Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Waterperry Gardens September 2009

An aster unfurling.

Last week I managed to slip in a flying visit to Waterperry Gardens, near Oxford. The garden was founded in the 1930's by Beatrix Havergal as a School of Horticulture for Ladies and has remained a well tended garden which was eventually opened to the public in the 1970's. I had hopped for a bit of late season colour from this visit and as I walked up the path to the garden entrance and saw a sign boasting that 42 varieties of Aster were on sale in the nursery I knew I was not going to be dissappointed.

Bee on aster flowers.

Herbaceous border.

The herbaceous borders were stunning. I spotted several red admiral, tortoishell and comma butterflies flitting about and there were the largest number of honey bees I have seen at any one time this summer feasting on the brightly coloured asters. Yellow and purple were definitely the colours of the moment.

Herbaceous border.

Rudbeckias and asters.


Waterperry not only boasts an impressive late summer/ early autumn display but also has many distractions to keep it's visitors happy. It still continues the horticultural traditions founded in the 1930's and offers a number of gardening courses as well as arts and crafts ones. It is also home to an impressively stocked shop, a rural life museum and a Saxon church.

Herbaceous border.

Bee on Cosmos.

Waterperry has a substantial nursery to browse and what is even better is that it has large nursery beds incorporated into the garden, allowing visitors to compare several varieties growing next to each other and choose which one they like best before visiting the shop and purchasing their favourite on the way out.

Nursery beds.

Toad Lily.

I could not help but stop and admire the clumps of toad lilies just inside the entrance to the garden. They were exquisitely beautiful and I have now added them to my list of must haves.

Island beds.

There is of course a tea rooms. I can happily report that The Pear Tree Teashop offers an excellent line in cakes and custom made teas. Sadly I arrived just after lunch desperate for a sandwich before I explored the garden but discovered that a herd of hungry garden visitors had stripped the place bare so I had to treat myself to an extra large piece of chocolate cake instead!

Colchicum autumnale.

Signs of autumn were on show across the garden. Some of the most beautiful were the autumn crocus'. A number of small trees had leaves tuning delicious shades of red, teasel and artichoke seedheads were glistening bronze in the afternoon sun and berries and hips were growing rosy.



Sea Holly.

Artichoke head with ladybird.

Autumn Leaves.

Waterperry strikes me as a garden with something to offer whatever the season. I was short of time, but enjoyed wonderful smell of the late roses in the Mary Rose garden, and carefully noted the NCCPG national collection of Kabschia saxifrages for investigation on my next visit. With eight acres of gardens there appears to be something for everyone here.


Sara Johnson said...

Lovely as usual RO, you certainly take a wonderful picture and have some great adventures!

janerowena said...

Those gardens look wonderful - I'm frantically trying to grab more autumn-flowering stuff whenever I see it, anything to push winter further away!

So, was the cake good?

Rothschild Orchid said...

Oh yes the cake was very good :o)

And if you fancy trying some of their autumn colour and can afford to re-mortgage your home they have an online shop!

HappyMouffetard said...

Gorgeous photos. I have bought two toad lilies this year - they are fascinating flowers.

Lucy Corrander said...

I'm not a looking-round-gardens kind of person but these colours lift the spirits and if I lived near it - I'd go straight round!

Northern Shade said...

You have some great shots of the fall colours in the garden. That herbaceous border at Waterperry is gorgeous. The colchicum, toadlily and asters really come into their own. I've been adding more early spring and fall perennials to extend the season, but my fall garden doesn't have the same punch.