Adventures in Boots by Helen Reeley
Last month was quite special-I got married. Yes! Fancy, an old bird like me getting married. I wouldn’t normally share such an event with YB readers/whole world but that evening, as a gift from our friends, we went to The Grove Hotel in Chandlers Cross which you may know has the most fabulous grounds & gardens.
The hotel itself is owned by Ralph Trustees Limited & the formal gardens were designed by Michael Balston who is a landscape architect and Chelsea Flower Show judge. Included in the most recent refurbishments are elements of the original 18th century design with modern highlights. Large contemporary art pieces-a huge copper bowl-adorn the gardens, ponds & waterfalls.
When we’d finished our supper we walked around the peaceful grounds & I was able to take some photographs of some beautiful planting schemes; hydrangeas were very much in evidence, not the old fashioned mop head plants but the more graceful lace cap specimens. Alongside the garden canal there are huge deck chairs which one can clamber into for a bit of a giggle although this proved a bit of a challenge to me with my short legs.
The Head Gardener is Dave Roberts who is responsible for much of the refurbishment as well as managing the horticultural team & what a terrific job they do. In the grounds is a magnificent Black Walnut (Juglans Nigra) that was presented to The Grove in 1770 by Captain Cook. There are other interesting trees to be seen & if you ask at reception they’ll give you information to locate them.
More changes have been made in the kitchen garden. Sturdy newly built raised beds were home to vast arrays of vegetable, salad leaves, fruit & herbs which are used throughout the hotel’s kitchens. In fact, we had a close look at the simple design of the raised beds and as a result we should have our own in our garden here in time for next year’s growing season.
And their website says you can book a guided tour around the gardens with the Head Gardener. Unfortunately, I was somewhat lacking in energy that day (due to post wedding flop) but it means I’ll have to return another time for afternoon tea & take up that guided tour offer.
Tomorrow I’m off to the South Hams area of Devon. I haven’t been there for about 25 years so lots of gardens to see old & new.
All good wishes for your late summer gardens TTFN firstname.lastname@example.org 07708 643313