Lunch and a garden in Somerset.

We met up with a friend the other week who was making her way home from Dorset to Wales, at Margery Fish’s garden at East Lambrook Manor in Somerset. There is also a good pub opposite, The Rose and Crown, which is ideal for lunch. I think the pub must do very well from all the visitors to the garden, especially in February as the garden is famous for it’s snowdrops. One year we went and got the last available table, so its best to book ahead.

Jap Anemones

There were lots of lovely Japanese Anemones near  the silver garden, I wish mine were as good as this. Mine are struggling in more shade, maybe I ought to move them.


Quite a few Asters were bringing in lots of bees.


I’m not sure which flower this is, maybe a Helianthus, do let me know if you know differently!


A few varieties of Phlox were looking pretty in the borders. Everywhere had a very relaxed feel as though the garden was gently winding down.

Willow Gentian

There were quite a few plants that I couldn’t identify and looking underneath in the borders, I couldn’t find labels when I wanted to! Is this a Willow Gentian or a Campanula, I think maybe a Willow Gentian. It’s the right time of year for a Willow Gentian.


Once again, I couldn’t find a label, but I think this is an herbacious clematis. It was covered in these tiny pale blue flowers, smaller than in the photo, which looked really pretty in the border. I have read since coming home, that it is Clematis jouiniana Praecox, it is herbacious but can be trained upwards if desired. It is treated like the viticella clematis, just needing to be cut down to about 2 ft in February. I looked in our local garden centre to buy one, but none there, so I have ordered one as I think the pale blue flowers are a nice change from all the yellow and orange at the moment.

Clerodendrum bungei

Clerodendrum bungei was recognised straight away. The flowers look as though they should be a favourite with butterflies, but I couldn’t see any taking advantage of them. I’m almost tempted to buy one, the flowers are so beautiful.


I might have not been able to see any butterflies, but the undergardener spotted this dragonfly hanging on the next bush.

Garden view

This view appealed to me because of all the different shades, shapes and textures of the foliage. The only flowers are from the Persicaria in the foreground, but I think it looks very interesting and tempted us further down the path.


There were quite a few different Salvias which reminded me that I could put some in my side border by the field for colour in late summer. I don’t think Salvias would like my wet soil over the winter but if I keep them going from cuttings I should be ok shouldn’t I?


This next shrub took my breath away, it was so, so pretty! I love it, but what is it, I couldn’t find a label and I couldn’t find anyone to ask, I think we were the only people in the garden. It is a Euonymus but which one, there are quite a few?


Just look at those gorgeous little pink fruits which will open up to show the orange seeds inside. I’ve fallen in love, I want one, but I need to know which it is! I sent an e.mail to East Lambrook Manor to see if they could tell me, they very kindly replied that the person who knows is on holiday at the moment, but they will e.mail me when he comes back.


Rather a nice large flowered Golden Crocosmia.


There were lots of Dahlias dotted around.

Arum italicum

And lots of clumps of Arum italicum under large conifers, I was almost on my knees crawling underneath to photograph these, just as well we were the only ones around!


Another plant that I was attracted to was this Hedychium, a ginger lily, I was certainly getting lots of inspiration from this garden.


I spy a nursery tucked away behind the plants, was I tempted, of course I was!


Just four plants jumped into the basket, a lovely bronze/orange grass, Carex testacea which will go into the sunset border, along with a Digitalis ferruginea which has flowers almost the same colour as the grass. Also, another Digitalis, this time D. Milk Chocolate and a pink/lilac Aster Brilliant. Unfortunately they didn’t have either the Hedychium or the Euonymus, or the Clerodendron or the Clematis for sale, what a pity.

Golden rod

A beautiful swathe of Golden Rod was planted by the exit, it looked really stunning swaying with the wind and contrasting with the purple foliage behind it. It is a big plant but here, where it had lots of room, it looked wonderful!

We then parted from our friend and made our way home, thanks Rosemarie, it was good to see you again and catch up on all your news!

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42 Responses to Lunch and a garden in Somerset.

  1. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Thanks for taking us along to this wonderful garden. Clerodendrum bungei is beautiful and also very fragrant but it does like to spread all over the place. That Euonymus is beautiful. So many gorgeous plants.

    • Pauline says:

      Does the Clerodendron spread by suckers Peter, I saw a few more smaller bushes and wondered!?
      It was a good visit, lunch and a garden with with a friend, what could be better!

      • Rosemarie Eccleston says:

        It was a good visit, wasn’t it. Thank you for all the reminders on here, Pauline, and for introducing me to East Lambrook 🙂

        • Pauline says:

          It certainly was a lovely time Rosemarie. I’m glad you enjoyed East Lambrook, I haven’t been there at this time of year before and was pleased to see so many flowers. My clematis should arrive in a couple of days, I thought the pale blue colour made a nice change from the normal yellows and reds of autumn.

  2. Jane Scorer says:

    Thank you for that tour ! It is a garden I have always intended but never managed to! It looks just as fantastic as I had hoped ! I love that waxy Clerodendrum, and the lovely, large flowered crocosmia, that I thought initially was a very late Hemerocalis !
    Great restraint shown in the nursery btw , buying only 3 plants!

    • Pauline says:

      As it’s fairly near to us Jane, I try to visit each year, but at different seasons.
      I think I only bought a few plants because there are so many waiting here to be planted, hopefully they will all be in the ground before winter!

  3. Angie says:

    Nice garden to visit. You always know you’ve had a good visit if a. you leave with inspiration or b. you leave with plants 😉
    Isn’t it annoying when you immediately fall in love with a plant and know you just have to have it but then need to go to the bother of getting an ID! I hope you find out and have your wish.

    • Pauline says:

      It is a nice garden Angie and is different each time I visit. I have read most of her books, she is such a good writer and inspires me with her words just as her garden does.
      I’m sure I will track the Euonymus down eventually, then I will have to find a space for it!

  4. alison r says:

    What a lovely blog and thank you for my virtual tour of East Lambrook Manor Garden. Lots of ideas to make note of.

    • Pauline says:

      Lovely to hear from you Alison, it’s always good to hear from someone new! East Lambrook Manor has a lovely garden, it’s good to visit at any time of year.

  5. Chloris says:

    This is still such a lovely garden so many years after the death of Marjorie Fish. I have all her books, she was a wonderful writer.
    There are several pink flowered Euonymus but this may be Euonymus phellomanus.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Chloris for the suggestion of Euonymus phellomanus, I have looked it up but am not sure if it is the same, the fruits on mine were such a lovely pale pink, I will keep looking.
      I too enjoy reading her books, they are just as inspirational as her garden!

  6. Sally says:

    That was a beautiful tour, Pauline. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. There were a lot of plants I have never seen before. And, there’s still so much plant life flourishing! It must take a lot of self-control to not buy the place out…’s one thing to go to a nursery and they’re lined up in pots but, to see the plants looking so lovely in a garden……hmmm

    • Pauline says:

      Seeing the garden first does make visiting the nursery very tempting Sally, but there is only so much spare space left in the garden for new plants! It was a lovely garden to visit, it’s no wonder we keep going back each year!

  7. Cathy says:

    There was an article in the RHS magazine about it recently – it looked gorgeous, and definitely one to visit if we are in that direction. Do tell us if you find out what that plant is, the one you think is euonymous – those pink flowers are so pretty. Hope you enjoy your new clematis when it comes – was it sprawling across the border in this garden?

    • Pauline says:

      Can I recommend snowdrop time Cathy, if you want to visit, there are so many different varieties, and for sale too! I’m still trying to track down which Euonymus it was that I fell in love with. Apparently it has very nondescript green/yellow flowers in the spring, it’s moment of glory comes at this time of year with the gorgeous pink fruit which split to show the orange seed.
      I’m sure I will enjoy my clematis when it comes, the one we saw was climbing up a wall to about 5ft then it cascaded over the shrubs in front, it was beautiful!

  8. Anna says:

    Oh lucky you Pauline I have wanted to visit East Lambrook for years ever since avidly reading Margery Fish’s books. Will be interested to see if anybody ids the yellow daisy which I also think is a helianthus. I’ve got one which I’ve been trying to kill off for years.
    Cathy (Rambling In The Garden) and I both grow clematis jouiniana ‘Praecox’. Cathy grows hers upwards whilst mine sprawls. It is also a bird and butterfly magnet. On the downside the foliage looks most unattractive come autumn.

    • Pauline says:

      Anna, you didn’t say why you have been trying to kill the Helianthus, how has it upset you?!
      Thanks for the tip about the Clematis, maybe the foliage was why at East Lambrook Manor it is grown at the back of a border against the wall and then left to cascade over the bushes in front.

  9. debsgarden says:

    I also like that Euonymous! I love to visit gardens and rarely come away uninspired. I could wander through East Lambrook all day! Visiting great gardens like your own via the internet has a similar effect but is usually not so bad on the pocketbook, at least initially.

    • Pauline says:

      East Lambrook Manor is a lovely garden Deb, very much a cottage garden. Margery Fish, the owner died in the 1950’s but her garden lives on. I always come away inspired by the planting and have learned so much from all her books.
      It is so easy to be tempted in the nursery alongside the garden, but I reminded myself that I already have so many plants waiting to be planted!

  10. pbmgarden says:

    I didn’t know about Margery Fish, so look forward to reading more about her. This certainly is a gorgeous garden. That Japanese Anemone looks lovely. Someone told me it spreads aggressively so I’ve been nervous about trying it.

    • Pauline says:

      Margery Fish Susie, died in the 1950s, but her garden lives on, cared for by different owners who buy the house and garden. It is a good example of a Cottage garden and the owners try to keep it as they think she would like it. She has written numerous books about gardening, all of which I find inspiring.
      My Japanese anemones haven’t read the books, the clumps are staying so small, I’ve almost given up on them ever spreading!

  11. Christina says:

    I’m so glad the garden has kept its integrity so long after Margery Fish’s death. I was there years ago when it had just been bought by new owners who didn’t really seem to know much about gardens (maybe that was a good thing and they just learnt from Margery’s wonderful books. I do think that most nurseries attached to gardens really miss out on so many sales by not having the plants that are looking wonderful when you visit available for sale, it happens so often. A marketing man’s nightmare!

    • Pauline says:

      I agree Christina, it did go through a bad patch when it had new owners who claimed that they didn’t know the garden was open to the public every day, when they bought the house!! It has changed hands a couple of times since then and is now in a safe pair of hands thank goodness. I think the nephew of Margery Fish still has an interest in the nursery and the National Collection of hardy Geraniums which is held there.
      I agree that the owners are missing out on quite a lot of sales, but then I would have spent twice as much and would have to find room for so many more plants! I’m already walking round and wondering out loud about ” who isn’t pulling their weight” so I can remove them for something better!

  12. rusty duck says:

    I don’t know why, but hadn’t realised until reading your post that East Lambrook is so close to us. It’s a must to visit. I’m worried that you feel your anemones might be in too much shade, I was banking on having some of them in the wood.

    • Pauline says:

      The garden Jessica is 3/4 hr usually from us near Exeter, I say usually because it took a lot longer due to heavy traffic the day we went, nose to tail all the way!
      I too wanted my Japanese anemones in the woodland, having seen them in Beth Chattos woodland, but they just don’t seem very happy where I’ve put them here. I might try some root cuttings and then plant them in different places to see which conditions they like best.

  13. Alain says:

    This is a garden I would like to visit as I have read all her books. From your pictures one gets the impression that it is still a “plantsman” garden where one takes pictures of interesting plants rather than views of large areas of the garden. It that the case? How does it look as a whole?

  14. Frank says:

    You are so lucky to have these fantastic gardens nearby to visit. I’m quite a bit jealous 🙂
    I agree everything has that winding down look, perfect for the season, and the euonymus is quite a show. I have e. alata and may remove it this spring due to invasiveness. It’s planted all over, but I see so many seedlings from my own, I don’t want to be a part of the invasion!

    • Pauline says:

      I heed your warning Frank about the seedlings of the Euonymus! Have you read any of Margery Fish’s books? I found them a great help when starting the garden here. My Clematis jouiniana Praecox that I ordered has arrived and yesterday was carefully planted in the garden, so next year, hopefully I will have lovely pale blue flowers in the side border at this time of year.

  15. Annette says:

    Hi Pauline, I’d love to see this iconic garden too. Fish’s planting is just my cup of tea and your pics proof that there’s plenty to admire now. The Solidago is stunning, also the Aster and Anemone. The latter sulk a little in my garden, maybe because it’s not as sunny as it should be and then they’re very hungry too.

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Annette, maybe that’s my problem with the Anemones, I’m not feeding them! East Lambrook Manor is a garden that I like visiting at any time of year, there is always something to inspire me. Also it is a garden that the ordinary gardener can relate to, it isn’t acres and acres with a team to keep it tidy.

  16. Tistou says:

    Oh, please be back there in next February again and take as many pictures of snowdrops as possible! Please-please! 😀 Ah, and now I found from the comments that you’ve already done so! Well, another visit won’t do any harm I think!
    But surely the garden and plants look interesting now too! Thanks for the tour!

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Tistou, we usually visit a garden in February to see snowdrops, there are so many gardens, we are spoilt for choice!
      The garden looks interesting whatever time of year we visit, it is a lovely place to visit.

  17. There are so many wonderful gardens to visit in the U.K.! The white Japanese Anemones are so perfect they make me think of freshly laundered sheets. I have never seen a Euonymus like the one you show here and was surprised to even read that it was a Euonymus. Isn’t it nice when an inspiring garden has a nursery where you can select a few treasures to bring home?

    • Pauline says:

      We are so lucky with our gardens Jennifer, most have nurseries attached plus a restaurant for tea and cakes, it makes a good day out!
      The common name of the Euonymus is Spindle Tree. Back in the old days, when every girl and woman sat at a spinning wheel, the spindle that was used in the process was made from the Euonymus tree. It is a very hard wood which was suitable for making spindles. The bush or tree is so different from the more common E. Emerald and Gold. I haven’t heard yet which variety it is.

  18. A lovely garden, that path framed by the Persicaria was very inviting, so many lovely foliage shapes. I would have fallen for the euonymus too, look forward to finding out what it was, you spark a run on it! Planting that clematis at the back of a border sounds perfect, another plant for my over full notebook.

    • Pauline says:

      It is a lovely garden Janet, no matter what time of year we visit. Have you read any of her books, they are so inspiring. I have planted the clematis near the back of my border by the field. I will train it up to about 5ft, then it can flop through shrubs either side, I hope it works!

  19. catmint says:

    the garden looks superb and Margery Fish a legend. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see this garden directly, so thanks, Pauline, for showing me through your eyes. I look forward to seeing the plants you bought settle in their new location.

    • Pauline says:

      I must try and get the plants into their position soon Catmint, but hopefully we will have rain soon and that will make it easier. I’m glad you enjoyed the tour round the garden at East Lambrook Manor, very different from the gardens in Australia I’m sure!

  20. wellywoman says:

    I have wanted to visit there for a while now but so far haven’t got round to it. I came across a book written by Margery Fish on a stall in Spitalfields in London. It was only £1 and is a fantastic little book all about cottage garden plants. Must try and visit next year. I love the ginger lily.

    • Pauline says:

      Margery Fish is a good writer, I have a lot of her books, bought from the shop at the property, which have inspired some of the planting here. I think you would enjoy a visit there and as I said, there is a good pub for lunch just over the road!

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