Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Old Rectory, Farnborough

Members of the Oxford & District AGS Group inspect the parallel borders.

For the past couple of weeks I have been immersed in writing a massive article, but on Thursday evening I escaped and joined the Oxford & District AGS Group for a visit to the Old Rectory, Farnborough. Located in a small village perched high on the Berkshire Downs and surounded by rolling farmland it has a wonderful setting. The Old Rectory itself dates to about 1749, and has been owned for the past forty-some years by our hosts Caroline and Michael Todhunter, who in that have time have created a truly splendid garden, full of interest. Caroline is one of the best sorts of compulsive gardeners and together with her fulltime gardener Dan, and a part-time help, keeps the largish plot in immaculate order. Unfortunately it was a chilly, gloomy evening, so the photographs aren't scintillating, but they give an idea of the diversity of the planting and garden areas found here. It is very well-worth visiting.

A deceptively wild-looking section of the herbaceous border.

Tulipa 'Shirley', generously planted in a large pot, spilling out in voluptuous elegance.

There is a good collection of  trees at the Old Rectory, including a well-planted small arboretum. This is Aesculus pavia 'Rosea Nana', with which I was not previously familiar. Great spring colour!

The Old Rectory is next open for the National Gardens Scheme on 17 June: see the Yellow Book or NGS website for details.

The former Poet Laureate, John Betjeman, lived in the house for a few years, and in the adjacent church is this beautiful window made by John Piper in his memory.


  1. That Aesculus was pretty stunning! Goes right on my must have list!

  2. Thanks for beautiful desktop background!