Monday, November 18, 2013

Old Down House, Horton - Part II

This is a follow up post to my previous one continuing to show you around in the lovely cottage garden of Old Down House. Click here if you wish to see part I first.

After my husband and I left the surprisingly beautiful potager, we were returning to the main garden, having tea and cake, and hoped that the crowd had become less. This wasn't the case, but we enjoyed the rest of the garden tour, anyway.

This was the view of the main circular lawn that presented itself to us coming back from the potager. One of the many things that I liked about this garden was that it had ample of opportunities to sit down and take in the garden and its lovely surroundings. I wondered if all the little cozy sitting areas were only placed for the open garden event or if the furniture were there permanently. Either way it reminded me that I need to get some more garden furniture for my own yard.

I will make a round on the circular lawn and show you the different garden beds surrounding it interspersed with close-up photos of the plants found in the beds throughout this part of the garden. 

In the bed above there are not too many plants flowering, but because of the variety of plants and leave color it was still quite interesting to look at.

I loved, loved, loved this white hardy geranium. Even though I garden in a totally different climate zone hardy geraniums seem to do quite well for me, too. I just can picture this one in my 'White Garden Bed'.

If I remember correctly close by the white hardy geranium was this oriental poppy growing. Isn't it wonderful together with the lamb's ear?

To me this oriental poppy was the most beautiful plant in the whole garden!

Who wouldn't love to sit down with a cup of tea in front of this garden bed?

A closer look at the bed behind the sitting area from the photo above.

I can't help but admire the dense planting of the beds. There was literally no soil to see, but plants were not encroaching into each others space either. The gardener seemed to exactly know how big each plant would get. I am almost never able to foresee the mature size of a plant in my garden, although I am studying the plant labels for the size of a plant quite diligently!

The symmetrical use of the boxwood spheres facing each other in the two beds brings definition and calm into the design. Imagine they weren't there, but otherwise the design would be the same. I think the beds would appear much more restless.

The edging of the beds was perfect in this garden, as we have seen it in many other English gardens, too. It gives such a crisp feel. I really think that visually it makes a big difference in the overall scheme the garden looks.

Another garden bed filled to the max with plants. Whoever gardens here is a master in the art of staggering plants.

 As I said already this garden offered ample of seating, it even had a swing! 

This beauty was used repeatedly throughout the beds. 


Blue was a preferred color in the beds, which I really liked.

Another example of a small bed planted with many blue flowering plants. 

A very delightful corner of the house. I really love the white clematis. Maybe I need to get one for my own garden as well. 

As usual for English Gardens there was a lot of attention paid to detail. Even this little niche was lovingly planted with white dianthus. 

Here is another example for paying attention to detail. Just notice with what a variety of plants this container is planted. 

See the plant label holder? So unobtrusive, but still functional.

One more shot of my favorite blue flowering plant in this garden

Another oriental poppy. The way the delicate flower leaves unfold always fascinates me.

A beautiful bearded iris in a soft apricot color with a contrasting bright orange beard.

It was difficult to leave this charming garden, I could have spent much more time there, but we had one more private NGS garden on our list that we wanted to see that day, so we still had something to look forward to.

Even exiting the garden was a pleasure! This was the very last thing that you saw before you left through the garden gate. I always thought that it greatly matters what you see when you enter a garden, the first glimpse that creates excitement and the wish to explore the garden further, but clearly the last impression is equally important.

Hope you enjoyed touring this private English garden with. I will write about another one in the near future. 

See you in the garden!



  1. This is just as lovely as the last! There is so much to learn here about form in the garden! They do it beautifully! I feel that form is just as important as color and how cool that they use the boxwoods in that manner! It has given me so much inspiration in my own space because my garden is a bit in the round as well. I just love the seating nooks too! Gorgeous friend! Thanks so much for sharing another beauty!!!

  2. Thank you, Christina, for another lovely garden tour.The main garden is done just as meticulously as the back garden! I liked all of the touches of blue, especially the the bright blue one that looks like 'Bachelor's Button'. But I agree that the white Oriental Poppy might be the most beautiful plant. It was a most enjoyable visit!

  3. Ah, es sieht nach Mai aus, die Iris blühen. Oder? Schön, dass du uns die Bilder zeigst, ich freu mich wirklich auf weitere Gärten - die ich dann auch in der Realität heimsuchen kann.


  4. Thoroughly enjoyed the tour Christina, a great reminder of last spring and summer seeing all those beautiful plants and sunshine, and what a fabulous English garden! Just looking at your photos made me feel so relaxed already!

  5. Dear Christina,
    Thank you for this tour around the gardens of Old Down House. Wonderful photographs and idyllic location had me feeling slightly envious as I look out on to our small balcony garden!
    I do like that bearded iris. Very pretty.
    Bye for now,

  6. Thank you for the tour around Old Down House garden, beautiful place, borders and shape of garden. I only think the grass needs some rain.

  7. Here in Holland it is cold and wet, I love the beautiful gardens of Old Down House and the pictures you make!
    greetings, Anne-Marie

  8. Nicole, thank you so much for your very nice comment! Only when I looked more closely at the photos of this garden for writing up the two posts I truly realized how well this garden is designed from the general layout to the planting of the garden beds. It is a masterpiece for sure!

    Dorothy, thanks! I also was very smitten with all the blue plants that they used in this garden and quite inspired to get some more for my own. Hopefully someone will identify my favorite blue flowering plant!

    Sigrun, we visited this garden in the second week of June, if I remember correctly. It had been a pretty chilly spring this year in England and the flowering time of plants was delayed by two to three weeks. I intend to not make you wait too long before I post about the next English garden :-).

    Mark and Gaz, I am glad you enjoyed my post. If you went away with a feeling of relaxation after reading it even better!

    Kirk, so nice to see you visiting my blog again! I know when I only had a balcony to garden with and later on a roof top terrace I always envied other people with gardens badly. But on the other hand at least having a balcony is better than not having one :-)! I also know from visiting your blog that you made yours particularly pretty. Still wishing you that a garden is in your near future!

    Janneke, my camera had some problems to capture the colors properly in this garden and the grass is certainly a victim of that. In some light conditions I don't get the problem of overexposure under control. But still, as far as I recall, the grass was a little lighter than the usual lovely saturated green that you find in and associated so much with England.

    Anne-Marie, thanks for your kind comment and welcome to my blog! Today here in Southern California we have a pretty gray day, but the temperatures are still very mild.


  9. Ce jardin est merveilleux et tu as raison, le jardinier à agencé des bordures parfaites en respectant les largeurs. L'effet est formidable, c'est le style de ce que j'aime réaliser pour mon jardin. Je suis admirative de ce petit géranium blanc, j'en ai un qui lui ressemble qui me donne beaucoup de satisfactions.
    belle journée

  10. Jocelyne, I also would love to achieve a similar style in my garden, but especially in the backyard seem to be still light years away from it. The dense planting is a lot of work and it is also quite expensive to buy all those plants. Judging from the photos on your blog, you on the other hand are pretty close to this goal with your own lovely garden. Lucky you to have a white hardy geranium already. I will make it a mission to find one for myself, too :-)!


  11. Christina, I think the poppy you loved so much might be the one I have just bought for my white garden, Papaver orientale 'Royal Wedding', it looks absolutely stunning in photos, I got 3 of it and can’t wait to see them in flower! The white clematis is also something I would have liked to have – well, thinking about it, all the plants and flowers in this garden look so gorgeous, I would have liked to have them all! Thanks for the tour :-)

  12. Hi Christina - thanks for visiting my blog and becoming a follower, I spent a little time reading some articles and gasped at the marvellous English Gardens - that's the kind of holidays I would like to have ! It reminded me that I could post about my schooltrip to Plymouth and the wonderful gardens at Buckland Abbey.
    I'll come back this week-end when I'm done with all my work for school. Have a nice day ! (it's 6:15 pm here)

  13. Hi Christina. Welcome to the Garden Spot. I just noticed that you became a follower. I think I will enyou your Organic Garden Dreams, too.

  14. Liebe Christina,
    was für herrliche grüne Gartenbilder und so ein blauer Himmel
    - wo doch bei uns hier alles so grau in grau ist :-)
    Wirklich ein wundervoller Garten, den du da besucht hast!
    Ganz viele liebe Grüße
    sendet dir Urte :-)

  15. Such gorgeous blooms! The oriental poppies are beautiful, i've never seen them before.

  16. Helene, thank you so much for providing me with the possible name of the white oriental poppy! Sounds like you bought the plants, I thought you have to raise them from seeds by yourself. I will look into it and see that I get it for myself. It would be fun if we both would grow it in our gardens, but I have to admit that I have no clue if you can grow oriental poppies where I live. I haven't seen them in the garden here.

    Carole, welcome to my blog! Gasping is what my husband and I mostly do when we visit an English Garden for the first time. They just blow your mind away. I still would like to figure out the secret why the Brits are so good gardeners. Hope you find something enjoyable to read on my blog when you come back on the weekend!

    Ann, thanks for becoming a follower. I would be happy if you would enjoy reading my blog!

    Urte, the garden was truly lovely and the weather was fantastic when we visited in June but I assume by now it is pretty much gray in gray there, too ;-)!

    trishie, we have seen a lot of oriental poppies growing in English Gardens. Now I need to find out if they would grow here in Southern California as well :-).


  17. Christina, you can grow oriental poppies from seed, but they are perennial plants and can live for many, many years and flower better after the second year and onwards so buying a ready plant is quicker than growing them yourself. They are usually classified as suitable for zone 3-9 but you can find some for zone 2 and 10. Most will tell you that they need full sun for 8 hours a day, but mine are happy in 4-5 hours sun – and the British weather can be weeks of overcast anyway, you just get less flowers. What you might find is that your flowers will last very short in your baking sun, so having them in slightly dappled sun part of the day might be better to prolong the life of each flower. Make sure they get enough water when in flower, the rest of the year they are not that fuzzy. Easy to care for, just give some slow release fertilizer in early spring and they are happy. Plant in between plants that flowers later on in the summer and autumn, and when the poppies are finished flowering just cut off the whole thing to the ground. The leaves that grow back stays on until flowering next spring. Give them a try, and good luck!

    Oh, and by the way, the weather here in London was glorious today, nice, crisp sunshine and my garden still has lots of flowers, fuchsias, roses, clematis, primroses….not at all grey in grey :-)

  18. Helene, thanks for all the information about oriental poppies. I will try to buy them as plants if possible since I am not that great with growing plants from seeds and it is a lot of work and takes time. I am concerned that it is too hot here for the flowers to last, but I guess I will figure that out ;-)!