There’s something magical about a walled garden, don’t you agree? I’m sure that I’m not alone in believing that a walled garden is one of the most special places within any garden space. I love their timeless beauty and the mystery of what could be hidden beyond those twelve-foot high weathered brick walls.
Claydon Estate is a beautiful rural estate in Middle Claydon, Buckinghamshire. This place first came to my attention while I was researching a new National Trust property to visit (for a separate project) within a couple of hours from my home near Cambridge. As with most National Trust estates, there is usually a house and garden open to the public, so off James and I headed on the journey to Claydon, with no idea whatsoever that this hidden gem (which is cared for privately by The Claydon Estate) of a garden would be tucked away behind the main house…
Walking through a little iron gated entrance – the kind that theatrically creaks as it’s pushed open, I was immediately greeted by this wall of climbing wisteria dripping with stunning violet blooms. It was an unexpected joy to discover that the wisteria was in fact adorning the old brick walls of a small fernery. It was one of those moments where you just have to stop in your tracks and admire what nature can so effortlessly create.
Exploring this perfect little fernery has to be one of my highlights from this trip. Despite it being quite a small space, it was filled to the brim with light and so many lovely details – the mismatched tiled floor, painted white walls and decorative doors (to name but a few) worked harmoniously with the potted camellias, ferns and wisteria lingering just beside the window and doors. I’ve only ever discovered one fernery before this in The Swiss Garden at Shuttleworth and they really are a sight to behold. It has without a doubt become a new passion (it could perhaps be called an obsessions!?) of mine to visit as many of them as I can find, there’s just such a beautiful, subtle romance to their enclosed atmosphere.
Peeking out from the decorative window and doors through a curtain of wisteria felt incredibly whimsical. For me, it was a wonderful sanctuary nestled within the grounds of an already peaceful, inspiring garden.
The kitchen garden at Claydon Estate was overflowing with plants just about ready to bloom. It was one of the areas of the garden that I wish I’d had longer to explore further – I simply spent a disproportionately large amount of time photographing the flowers and fernery. I’m by no means complaining, what I explored of this place was stunning and I am sure it will be just as beautiful to visit in any season – fingers crossed I can work in a trip back in the next few weeks!
If you follow my travels on Instagram, it will come as no surprise that I love a good wander through a glasshouse. After all, who can resist a glasshouse streaming with natural light and filled with an array of carefully cultivated plants? This one was sadly not open to the public as it’s privately owned, but the gardeners were so friendly and chatty – a curious glance through the open doors of course meant I had time to capture a few quick shots without interrupting them from their jobs. Oh and those sugary, pastel tiles caught my attention straight away, don’t they look perfect in this bright, airy space? I’m always dreaming up plans for my future garden space, so naturally these got added to my wish list.
A short distance from the kitchen garden is a beautiful walk along the edge of the garden, just the other side of the walls. It’s easy to feel as though you’ve been dropped somewhere completely new in the middle of the countryside; the rolling fields, a little brick bridge over a stream and so many lively sheep make up the landscape to one side, while the other is a wild and leafy mass of trees, shrubs and meadows almost entirely obscuring the estate. If you look carefully in the photo below, you can just about make out the main house in the distance – I absolutely loved this breezy view over the grassy meadow of wildflowers and cow parsley. Definitely a place where any worries you may have get carried away.
Honestly, this place completely stole my heart and exceeded my expectations in leaps and bounds. Visiting around mid May, the grounds were beginning to burst into colour. Adorned with so many spring flowers, the abundance of colours and scents is something that I can still remember with so much enthusiasm.
Do you have a beloved walled garden or estate that you simply cannot stay away from for too long and what parts do you tend to find yourself drifting towards most? I enthuse over wandering the grounds with all their seasonal flowers, exploring the carefully cultivated plants in the glasshouses and appreciating the wonderful views that so often accompany these enchanting gardens… but I’ll always find a calming spot that nurtures my creativity.