Sunday, 9 September 2018

Trip to Iford Manor

I seem to drive less and less....but feeling in need to organise a little expedition, I was delighted when a friend who also loves gardens, was free to come with me to visit The Peto Garden at Iford Manor.  The garden is on a steep slope behind a beautiful stone house, set besides the River Frome.

The lanes leading to Iford Manor are very narrow, with few passing points, and I was less than impressed with two drivers who insisted I reverse to a passing point, when in fact theirs was far closer behind them.  However I didn't let this rattle me, and was pleased that I coped well.

Even before we arrived at the payment desk, we knew we were going to love this garden.  In May the Wisteria must be magnificent when in full bloom, but just now, it was the huge gnarly trunk which caught our attention.

Close by the front of the house, with leaves showing the first signs of Autumn, was a lovely specimen of  Hydrangea quercifolia Snowflake.  It was in full sun.

With interesting formation, it has large blooms which start off white and fade to pink.  We saw several examples dotted around the gardens.  I'll be on the lookout for this one!

As Italianate gardens go, I have visited many in Italy, and this one is a peach of a garden.  With little touches like the rose in hip allowed to grace one side of a sarcophagus.

The garden buildings are beautifully position, with views from paths, hedges and shrubs cut at angles.

The fall of light, and shade cast added a visual dimension which on this sunny day certainly gave the feeling of being in Italy.

Close clipped box, yew, trailing rosemary plants, and geraniums were repeated to both catch ones eye and also lead it to distant views, or to the bronzes and sculptures dotted around the garden.

Emerging between creeping ivy, or tucked amongst ferns in shady places, the first cyclamens were emerging.

After our walk around the gardens, we spread blankets in the shade by the River, and enjoyed our lunch.  No outing would be complete without a trip  to a nearby Plant Nursery.  We spent some time looking round Downside Nurseries, with each of us bring home one plant.  I bought white flowered Fuchsia Hawkshead.   On our way home we drove through the pretty village of Freshford.


  1. As a non driver I'm in awe of anybody who can drive Noelle ! We had a similar experience last week in Wales in a narrow road with few passing places and a concrete tanker heading the opposite direction. I will not repeat what himself muttered. The garden looks fabulous and maybe you will return in the spring to see that wisteria in bloom :)

    1. Do you think I shall be able to entice AlisonC to come with me? Wed - Friday are free access for NHS members. I only realised after I had paid, when the following visitor claimed her free entrance. I decided not to claim my fee back...but I shall return on my ticket another time.

  2. I haven't been to Iford for many years but you have reminded me that I need to go again. It has a wonderful atmosphere, doesn't it? It looks as though you had the perfect September day.

    1. Shall we arrange a visit together next year, when the wisteria is out?

  3. It is a garden I have read about many times. One to visit when in the area. Thanks for the tour.