of them on one plant, the effect is just as bright and the bees like it just as much!

  5. Anna says:

    Gardening visiting is invariably an excellent source of inspiration Pauline and it looks as if Killerton is no exception. A tea room in case of the odd shower and a plant sales area too – what more could a girl want. Your new purchase looks delightful and sunny. Have never been to Killerton but it’s on the list now 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      The double borders at Killerton Anna, are usually good for inspiration so we weren’t disappointed, except for the blue/pink border. The house at Killerton is well known for its collection of period costumes, from the 1700s to 1950s, some super outfits to see, male and female, if you are interested in that, hope you manage a visit some time.

  6. Kate says:

    Beautiful rudbeckia you chose – and what a really inspirational garden; I didn’t know it at all. Lots of ideas (except possibly using Japanese anemones en masse. Or indeed in any way, but that’s probably just me)…

    • Pauline says:

      There was lots to inspire us Kate, came home thinking I would have to do a lot of plant moving before I could plant anything, better to have varieties in drifts rather than dotted about the garden. Japanese anemones do tend to spread when they’re happy, I think theirs were very happy!

  7. Goodness, I admire your restraint, I am not sure I would have managed to only buy one plant! Lovely choice though, and thank you for the virtual tour, some glorious borders. It also reminded me how much I love agapanthus, which should do well in my own garden.

    • Pauline says:

      Not really restrained Janet, I had bought a few more plants just a couple of days before going to Killerton, just couldn’t resist the tiny Rudbeckia flowers! I think I must get some Agapanthus for the side border too, they would look nice in amongst the orange and yellows that I will be planting to extend the season. The Agapanthus should love your seaside situation, yes, go for it!!

  8. You made a beautiful choice! I love that star shape. And those gardens are spectacular…so full and lush and colorful! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks SB, I chose it because it had so many buds on it. Most of them are out now and I gave up counting when I got to 35, not bad on one plant! The bees and butterflies are certainly enjoying it, I think I made the right choice !!

  9. debsgarden says:

    Inspirational, indeed, like candy in a candy store. Thanks for sharing your visit. It sounds like a wonderful day, including the hot chocolate.

    • Pauline says:

      It was wonderful Deb, in spite of the showers and the hot chocolate was the perfect way to wait for the rain to stop! The garden was just what I hoped it would be and I will certainly use some of their combinations when I reorganise the planting here.

  10. The flower borders in this garden are very impressive. I like your take home flower choice, Pauline.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes, we did enjoy the garden Jennifer and the way they put their plants together. We always get inspiration from our visits and the best part of course, is bringing something home that we have seen growing there.

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