To the Manor - Light & Without a Care

A multitude of treats yesterday - not only a whole new garden to explore, but with a personally conducted tour of it from the delightful R Pete Free (RPF), including the gardeners' domain, not usually seen by the public (see RPF's blog for further snippets). RPF's readers will already be familiar with Lytes Cary Manor, but nothing beats a sunny summer afternoon to really get to grips with a lovely manor house and garden. So lets take a peep through this very inviting door (one of many in perfect pose) and see what there is to see.

Looking away from the manor house - in the Apostle Garden with a view beyond the garden gate to the 'Dovecote'

Anyone for croquet? There's a day devoted to it on June 15th - a perfect Fathers' Day treat? Alternatively, hirers of the property's 'cottage' (actually a wing of the house, accomodating up to 14 people) can play to their heart's content

The Graham Stuart Thomas border - redesigned by the great man in the 1960s. I find I'm sometimes trailing along behind him when going through the National Trust's archives in Swindon - his handwritten reports of garden visits, letters with advice to Head Gardeners, suggested plant lists for a border. Each discovery is like finding treasure

RPF's most FAQ - what's this plant? It's a Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens', will be your cheerful reply

Beautifully clipped yew complete with topiary and focal points are in abundance

A giant cardoon - I nabbed the last one in the plant sales area as a special present for my allotment
Another inviting 'doorway' - this time it's a weeping ash, clipped into a cooling umbrella

Some of RPF's handiwork in the courtyard. This will fill out into a delightful display over the summer
It may be troublesome for the garden staff, but this fountain adds a wonderful freshness after an afternoon's exploration

Well it would have been rude not to buy something wouldn't it? That cardoon, plus a Dahlia 'David Howard'. RPF dealt me a very low blow by having Heuchera 'Obsidian' for sale. I had my usual Heuchera battle 'no I haven't got room for another one', but there's one tucked away in the bag on the right - how did that happen?

I can thoroughly recommend the coffee and cake from the cafe - well up to National Trust standard. I sat out in the sun with a trio of delightful visitors, one of whom summed up the feeling of the place very well - 'It's homely isn't it?'

Thanks RPF for a lovely afternoon and I hope to return for one of the painting days in July!


  1. What a lovely tour you have just given us VP. Thanks.
    (Good pressie for the allotment cardoons are fab)

  2. What a spectacular garden! Thanks for sharing your tour with us.

  3. I love the topiary there, I think they call them the Apostles?

    Going back to your question about Ferdinand Pichard, nope, as I said on the blog, it's a Hybrid Perpetual, which means it repeats freely all season. It smells great too and has masses of bloom. You might have confused it with Rosa gallica 'Veriscolour' aka Rosa Mundi, which only does the once, tends to revert, but is beautiful anyway. I have that in the garden too, but it's under a bird feeder and the birds aren't careful where they poo! She is looking rather sorry for herself.

  4. That is so appealing. I'm a big fan of Graham Thomas so I'm looking forward to a visit.
    So-a cardoon for the plot. I'll wave to it next summer.

  5. Thank-you VP for this fabulous write-up - including all the photos that I never get around to taking! Do come and see us again - at 'Paint the Garden' perhaps?

  6. Thanks for the tour! I love the Cardoon & the tree branch arch. I've also been repeating the mantra, "There's no room for another Heuchera," but I'm beginning to think I should adopt the motto "You can never have too many Heucheras."

  7. Well done for taking that photo of the Cerinthe... I spotted that exact one in someone's garden at the weekend, asked them what it was and then forgot all about it. You've jogged my memory...

    I saw Pete Free this evening and evidently Anne Wareham's garden was amazing - i really want to go now. I am trying to work out if i could go this sunday!

  8. Hi everyone - glad you enjoyed the tour!

    Zoe - yes, you're right.

    RPF - yes, I'll be back in July - might be with 2 converts to your garden!

  9. Guess I must be an uncouth colonial...I just don't get or enjoy topiary and clipped hedges. But otherwise, the tour was just so much fun. Good on you for scoring a cardoon. And as for the always need another one. Just ask Joy at GardenJoy4Me...she'll help enable you.


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