Monday, June 17, 2013

Manor Farm, Hampreston - Part I

The very first private garden that we visited on our current vacation in England immediately won us over with its beauty and diversity. The Manor Farm, located in Hampreston in the charming county of Dorset invited the public in the context of the NGS (National Garden Scheme).

The Open Gardens, organized by the NGS, are quite well received events in the UK, where private gardens are opening to the public for charity on one or more days of the year. You pay a reasonable fee, usually between 3 - 4 pounds per person, and get to see the most beautiful private gardens of the UK. Very often tea and homemade cakes are sold as well. It is just so much fun to visit a lovely private garden and afterwards (or any time in between for that matter!) sit down and enjoy tea and cake in a beautiful surrounding. The homemade scones and cakes are so delicious that they truly add to the appeal of the events!

According to the NGS brochure, what stands out about the Manor Farm is that it is designed and cared for by three generations of the Trehane family, which are celebrating 100 years of farming and gardening this year. You only can congratulate this family to this major achievement!

There were many different areas and rooms to see in the garden and in this post I would like to show you one big herbaceous border and a bog garden surrounding a pond, which impressed me the most.

We began our tour of this gorgeous garden by checking out this long double herbaceous border close to the entry of the property. For me this border represents the quintessential English border for which English Gardens are so famous for. And rightly so might one say! The massive yew hedge to the left and the other tall green hedge at the end of the border are building just the right background for the abundance of flowers spilling over the boundaries of the beds.

I love the informal form and subtle color shading of this rose bloom.

This and the following photos are showing close-ups of some of the plants which, as far as I remember, the border was filled with and I liked best. Unfortunately I don't know the common names of most of them, let alone the specific variety that was planted, so I leave it at just presenting the photos to you.

This plant was repeated in different colors and I really like the lightness of the flowers. It adds such a beautiful airiness to the bed.

Here is another one blooming in white that was not quite open, yet.

There were many different varieties of hardy geraniums, also called cranesbills, planted in this border and also all over the garden. To my surprise I just discovered this year how well at least one variety of hardy geranium called 'Rozanne' is growing in my own garden in Southern California and after this vacation I am determined to try some more.

I already admired this dark colored, yellow flowering heuchera when we visited the UK last year and like it even more this year.

The right end of the border was marked by this beautiful white flowering shrub with a light colored rose in the front.

Here are the white blooms of the shrub seen a little bit closer. Could it be a hydrangea?

Small fraction of the border. I was fascinated by all the different leave shapes and colors of the leaves themselves. Hardly any flowers are needed to make this part look interesting.

Glancing back into the left corner at the beginning of the border.

Another lovely plant that I really would like to know the name of. Are any of you dear readers familiar with it?

Bearded iris, caught in perfection!

The image above shows one side of the same double border from "the outside". Isn't is fascinating how different the color scheme is... comparison to when you are walking straight through the double border like the photo shows above?
Even though I had a hard time leaving this section of the garden, there was so much more to see. Next we were heading to the pond and bog garden area.

Isn't this planting scheme just amazing? I think design-wise the gardener outdid him/herself in this particular part of the garden.

In parts the colors were so vivid it just reminded me of a jewel box. 

Same area photographed from the other side.

Again, I found some of the plants surrounding the pond directly or being in close proximity so stunning that I want to show you close-ups of them,... for example this bleeding heart in front of a big bronze-green leaved plant. Absolutely breathtaking combination!

Or how about this dainty beauty?

Not to forget her sister...


Emerging fresh, new, dark, bronze-green leaves showing the power of spring.

They seem to sprout from an understory of the same colored leaves but those have a very different form. Could it be that these two different leaves shapes are emerging from the same plant?

I just loved the many alliums growing in this garden.

Lush light green big leaves, they are almost a "squeaky" green.

The pond scene as a whole. I think this bed is coming as close to perfection as a garden can be.

I will try to write a second post about the Manor Farm soon. If you liked this one, please come back to have a look at other areas of this inspiring place!

See you in the garden!



  1. Thank you, Christina, for sharing those beautiful photos of those beautiful gardens. I really like the casual feel and how they grouped the colors and texures of the plants. I would be happy in a garden like that! Enjoy your time in that gardener's paradise!

  2. You have literally knocked my socks off with this post! I am speechless...those gardens are AMAZING!!! And homemade cake??? I am loving the beds backed with the formal hedges and I do think that is a hydrangea. The geraniums are glorious as well! Thank you for sharing this beauty with us!

  3. Christina I love the way the English use hedges as tall fences. Just beautiful. I love the alliums too. And the white flowering shrub is the oak-leaf hydrangea I believe. Have fun, Jeannine

  4. Will definitely come back for more indeed :) looks like you're having a lovely time and you've got the timing right too with the good weather!

  5. Dorothy, I also love how the British are able to combine plants in a casual way. But I assume what looks almost effortless on the first glance is really the high art of gardening. I find it very hard to duplicate this style in my own garden. There it often comes across as simply overgrown ;-)!

    Nicole, speechless is exactly how I feel here very often when visiting these gardens. You have to take in consideration that the garden are much more beautiful in reality than I can ever capture them with the camera. It is such a joy for me to visit the private gardens of England, that I can't stop coming back year after year!

    Jeannine, the hedges here are a class of its own! I prefer them also very much over our common fences in America. A fence is build in a few days, these yew hedges on the other hand I believe take decades to grow to the size you see them on my photos. The planning ahead of time that goes into these designs is very fascinating to me.

    Lisa, thanks for your comment!

    Mark and Gaz, well with the weather I don't know... It has been very cold here especially for June and also raining a lot (is that just the view of someone from California?), but we are still having a super good time.


  6. I love the borders - the airiness of many of the plants contrast so well with the dark hedge behind them. Very English. But I agree with you - the bog garden is fabulous!!! When you talked about it being a jewel box, that is exactly what it looks like. Such beautiful colors. Truly a masterpiece.

  7. Beautiful! Looks like an Oak leaf Hydrangea to me, mine is blooming now.jd

  8. The jewel box photo is lovely such a delightful collection of plants and flowers. I agree with JD June about the Hydrangea, and the purple flower looks like a Lunaria. I might be wrong though because mine was in flower about 4 weeks ago.

  9. Looks like you have seen Britain from its best side, with sunny weather and a stunning garden :-) The Open Garden scheme is a great and well visited event here and I used to go to gardens often, years ago when I was able to walk more. Great photos, and some lovely compositions, hope you enjoy the rest of your stay!

  10. How jealouse I am of you Christina (positive ofcourse). Round the pond so wonderful. The wonderful foliage of the big Darmera. I wish I had a garden like that. I wish
    you a wonderful stay in England.

  11. Holley, thanks for your comment. The bog garden is still my absolute favorite! The more I look at it the more I appreciate it.

    JD, thanks for trying to identify the white flowering plant.

    Rosemary, glad you like the jewel box photo :-)! Second vote for the oakleaf hydrangea, so that is probably what it is. I will google the Lunaria. Thanks for helping out again with identifying plants.

    Helene, the plant compositions are just marvelous not only in this garden, but almost in every NGS garden that we have seen. Just fascinating that so many gardeners are able to create these work of arts in Britain.

    Marijke, your garden falls nothing short of the one that I just featured. Every time I visit your blog and therefore your garden I am just in awe! Thanks for identifying another plant for me :-)!


  12. Hello Christina. Thank you for visiting me, I'm so glad you did because it has led me to your own lovely blog. Manor Farm garden has some gorgeous flowers, I do love the Bearded Iris. And I agree with you about the beautiful planting around the pond; jewel box is a perfect description for it.

  13. This is my kind of garden. Just gorgeous! The English so know how to garden, don't they? That purple flower you asked about looks a lot like 'ajuga'. It likes the shade mainly and is a ground cover but the flowers come up on spires. I had lots of it at my other house. Looking forward to your next post x

  14. I haven't visited this garden, so it was great to tag along on your tour - I will definitely be back for part 2. The pond area is exquisite. I also love the way that the double borders lead to a framed view/borrowed landscape. I think I need a holiday in Dorset. Are you still in the UK? If so, enjoy the rest of your trip!

  15. Thank you for the tour. Wow! superbly gorgeous. These gardens make me ashamed of my garden!!

  16. Wendy, thanks for your nice comment and becoming a follower! Besides roses I am a big fan of bearded irises as well. Unfortunately they don't want to grow that well for me in my California garden.

    Kim, thanks for your note! You can't see it so well in the photo, but the plant is much taller than all the ajugas that I have seen so far. But maybe it is just a little bit different variety. I will do some research.

    The Gardening Shoe, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. You are right about the borrowed view of the double border, haven't consciously realized it before you mentioned it. Today was our last day here already :-(, but we had such a wonderful time :-). Hope I get part II of the Manor Farm post up very soon.

    KL, I also thought often, visiting the gardens here, what a humble little garden my own is at home, but I love it anyway :-)!


  17. Beautiful! In answer to "Another lovely plant that I really would like to know the name of. Are any of you dear readers familiar with it?" The plant is an herb, European wood betony, totally different from the American variety, though sometimes used for the same issues.It used to be called Betonica officinalis, but now is Stachys officinalis...

  18. This is a beautiful garden! Full of color and diversity. I could spend hours there. Thanks again for sharing your vacation with us here in blogland.

    I'm inspired to get out and work in my gardens a bit, even if it is hot and humid.


  19. That is truly a dream garden! It is so magical and beautiful.

  20. Elizabeth Leila, thank you so much for your input on the light lavender blue flowering plant I would love to know the name of! I will look it up and see if I can find it here in the US!

    Lorraine, it is not difficult to spent hours in this garden, actually my husband and I did :-)! Even though I have to admit part of the time we were enjoying Cream Tea but that still counts doesn't it?

    Kate Mossy, thanks for your comment. You described this garden so well!


  21. Truly a lovely and the garden the everyone dreams of.

  22. Hallo Christina,
    das sind wundervolle Bilder. Ich liebe englische Gärten, doch ich habe selten Glück mit dem Wetter in England. Seit unserem letzten Familienurlaub in Cornwall verweigert sich meine Familie.

    Einfach ein traumhafter Garten.

    Liebe Grüße

  23. nelsontheadventurer, thanks for your comment!

    Elke, welcome to my blog and thanks for becoming a follower! Yeah, the weather in England is always a little bit of a gamble. For us it wasn't a big deal that it was raining a bit more often than we would have liked. We stayed or returned to our little cottage and had a good time "at home". But I can see that with children it would be a different story.


  24. So very beautiful !!! A perfect english garden !!!

  25. Dani, thanks for your comment!