Garden enthusiasts enjoy busman’s holiday

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IT was a plantaholics delight for members of the Hardy Plant Society as they headed for Herefordshire and a four-day garden excursion.

The packed programme saw the 49 members visit ten contrasting gardens, as well as a well-known nursery.

The first garden on their itinerary was Pump Cottage near Alvechurch, a delightful one-acre plantsman’s cottage garden with a large pool, extensive and colourful borders, bog garden, water features and a newly-created fernery.

Next came the Laskett Gardens, the largest private formal gardens to be created in England since 1945 and the work of Sir Roy Strong and his late wife, Dr Julia Trevelyan Oman.

The eight-acre arts and craft garden of Bryan’s Ground, Stockton Bury Gardens, Westonbury Mill Water Garden and finally The Rambles occupied the group on the Friday.

Sitting on the banks of the River Dore, at the southern end of the Golden Valley, Saturday’s visit began at the eight-acre plant lovers’ garden named Abbey Dore Court, where the group was encouraged to wander at will, with an added bonus of two buzzards flying overhead.

The rescued garden at Hampton Court Castle, the 12-acre garden at Staunton Park and the traditional cottage garden at Ivy Cottage, which has featured on Gardeners’ World, rounded off the day.

Just one venue on Sunday, to Cotswold Garden Flowers, the nursery of Bob Brown, where quite a number of purchases were made after visits to the poly tunnels and stock beds.

Organiser Helen Boothman was thanked for making the four-day arrangements and announced that the 2012 July visit would be to Essex.