Garden visit – Coughton Court, Warwickshire

25 Apr

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I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get to visit Coughton Court – for almost 18 years I’ve only lived 40 minutes away ! But I’m so glad that at long last I’ve made it !

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I chose a beautiful April day to visit and was able to enjoy the spring gardens at their best.
The house dates from 1409 and I’m sorry to say that as the weather was so lovely we gave it a miss! But architecturally it was a pleasing mix of half timbered facades and fancy Elizabethan stonework. The gardens are spread around the main buildings and two churches – a catholic one and a Church of England one – can’t but feel they were hedging their bets rather !
A large lake and parkland complete the quintessential English landscape.

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Coughton Court is renowned for its rose garden and despite it being far too early to actually see any roses, it was a good time to see the mechanics that goes in to training roses. Many hours have gone into pruning and tying in the hundreds of roses – pergolas, arches, and walls have all been put to good use.
Many of the shrub roses in the main beds have been trained using a post and wire structure that pulls all the growth down to form a dome, thus encouraging each branch to put up flower stems along its full length. Very keen to go back in June to see the results !

Without leaves on the trees and before much of the perennial growth has emerged it was easy to see the backbones of this garden – beautiful benches to linger on, at every turn – dramatic eye catchers in the form of bright pavilions – structured allees of pleached limes leading the eye to yet another urn.

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Careful preparation of the beds had taken place – compost spread liberally, shrubs well pruned and extensive forests of pea sticks had been woven over every emerging clump- these plants wanted for nothing !

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Away from the formal areas , the orchard had been put to a new use – Dutch tulip field! Lines of bright tulips waved in the breeze growing straight out of the long grass – looking both naturalised and formal at the same time. You were invited to pick your own tulips but sadly the price seems to deter most people from doing so – perhaps I can go back in a few weeks time when they’re going cheap !

The lake is surrounded by narcissus and bluebells – flowering a few weeks earlier this year I’m sure. An interesting swamp garden was waiting to burst into life with huge gunnera and bull rushes. And of course there were the obligatory rare breed sheep !

A lovely stroll in the sunshine was rounded off with traditional National Trust tea in the stable yard. Well, you have to, don’t you ?!

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