Sunday, March 3, 2013

Wollerton Old Hall

March has arrived; and with it more snow.  Today, the sky is white with it, but I am dreaming of spring. The past two years I have spent the month of March gardening in England, and thoughts of the of the long and luxurious English spring are at the forefront of my mind. Over there, spring creeps along, each day a smidgeon more of the season arrives, buds form and then wait days and sometimes weeks to open. It is not like Vermont, where spring happens quickly and then it is summer. Even in the March snow flurries, there are lurking hints of the coming change- longer days and shifting light, animals everywhere jaunty with spring fever, and icy buds on trees and shrubs turning rosy and plump.

Last week I gave my first lectures at the Connecticut Flower and Garden show, one on spring gardening maintenance and the other on annual plant design. While I poured over all my photographs in preparation, I came across some lovely shots of Wollerton Old Hall, taken last April. These pictures had me jumpy for spring and I realized I never wrote a post about this wonderful place.

Wollerton Old Hall is a private garden designed by its owners, John and Lesley Jenkins, and it is a garden that feels like a fairy tale. There are interconnecting garden rooms, each with its own feeling and flavor, all immaculately designed and bursting over with incredible plant material. I approached different parts of the garden from various openings, surprised each time by the change in perspective.

Phormium leaves against a backdrop of hot colored tulips.

I cannot get over this combination- the deep purple-red of the tulip brings out the stunning burgundy in the Euphorbia.

They had a rich collection of Erythroniums, from pink, to yellow to white. There were no plant tags in this garden, which made the place even more enticing.

More Erythroniums with a white Corydalis (possibly C. ochroleuca?). This section housed an incredible tapestry of woodland plants.

A packed in arrangement of spring loveliness. Even the yellow flowered, weedy celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) looks perfect.

 Here is what I believe to be a variegated Cordyline looking lovely with fat berries of a variegated ivy.

Some pretty Prunus dropping its petals like snowflakes. Its bright white and dangling branches are strikingly good against those deep green, angular yews.

An immediate love-at-first-sight plant- Lamium orvala. This lonely bee was feasting on this plant in April.

The flower close up!

A sea of bleeding hearts made even more beautiful by perfectly perched rain drops.

Under a dramatic spring sky.

A double bloodroot- Sanguinaria canadensis 'Mulitplex'


  1. I'm in the same boat right now, as always dreaming of a more temperate spring (being from the west coast of Canada and currently living up in Montreal). I really enjoy your blog btw.

    1. Hi Amber, I lived in Bellingham, WA where the climate is similar to Canada's west coast and England. Cherry blossoms and Hellabores in late February! Glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for reading!

  2. Looks like I need to put this one on my list of gardens to visit, Helen. Some gorgeous photos!

  3. Wollerton is always a pleasure to see! The yew are so perfect & dramatic. Thanks for sharing these photos, Helen!