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Four of us arrived for our second visit this year and enjoyed a civilised picnic in the orchard outside the main gate before heading inside for the afternoon. The walled garden is entered through a wisteria clad doorway that beckons you to duck and sweep its elongated fragrant blooms aside in a secret garden manner to enter. The first part of the garden is laid out with immaculate diagonally striped lawns surrounded by fluffy herbaceous borders and slender inviting paths.
Topiary forms an integral part of the designs throughout West Green's gardens. The two inner gardens are both enclosed by eighteenth-century walls and are devoted to parterres. The first is a whimsical 'Alice Garden' which features Wonderland inspired Buxus and Hedera topiary embroidered with white and red roses. The second is the 'Chicken Garden' which houses a fanciful collection of plucky bantams and chickens in a willow patterned pagoda that race to greet you in the hope of a tasty titbit or just sheer nosiness. Here the parterres hide a patchwork of water lily tanks from which unexpected graceful flowers magically appear.
The north westerly path entices you to step through the iconic moon gate, framed with delicate silver ribbons of moving water which rush down steps to guide you to a magical Nymphaeum garden. Here the more formal planting style of Marylyn Abbott sits beneath a majestic Quinlan Terry fountain inspired by the Santa Maria della Scala in Trastevere, Rome.
West Green House is a great place for children to explore. Upon entering 'The Paradise Garden' we overheard the adventures of two young seafaring children who welcomed each other in pirates voices to "The Treasure Island" before racing off brandishing invisible cutlasses.
Just outside the walled garden sits a tranquil medieval lake that reflects the sky and encourages relaxation. The only distractions here were wildfowl taking shortcuts to an island and the amorous entwining of Koi carp at the water's edge.
I have no idea why West Green House Garden had escaped my radar until this year it has already become a firm favourite. Marylyn Abbott's clever design has a formal yet friendly familiarity that we shall enjoy returning to rediscover once more.