SOMERSET'S SECRET GARDENS
Somerset Life|September 2020
SOMERSET'S SECRET GARDENS
Somerset’s gardens are as beautiful and varied as the county itself, discovers author ABIGAIL WILLIS
ABIGAIL WILLIS

Gardeners often like to ‘borrow’ the view beyond the garden gate and when it comes to landscape larceny Somerset’s diverse countryside is hard to resist. The county’s rolling hills, sweeping vales and dramatic coastline have inspired generations of gardeners and provide the distinctive backdrops to some of Somerset’s most memorable gardens.

STOBERRY HOUSE

Created over two decades by artist Frances Meeres Young, this hillside garden enjoys a farreaching vista that encompasses Wells Cathedral, Glastonbury Tor and even the Purbeck Hills in distant Dorset.

“Gardening with such an incredible view is actually quite difficult,” explains Frances. “You have to create something that works with it rather than fights it.” At Stoberry, Frances and her husband Tim excavated a large pond to link garden and view, a decision that also paid dividends in attracting wildlife.

Frances has drawn on her experience of living in Africa to create a free-flowing design. Swathes of grasses and wildflowers bring a touch of the African savannah to the outer garden, while in the walled garden Frances uses maroon flowers and foliage as a leitmotif to unify a sequence of themed areas that include a beech hedge ‘room’ whose ‘windows’ pay homage to the architecture of Wells Cathedral.

Stoberryhouse.co.uk

AMERICAN MUSEUM & GARDENS

The new gardens at the American Museum also makes the most of a picturesque setting. Opened in 2018 the gardens overlook Arcadian parkland and the plunging gorge of the Limpley Stoke Valley and were designed by the American landscape company Oehme, van Sweden.

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September 2020