Adventures in Boots – The Garden House – October 2016

When I looked at the map whilst on a recent trip to South Devon I thought The Garden House near Yelverton too far to travel through the busy windy roads in a campervan on an August bank holiday. However, tweeting with a fellow garden visiting pal put me right & we decided it would be a shame to be so close and miss it.


The Garden House has an interesting history being closely linked with Buckland Abbey nearby which you can read about online but just to say the current dwelling was built as a vicarage and my, what a posh vicarage. Built over three floors and rather grand to say the least the house is a fine example of country elegance.

During the 1960’s the then owners Lionel & Katherine Fortescue set up a charitable trust to ensure the garden would remain in good hands for future generations of horticultural & garden enthusiasts. Today The Fortescue  Garden Trust oversees the management of one of the finest gardens in Britain which is also a RHS partner garden.

The ten-acre site is on a sheltered north facing valley slope. The soil is acid shale & the rainfall is 135 centimetres a year which means most of the plants & trees grown are quite alien to what we normally experience here in the Berkhamsted area. The Acer Glade contains a superb collection of Japanese Maples;

the very best forms have been selected & grown & will no doubt produce the most dazzling colours during the autumn period. Running down through the glade is a meandering stone rill which can be heard tinkling in the background when you rest & take a seat to admire the view. We could have drifted & slept in this robin-song laden space.

The Walled Garden was at its best during our visit in August. I was taken back by the warmth of this enclosed area; the bees, the butterflies, the flowers all gave the feeling of being in some sort of horti heaven. The terraces in The Walled Garden section are the mainstay of The Garden House. Not only do the terraces contain an eye watering display of dahlias, they have the remains of a medieval tower and thatched barn which could be described as props for the magnificent flower theatre performing in the borders.

The Garden House deserves a full day visit to appreciate fully or if you’re early birds you could squeeze in Buckland Abbey. And don’t miss the cakes, you really wouldn’t want to miss the cakes.