Hergest Croft is a garden property open to the public, situated in the village of Kington, near Hereford. It couldn't really be described as a stately home, but it is a big house with huge grounds, including a very well-stocked arboretum, and a fabulous kitchen garden. This is the house:
The terrace of the house is now part of a tea-room. This is what it looks out onto:
Near the main house is a formal "knot-garden" made with various types of low hedging, mostly box. The centrepiece is a sort of "fir cone" edifice, constructed of very precisely-positioned pieces of slate. Lovely!
Adjoining the main house is a greenhouse absolutely packed with stunning plants, mainly Fuchsias and Pelargoniums. I was too overwhelmed by the plants' beauty to think of noting their names though!
|Pelargonium "Black Prince"|
|Datura Candida, or Angel's Trumpet|
|Don't know: is it a type of African Violet?|
|Don't know: plant was very like a Passion Flower|
After looking at the flowers, we headed off to the walled garden. It was HUGE! I should think it was about 100 metres square. About half of the space was devoted to veggies:
There were some very striking purple-podded peas:
Some very picturesque Globe Artichokes:
And some enormous Marrows, ready for picking:
This is Seakale, a member of the Brassica family that you don't see very often these days. Its young shoots are blanched under clay pots like Rhubarb. This plant has run to seed most exuberantly!
In their greenhouse there was a fine crop of onions set out to dry:
There were huge quantities of fruit:- apples, plums, greengages, crab apples, walnuts, and pears like these:
And these delightful Crab Apples:
Also in the walled garden, right alongside the veggies, was an area given over to ornamentals. In times gone by this would have been a place to grow flowers for cutting, to keep the big house supplied, but these days the flowers are mainly perennials that remain in their growing positions for visitors like me to admire:
The flowers in this area were too numerous for me to show you without boring you to death, but here are just few examples:
|A deep bronzy-golden Sunflower|
|Huge swathes of Rudbeckia|
|Echinops, or Globe Thistle|
|Kniphofia, or Red Hot Poker|
|Eryngium, or Sea Holly|
What about this for an "avenue" of Lavender? It's probably 50 metres long. The whole thing was absolutely humming with bees!
Here's the final thing I want to show you today: the guardian of the walled garden - it's a tough job, but someone has to do it...
If you ever get a chance to visit Hergest Croft, sieze it. You won't be disappointed.