We’re always amazed how a new garden leaves us mesmerised long after we’ve departed. The feeling captured within the crafted space will stay with us long after the finer details of the planting become fuzzy. The beautiful idiosyncrasies of nature ensure that we’ll never encounter that exact garden again even if we return to walk the same route the following day. Subtle shifts in light, new growth or the slightest wisp of wind will alter the space and highlight new features and draw us along paths overlooked on our first visit, but rarely will the overall mood held within the garden be effected.
From the moment we arrived at Bryan’s Ground and followed the sign ‘Parking for Motors’ we were taken by the playful blend of charm and humour. The garden created by David Wheeler and Simon Dorrell (the team behind the quarterly garden journal Hortus) evokes the romantic sentiment of the Arts and Crafts era, with formality softened by wilderness sprawling across a 7 acre site. The house at the gardens centre is cloaked in wisteria and it’s rich ochre facade acts as a warming back drop for the flowers that overflow the borders, filling the cracks along the path and walls of the rear terrace. There are so many hidden spaces to explore in the garden from the interconnecting garden rooms to the right of the house, the Edwardian style greenhouse set within a potager style garden and the cricket pavilion framed at the end of a mown grass avenue. There are several spaces in the garden that invite you to look out onto the surrounding landscape and then others that allow you to reflect on the garden itself.
It’s difficult to choose a favourite space within the garden but we found ourselves naturally pausing in the peaceful shaded space besides the oak tree listening to the stream and then again sat on the decking in front of the cabin on the Strongacre Pool, looking out across the water and the wildlife that hummed amongst the froth of planting at the waters edge. Bryan’s Ground is a garden to return to many times and walk the paths in new orders and new seasons.