Waterperry Gardens, nr Oxford

The first of our brief tour of gardens in the Oxford area was to Waterperry Gardens close to Oxford.

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It is always a bit hit and miss visiting gardens at the end of September, you never really know what you are going to see as so much of the summer planting is over.   However, judging from the photographs on Twitter, we were on a pretty good bet at seeing some fabulous Asters or Symphyotrichum as they are now called.

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Brief History of Waterperry Gardens

Beatrix Havergal and her friend Avice Saunders established a Ladies Garden School in 1932. During World War II Waterperry was home to ladies in the Women’s Land Army who worked on the land digging for victory.  By the end of the war Waterperry was established as a well respected gardening school.  When Avice Saunders died in 1971 Waterperry was sold to the School of Economic Science, who continued with day courses for horticultural teaching which is still does to this day.  Many courses are run including the RHS Level 2 Principals of Horticulture. Miss Havergal died in 1980.

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I wrote a book review about First Ladies of Gardening.  in March 2015 and Miss Havergal is mentioned in this interesting  book.   Back now to our visit to the garden.

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We were right in hoping the Asters would be good.  They were spectacular!

As to be expected there was still a lot to look at.

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The borders with grasses looked good, although there were some tall grasses at the front hiding shorter plants behind.   Whether this was deliberate planting or trial and error I am not sure but it did seem a pity.  I know that sometimes when a planting plan is new, it is not always easy to guess exactly how tall plants will grow and things like this are rectified in following years.

dsc_0017 I am a great believer in tranquil gardens, and whilst Waterperry cannot be held responsible for noise, or the wind direction, I found the constant drum of the M40 traffic, the Chinook helicopters overhead (I presume from RAF Benson) and private jets from the local Oxford airport, was far from a relaxing experience.  Maybe on another day with the wind blowing the other way it may possibly have been a quieter visit.

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Waterperry Gardens is open daily apart from Christmas Day and New Years Day.  In October it is free for RHS Members.

3 thoughts on “Waterperry Gardens, nr Oxford

  1. So much colour! It’s looking really good. I spotted a tall white sanguisorba which I planted just back in May but it’s grown to at least double the size I expected. It will get shifted this month, your photo has helped me to visualise the perfect position for it.

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  2. When I lived in Oxford I used to regularly visit Waterperry. It can be peaceful even with the M40, so possibly it was just a bad noise day. Their long border with Asters is a triumph and you photos show it off well, just as I remember them.

    If I recall correctly, the grasses of which you speak are in the trial beds, so it’s less about design and more about learning about what grows well. There was a grass I really wanted that was in this section and they promptly dug it up and sold it too me!

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