An absolute delight: West Green House, Hartley Wintney

REPOST!  24 April 2020 – Because we can’t go out to visit new gardens or revisit gardens we love during lockdown, I am reposting gardens I’ve visited for you to enjoy.  This post about West Green House was written on 24 April 2011 during the tulip season. 🌈🙏🏻

I visited two gardens on Saturday,  Dunsborough Park, which I have already written about and a dream of a garden at West Green House, near Hartley Wintney in Hampshire.

You will find West Green House in the National Trust handbook, but it is an oddity, it is not owned by the NT.  When they decided to sell the house and garden in 1993, it was bought by Marylyn Abbott –  a lady with a passion for gardens, gardening and garden design.  She has made the historic walled garden what it is today and although it is privately owned it is open to National Trust members from 7 April until 30 September 2012 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 11am – 4.30pm.

This is a garden that I had never heard of before last week and what a delight it was.   The garden is entered via The Dragon Garden, and both sides of the path were packed with peonies.  I can imagine that in the Summer when they are in full bloom, against the red garden ornaments and bench,  these two beds are sight to behold.

Beyond the Dragon Garden you come to the Lake Field with fields around a lake which, at the moment, are a mass of Fritillaria, daffodils, with bluebells just coming through.   I see Fritillaria everywhere in Spring and always tell myself  buy the bulbs for my garden, but never do, this year I will.

As we walked around the path of the lake, there is a smaller pond bordered with wonderful display of Forget-me-nots and Pulmonaria – the bees were having a wonderful time.

This was my kind of garden  to enjoy, full of different areas of interest.    The next part of the garden is split into two sections,  one  for herbaceous plants, although there is nothing much to see at the moment and the other is a potager with an Oliver Ford fruit cage in the middle.   There were tulips and Spring flowers scattered about  and I suspect this part of the garden is going to look glorious and colourful in the Summer.

I took the photo above from the top of steps that have water flowing down either side,  these led up from a circle in the wall, which I understand is called a  Victorian moon gate – a great photo spot.  The photos below were taken either side of the wall and if you look carefully you will see the water edging the steps.

There is a lot to see and it was great just to wander around, coming across something new and different at each turn.    What I was not expecting to see were fountains and waterways on raised ground which is called The Paradise Garden.  I am still not sure what I feel about this, I liked it, but not certain of its place in this garden.

Having said that, Marylyn Abbott is a garden designer and that is the beauty of West Green Garden, her use of imagination throughout the garden is evident.    This can also be seen in the Alice Garden below with a variety of clipped topiary shapes around the borders.   Red is a colour that you can’t miss and it certainly stood out here, there is also a seating area with tables and chairs painted red – all very Alice in Wonderland all it needed was a pack of large cards.

I particularly liked the Walled Garden below and, again, this is going  to be one to revisit in another few months.   The clematis supports placed around the garden were an indication that this is going to be a part of garden crammed full of colour and plants.   The hues are gentle and pleasing to the eye at the moment and after the red of Alice’s Garden, I hope when I come back  here it remains gentle.

I am told that there is also an abundance of Alliums which are a sight to behold when they are all out , although at the moment, this is where most of the tulips are to be found.

West Green House Garden is a gem and if you have the opportunity to visit, please do go.  I will certainly visit again, because it has whet my appetite to discover what colours and plantings await me in other seasons.

Before I leave you I have to share what I can only describe as “Garden Art”.   I came across them hanging on the wall in the Orangery, I suppose like any art you either love it or loathe it, but I thought they were great, probably because I like quirky things.   I looked around for some idea of who made them but there was nothing, which was a shame.

The other love  Marylyn Abbott has is opera and West Green House with its purpose built auditorium must be a splendid backdrop with its lit garden at night.  Dinner and opera on a Summer’s evening in a beautiful garden, what a wonderful combination.


  1. I make this trip at least weekly in season – I am fortunate enough to be a neighbour. The operas and other musical events are wonderful, and well worth the effort of attending. I am especially fond of them when they hold them in the lake field, where they erect beautiful fabric pavilions, and the lake reflects everything. Get hold of Marylyn’s books too, they are worth reading.


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