Grand Day Out

A Grand Day Out

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Rodmarton Manor: A secret vista leads to a view of a stone urn

Yesterday I had a wonderful day at Rodmarton Manor as part of The Generous Gardener’s programme of Garden Lecture Days throughout the year.

We were privileged to hear Jenny Barnes (better known on Instagram as @niff_barnes), once the Head Gardener of Cottesbrooke Manor in Northampton and now Head Gardener at Daylesford. Jenny is renowned throughout the gardening world for her way of pruning and tying roses (but also wisterias, weeping pears and other climbing plants) to make living sculptures. I first saw her work at Asthall Manor and was captivated by the beauty of her rose mounds in the herbaceous borders.

The view from garden

The view from garden to a bridge crossing a ha-ha and the borrowed landscape of the surrounding countryside.

In the afternoon, Jinnie Blom, a talented and award-winning designer and landscape gardener held us captivated by the challenges and achievements of 4 of her gardens in London, Braemar, Italy and the Cotswolds. I particularly enjoyed her landscaping at The Fife Arms in Braemar, owned by Hauser & Wirth, who have updated and upgraded this monument to Victorian grandeur and where Jinnie’s garden reflects, in miniature, the surrounding scenery and vegetation with the Cairgorms rising majestically in the background and Clunie Water, a tributary of the Dee, running alongside the hotel. With a limited number of varieties, all native to or adapted to the area, she has created a landscape perfectly in tune to what exists in the surrounding countryside – a essential element of her style.

Rodmarton Manor itself lies close to Tetbury and is a grade 1 listed Arts & Crafts Manor built for the Biddulf family in the early 19th century to a design by Ernest Barnsley. It is still owned by the family and is open on Saturday afternoons throughout the summer.

The Manor garden
The Manor garden
The Manor garden

The Manor gardens offer lovely vistas both towards and away from the house

Sarah Biddulph and her co-organiser, Sarah Rivett-Carnac who holds the organisation’s specialist plant sales at her home near Malmesbury, co-ordinated a memorable day. One gardening journalist planned her trip from Australia around the dates of these talks!!

Next time I shall be looking at this year’s container planting, although I know it will not match Niff’s!

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