A day visiting three exceptional private gardens in Monmouthshire, with an opportunity to meet their owners, including award-winning garden designer Arne Maynard.
Start the day at Veddw in the rolling countryside above Tintern where garden writer Anne Wareham and photographer Charles Dawes have made an intriguing and highly individual contemporary garden that’s received many plaudits and much coverage in the garden press.
The design contains references to local history and some idiosyncratic twists on traditional features, from a parterre of ornamental grasses and a reflecting pool to yew hedges rigorously clipped in undulating curves to echo the surrounding landscape.
Anne is author of ‘The Bad Tempered Gardener’ and her views on critical debate about gardens have been known to generate a certain amount of heat. She will take us round the garden. www.veddw.com
Then on to High Glanau Manor, perched on the edge of an escarpment with splendid far-reaching views towards the Black Mountains. High Glanau was laid out in 1922, at the height of the arts and crafts movement by the architectural editor of Country Life magazine H Avray Tipping.
Helena and Hilary Gerrish moved here in 2002 and have remained true to the ethos of the period, scrupulously restoring house and garden from existing photographic records. An outdoor pool was demolished to reinstate lawn and the amazing 100-foot borders on either side replanted, while an impressive Edwardian glasshouse has been returned to the lower garden.
Helena will kindly give us lunch and tell us something about Tipping and the history of the house, both detailed in her book ‘Edwardian Country Life: The Story of H Avray Tipping’ (Publisher Frances Lincoln). www.ngs.org.uk
The day ends at Allt-y-bela, an apricot-coloured, medieval tower house at the end of a country track, where the award-winning and much sought-after garden designer Arne Maynard has made his new home and a garden which he is continuing to develop.
Arne has a natural ability to conjure up the spirit of a place and you can feel it palpably in this magical spot where the garden already seems rooted in the surrounding countryside and its past.
Topiary and other clipped and trained forms cluster round the building, with planting becoming softer or more rugged at edges where the garden dissolves into the landscape.
There is earth sculpture, a knot garden and a small but intensely productive kitchen garden, plus many other delights. Arne will walk us around the garden and talk to us about the ideas behind the design while we sip on a glass of Prosecco. www.arnemaynard.com