Yesterday was a bit of a bumper day all round, with a new addition courtesy of Elder Daughter, photographic proof that the campervan we had ordered in October had finally arrived at the dealership for conversion and a trip to Warwick to visit three gardens. Needless to say I couldn’t possibly rank these events in any sort of order!

Warwick is barely an hour’s drive away so it was easy to fit all three gardens and lunch into the trip, none of the gardens being very big. Another day trip will allow a visit to the formal gardens at Warwick Castle and the recreated Elizabethan gardens at Kenilworth  Castle, just down the road from Warwick and both made more financially attractive by Gardeners’ World magazine’s ‘2 for 1’ card. Yesterday’s first stop was at Hill Close Gardens on the wonderfully named ‘Bread and Meat Close’, a rare survival of hedged Victorian leisure gardens, now restored and maintained by volunteers. Their original owners tended to live above their business premises so escaped to their gardens here at the weekends – most gardens had information about their previous owners who, having bought their plots, tended to pass them down the generations. Like modern allotments they grew a range of flowers, fruit and vegetables, and some kept pigs or chickens. All plots had a brick summerhouse, most of which remain and are currently in use to display vintage garden related or leisure items. The volunteers also maintain a small nursery with a very interesting and somewhat unusual selection of plants – I bravely did not look at any of the plants but just asked about one stunning geum I had noticed, ‘Prinses Juliana’, who accompanied me home.


IMG_2091IMG_2088IMG_2084IMG_2093IMG_2090The second garden is one I have been to before, the Master’s Garden at the Lord Leycester Hospital which is not and never has been a medical establishment but ‘a charitable institution for the housing and maintenance of the needy, infirm or aged’ which has been its function since the time of Elizabeth I. The Hospital is a historic group of timber-framed buildings dating mainly from the late 14th Century clustered round the Norman gateway into Warwick. Behind the buildings is the Master’s Garden where I experienced my Damascene moment regarding tulips. Alas the tulips, if indeed the box edged beds are still filled with tulips in the spring, were over, and most of the beds were empty and awaiting a summer display. There was, however, a wisteria in full flower with a viewing platform at flowering level. The other feature I remember were the pleached limes, my first experience of these, which were still very much in evidence along with the swags of roses which were just budding up nicely..

IMG_2095 IMG_2096 IMG_2097 IMG_2099 IMG_2101The third garden was the Mill Garden, a small garden in a unique setting on the banks of the River Avon beneath the walls of Warwick Castle. Despite the dramatic views I seem to have forgotten to take any photographs, the day’s excitement and the hot May sunshine perhaps having taken its toll by that point……


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21 Responses to Bonanza!

  1. Laurin Lindsey says:

    Beautiful…Happy Spring gardening!

  2. AnnetteM says:

    What a lovely day you had! I love that orange geum too!

  3. bittster says:

    sounds like a great trip. The gardens look nice and the history behind them is always so interesting. I like the box and feel a lot better about the small hedge I just put in this afternoon. Here in the US the cry for “low maintainence” sometimes turns into a roar and the trouble to trim a hedge sends many people looking for a phone app to accomplish it. At least now I can enjoy the trimming knowing I’m in good company 🙂

    • Your comment about the low maintenance and hedge trimming made me laugh! Sadly, I come across that opinion all too often. Now I’ll laugh inside instead, thinking of “an app for that”! Thanks!

  4. Anna says:

    Great news about the camper van Cathy! Sounds as if you had a good day. I’ve made a note of Hill Close Gardens just in case we are ever that way. What a brilliant street name. We visited the other two gardens you mention many moons ago in summer. I can still picture The Mill Garden – what a romantic setting. By the way the Caravan Club has a most handy site at Warwick Racecourse 🙂

  5. sueturner31 says:

    Love your post…not been to Hill Close Gardens but they look splendid. Been to Lord Leycester Hospital Garden several times, and Mill Hill we went there many years ago when Mr Measure was alive and I was captivated by the whole garden and especially him. He was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable a real gentleman. Does his daughter still look after the garden ?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Sue – Hill Close Gardens are certainly worth popping into and open all the year round I think. It is still Mr Measure’s daughter – she was friendly but didn’t seem happy that ‘he’ (her husband I assume) did not label the plants. Presumably people keep asking and she is fed up of not being able to tell them! I still can’t believe I forgot to take photos!

      • sueturner31 says:

        I have an old ‘Country Living’ from 1997, that featured Mr Measures garden and I can’t bear to part with it.

        • Cathy says:

          And I would love the full collection of 25 Beautiful Gardens, a quarterly magazine that was published for 3 or 4 years in the mid 2000s, but I only have the latter few issues….

  6. Sounds like a good day out! So glad you didn’t come away empty handed. That geum is a favourite of mine – I used it in my mum’s garden. We have been to Warwick several times, and I know of these gardens, but sorry to say, never managed to visit them. I have a mission this summer to visit the new Elizabethan garden at Kenilworth, so maybe I can rectify this omission then.

  7. Annette says:

    Congrats to the new family member…and the new camper van! Will you travel abroad with it? Sounds like life is very exciting indeed. The first garden looks very nice. I look forward to my UK stay next week and hope to see lots of inspiring places. Unfortunately it’s supposed to rain all day on Wednesday when I’m at Chelsea. Have a nice sunday!

  8. Christina says:

    Sounds like a perfect day to me. Visiting new gardens or old favourites is one of the nicest ways of spending a sunny day. Enjoy your weekend.

  9. Pauline says:

    Sounds as if you had a wonderful day, and you came home with another Geum too! I have missed garden visiting this year, but have been too busy in the garden to take time off, time I did something about that!

  10. Chloris says:

    What a lovely time you had and a new Geum too! But the best news is the new addition, how exciting. Congratulations on being a Granny. Is it a girl or a boy?

  11. What a great way to celebrate getting one step closer to your camper, not to mention the human new arrival. Does Kenilworth still have red squirrels? We used to go there frequently when I was growing up.

  12. croftgarden says:

    Thank you for the garden tour. A camper van how exciting – perfect for garden tours (and golf) with plenty of room for plants! We had one for a number of years and had some terrific holidays and I hope you will have the same experience.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christine – it won’t change the way we live too much as we don’t ‘do’ long trips away from home, but it should still take us to South Uist, all being well.

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