You will enter the garden via a public path (leading to the Sports Centre and ski slope), through a gate where your entrance money will be gratefully received by a member of the family, usually son Paul or daughter Julie’s fiancée Simon or me on a bad day ! By this time you will be wondering what you have paid for! At this point you cannot see much of the garden and you will be confused as to whether you go forward or to the right (I suggest to the right where the plants are for sale where you will find Maureen and Chris (neighbours – couldn’t do without their valued help) and most of the time Myra doing our utmost to give guidance and ultimately to sell you a very reasonably priced plant or two or three, (some customers have staggered out with at least ten or more plants – they know a bargain !)
If you go forward and up two steps then a large part of the garden will be in sight. By going through the small nursery area (where you will see your first water feature the unique ‘old pot shed’) and up the shade path, then by taking either exit, you start to see the garden in small segments. Either of these will take you onto the ‘top lawn’ where you will come out of the shade into the sunlight and hopefully be surprised by what is, personally, my favourite part of the garden because it has a little element of the whole garden in this small space, the herbaceous border, shrub border, gravel area with hostas in pots, trellis with roses and clematis, wildlife pond, pebble water feature and best of all the swing-seat! Sit here and admire the small tree Aralia Elata Variegata The ‘odd minute’ is spent here languishing on this with a gardening book and a glass of chilled wine – bliss at six on a summer evening.
Step on the miniscule jetty and look into the wildlife pond with its many frogs, toads and newts which regularly breed in here. The border around the pond has hostas, astilbes, ferns, hardy geraniums, lysimachia, lythrum, and shade-loving plants as well as the unusual Robinia Hispada. There is a bench to the side to sit on and look back along the herbaceous border.
The herbaceous border (as it is fondly called) is not a true one. It has been planted with mainly perennials, good all-rounders and in the early summer tends to be white, pink and lilac then in August it turns to yellow, orange and purple. Behind this border is the main trellis covered in rambling roses and clematis which separates this part of the garden from the lower one. Next to the swing-seat you will find our pebble pot water feature made in memory of our dear golden retriever Honey. As you leave this level you have the choice of going through either of two arches, each one giving a glimpse of what is beyond. If you go through the larger arch under clematis and an evergreen honeysuckle, then this will bring you to the garden area around the greenhouse and kitchen door. If you take the smaller arch, this will bring you down to the stream and bamboo area. As you come down the steps of the larger arch, you will leave the burbling of the pebble pot and you will have already heard a thunderous roar of water and to your right you will be amazed by our latest water feature, a large cascading waterfall, designed and built in spring 2004.
Sit on the bench here but be prepared to get a little damp! Behind this bench is the small timber greenhouse which is the winter home of all the fuchsias, pelargoniums, summer bedding and tender pot plants. The gravel area surrounding the greenhouse contains many pots of fuchsias and other tender plants. The border on your left as you enter the greenhouse has the rose Zephirine Drouhin, when in flower enjoy its gorgeous fragrance. In the summer the greenhouse still contains an overspill of plants and some of these are used purely for propagation. Under the kitchen window you will find many pots of tender plants and to the right of the kitchen door you will find another water feature ‘Lenny’. Enter the kitchen door and here you can choose from a variety of delicious cakes and talk to Chris whilst collecting your tea.
In the centre of this part of the garden you will find a very fast growing Trachycarpus fortunei (fondly called ‘Bert’) which was planted to commemorate one of our wedding anniversaries.
In front of the house is a patio with table and chairs and numerous potted plants. The wall here is clothed with a beautiful blue wisteria. Many of the borders here contain mixed planting but always with a selection of perennials and hardy geraniums. There is yet another water feature here, the ‘the old bucket and pump’ which you can view through the trellis. You can now pass through one of two arches, covered in roses, clematis and honeysuckle, taking you into another area. In this section is the main larger patio, again with a table, chairs and sun-loungers and more pots. The walls here are covered with roses, clematis and boston ivy. In the middle there is a fishpond with stream and bridge, carp and goldfish and pond planting including gunnera. At the side of the fishpond you can see a heavily pruned Pinus Wallichiana. There are many gravelled areas around the garden where many self-sown seedlings can be found. You can enter the swimming pool building here where you will find numerous tables and chairs for tea and cakes (a good place to go should it rain). In here also, you will find photos, cuttings and a folder with interesting information on the garden over the years. Please take time to read through the visitors’ book and add your own comments. There is also a toilet for visitors use.
There are borders and yet more pots around the pool windows. Notice the gorgeous hardy geranium ‘Patricia’ intermingled with Knautia Macedonica to the left of the pool door. There are two benches here to sit and enjoy the view.
Now you will be going into the final part of the garden (or the first part, depending which way you walk around). Walk across a small bridge over a tumbling stream which separates these two areas. Here you will find borders each side of the stream with mixed, mainly perennial planting with British wildlife in mind. To the rear of this area is a mixed shrub and tree border and gravel area with bamboos and potted ferns.
Sit here on the bench in the shade where you can look back across the stream to the pond or towards the ‘Victorian’ steps and small waterfall. Leave this area by two steps down and return by the shed and into the nursery area and browse through the variety of plants for sale. Be sure to buy at least one plant as a memory of the garden at Holly Hill!
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