Thenford revisited

One of the best things about visiting gardens is to return to see them again in different seasons.  A garden's character can be totally different dependent on when you visit.  When I booked my tickets to visit the Thenford snowdrops I also booked to visit again in April.  I would have liked to have visited in June too but no other dates that it is open were possible for me.

Thenford is the home of Lord Michael and Lady Anne Heseltine and about one hour from where I live and not an unpleasant journey so I set off quite happily to revisit.  This time though I knew I was going to start my visit by following the paths I had not managed to get to the first time.  This is a massive garden and we just could not do it all the first time.  So I began by turning left and setting off towards the lakes and ponds.
It was a beautiful still sunny afternoon.  The walks take you along the side of new lakes and old medieval fish ponds.  I loved this view of the church and one of the many small footbridges that take you back and forth across the water.
This part of the gardens focusses a lot on trees, Thenford is known for its arboretum and on a spring day it was a joy to see the trees leafing up.
The views are quite wonderful and I loved the blazes of red acers that are placed in the landscape.
I did not know if this arch of cherry blossom was planned as such, I hope so but either way it was at its peak moment.
It can be said that glades of silver birches are in danger of being overdone, but I still enjoy a good one and this one has a character that  I like.
Did I mention there are a lot of bridges?  There are many, from the simple,
to the ornate,
and the interesting.  This one is interesting as I deliberately left the two people in the picture.  They are leaning over and looking at the wisteria that is being trained along the bridge.  It looks like the roots are in the water but if you lean over the bridge like they are (and I did) you can see that the roots are in the bank but that it does trail through the water.
I loved this three-way bridge, it was probably my favourite of all, simple and made with great skill.
It is a garden that demonstrates great skill all through it.  Back near the house was this beautifully trained rose with small flowering laurel focal point.
The formal borders were freshly mulched and looked perfect, actually perfect.  I could not see one weed, one leaf out of place.  The wall is covered in perfectly trained and wired in roses and climbing plants/shrubs.
I loved these pink tulips underplanted with wallflowers which were also close to the house.
Further out to the walled garden there is this most beautiful turn on the wall.  I was having one of my 'I love a good curved wall' moment and this is a good curved wall.
It leads you round to this formal walk with hedged borders.  It was catching the sun perfectly and looked perfect for an evening stroll.
The Walled Garden is a wonder,
a total wonder.  It is formality at its best.
I admire it hugely and thing it is a great thing and it works as a set piece for a formal larger estate.  Elements of it you can  copy easily in a small space such as the colourways of the tulips and the use of topiary accent points.  I decided that the round houses were tardises.  This made me smile,though not sure if that is their actual inspiration (I live in hope).
The formal rill was in full flow and again it is a great set piece.  It reminded me very much of some of the gardens I visited in Italy last year.
and then I wandered into the sculpture gardens again.  I said hello to the man who has forgotten his undercrackers, who at first I thought had gained a pet dog, but on closer inspection it is actually a sheep.
I paid my respects to my lady, who has had her hand and book restored to her.  I decided she was studying the book carefully as if she looked up she would see a man sans undercrackers.
and this one has to be ripe for a caption competition.
I nodded hello again to Lenin,
and had a chat with the elephant.

As ever I have not shown all there is to see, there is much and I am still not convinced I got around it all.  Maybe next year I will try and visit in June when the roses are in flower.


  1. Dear Alison
    I have got the book which gives a wonderful impression of the garden, but would love to visit one day. In the meantime, thank you for sharing your visit. (I particularly like the elephant!)
    Best wishes

  2. I've just bought the book. Your post is a nice introduction to that. Gives me some ideas of what to look out for as I turn the pages ... what inspired this/that/the other sort of thing. Interesting that some of the statuary seems to highlight the undercracker contents! Wonder why!!!


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