Sunday, 26 February 2012

The road led to Ragley

Day two of a couple of days off work and I had a treat planned that was closer to home.  I had been invited to visit Ragley Hall by the Head Gardener, Ross Barbour.  As luck would have it, the day turned out to be the warmest and sunniest so far this year.  To say it was glorious was an understatement.
Before I had even arrived at the Hall I had had to stop on the drive to take a photograph of this tree.  What an amazing shape and such a great shadow.
Ross explained to me the history of the garden, which in its current state is mainly less than 12 years old and very much his brainchild.  He is clearly supported by a good team of gardeners and of course the owners of the Hall.
Some areas, like the Frumpery, are in the process of being renewed and reinvigorated.  I thought it looked great, but it is an area that Ross wants to work on.
The snowdrops were alive with bees on this Spring-like day.  There were snowdrops everywhere, so pretty.  Ross went through the names of his favourite ones and his pride in the planting was clear.  If you are a fan of snowdrops I suggest you get down there quickly as their display is worth seeing.
Drifts of snowdrops and crocii were spread through the main lawns that sweep down from the house.
There is some topiary.......
... a pond specifically to attract wildlife into the garden.....
.....areas for formal planting......
.... and great stem colour, however my favourite bit of all was.....
.....these beautiful white stemmed birches with an ornamental Japanese apricot in the centre.  The scent from the blossom was so sweet and so strong.
I fell in love with this tree on the spot.  I have to have one.

I had never been to Ragley before, but it is a great place to visit.  As is my habit I looked it up on wikipedia when I got home and was amused to find that Ragley allegedly means rubbish dump.  Well it certainly is not that.  The current hall appears to date from the mid 18th century though there has been something there from before Elizabethan times.  But, but, the best bit of information of all is that it was used as the Palace of Versailles in the Dr Who episode 'The Girl in the Fireplace' - how wonderful is that? 

Of course it is early in the year to visit a garden, but there was so much to see.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself having a good wander around and now, of course, I have to go back later on in the season to see how the garden changes and develops.  Seeing a garden in one season is like just squinting at it through one eye, I want to see the full effect as it goes through the seasons.

The website for Ragley is here and I have to say a big thank you to Ross for sparing the time to show me around.

3 comments :

  1. It looks a wonderful garden, I think if a garden looks good at this time of year it is an indication of how good it will look later in the year and what an amazing tree

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  2. It sounds like you had a great day out - even better when the sun shines. Looks like an interesting garden.

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  3. Just the sort of day out that I would treasure. Gorgeous house and garden, and with an interesting bit of science fiction chucked in.

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