I tend to divide my friends up into categories. As well as divisions of personality such as “sophisticated” (not many of these), “artistic” (quite a few), “dangerous” (enough) and “grown ups” (a couple), there are tribe types such as “sporting”, “virtual” “work”, “school” and of course “horticultural”. Sometimes they stray into more than one department, sometimes they are unclassifiable, occasionally we have known each other for so long I can’t quite remember how or why. My friends Venn diagram is extremely complicated.
Last weekend I visited a very good buddy who now lives Somerset. We have known each other for many years and she has recently placed one foot, or perhaps just a toe, from the “dangerous sporting” class into the “dangerous horticultural” one. This meant that I wasn’t as surprised as I might have been a year ago when she suggested we visit Kilver Court garden, of which I had heard but never visited. When she added that there was a nursery, restaurant and, wait for it ………….. designer outlet shopping, I was in the car with my handbag on my lap.
At this point I was going to recount some of the garden’s history but as I would just be copying it from their website you can read it yourself here Kilver Gardens. And no, this is not lazy, it is clever.
Anyway I wasn’t disappointed. It is a glorious garden. When we entered through a sturdy oaken door, with intricate ironmongery, it hinted of the charm that was set to come.
So here a few photos, and few words but not many, to celebrate our visit.
Everywhere there were large tubs of tulips in whack-you-straight-in-the-gob colours, here they enlivened the edge of the first millpond.
The garden is enhanced rather than dominated by the 19th century Charlton Viaduct.
An adorable duck, or perhaps coot, house in the middle of the lake. They used to have flamingos here, which necessitated slightly larger accommodation.
The rockery was outstanding and I surprised myself in how much I loved it. Those who are young enough to carry it off without sounding daft might say it had a “retro” feel, with its close clipped conifers and alpine planting. As I am not one of those people, I won’t. This part of the garden was constructed in the 1950’s when this style was outrageously modern. I think it’s time might have come again. For me anyway and, as everyone knows, I have my finger on the horticultural pulse. You in the cheap seats, stop sniggering!
A single red anemone stood proud at the edge of the stream.
The parterre had some lovely planting combinations including these deep mauve lily tulips and sky blue early geraniums. No picture of the actual parterre, must have been chatting.
Lastly there was a curious shrub, with a serious personality clash, that a kind soul on Twitter identified for me. It is a Poncirus trifoliata, or Citrus trifoliata, or the Japanese Bitter Orange. Take your pick. It has delightful cup-shaped white flowers (good news) and long vicious curved spines (not so good).
Kilver Court is not a large garden, nor does it need to be. At present they are in the process of creating new areas of planting, vast mixed borders which I am sure will be stunning once finished. Unfortunately the organic vegetable garden was closed the day we visited. So that is two good reasons to return another day. And they have pink wheelbarrows, I have bagsied already. Oh yes, and there is the shopping, but that is another story.