Wollerton Old Hall near Shrewsbury, Shropshire is a 16th Century house, embellished with beams and oozing history and character. The gardens are approached via a tree-lined gravel drive which ends with a flourish in front of the Tudor house, where innumerable pots and containers are planted with exuberant colour.
Wollerton Old Hall has been home to Lesley and John Jenkins since 1984. Their four acre garden has evolved from scratch into 16 ‘Arts and Crafts’ style garden rooms, and is important enough for neighbouring roads to herald its location with brown tourist signs.
Arts and Crafts gardens are typically formal, following the geometric lines of the building giving an enclosed feeling to each section of garden whilst offering vistas beyond. Each of the 16 garden rooms has its own style and contains a trademark Edwardian feature. The planting can only be described as ‘controlled exuberance’ with roses, dahlias, anemones and salvias spilling across paths & over walls.
Everything you might expect to find in an Arts & Crafts garden can be found here; pools, a rill, gazebos and wisteria-clad pergolas, all of which are used to link areas and provide focal points whilst the topiary, hedges, walls and paths clearly define each garden room.
Wollerton Old Hall has expanded over the 30+ years of Lesley & John’s ownership with constant tweaks being made to keep the contrasting garden spaces looking fresh. Truly a joint venture, they are both equally passionate about the beautiful garden they have created.
A handy map helps the visitor to navigate the maze of paths & individual areas. I particularly liked the formality of the Old Garden and the Lime Alley, dissected by the lower rill (I had to stop myself from jumping over it like a child) which leads to the marvellous & much photographed Upper Rill, with sedentary box balls contrasting with huge terracotta tubs frothing with hydrangeas.
Late summer is the best time to view the Lanhydrock (hot) Garden. The largest of the garden rooms, the hot garden is divided with gravel paths bordered with dazzling colour including purple salvias & asters, dark red dahlias ‘Karma Choc’ and ‘Chat Noir’ and dotted with flame-coloured cannas.
A trip to Wollerton old Hall Garden would not be complete without a visit to the licensed cafe which serves delicious lunches at very reasonable prices. Teas and morning coffee would not be quite right without cake – you will be spoiled for choice!
Having admired the garden, a quick tour around the adjoining nursery will enable you to select some of the plants grown in the garden to take home & grow yourself. What better souvenir of a super day out than something that will continue to give pleasure in your own garden?