Tuesday 10 June 2014

Garden tour - West Green House

Last Sunday, the weather was glorious and we had no other plans for the day, so we decided to go on a garden visit. We chose West Green House, near Hartley Wintney, Hampshire. Despite the fact that this place is only about 5 miles from where we live, we hadn't been there for many years. Our recollection of the place was of neglect and unfulfilled potential. The gardens were not at their best when we visited last time, which is understandable when you know the history of the house (see their website). All that has changed now. The property is owned by the National Trust, but it is on a 99-year lease to a private individual who has restored and revitalised the gardens.

First impressions count for a lot, and your first view of the property is of the house itself, constructed in that beautiful mellow brickwork that is so characteristic of this part of Hampshire. You approach the car-park along a lane adorned with a mass of climbing roses carefully secured to a brick wall, and then park in what was/is evidently an orchard. Nice! The house is not open to visitors, but there is plenty to see in the gardens. Facilities include teashop, gift shop, toilets and plant sales area. Admission is free to NT members, but £8 for others.

The garden has a variety of different styles. Some of it is formal and "closely-cropped", but other bits are informal, verging on the wild. Throughout the garden there are lots of features to keep your interest - statues, obelisks, bridges, ponds, streams, and water features. The walled garden which would originally have been the house's kitchen garden is now maintained in "potager" style, with flowers interspersed with vegetables. Even the fruit-cages are highly ornamental as well as being functional. The owner is evidently very keen on topiary, and there are lots of items of this nature. I liked the water features best. Take a look at this...

At the top of the garden is this little fountain thing.

Water from the fountain flows down a narrow runnel between clipped Box hedges, towards the main potager garden. Note the line of brick-work you can see in the middle distance.

This is the line of brick-work... It provides a super frame through which to admire the main garden.

The main garden is divided into what is effectively a number of rooms, each with a different colour theme. Here's a glimpse of the blue room. Note the appropriately-coloured obelisks! In this shot you can see (amongst others) Lupins, Clematis, Nepeta (Catnip) and Alliums.


Crimson-flowered Broad Beans
In the course of the one afternoon I took over 300 photos. You'll be relieved to hear that I'm not going to include them all here! And of course many of them were rubbish. The sharp contrasts between light and shade on this hot sunny afternoon presented many challenges for the photographer. I'll just show you a small selection which will hopefully give you an impression of the atmosphere of the place. If you would like to see more of my photos of West Green House, follow this link: More photos.

Golden Marjoram mixed with Roses and Rhubarb

I loved the use of locally-sourced Hazel boughs to construct deep raised beds for vegetables like these potatoes

The Peonies were probably the star attraction. Loads of them is lots of different colours.

Old water-pump

Clematis - is it "Nellie Moser"?

Primula in the bog-garden area


The "Five Bridges" woodland walk, with ferns in profusion

Talking of bridges...

This was called the "Doric Temple"

Part of the garden is left wild. The bees love it!

The statuary aims to suit all tastes

I fancied one of these for growing Sweet Peas, but even the smallest one was £45


House-leek in the greenhouse. Not my sort of thing, but very impressive.

A great colour combination in the Pansies

Who knows what this is? Looks like a succuclent version of the Cabbage!

Interior of one of the greenhouses

Even the log-pile was neat. I like that!
Our tour of the garden concluded with a very welcome pot of tea in the pleasant surroundings of the tea-room. It was hard to resist the offer of the archetypical English cream tea with its scones, jam and cream! For us the atmosphere of the place was perfected by the presence of this very handsome cat, who ambled about the tea-room area with a very proprietorial air (as they do).

Oh, and one final thing to add - this little Coreopsis "Sunfire" plant came home with us as a souvenir of the visit!


  1. I think there's something for everyone in that garden. What a beautiful greenhouse, I'd have a comfy chair in there, somewhere to go and sit with a good book. I think plants make great souvenirs of a lovely day out.

  2. Thank you for this virtual garden tour.

  3. The house, the garden and the plants...all so beautiful! I kept scrolling up and down to take another look at all the pictures. Even the log piles have an interesting pattern.

  4. It looks like you had a lovely day out, I'm not a cat lover but I do agree they add a homely touch to places. Two of our local garden centres have resident cats & we always look out for them.

  5. Lovely looking place and I particularly liked the wicker container for the potatoes –very rustic-and the log piles –almost a sculpture in their own right!
    And of course the photo of the sleeping cat took my eye-a rather nice brown Burmese by the look of her!

  6. I enjoyed the garden tour..thought it all looked so tidy and well kept. It's lovely that the place was brought back from it's previous state to a much better one! Thanks for sharing.

  7. How beautiful! Love the idea of 'outdoor rooms' with a color theme. So neat. And those log piles are just fascinating. I'm sitting here trying to figure out how they did it, ha.

  8. Isn't it strange how we often neglect visiting local places, The clematis could be Bees Jubilee.

    1. I also meant to say that I wasn't sure about the blue obelisk as they drew my eye away from the flowers. Did this happen in reality or is it just in a photo?

  9. Beautiful & inspiring! And what a gorgeous cat. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Your 'succulent cabbage' could be a kalanchoe :)
    Love those log piles!


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