The place we stayed is in the village of Pembridge, about 20 miles West of Hereford, and it is very conveniently situated for the keen horticulturalist, with many interesting gardens within easy reach.
On our very first day we visited Berrington Hall, an imposing stately home maintained by the National Trust. It was a very interesting property, and the guided tour we joined was clear and informative. Now, whilst I'm interested in History (I studied Modern History at Oxford), I have to say that my chief interest was actually in the gardens. Even your first sight of the property as you come round the corner from the car-park is dominated by the really striking avenue of neatly-trimmed Golden Yew bushes. The day we were there the weather was poor, and the black clouds added an extra level of drama to the scene:
We had some time to kill before the guided tour, so we made a diversion into the walled garden, which was devoted about 50:50 to flowers and fruit/veg. The floral borders contained a huge variety of plants, many of them in "soft" pastel colours:
There were some very impressive individual specimens, like this deep burgundy-coloured Hollyhock:
Personally, I prefer the "hot" colours, so my attention was attracted by these golden Crocosmia, much more yellow than the most common type, which is orange:
There were masses of these Day Lilies, in a wide range of colours:
This photo of a Hypericum is very much "my type of thing"! Raindrops on the leaves; insects posing etc...
In amongst the flowers were dozens of fruit trees, some of them quite unusual types, like these Medlars:
And these Quinces:
I won't show you pictures of Apples and Pears and Plums - you know what they look like - but take it from me, there were loads of them!
After admiring the flowers we went on into another part of the walled garden, in which there was a children's play area and a kitchen garden area. The play area contained these really appealing sheep models:
Elsewhere was this very dishevelled scarecrow:
Actually, the main Veg garden was also guarded by a different scarecrow:
I liked this rustic archway made of hazel boughs, supporting several Squash plants and surrounded by colourful Nasturtiums:
I'm not sure what type of Squash they were, but perhaps they were "Acorn"?
Moving on from the kitchen garden, we went through a wooded area and I was thrilled to spot this fantastic Giant Puffball fungus. It was about 8 inches in diameter:
In the shaded area there were lots of different types of Hydrangea:
Emerging into the sunlight again, we saw this plant. I don't know what it is, but it was very much like a giant Sage. It had wonderfully complex seed-heads:
At this point we moved indoors to join the guided tour...
Later on I had a browse around the plants on sale at the gift shop. There were one or two outstanding specimens, like this Sedum:
So there we are then; that was Berrington Hall:
If you're interested in this, you can read more about our recent holiday in Herefordshire here