Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury

I recently visited the inaugural Gardens Illustrated Garden Festival that took place in Malmesbury in the middle weekend of April.  The weather gods were feeling kind and the sun shone all weekend.  I arrived on Friday lunchtime so I could go on one of the tours of the Abbey House Gardens that neighbour the Abbey.  The tours were specially laid on as part of the festival and I was determined not to miss out.  To be able to be guided by one of the owners, Barbara Pollard was a real treat.
There is a lot of fantastic sculpture in the garden.  This piece greets you as you enter, it is very striking.
Barbara's love and enthusiasm for the garden was clear.  Barbara talked of the history of the house and garden and how it had informed their planting.  Whilst Barbara said she was not an expert, she is clearly very knowledgeable and knows her garden well and how the plants in it behave.
The topiary hedges are immaculately clipped.
I have always loved this knot garden, it makes my own efforts look pitiful but it does give me something to work towards.
In the top part of the garden there are a lot of yew hedges, they make a wonderful dark backdrop for the planting.
It is currently tulip time, the tulips were looking amazing, there are thousands of them and they make quite a spectacle en-masse.
Close up they look rather special too.  As the tulips go over the roses take over the display.  I had not been at tulip time of year before so it was wonderful to see them.
The eye is led along paths,
views open up and lead you forward throughout this skilfully designed garden.
The herb garden is in a hot part of the garden, even on a spring day this part of the garden is warm.  The arches replicate the arches of the Abbey next door and this makes a really good space.
The sound of water is everywhere as well, this extravagant set of fountains is a joy to find in this hot part of the garden.
and the sculpture that is found at almost every turn, even when in bits, sets just the right tone.
The colour is not just from the flowers, this acer by the front door is a wonderful flash of red.
This weeping silver pear tree is a great specimen too; making a great ball of silver.
In the dell on the other side of the house there are many joys, but this forsythia has to be one of the most unexpected.  This is a shrub I rather like even though I know many hold it is disdain; but look at it, living here in a natural setting released from its suburban chains.
You may have noticed I like this garden, I have happy memories of visiting it previously and it remains a special place.  There is much more to the garden than I have shown here, this is a just a flavour of what it has to offer.

The tour was a good start to the festival and I was very glad I made time to revisit and I hope that I will return again in the not too distant future.  I shall write more about the rest of the festival in a future post.


  1. This is a garden that I have always wanted to visit and this post reminds me once again. I don't know when I'll be down that way, so thanks for the visit :)

  2. Ooh, thankyou for sharing this, what a lovely looking garden and all the sculpture - and look forward to your further posts on the Festival - I'd hoped to go, but didn't get there in the end.

  3. I have visited this garden a couple of times, it is on my list of favourite gardens.
    Thanks for the update.

  4. I am coming with you next year, for sure. Looks really lovely. Those tulips! Amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Looks a very interesting place, thanks for sharing your visit with us :)


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