bryan's ground

Today I'd like to introduce you to one of my most favourite gardens. It's wonderfully hidden away in the countryside near beautiful, secretive Presteigne, which is itself hidden away in the magical, historic Marches - neither England, nor Wales, but both.

It's owned by David Wheeler and Simon Dorrell, who as well as making a beautiful garden also publish Hortus, probably the most exquisitely lovely gardening publication you can buy.

I am a bit unusual in that I don't favour brightly coloured, tidy gardens with everything neatly kept. I like a bit of mystery, a hint of wildness, the opportunity to get lost, and a lot of green: a sort of managed semi-abandonment. Bryan's Ground hits all the right notes for me: it's quirky, overgrown, romantic, full of shady, hidden places to sit, totally idiosyncratic, yet hugely welcoming. The reason it succeeds so well is that David Wheeler and Simon Dorrell are enormously knowledgeable about plants and design and nothing happens without being planned or anticipated by them.

I have been twice now, and loved it both times. I would go again tomorrow, but it is not open in 2008, for a rather sad reason: David Wheeler is recovering from cancer. He is, at least as far as I know, well again now, and you can read his affecting and inspiring story here.

I've got my fingers crossed that the garden will soon be open again. I love this beautiful, timeless part of the country, and will doubtless be returning next year. I would not like to miss my visit to Bryan's Ground.


Gilly said...

It looks absolutely beautiful, and so peaceful. You woujld like the Chesters Herb Garden, a walled garden near Hadrian's Wall. All English herbs are there, wonderuflly untidy, and the smell is overwhelming!

Sue said...

I did try to go there on the way home from Newcastle but my travelling companion preferred to go and look at the muddy field where the Romans lived...