Cerney House Gardens
I had visited this gem of a garden previously, but in the Summer when the herbaceous plants and roses were in bloom. This time I went in Spring, and was not disappointed.
I followed the winding lane up past the old weathered Church at Cerney, and through the main gate. Immediately the gravelled drive swept round in an arc, and I was welcomed by the Prunus trees covered in white blossoms lining the track side. Away to the right the manicured lawns stretched down the side of the gently sloping valley to the avenues of trees, this time mainly pink Prunus.
The lawns were edged with a range of mature trees. Indeed, the whole garden is surrounded by a protecting canopy of wonderful trees of many genera.
I walked up the drive after parking, with the white faced manor house nestling in the centre of the valley to the entrance. After collecting literature, I followed the path round, now arcing to the left, and wasimmediately impressed by the neat borders with small groups of colourful tulips lighting the edges. In front of me is the small main door into the walled garden.
Through the wall and now into the totally enclosed walled garden, the bright green grassed pathways ahead present a choice of routes. Before making a decision, I pause to take in the vista: a fantastic array of tulips of all colours, contained within manicured beds edged with box hedging. All this set in a small valley with the walls on the left creeping slightly up the edge of the hillside, and on the right well up the side on the sunny side of the valley. Outside the walls the tall trees forming the perfect backdrop. I choose the left path and slowly walk up to the slope to the far end of the garden. At the top is a small attractive Summer House with sample planters of tulips in the front.
Up some steps, and on both sides of the path, in front of the Summer house, is a neatly laid out herb garden. An interesting range of herbs looking healthy and vigorous can be seen. But what I really like is the fact that many of them are labelled; this is not common in many gardens. Around the outside of this area a lovely border of mixed coloured tulips is inter-planted with multicoloured Comfrey and other wild flowers. Down the side of the wall and then though another archway brings me back into the main garden.
This time I elect to walk right down the middle. I cross a lawned area with an enclosure of supported climbing and rambler roses that promise much for later in the season. Through an ornamental arch and then into the 'piece de resistance'. The neatly contained and box edged borders of the main tulip beds. I now realise why this period is called the tulip festival, a truly superb display. And all the tulip varieties labelled! These beds look glorious from any angle.
Now I am strolling along the other side of the garden from where I came in. Outside of the walled area there is a nice little path up through the trees, and little patches of wild flowers under the canopy. Down some steps and you find yourself coming out at the side of the house, and you follow the main drive round to the front. This is the nearest I have been to the house, and it is very nice. Out across the front lawn, and now I can see the avenue of hedging and trees stretching across the lawn I saw on the way in.
There is a wide herbaceous border with promise of many flowers later in the season. And the pink flowered Prunus looks attractive. I cross back towards the main drive and up a an easy series of steps bounded by a moss covered wall, and I am back at the start. The tulips are again in evidence along this path, with swathes of pink blooms inter-spaced with shrubs and trees: this has been a lovely walk.
Location: South Gloucestershire GL7 7BX
Map: SP 014 077
Geology: . Surface and bedrock: Limestone
Disabled: Difficult, but worthwhile!
Refreshments and toilets: yes
Opening: see web site, normally April-July
or phone 01285 831300