Road Trip to the English Countryside

I discovered my inner Anglophile shortly after college while studying garden design and history at the University of Manchester. England felt like a home away from home for me and I don’t think there was a more ideal place in the world for me to hone my landscape design skills.

I recently returned to England on a tour of houses and gardens. While I started in Cheshire for a stay with my friends at Arley Hall, the majority of my visits were made in Norfolk and Suffolk. There was so much to take in and discover. I certainly came home with more than enough material to share with you on my blog. Over the next few months I’ll post a series of installments about my trip. This first one gives the 30,000 foot view.

Arley Hall, Cheshire. A favorite haunt of mine as a student in England. Lady Elizabeth Ashbrook wrote the forward to my 1st book, Garden Home.

Roses and lavender are a classic. Arley Hall gardens.

Arley Hall walled garden. Catmint, 'Halcyon' hosta  and 'Rosemary Rose' roses.

The herb garden at Arley Hall. Lady Ashbrook designed this years ago.

Themed gardens! This one is for golden plants. Very striking! Next to this garden room was one done in silver foliage.

'Fire and Water' fountain at Houghton Hall. David Cholmondeley has done great things with the garden in the past 10 years.

The Mediterranean garden at Houghton Hall. Note the 'bullnose' boxwood border around the raised pool. Brilliant! Love the potted agaves too.

Catmint 'Six Hills Giant' framing the view to the glass house at Houghton Hall.

My friend Xa Tollemache and Carla Carlisle at Lady Carlisle's home Wyken Hall. They are standing behind the Cornstalk Gates. Love it!

Silver parterre at Wyken.

Guinea fowl on the lawn at Wyken. Carla loves poultry!

Wyken Hall. Love the color!

Gifford's Hall. So attractive. David Hicks did the interior design back in the '70s & it still looks great! So hip!

Helmingham Hall was built in 1510. It's completely moated & the drawbridge comes up every night.

Helmingham is so majestic! I love the punctuation & rhythm of the boxwoods along the moat.

One of Xa's beautiful designs at Helmingham.

Columbine Hall and its moat.

The kitchen at Columbine. So charming!

Columbine's dinning room. I was so taken by the generous fireplace.




38 Responses to Road Trip to the English Countryside

  1. How very wonderful! Thank you for sharing your photos and your commentary. The only thing better would be to accompany a group on tour, hosted by Allen. Does Allen ever host such group trips? If so, please post info on his web site.

  2. jeanne says:

    Thank you! the commentaries and photographs are real treasures.
    For 30 years I was privileged to spend time every year at a dear
    friend’s north yorkshire home and extensive garden. She is well
    known as a flower club speaker and talented arranger; we spent
    happy hours driving the countryside–“all England is a garden”
    please allow us more of your recent tour, and your original garden.

  3. Mary M.Wilon says:

    My Mom was born in Manchester and Granddad was a vicar atArdwin church. Mom always was in the garden in her spare time and I leaned from her and my mother in law. Now in Texas my garden and lawn are suffereing from the heat and drouth but I do
    my best. Been to UK 6 times ald always visit castles and gardens and pen friends and relatives. And all the royal homes as I am a
    collector of royal memorabilia also. Happy gardening to all.

  4. Mary M.Wilon says:

    My mom was born in Mnchester and Granddd was a vicar at Ardwin church there. Mom always had a great garden so I learned early the beauty of English gardens. Visited U>K> 6 tims and always visited gardens, castles, cathedals and cousins and pen pals
    England is a grand garden. Thanks for sharing photos for us to
    remembe and for those who cannot get to gorgeous Britain.

  5. Hi Allen, thanks so much for the pictures. I happen to be a world war two veteran. I was in england in 1942 before the ivation of Africa. Too bad I was not able visit those places I was station in the Redrood Cornwall area if that is spelled right. I am a regular
    user of all the plants details that you send out. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  6. Nancy Harper says:

    The pictures shown of the English Garden / Homes exemplifies the strength of the design . The homes are so cool – been around a long time . Love the details, a moat !

  7. Jerry Vreeland says:

    Dear Allen,
    I enjoy your show and your emails so very much. My husband and I are elderly and probably will never fulfill my dream to visit England. However, these pictures of the English gardens you visited are just gorgeous. Would you know of a book that I could get that would have views like these and possibly some of the interiors ? I would so love to get one. Thanks for your help and please keep up the good work. You please more people than you could ever imagine. I live in Lacombe, La. north of the Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. We do have beautiful moss filled oaks that I enjoy. But, England is my delight. Thanks again,
    Jerry Vreeland

  8. Mora,
    Happy you enjoyed my blog!
    Thanks for your kind remarks.

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