English Gardens - West Midlands
Attractive and very well maintained gardens with plenty
to hold the interest.
a few miles south of Bromsgrove, Hanbury Hall is light years away
from the bustle of the West Midlands. The house is
surrounded by attractive gardens and some good walking
through the estate, if time allows.
Pride of place must be the parterre which was reinstated in the 1990s.
It is a large square subdivided into four smaller squares with neatly clipped low hedges and pyramidal conifers. In April the soil between the hedges was planted out with pasque flowers, London pride, hyacinths, tulips, stocks and auriculas. There are over 4000 bulbs and it takes one person 12 weeks to clip all the hedges.
Beyond is a small orchard with apple trees carefully pruned into a globe shape. There are more flower beds with low clipped hedges. The orchard is surrounded by a coniferous hedge with a summer house at the far end. A gap in the hedge gives views down to the duckpond covered with waterlilies.
The small brick built mushroom house dates from 1860 and still has the slate beds used to grow mushrooms. These were being used to store apples and forced rhubarb was growing on the floor.
Next to it is the orangery built in 1745, again as a status symbol when it became fashionable to grow your own lemons, limes and oranges. The large windows were designed to catch all the winter sunshine. A flue system through the walls also helped to boost winter temperatures.
Beyond is the walled garden with beehives and hens running free. This has beds of rhubarb and chuckleberries, a cross between red currant and jostberry (a blackcurrant and gooseberry cross). These are used to flavour ice cream. Most of the garden is filled with poly tunnels which are used for growing plants for Hanbury Hall and other nearby NT properties.
Off the drive to the main door is a small vegetable garden growing broad beans, globe artichokes, sea kale, lettuce, good King Henry and Welsh onions.
The gardens are beautifully maintained by a band of volunteer gardeners as well as regular staff, and there was hardly a weed to be seen. The post code is WR9 7EA.
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