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SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS


General Notes and Contacts
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Gardens
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CONTACT DETAILS FOR THIS GROUP:

Anne Mayes

email: a.c.mayes@exeter.ac.uk

Welcome to new and existing members of the Group. I shall try to arrange roughly one visit per month between March and October. I am choosing a mixture of days, where I can, to try and be helpful, but I know that whatever I choose it won’t be convenient for everyone, similarly for venues. We go whatever the weather forecast, we’ve a pretty good record, even during wet years.

See below for the rest of this year's programme. I hope there is something here to interest you. When it comes to directions, I give those from the Yellow Book or the appropriate website, the postcode and the map reference, so don’t blame me if you get lost! Everything in italics I’ve copied from the literature.

I’ve managed again to arrange parking at The Toby Inn, Middlemoor for our first visit by coach. It is free and there is a loo if you slip in quietly. Parking is in the rear car park, off Rydon Lane not off the Sidmouth Road. The H bus and Sidmouth buses go out to Middlemoor. According to Google it’s a 12 min walk from Sowton and Digby Station.

Anne

For all visits please let me know by email first.


See below for a summary of the visits. Full details can be found in Anne's Newsletter, which you can download from this link.

Forthcoming Meetings

Tuesday 24th July at 2pm

Squirrels,98 Barton Road, Torquay. [TQ2 7NS - OS 202 905655]

From Newton Abbot take A380 to Torquay. After ASDA store on L, turn L at T-lights up Old Woods Hill. 1st L into Barton Rd. Bungalow 200yds on L. Also could turn by B&Q. Parking nearby. They used to suggest parking in B&Q but you could be fined so don’t! There is parking on Barton Road towards the cemetery.

Admission 6 to include a cream tea.

Plantsman's small town environmental garden, landscaped with small ponds and 7ft waterfall. Interlinked through abutilons to Japanese, Italianate, tropical areas. Specialising in fruit incl peaches, figs, kiwi. Tender plants incl bananas, tree fern, brugmansia, lantanas, oleanders. Mandevilla. Collections of fuchsia, abutilons, bougainvilleas, topiary and more. Enviromental and Superclass Winners.

This is a visit just for us so please let me know if you are coming.


Wednesday 15th August at 2pm

Great Ambrook [OS 202 823653]

I have arranged a visit to Great Ambrook on Wed 15th August at 1400 hrs. We will be shown round by the garden historian Angela Dodd-Crompton. This is an Italian Garden originally attached to the Great Ambrook estate, built between 1909 and 1912. It has had a chequered history since but has now achieved Grade ll listed status by English Heritage.

Admission 5.

Chris and Sandy very kindly did a “recce” and suggest meeting at Fermoy’s Totnes Road, Ipplepen, Newton Abbot. TQ12 5TN and then sharing cars – parking at the Garden is extremely limited. We would then be able to have our tea at Fermoy's.

Again, it is essential that you let me know well in advance as Angela will only come out if we can get a viable number. This is not a garden which is normally open.


Sunday 2nd September at 11am

Sedgewell Coach House Gardens, Olchard. [TQ12 3GU - OS 192 876773]

4 miles north of Newton Abbot 12m S of Exeter on A380, L for Olchard, straight ahead on private drive.

A private wildlife sculpture garden and ongoing sculptural project. Heather Jansch, world famous sculptor best known for her life-size driftwood horses, makes innovative use of recycled materials in her extensive garden.

Admission 4.50

I tried to arrange a Group visit last year but didn’t get a response so this is an NGS Day, hence my suggestion of 11am, being the opening time.


Thursday 27th September at 2pm

Plaz Metaxu (Coombe House) Witheridge [EX16 8PT - OS 180 796140]

Admission 6 plus 1.50 for tea

This again, is a private visit by kind permission of Alasdair Forbes, the owner. He writes:-

Plaz Metaxu could be described as a contemporary (and modest!) take on the early eighteenth century landscape garden. It has been developed since 1992. The Devon Gardens Trust have placed the garden on their list of registered parks and gardens.

Again, it is worth looking at the Devon Gardens Trust website link to Plaz Metaxu. I really hope that we can get a good number to sign up for this, it’s taken me some time to track this one down and get an invite! We will be taken round by Alasdair himself. He asks me to stress that, for his insurance point of view, the visit will be at our own risk. It’s not anymore dangerous than everywhere else we visit, but he wants this stated.


?October

Lukesland for autumn colour.



Reports for 2018

Caerhays Castle - March
CaerhayesTravel proved a much more dominant feature of this visit than we would have wished. Starting with getting to Middlemoor, Exeter was full of queues - more so than usual - and many of us didn’t arrive as early as we had expected to.
The journey down also took longer than expected as the coach-specific sat nav was very optimistic about the route to be taken. I don’t think many of us expected to get round the last bend which was a very narrow, right angled one. The tension was palpable and we all broke into applause when the driver finally inched his way round it. Unfortunately, despite following the approved coach route back, we encountered another tight bend and so another 15 mins of “excitement” before we cleared that. Then we had to come back via the A38, slower than the A30 but that had been closed because of a fatal accident.

CaerhayesWe arrived at the beach entrance but the driver missed the vehicular drive to the Castle so we walked up but it was rather a long walk for some. The much longed for morning coffee had to wait as we were already quite late for the house tour. The staff were very understanding and welcomed us warmly. After the introduction to the whole group we were divided into two each with a guide. Both were very informative going through the history of the building and its contents, telling us what the various owners had done, demonstrating the changes which John Nash had made when he was employed to make substantial alterations and additions. We weren’t hurried round and there were many offers to sit on the chairs. Some members were very pleased to be able to recognise some of the artists before they were revealed.

Lunch was next and The Magnolia Cafe soon filled up but fortunately there was plenty of room outside. Service was quick and friendly.

CaerhayesCaerhayesThen to the gardens. There are different coloured routes according to length. Unfortunately because of the recent weather many of the paths were roped off which made for some interesting backtracking. The many camellias were fine but two visits from the Beast from the East caught the National Collection of Magnolias at exactly the wrong time. A great pity as, in full bloom, these gardens are magnificent. Caerhays is on the coast, is sheltered and has its own micro climate, it is very rare for them to be affected by bad weather. We had to look at the Guide and Burncoose Nursery catalogue to see what we’d missed.

However, it was an enjoyable day, everyone we came across was very helpful and made us feel welcome and our driver was very skilled and patient in dealing with the narrow lanes. The coach too was very comfortable and had a loo and USB charging points! Memo to self, next time, take a cable.
ACM
Hotel Endsleigh Gardens - April
What a difference a day would have made! Our day was one which confused even the forecasters - it was much wetter, windier and mistier than forecast. Seventeen of us though made our way through the weather buoyed up by the promise of a drier afternoon- it didn’t materialise.
EndsleighEndsleighThe drive to the Hotel was a mile long but was flanked by huge, colourful rhododendrons, a good start. We were greeted in the hall of the hotel and were warmed both by a reduction in the admittance price to 3 and by a roaring fire. Thus fortified we set off following the signs to the garden.
The gardens are either side of the house and are very different. Unfortunately those to the west had many steps down to the stream at the bottom but they were wet and there were no handrails. This made it a little tricky for some. It was very beautiful, even in the rain. There were numerous gunnera just breaking into growth with bright green leaves.
EndsleighEndsleighThe gardens to the east were easier with a large lawn and very long border - the longest continuous herbaceous border in England. It does eventually drop down to the River Tamar and, on a fine day, has a glorious view. The trouble here was that it was very exposed to the strong gusts of wind and near horizontal rain which didn’t make it very inviting. The grounds are the home to many Champion trees too. Three brave souls did complete that but the rest of us either retired soaked or dried out in the hotel with either the afternoon tea or a cup of tea. Four headed off to Tavistock for tea at The Bedford, muddy shoes and all.
Driving back was through thick mist in places, a real pity, this would be a great garden to see in good weather.
ACM
East Lambrook Manor Gardens - May
LambrookLambrookNormal service was fortunately resumed and there wasn't a drop of rain all day, in fact we all sat outside to eat our tea - in the sunshine- it was warmer out than in.
Traffic was light so we all made good time. This meant that some headed into the Rose and Crown for lunch, others sat in the car park eating their sandwiches.
At 2pm we headed over to the garden to a very friendly and informal reception. There was a pile of Country Garden magazines, very helpful as the current issue had a coupon for tea and cake at the Garden.
LambrookLambrookThe gardens were a delight, full of colour and naturalness. We were amazed to find so many plants in flower, it must be very sheltered. The tulips were a particular delight, gorgeous colours and shapes and I think we saw them at exactly the right time, another day or two and they’d have Lambrookblown. The bluebells above the stream added colour to the bank and the wisteria was in flower on the end wall.
After an amble round the various parts of the garden we spent some time admiring, pondering and then buying plants. There was a good selection.
Suitably exhausted we collected our teas/coffee/drinking chocolate and cake and took it up to the higher terrace to sit in the sun.
A couple of us took a wrong turn on the way back - why do places have ample signage to get you there, but nothing to get you out?! We were fine until the one way system!
All in all a very enjoyable visit.
ACM
Hole's Meadow - June
Hole's MeadowHole's MeadowOur visit took place on the hottest day of the year so it was no surprise to find 10 of us taking shelter in the shade of the bar at the Oxenham Arms. I stress that this was for lunch and an appreciation of a fascinating and historic building!

 We made our way to Hole’s Meadow following the excellent directions which Fi had given us. The garden is 2 acres of surprise reached by zigzagging between and behind other houses until you come to a five bar gate and a garden room where Fi was waiting to greet all 16 of us. She gave us a description of the garden and the ideas and history behind it. It was formed from two medieval burgage plots and slopes down to a stream. It has the backdrop of the towering and magnificent Cawsand Beacon.
We were left to wander round at our own pace, finding shade and seats!

Hole's MeadowHole's MeadowFi has the National Collections of Monarda and Nepeta which are planted around the garden but the Monarda are also potted up in huge pots in their own area and clearly labelled. Prize specimens!
 The garden has herbs, a wild flower area, fruit and chickens sharing a protective cage, likewise an immaculate , weed free vegetable plot. The flower beds are a wonderful mixture of dierama, verbascum, alliums, rudbeckia, fennel etc.
There are seats around the garden and a converted piggery with settees and a kitchen where we had a lovely cream tea and cakes. It was very obvious that Fi works very hard in this garden and is completely dedicated to its development and to welcoming visitors to her little bit of heaven. What I hadn’t realised is that she’s suffered from ME and at times cannot do anything. She should be very proud of her achievements here.
ACM
Squirrels - July
SquirrelsSquirrels17 of us enjoyed our visit to this truly unique garden. It is a town garden so very different from our usual garden visits. This one has featured on Gardeners’ World, Gardeners’ Question Time, Devon Life and Britain in Bloom (who were visiting again the next day).
This garden has been totally transformed and it was fascinating to look at the photos of the original, conventional layout. So much has been packed in - a Spanish Courtyard garden, Moroccan area, a Moongate, a 7’ waterfall and ponds. There’s a wide variety of fruit - peaches, figs, kiwi fruit, plums, pears and 12 varieties of apples. The whole is packed with a range of flowers - fuchsias, Abutilons, Pelargoniums, Bougainvilleas, Streptocarpus, Salvias, roses, Lantanas, etc. There is a wide variety of geraniums, climbers and bedding plants. Don’t forget the two ducks!
SquirrelsSquirrelsAround the garden there are, unbelievably, 27 hidden rain water storage containers. At the moment all household water is going out to the garden.
Graham guided us round the intricate paths telling us what he’d done and what everything was.
His wife, Carol, looked after us very well producing cups of tea and putting up with us stipulating weak, medium or strong, with/without sugar, milk/no milk. She produced plenty of really tasty cream teas and a mouth watering coffee and walnut cake - one of the best I’ve had! To keep us on the straight and narrow, Graham produced bowls of his plums which were absolutely delicious.
This was a really enjoyable visit giving us a wonderful insight into what can be achieved in a small town garden.

ACM

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