Saturday, 22 August 2015

Waterperry Gardens.

On a beautiful, sunny day, we visited the Waterperry Gardens, Oxford, with:

The gardens can best be described in the words of committee member Lorna Winstone,

"On Monday 17th August the Black Pear Gardening Club members visited  Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire. Founded as a school of horticulture for ladies by Beatrix Havergal in the 1930’s and run by her  with  Avice Sanders until  her retirement in 1971, Waterperry House is surrounded by eight acres of landscaped ornamental gardens and interesting buildings such as the Saxon church and the museum of rural life.  The gardens are open all year round and it was easy to see how various plants would be at their best in the different seasons. The famous herbaceous borders were planted using just herbaceous plants, following the principles of design popularised by Gertrude Jekyll so that there are three distinct periods of flowering beginning in May and June with Lupins, Anchusia, Geraniums, Pyrethrum and Veronica. These are followed in July and August by Delphinium, Achillea, Verbascum and Phlox. In autumn there will be a third flush of colour from Michaelmas daisies, Goldenrod and Heleniums.
The gardens also contained mixed borders such as the Long Walk and Island Beds designed by Alan Bloom in 1968. The flowers and grasses, of course, looked spectacular in the summer sunshine and provided some excellent  photo opportunities for those of us who like taking photos.
There were a number of statues used very effectively to enhance areas of the garden such as the Canal and Miranda’s Border, the Formal garden and the Virgin’s walk.
The nursery stockbeds provide a living catalogue of plants and were used to show how different varieties compare with each other, as well as providing a source of propagation material for the gardens and the garden centre on site. The orchards also provide apples and pears sold in the shop in the autumn and apple juice that is sold all year long.
As with any successful venue for a gardening coach trip the food and drink provided by Miss H’s Teashop was excellent."

The entrance to the garden is through the plant centre, which many of our members struggled to resist so early in the day!

You entered via a gate in the garden wall past a Pelargonium Theatre...

The famous Herbaceous border, from the right...

...and the left...

...and the centre.

One of the Island Beds.

I was fortunate to find head gardener Pat Havers and a volunteer working on this rose border.
They explained the roses are all rambling forms, trained into arching branches tied down to bent hazel stakes. The only other garden where this is done is Sissinghurst.
This was the only rose flowering in August, it must be a very impressive site when they are all in flower.

The Water Lily Canal and Miranda's Border.
The statue of Miranda from Shakespeare's 'The Tempest', the border colour scheme is red and yellow, planted in the spring with Tulips and Wallflowers followed by Dahlias and Rudbeckias for the  summer.

A formal entrance to the...

...Mary Rose garden, which comprises two sections, one containing modern cultivars, the other planted with species, shrub and old fashioned roses.

There are many formal views and ornaments around the garden.

The long walk with its colour themed mixed borders.

There are five acres of orchard growing around sixty different varieties, producing apples, juice and now cider to sell in the garden shop.
This photo is of the 'Family apple tree' created in 2010 by grafting different varieties on to a twenty five year old Spartan 'mother tree'.
The aim is to eventually graft all sixty varieties on to the tree!

A peaceful walk alongside the river Thame, a tributary of the Thames...

...before leaving the garden through the Saxifrage Garden which contains The Plant Heritage National Collection of Kabschia Saxifrages.

This class room greenhouse is a reminder that horticultural teaching still continues today.

The museum is full of rural antiquities, all very well presented.

All our club members who visited Waterperry Gardens came home very impressed with the gardens, museum and the tea room refreshments.
We shall certainly be making a return visit some time in the future.

Please click on any picture to create a slide show.


  1. I was just thinking about Waterperry when I was photographing my sedums yesterday - we had en enjoyable visit there on our way to visit Elder Daughter last year. Strangely I remember the island beds but not the herbaceous borders - we must surely have seen them?! Do you know which rose it was that was flowering?

    1. I was told the name of the rose, Cathy but memory???
      I will try and find out for you.

    2. The rose is Dorothy Perkins.

  2. Thanks for sharing this garden visit, Brian. Nice photo tour - I’d need to be on holiday to see this one. I love the history behind this garden, the planting style too but that family apple tree is such a fantastic feature. I made an Oooo noise when I saw the saxifrage garden – that one looks well loved by its garden keepers :-)

    1. All the garden was well cared for by its garden keepers, Shirley.

  3. I have been to Art in Action at Waterperry which is a very big occasion held annually hosting top craftspeople, artists, lecturers, musicians etc and carries on for 4 days. Sadly that hides much of the beautiful gardens, so I really should return sometime judging by your images. I do recall that it is where the redoubtable Miss Beatrix Havergal opened her School of Horticulture for Ladies. If you have never seen a picture of her she is well worth Googling!

    1. A friend of ours has visited the Art in Action days and was very impressed, perhaps we should try to do so next time.

  4. Oh that looks the perfect place to visit Brian - beautiful gardens, tea rooms and a plant centre. What more could you want? I think that you all have the perfect excuse to return earlier one summer to see all those roses in flower.

    1. It looks like we shall have to make two visits, one for the roses and one for the Art.
      It is a tough life garden visiting.

  5. Ah yes, this is a garden I would like to visit. It was great to see it through your camera lens. Did you buy many plants at the nursery?

    1. I managed to resist temptation on this occasion, Sarah.

  6. I love the photos, I find that with a bit of study I can always find interesting ideas that I can try in my own garden.

    1. Thanks Charlie, we can always find inspiration and ideas in other gardens.


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