This superb garden is to be found in the beautiful village of East Leach. The river winds it's way under an ancient flagstone footbridge past the village church, and the house directly opposite is located on the top of a gently rising hill. The garden is laid out with lovely lawns, sweeping avenues, a wonderful wild flower walk and an arboretum on one side, and two other almost symmetrical formal gardens on the other sides. I start by walking around the side of the house and out onto the South lawn.
Outstanding views on all sides are afforded by the sloping boundaries with the promise of amazing things to come. The whole garden contains a superb combination of mature and recent plantings of trees, and is a foil for all the other delights. It is a pleasure to have the freedom to walk across this carpet -like lawn, edged with flower borders and a clipped hedge, with a handsome wrought iron decorated gate leading out on the main avenue of lime trees. The trees border a wide mown grass swathe stretching into the distance. The gentle slop downwards affords distant panoramic views.
At the centre of the avenue is the impressive clipped feature and grand stag monument shown in the header picture. Everything is very well maintained.
Down the slope and round the rim of the hillside I am treated to a wide range of majestic trees, broadleaf and conifer combined in complementary groups. Lime, sycamore, oak, beech, and even two attractive variegated conifers grace the hillside. And everywhere the theme of neatly mown grass tracks to guide me flawlessly. Back up the slope at the far corner, I walk diagonally across the meadow field, tall with grasses. And what a treat to behold!
The border of the path is resplendent with the colour of wild flowers. Poppy, cornflower, corn cockle and corn marigold blend to form a array of colour. These flowers are always particularly difficult to grow in a garden environment.
I return to the outside corner of the main lawn and go through the gate into the rill garden. A superb rose climbs effortlessly high into a tree, and the perfume is entrancing. There are superb trees all around, and at this entrance a huge old yew presents a large trunk to walk round! As the vista emerges form the shrubs and trees, the garden again slopes gently down the hillside. The edges are defined by more of the large old yew trees, and a semicircle of neat trees with light green leaves (whitebeam?) contrasts with the main canopy at the far end. Down the middle of the garden a rill with trickling water sparkles in the sun, and at it's edges a gravelled border is home to miniature rockery type plants creeping along the surface.
Beyond the rill each side border has a range of traditional border flowers in a range of attractive colours. There is a quiet haven at the bottom of the garden with a seat and floral archway. I walk up to the top of the rill and enjoy the view back down over the whole garden. leaving this area at the corner leads through a grass and shrubby walk back to the entrance drive. Across the drive there is a secluded little valley surrounded by trees and a pond with an attractive footbridge. A realistic heron casting sits on the middle of the pond. A waterfall emerges on the opposite side and trickles into the pond. All around are marginal plants, and dominating at this time the candelabra Primulas.
Back on the drive a few paces takes me to the gate of the walled garden. I enter a magnificent area that really has just about everything any gardener could wish for. This stunning walled garden contains a superb lawned area surrounded with choice herbaceous flowers and shrubs. Clipped conifers form one boundary, and I am delighted to see a startling red Tropaeolum speciosum tumbling through one of them. An arbor protects a garden seat, again bordered with clipped hedges. I move on to another wonderful feature where pyramidal box shrubs immediately attract the eye. The blending and coordination of colours and textures is a joy.
The main walled garden is adorned with wonderful roses and clematis everywhere, and a pergola is the location of more roses. I find that I have far too many photographs to include in this brief description, there is so much to see! A n architectural hedge with portals clipped into it leads into a lovely knot garden, and one of the corners has a small bed of startling blue flowers. At the centre of this garden there is a dome shaped archway with plants hanging elegantly down. I passed through yet another neat hedge, and could even admire the vegetable and nursery gardens even though they are not formally open to the public. This garden has limited opening times, so you need to plan ahead for a visit. But please do so, it has more wonderful assets than this short piece can encompass.
Location: Gloucestershire GL7 3NW
Map: SP 203052
Parking: on the lane. Limited parking for disabled, book ahead.
Disabled: yes, some areas difficult
Refreshments and toilets: no
Opening: see web site. Fridays June/July.
or phone 01367 850277