Sunday, 23 August 2015

Mill Dene and Bourton House- two Beautiful Cotswold Gardens

It's good to have a day out with a friend and go somewhere new. On Friday, there was the 'where to go?' moment, and I bucked making a decision, thinking I would be happy with Hidcote or Batsford Arboretum. When Sue suggested Mill Dene and Bourton House gardens, I was intruiged to go, never having heard of them. We started off with Mill Dene, it's in Blockley, just a few miles beyond Batsford Arboretum which is reached by turning left in Moreton-in-Marsh when coming from the south.
Mill Dene is a two and a half acre garden on a slope with a river running through the garden of this former mill, and a mill pond in front of the house. It's a lovely position hidden away from everything, with a map guiding the visitor through the garden, and unexpected features round every corner, here's a waterfall with a shrine beside the stream:
 The buildings dotted around the garden are really special and well thought out. This one at the top of the herb garden is delightful
 Below there's a close up of the mural painted on the wall:
 Here's another view of the herb garden with the church in the background
 Wendy Dare describes falling in love with the house and garden when she saw it while on holiday,  the development of the garden is explained in a booklet 'An Old Mill by the Stream' where she cites Rosemary Verey among others as an influence.
 On the last page of her booklet, Wendy has a Garden notebook where gives a few suggestions, mentioning 'Urns of Delight' and advises don't have too many plants that need changing with the seasons, get a shredder for compost to speed up the process, use colourful paintwork, get a hedgehog and do something symbolic.
From the peace of Mill Dene, we went to Batsford Arboretum for lunch, one of the best places to eat, the Applestore, gardens and plant sales are all really good there, but we opted for pastures new at Bourton House Garden which when you look it up, you'll find has won a 2105 Garden of Excellence award, so it's no wonder I couldn't stop taking photographs. The planters were exceptionally good, the borders riots of colour, the topiary delightful, the planting ideas inspired; it was a bit dull and threatening rain, so the photos don't convey the brilliance of the garden:
 Above a planter by the entrance to the garden via a 16th century tithe barn, and below the white garden

 Here are two photos of the topiary
 And at the end of the topiary this fabulous planter
Below one of the long borders:

There's a wonderful border along the back wall, furthest away from the house
 with a great view of the house through the Echinaeceas

 And at the side of the house, more topiary in the knot garden and a basket pond from the Great Exhibition of 1851 which I didn't photograph
I have deleted some of the planter photos because there are too many, but have to keep this one in. It's a classic
 Two beautiful gardens to visit within 2 miles of each other, and lunch at Batsford Arboretum, what a day!

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