Hinton Ampner Garden


A Tour of the Garden

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Hydrangea by the sundial
Ralph Dutton believed the ancient oaks that can be seen in and around the car-park to be upward of 500 years old. In replanting the park, he was anxious that his own 'little plantations shall not develop into clumps, but into groups of trees. That is to say that each tree shall keep its natural form. This entails, of course, constant thinning, a few trees every year.' As he suspected, it has not been easy to achieve this effect, but it is discernible in some of the clumps.

Access to the Park can be gained via the gates near the cattle-grids at the west end of the Long Walk and at the top of the Lime Avenue. Views of the house and garden from the park illustrate Ralph Dutton's concern to ensure that his garden appeared as an organic component of its surroundings.

The walled garden was created in the 1860s on the site of the kitchen garden which provided for the house from the 17th century. It was closed for twenty years, being the tenant's private garden, and was opened to the public for the first time in 2006. It also saw the start of the restoration programme. The tennis court, in the north-west corner, was removed in the winter of 2006 and is now the vegetable garden. The swimming pool that was in front of the visitor centre was filled in and grassed during that Autumn. The visitor centre and shop, formerly an Orchid House, were opened in December 2006. The tenant left the greenhouses in a poor state of repair but these have now been restored and the greenhouse or more correctly the vine house which once stood at the west end of the rangehas now been re-instated.The north Vista overlooks the site of the Civil War, Battle of Cheriton (29 March 1644) from what were the Parliamentarian lines.

The formal garden extends to 12 acres and sits within an 80 acre park itself, contained within the 1550 acre estate. The Church is not part of the National Trust estate but please feel free to break your tour and visit.

Leave the visitor centre past the fine yellow rose 'Dreaming Spires' and Forsythia x suspensa. In June turn back and admire Rosa Alberic Barbiera, on the visitor centre wall before entering the gate immediately on your left which leads to:

1. The Walled Garden

Gate to the walled garden
Entering the garden there is a recently planted winter border to your left and right followed by a border containingArtemesia Oriental Limelighand several Paeonia.

Also in this bed are five newly planted apple trees which will be trained as espaliers.

The fruit trees around the perimeter, and the espalier-trained apple and pear trees, alternately planted along the central path, some planted in the 1860s. Two new pear trees have been planted either side of the east gate to continue the line. The planting in the herbaceous beds in front of the fruit trees changes but often includes Stachys, Rudbeckia, Lupin, Sweet Pea, Delphinium and Sunflowers. More permanent planting is made up of Yucca, Hemerocallis, and Perovoskia 'Blue Spire. The plantings in the rectangular bed in front of the greenhouse reflect the practice of growing cut-flowers for the house in the walled garden. The east-bed contains plants that are being trialled.

The north bed is planted with a selection of soft fruit. The south bed is planted as a winter borde and is at its best between Christmas and Easter. In spring there is a good selection of Fritillera Imperalis.

Leave the walled garden by the ornamental iron gate leading to the:

2. The Autumn Border

In the spring on the opposite side of the drive from the box hedging, the scarlet Tulipa 'Appeldoorn' is contrasted with the double Narcissus 'White Lion' and dwarf N. 'Suzy', with its tiny orange trumpets. In addition there are three split corona types, N. 'Cassata', N.'Valdrome' and N. 'Printal'.

In May there is Kolkwitzia amabilis, with delicately perfumed pale pink flowers. Later in the month the highly-scented Philadelphus 'Beauclerk', the woodland shrub Neillia thibetica and the climbing roses and Clematis on the wall are active. The roses, R.. 'New Dawn and R. 'Captain Christy' can all be seen accompanied by the hybrids of Clematis viticella 'Mrs Cholmondeley', 'Perle d'Azur', 'William Kennett', 'Beauty of Richmond', 'Annabel', and 'Niobe'. The uncommon vigorous climbing rose Rosa sinowilsonii is grown through a yew tree, and although having a reputation for being slightly tender, survives our wet and miserable winters. Across the drive are groups of Mock Orange species - Philadelphus satsumanus and P. subcanus together with the more spectacular Weigeladecora, with its three-coloured flowers. The white Escallonia 'Iveyi', pink Abelia schumaniand the pale-pink Fuchsia magellanica var. molinae can also be seen here in June and July. The tall yellow and brown perennial foxglove Digitalisferruginea and dark blue Agapanthus and Teucrium chamaedrys (germander). This border is also a showcase late July and August for hardy Hibiscus including the varieties 'Woodbridge, 'Bluebird' and 'Diana. The vivid blue Dayflower, Commelina coelestis, and the perfect pale scented bells of the herbaceous Clematis stans sprawl beneath the bluish Hydrangeaaspera villosa. In this area there are a number of Lavateras, including L. 'Barnsley' and L. 'Burgundy Wine'.

Moving into autumn, Hydrangea villosa is in flower and also H. quercifolia 'Snowflake'; the Abelias are coming into their own - here you can see A. schumanii (pink), A. grandiflora and A. chinensis, the latter two plants both delicately scented. Across the drive the less common Hibiscus paramutabile with its very large leaves is flowering too. The the Anemones 'September Charm',, 'Honorine Jobert and 'Queen Charlotte' can be seen late in the season.

3. The Drive & North Vista

Rhododendron 'Diane'
This area of the garden is slightly acid clay which lies above the chalk allowing us to grow Rhododenrons and other acid loving plants. At the gated end of the drive near the kiosk is the Rhododendron 'Diane' with its pale foliage and creamy-yellow flowers and the pink Rh. 'Bernard Shaw'.

Further up the drive towards the house are three Rh. 'Mrs Davies Evans' with frilled light mauve flowers and three Rh. 'Snow Queen' which combine pale pink buds with large pure white flowers. Further on Rh. 'Faggeter's Favourite' and the less spectacular Rh. ponticum and its hybrid 'Cunningham's White' complete the picture.

Highclere hollies Ilex x altaclarensis 'Camelliifolia', Cephalotaxus, Podocarpus and Italian cypresses are a feature of this area.

At the end of the Drive, the scented bells of Rhododendron decorum can be seen, and at the bend in the drive you will see a large drift of naturalised foxgloves and the unusual Rh. williamsianum . Either side of the lawn the yew trees, have now being clipped into cloud formations, framing a fine urn that creates a focal point in the North Vista with discrete views into the North Park.

Proceed through the gap in the yews into:

4. The Magnolia Garden

Here you will find fairly common Camellias, including Camellia japonica, C. x williamsii 'Donation', Azalea mollis hybrids, Pieris, Enkianthus campanulatus and a number of woodland underplantings such as Corydalis solida and the yellow Erythronium 'Pagoda' and E. revolutum 'White Beauty'.

Magnolia liliiflora 'Nigra' will be showing its large deeply-tinted tulips, and the ground level plantings consist of Corydalis ochroleuca, Geranium macrorrhizum, Primula japonica, Ajuga reptans, Euphorbia polychroma and two delicate "shooting stars" from the Primula family - Dodecatheon meadia and darker D. pulchellum 'Queen Victoria'. In May pause by the statue of Flora and admire the Hankerchief tree, Davidia involucrata, above your head over the wooden building.

In late June Digitalis ambigua is still flowering, the Hydrangeas are starting to come out, including H. serrata 'Bluebird', H. preziosa and H. veitchii. You will also see the scented Primula florindae, resembling a giant cowslip, and also its red form.

August sees the hydrangea season in full swing with, amongst others, Hydrangea involucrata, H. 'Ayesha'' the large-leaved H. sargentiana joining those already in flower. You will also find Roscoea, the dwarf mauve Astilbe chinensis pumila and deep pink Chelone obliqua, or Turtle-head along.yrtis). Look out for the large Magnolia seed pods and the strange creamy white flowers of the Aralia, by the statue, late in the season.

Leaving this area past Ribes and Forsythia, on your left, follow the path into:

5. The Orchard

In the rough grass of the orchard Narcissus pseudonarcissus types interspersed with naturalised Anemone blanda are followed by the golden trumpets of N. 'Unsurpassable' and the white of 'Mount Hood', the double 'White Lion' and N. 'Pipit' The orchard is home to various cherries in April, including 'Kanzan, 'Accolade',, 'Mount Fuji, 'Tai Haku,' 'Shimidsu Sakura', and 'Shirofugen', beneath which lies a carpet of Anemone nemorosa and A. blanda in various shades.

In May the Crab apple trees are blossoming in the orchard and Camassia leichtlinii and C. leichtlinii 'Alba' may be present in the long grass.

In autumn flowering Crocus speciosus can be seen and the crab apple 'John Downie' will be fruiting.

Leave the orchard in the direction of the house and turn left to:

6. The Church Border

The heavily-scented Sarcococcas and the snowdrop, winter aconites and crocuses are early season attractions.

The yellow flowers of Mahonia 'Apollo', and startling white clump of Pachyphragma macrophyllum, make an early season statement together with the variegated box elder Acer negundo 'Variegata' and Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata', whilst at the far end you will encounter the split corona Narcissus 'Lemon Beauty'. Across the grass path the highly scented hybrid Viburnum bodnantense and V.farreri is in full bloom.

In April the fresh leaves of the variegated Acer negundo 'Variegata',will be prominent and the blue flowered Muscari 'Blue Spike' will be prominent under the Aesculus indica which will display large white panicles in May.

In mid spring Choisya ternata, the Mexican orange blossom, Weigela florida 'Variegata' and the Hawthorn variety Crataegus 'Paul's Scarlet' will be putting on a show. Geranium cantabridgiense 'Cambridge' and G. x oxonianum 'Lace Time' can be seen in bloom.

In June, across the path from the Church Border, the perfumed Philadelphus 'Coupe d'Argent' stands close to Scabiosa lucida and S. ochroleuca, blue and yellow respectively. A Deutzia species is in flower and you will observe large drifts of perennial foxgloves - namely Digitalis lutea (narrow yellow trumpets) and D. ambigua (larger yellow trumpets).

In late July the blue ground-cover of Ceratostigma plumbaginoides will be on show together the large-leaved Hydrangea aspera 'Macrophylla'.

In late August the tiny-flowered Aster lateriflorus 'Horizontalis' will appear together with other Asters, A. novi-belgii hybrids 'Pink Lace', 'Prof. Anton Kippenberg' and 'Little Pink Pyramid' will open and of course, heralding autumn, are the berries of Viburnum rhytidophyllum.

Keeping the Church on your left make your way to the grass path:

7. The Philadelphus Walk

Follow the tall box hedges along the serpentine walk which is at its best in June and early July, lined on either side with various Philadelphus, chosen originally for shade tolerance, vigour and a pure white flower. These will include P. 'Conquête', P. 'Patricia', P. x lemoinei, P. schrenkii, P. 'Avalanche' and P. burfordensis, many of which carry a fine scent. The winter of 2008 saw the planting of fresh new varieties including P.Le Moine, P.Minnesota 'Snowflake', P. 'Polar Star', P. 'Snowstorm', P.'Sybille' and P.Pekinensis.

You can proceed down the path or turn to your left down:

8. The Dell View Path

A number of plants are on display which are at their best in spring including Viburnum burkwoodii and V. plicatum mariessi. There are a range of ground-covering plants which seem happy in the dappled shade, such as Geranium himalayense 'Gravetye', G. macrorrhizum, G. monacense 'Muldoon' with Tiarella cordifolia and Aquilegia 'Pleat'. Further round is a re-grown stump of an old Judas tree, Cercis siliquastrum, is full of its purple blooms in late April.

Overlooking the Dell small plants of Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora' are developing together with Hydrangea arborescens. Buddleja auriculata will just be showing its spikes of tiny, tubular, sweetly-scented cream in October.

The path ends at the entrance to the Dell where the Philadelpus Walk also gives entrance to:

9. The Dell

This area was once a chalk pit but is now planted for foliage. In the late winter and early spring Helleborus foetidus, H. corsicus, Pulmonaria saccharata, P. rubra, P. angustifolia azurea, P. 'Sissinghurst White', Brunnera macrophylla (looking like a large perennial Forget-me-not), Leucojum aestivum and the exquisite Clematis alpina 'Frankie', with its perfectly-formed blue and white flowers can be seen.

Even early in the season there is much of interest, from the red bracts of Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow', and Astrantia major 'Sunningdale Variegated'. Other highlights include the rich red-purple young shoots of the ornamental Rhubarb Rheum palmatum 'Rubrum' and the copper strands of the small sedge Carex dallii. Flowering attractions are the choice herbaceous Paeonia mlokosewitschii holding its exquisite lemon yellow blooms to the sun; the rich, dark and creamy Aquilegia 'William Guinness' reminiscent in colouring of the drink which shares its surname, the yellow tubular trumpets of Vestia x lycioides, planted high up the bank to distance its foul-smelling foliage from the unwary, and the yellow flowering tree paeony, Paeonia lutea ludlowii at the entrance. If you are fortunate and the weather has spared the overwintering flower buds of the Paulownia tomentosa (Foxglove Tree), with its huge heart-shaped leaves, may well be holding aloft its scented mauve foxglove like flowers. Its lilac cousin Paulownia fagessi will be in flower whatever the weather. Sweet Cicely gives a slightly wilder effect at ground level with its creamy white umbels, whilst in the foreground you will find the large pink trumpets of Incarvillea delavayi. After a mild winter the tenderish Cestrum newelli may be exhibiting its bright red flowers alongside Virburnum Japonica and Cestrum fasciculatum.

By late May the foliage is burgeoning, particularly as the Rodgersias (R. aesculifolia, R. pinnata, R. tabularis, R. sambucifolia, R. podophylla), are now fully in leaf and some are flowering. Other plants grown primarily for their spectacular leaf forms that are also flowering now include the Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)and Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus). The stately Euphorbia cornigera, the foxtail lilies (Eremuris), the tall pale-yellow scabious-like Cephalaria 'gigante' and the feathery plumes of a number of Miscanthus grasses, all combine to create the varied textures of this area.

Golden Inulas, I. helenium and the very tall I. magnifica, and Ligularia przewalskii 'The Rocket', Hemerocallis fulva 'Flore pleno' (orange), and H, 'Black Magic'are offset by the quieter tones of the pale yellow of the Giant Scabious andthe creamy plumes of Sorbarea arborea, the large Euphorbia cornigera in lime green. Waving amongst everything else, the tall mauve Verbena bonariense amid number of summer exotics, including Cannas, Hedychiums and purple-foliaged Dahlias.

The entrance itself is announced by a large 'Kiftsgate' rose buzzing with bees in early June with Rosa brunonii opposite. Other plants of interest are the red and yellow Aquilegia skinneri, the red shrubby chestnut Aesculus splendens and the small shooting stars, Dodecatheon maedia.

Also at the entrance you will find the large leaved yellow flowered Inula, varieties of Dahlia include 'David Howard', 'Roxy', 'Murdoch', Bednall Beauty', 'Moonfire' and 'Bishop of Llandaff'. Crocosmias such as C. 'Lucifer' and C. 'Solfaterre' feature now, with C. 'Mount Usher' and C. 'Vesuvius' following later. Quieter hues include whites such as Anemone 'Honorine Jobert' and Hosta 'Royal Standard', the dark mauve of H. fortunei var. obscura and the paler Verbena hastata, and Hydrangea villosa.

Hydrangea villosa is at its best in the damp shade in a setting which contains herbaceous items such as the Toad Lily, Tricyrtis hirta,Eupatorium purpureum (Hemp Agrimony), E. rugosum 'Braunlaub', Anemone 'Honorine Jobert, and bright orange Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona'. Clematis serratifolia with its small yellow flowers clothes the pergola at the entrance, the blue flowers of Caryopteris incana 'Weeping Form' can be seen on the bank on the left. Stands of Hedychium 'Tara' and various Cannas including the pink C .iridiflora give the borders a warm feeling.

In late August/September Paeonia mlokosewitschii will be displaying its brightly coloured seed pods and Lobelia Tupa will be showing higher up the bank.

Leave The Dell past the varigated Cornus contraversa on your left and continue down the path.

10. From the Dell to Diana

The Statue of Diana

Leaving the Dell you will pass between Tree Peonies, Paeonia lutea ludlowii, on either side and a Chinese Red Barked Birc, unusual in this country, on your left. Flanking this path you will find climbing roses R. 'Bobbie James' and R. multiflora, Phlomis russelliana, and the orange tinged perennial foxglove Digitalis ambigua 'John Innes Tetra'. On the right of the path are Phlomis longifolia bailanica, Penstemon gracilis, Iris ensata spontanea and the yellow shrub, Jasminum humile, on the left.Various Stachys are in evidence, and the purple foliage of Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' and Catalpa bignonioides 'Purpurea' stands out well.

Continuing southwards towards the statue of Diana you will pass a clump of purple Strobilanthes atropurpurea and a large patch of the herbaceous Persicaria polymorpha, with clusters of small white bells.

Heading south you may pause at the crossroads in the path and this will give you the chance to take in the plants here including Hypericum Hidcote, Viburnum opulus, Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Pink Cloud' and Rosa xanthina. There are also some interesting Viburnums, including V. cylindricum, V.harryanum, V.henryi and V. hillieri. The strange red-brown flowers of Calycanthus fertilis are worth searching for too.

Between and to the left of the two large bay trees is a small shade garden containing a number of Daphnes including D. x Goodsoriae 'Hinton', D. x Burkwoodi 'Albert Burkwood', D. Mezereum, D. Albowiana, and D. x Transatlantica 'Eternal Fragrance', with a ground cover of Epimedium Francheti, 'Brimstone Butterfly'.

Turn back towards the satue of Diana and make your way to the left of the old Tennis Court:

11. The Tennis Court Garden

To the left of the path you will find <em>Cistus 'Paper Moon ', Heptacodium micconoides, Alangium Gymnocladus, Viburnum Harryanum and Japanese Hornbeam followed by Helleborus niger, Forsythia giraldiana, Syringa chinensis and Stachyurus 'Praecox' opposite the large Virburnum betulifolium, white in flower in July and splendid when berrying later in the season.

Further round, on your left you will pass by the small pink blooms of Lonicera tartarica on your way towards more perennial honesty and scented Viburnums, to your right below the pleached limes, before chancing upon a lovely planting of Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba' beneath the exquisite pastel blooms of the Japanese Crab, Malus floribunda. You will also pass Cistus x Acgulari Maculatus, V. opulus, Chordopartium stevensonii, Syringa palibin megeri, and a standard Wisteria chinensis transplanted from the walled garden in 2008. Opposite the Wisteria to the right of the tree paeony is Philyrea augustifolia rosmarifolium.

In May a selection of lilacs is on display, which scent the path as you walk through, including Syringa josikea, S. vulgaris 'Sensation (two-tone purple flowers with a white edge), S. vulgaris 'Charles Joly', S. x josiflexa 'Bellicent', S.vulgaris ' Primrose, S. pubescens subsp. micophylla 'Superba and S.chinensis 'Saugeana'. Also to be seen is the peachy young foliage of Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissum' and the pale yellow early roses of Rosa pimpinellifolia 'Altaica'.

There is a good stand of herbaceous Phlomis russelliana with its whorls of flowers in two tones of pale yellow and gold and the purple foliage of Cotinus coggygria atropurpurea and C. 'Notcutt's Variety' will have started to make a statement during July. Further round is Deutzia longifolia, and behind the bench the green-leaved species of the smoke bush, Cotinus coggygria, which many people think is far better in flower than the more fashionable purple-leaved varieties.

Further up the path you will be able to see Colutea x media and C. arborescens simultaneously in flower and fruit with their large inflated bladder-like seed pods. Later in the season the red-mauve flowers of the sub-shrub Clerodendrum bungeii will be seen as you leave this area.

Follow the path and you will come to the:

12. The Temple Garden

In the early part of the season the beds to the south display a number of items of early season interest, including the bulbous Chionodoxa luciliae, C. sardensis, C. gigantea, C. gigantea 'Alba', C. 'Pink Giant' and Muscari 'Blue Spike'. Also in flower here are Epimedium pinnatum colchicum, E. perralderianum,, Brunnera macrophyll, Helleborus corsicus and Pulmonaria officinalis. The small early pink-flowering shrub Prunus tenella is a delight.

In April a variety of plants including Clematis alpina, variegated Honesty (Lunaria annua variegata), the spring pea, Lathyrus vernus, Viola riviniana purpurea and Dicentra spectabilis. Muscari botyroides 'Album' form drifts whilst higher up are the purple flowers and leaves of Malus 'Profusion', the early white shrub Exochorda macrantha 'Snow White', the pale yellow clusters of Corylopsis veitchiana and the heavily perfumed heads of Viburnum x burkwoodii and V. 'Mohawk'.

In May there is plenty in bloom and it is worth noting as well as the less commonly seen shrubs such as Viburnum phlebotrichum that there are a number of widely-planted but very effective shrubs in this area, for example Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii'. This is accompanied by its close relative Viburnum plicatum 'Pink Beauty' which in April begins with white lacecaps, gradually turning pink over a long period, to be followed immediately by berries which start translucent red. The Kolkwitzias are particularly good, as is a clump of the tall yellow early Rosa 'Cantabrigiensis'. Also flowering, in spring, are Viburnum sargentii 'Onondaga', Dipelta ventricosa, D. floribunda, Calycanthus floridus, various Weigelas and Spiraea x vanhouttei. The herbaceous plants Geranium sylvaticum 'Album', the pink spikes of Persicaria bistorta 'Superba' and the variegated annual honesty create groundcover. with the upright form of the Sorbus thibetica 'John Mitchell' in the background. By June the beds in the Lime Avenue will have taken on a pinker hue from the whites and yellows of April. Escallonia 'Edinensis', E. 'Apple Blossom', E. 'Donard Radiance' and E. 'Crimson Spire' intermingle their shades of pink. Crimson Rosa moyesii, R. glauca, a single pink with greyish foliage, Leycesteria formosa, Syringa komarowii, Buddleja alternifolia, Diervilla sessiliflora and Calycanthus floridus round off the atmosphere.

In July a particularly good combination is formed from the vertical accents of Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple' backed by Digitalis ferruginea and the summer-flowering shrubby horse-chestnut Aesculus parviflora. The smoke bushes Cotinus coggygria and C. coggygria Atropurpureum will also be in flower, as will Ceanothus 'Gloire de Versailles' and the large spikes of Buddleja 'Pink Delight'. The tall deep blue Salvia guaranitica, Buddleja 'Nanho Blue', B.fallowiana var. alba, Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Alba' and the white herbaceous Clematis 'Mrs Robert Brydon'.

Late in the season the Viburnum rhytidophyllum will have a splendid display of red berries.

Leave the Temple on your right and enter:

13. The Sunken Garden

Spring flowers include Aubrieta deltoidea, Bergenia cordifolia and Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii. With the rectangular beds filled with tulips and forget-me-nots.

Occasionally the white Allium triquetrum will be flowering early and Allium ostrowskianum, A. 'Gladiator', A. karatieviense, A. schubertii, A. rosenbachianum, A. multibulbosum, A. neapolitanum, A. unifolium, A. triquetrum, A. cowanii, A. christophii and Nectaroscordum siculum (formerly Allium bulgaricum) will be on display during May. You may have to wait until early June to see A. azureum caeruleum and A. cernuum. Cercis canadensi 'Forest Pansy, may be in flower during late April together with Iris pallida subsp. pallida. A number of hardy Salvias may have started flowering in late May.

The legume Indigofera amblyantha and herbaceous Eryngium bourgatii will be in full bloom in June and the pink bells of Angel's Fishing Rods, Dierama robusta will be waving in the breeze..

In July Agapanthus, steely-blue Eryngium bourgatii and the white-flowered Hoheria sexstylosa will be on display and by the end of the month the rectangular beds of Dahlia 'Fascination' will be flowering and will continue until the first frosts.

Against the sunny wall, the Clematis viticella hybrids 'Royal Velours', 'Alba Luxurians' and 'Little Nell flower amongst climbing roses such as Rosa 'Etoile d'Hollande' and R. 'Bantry Bay'. The raised borders below will come into their own with an assortment of tender and more permanent plantings including Diascia vigilis, and Salvias in variety including S.involucrata, S. darcyi, Scabiosa 'Clive Greaves' Linaria purpurea 'Canon J. Went' appears from time to time. Come the end of August Salvias, including S. leucantha, an exquisite mauve and white with blue-green foliage, but very tender, S. involucrata 'Bethelii', S. elegans, S. cacaliifolia, S. confertiflora, S. concolor and the choice black flowered, tender, S. discolour will be in full bloom together with the shrubby varieties S. 'Christine Yeo', S. 'Raspberry Royale' and S. 'Pink Blush'. Here are also the late blue-flowering shrubs Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Kew Blue' and C. 'Arthur Simmonds'

Leave the Sunken Garden down the steps to The Bastion.

This was one of the last features to be finished, and allows an uninterrupted view across the countryside to the south. The semicircular design encourages you to look in all directions. From here you can also see how the Lime Avenue was clumped to form three informal groups of trees.

Turn right to:

14. The South Border

In June, you will see Malus coronaria 'Charlottii', Abutilon vitifolium, Geranium clarkei 'Kashmir White' and a number of Irises - I. 'New Idea', I. 'Red Revival', I. 'Jane Phillips', I. ' Madeira Belle', and I. plicata.

Later in the season displays of Santolina pinnata (silver leaves and pale yellow button flowers), the small day lily Hemerocallis 'Corky', H. flava, Geranium endressii, Achillea 'Moonshine', Salvia blancoana (very attractive with small silver leaves and blue flowers) will be seen. Giving height to the border are such shrubs as Stransvaesia davidiana and the creamy Syringa reticulata mandschurica, a large lilac of tree-like proportions. Another large stand of Aesculus parviflora and the Rose 'English Miss' will be seen under the Holm Oak near the sundial.

Don't miss, on the other side of the sundial, the bank of blue Hydrangeas in a pocket of acid soil under the Sweet Chestnut tree.

Return & proceed along:

15. The Long Walk

This path gives a view of Diana, and here you should head back towards the Sunken Garden between the avenue of Irish Yews. The Rose Garden here was re-planted in the winter of 2005 with roses providing a longer season of interest. A plant list is available separately. Another choice shrub in this part of the garden is Viburnum plicatum var. plicatum, covered in perfect white snowballs in spring.

Make your way up the steps. Don't miss the honeysuckle on the right. Erigeron karvanskianus softens the edges of the brick steps and at the top of the steps, to the left, the nodding red flowers of Akebia Quintata during Spring.

Turn left up the steps and cross the main lawn to the far end of:

16. The Main Terrace

At this end of the terrace by the statue is an area of heavy shade containing a number of Sarcococca, Podcarpus, Cephallotaxus and Sambucus Nigra 'Black Beauty'. In the spring there is a good display of Scilla sibeireca under the Horse Chestnut.

Spring

Early season plants are the scented Daphne tangutica, the flowering quince, Chaenomeles 'Moerloosii', Clematis armandii and Magnolia soulangeana, the Goblet Magnolia

On the next level down, the Terrace Border displays the Tulips 'Makassar', 'Pax'. 'China Pink' and 'Elegant Lady' accompanied by the perennials Lunaria rediviva and Helleborus x sternii and H. foetidus 'Wester Flisk', more scented Viburnums and the small but prolific bulb Tritelia uniflora. The white-flowered variety of the Judas Tree, Cercis siliquastrum 'Albida is particularly interesting in late April. In the spring the viscious spikes of Poncirus trifoliata can be seen. You should also find Erysimum mutabile, Iris 'Far Corners', and Viburnum plicatum 'Watanabe' and 'Pink Beauty flowering here along with the dwarf Forsythia viridissima 'Bronxensis', whilst the rather warmer environment immediately below the house favours such plants as Abelia engleriana, A. schumani, and Salvia microphylla var. microphylla. Climbers of interest at this time of year include Wisteria floribunda 'Rosea' and the red-flowered Schisandra rubriflora. Also at this west end of the terrace are a few fairly common lilacs - Syringa 'Katherine Havemeyer', S. 'Mme Antoine Buchner' and S. 'Mme Lemoine'.

Further along immediately beneath the house the violet-mauve and white of the delightful Tulipa 'Ballade' can be found, as can the purple spring foliage of Acer dissectum 'Atropurpureum'. In flower in April are the rich blue herbaceous Buglossoides purpureo-coerulea beneath the bay window and, further to the west, some Olearia 'Coomber's Blue' (Daisy Bushes), shrubs with tiny deep blue or pink daisy-like flowers which we find somewhat temperamental here.

Two pink shrubby Phlomis ((P. cashmerian with longer, darker foliage and larger flowers, and P. italica with pale silvery green leaves and small pink flowers). The yellow-centred white flowers of Carpenteria californica are striking, and you will also see the pale yellow bottlebrushes of Callistemon salignus and the long red trumpets of Abelia floribunda in full bloom. The spectacular but evil-smelling foot-long spathes of Dracunculus vulgaris, the dragon lily, are well worth viewing from a distance.

Summer

The terrace in summer.
This is a good period for scent on the main lawned terrace with the roses 'Cupid', 'Albertine', 'Emily Gray', 'William Allen Richardson', 'Alister Stella Gray', 'Queen Elizabeth' and 'Climbing Iceberg' on the balustrade south of the lawn, the small mock orange varieties Philadelphus 'Sybille', P. 'Albâtre', P. 'Snowstorm' and P. 'Manteau d'Hermine'. There are some good floribunda roses in the Terrace Border too, especially the carmine-red 'Rosemary Rose', developed in 1954, and the first deep yellow floribunda, 'Allgold', as well as 'Dearest' and more 'Iceberg'. Cistus cyprius, Lavandula 'Hidcote', Escallonia 'Donard Star', Deutzia 'Mont Rose' and Phlomis fructicosa 'E. P. Bowles' complete the selection of shrubs in flower. Herbaceous plantings include Salvia x superba 'Mainacht', S.bulleyana, catmint, Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant' and the deep red buttons of Knautia macedonica.

Here you can find hardy Agapanthus 'Headbourne Hybrids' and the pale yellow flowers of Salvia pinnata (silver foliage). The dark blue herbaceous S. x superba 'Mainacht' is on show as are Cistus cyprius (white with maroon blotch). Further along are the pink and white trumpets of Crinum powellii and C. powellii 'Album'. Also evident are the stunning blue of the Dayflower, Commelina coelestis, white Agapanthus africanus 'Albus'

The border under the house contains the climber Trachelospermum jasminoides some fine Salvias, Erythrina, (Coral Tree), with its red flowers, Convulvulus sabatius and Romneya coulteri and its variety 'White Cloud', resembling a large white poppy or, less attractively, a fried egg. Growing through the Magnolia is Campsis Radicans with its red trumpet flowers. Tender perennials like Argyranthemum 'Jamaica Primrose', A. 'Hopley's Yellow', A. 'Vancouver', to name but three, and other slightly hardier species such as Verbena rigida, and its variety 'Light Blue', Commelina coelestis. Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Blue Spire' and a selection of Hibiscus comprising the varieties ''Hamabo' (pink/white), 'Woodbridge'(brick red)) 'Lavender Chiffon'and 'Admiral Dewey' (double white). The real highlight is always the densely white-felted foliage and pale mauve flowers of Buddleja crispa.

Hardy Fuschias are in profusion, including F. 'Mrs Popple', F. magellanica 'Riccartonii', F. magellanica var. gracilis, F. 'Tom Thumb'. Abelia schumanii and the corm Gladiolus callianthus 'Murieliae' .

Crevice & Paving planting

As you walk along the paved terrace you should encounter at your feet the bright yellow flowers of Potentilla 'Goldrausch' and the lime-green bracts of Euphorbia myrsinites planted in the crevices in the paving. Tiny pale blue flowers on creeping mats of Pratia pedunculata, dwarf wallflower Erysimum 'Mayflower', Antennaria dioica 'Rubra', and pink and white bells of Onosma albo-roseum.

Creeping thymes, Thymus serpyllum and T. serpyllum var. albus, Dianthus, the pale lilac-blue Erigeron oreganus, E. glaucus and E. roseus and the very fine Hypericum olympicum 'Citrinum', a small shrub with glaucous foliage and lemon-yellow flowers. The succulent Sedum lydium deputises for mortar between the slabs.

17. The Lily Pond

Water lily
Nine different varieties of Water Lily are planted here, and a considerable number of goldfish and Golden Orfe. At one end of the Lily Pond are some more Narcissus 'Lemon Beauty'. Other bulbs include Hyacinth 'Queen of the Pinks' with H. 'Ostara' and H. 'L'Innocence' planted immediately below the house. The white Tulip 'Pax' is also featured.

Under the house Viburnum carlcephalum ostentatiously spreads its fragrance in April whilst the pink and white variegation of the climber Actinidia kolomikta adorns the house next to a nice wall-trained fuchsia-flowered currant, Ribes speciosum, and clumps of Iris pallida variegata.

In July Hydrangea seamanii should be breaking into flower. Later in the season Abelia grandiflora compact, A. schumani and Hibiscus 'Red Heart' are at their best. Of late season interest are the Penstemons and a good salmon-pink Phygelius with a red edge and a yellow centre.

A full bed of 100 roses, 'A Whiter Shade of Pale', is set off with an underplanting of Verbena rigida. Penstemons, Echium 'Blue Bedder' and Aster thompsonii 'Nanus' flank the bench.

Proceed down the steps and turn left into the:

18. The Yew Garden

Down the steps at the eastern end of the Terrace the Yew Garden usually displays a hexagonal bedding scheme of forget-me-nots and tulips in the Spring which is replaced with a planting of Dahlia edged with Hakenechloa macra 'Albo-aurea' or Senecio

Look back towards the house where the cutaway hedge frames the horse chestnut at the far end of the terrace, and in turn the tree is pruned into an arch over the statue, which is silhouetted against the sky. Skimmia japonica flourish in the heavy shade either side of the steps down to the Old Tennis Court. Leave the Yew Garden by the steps towards the ornamental gates but pause and allow your eye to be led between the Irish Yews, over the gate, to a clump of Acer platanoides 'Schwedleri' in the distance, which provides a natural but constantly changing point of reference.

Turn immediately left into:

19. The Rookery

Magnolia soulangeana 'Alba'
Early in the season you will see Magnolia soulangeana 'Alba' if the frosts have been kind, more scented Viburnums, Mahonia wilcoxii and the white Dicentra formosa 'Langtrees' and D. eximia 'Boothman's Variety' with pink blooms and glaucous foliage.

Continuing you will see Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum) and the deep blue Geranium magnificum, Magnolia x loebner 'Leonard Messel' and Fuschia

In the long grass the bulbs Fritillaria meleagris, F. meleagris 'Alba', Narcissus 'White Marvel', N. 'Pipit', N. 'Trevithian', N. jonquilla 'Double Campernella' and some Leucojums can be seen with Scilla sibirica and Chionodoxa luciliae under the cherry trees. On the main lawn the greenish tinge of the flowers of Prunus 'Ukon' and the striking purple young foliage and pale flowers of P. 'Shirofugen'. Hoheria lyallii is a recent addition on your right as you enter the main lawn.

Make your way to the:

20. North Front of the House

Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora'
Rhododendron 'Motherof Pearl' stands, in altered soil, at the north front of the house. Also Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora' which starts cream and ages through pink over a period of six weeks.

On the North Front of the building the Pyracanthus which berry up to 30 feet share the available space with Hydrangea petiolaris. At the end of the west wing is the Chinese Hydrangea Pileostegia viburnoides

Pass between the Yew hedge and the wall into the Tea Room Court yard where magnificent Magnolia Grandiflora adorn the wall displaying their dinner plate white flowers in July and August. If you are visiting in May pause and turn left to admire the Rosea Banksii scrambling up the west wall of the house.