In and out the Roses - Garden walk at Somerset's Barrington Court
PUBLISHED: 13:18 07 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:15 20 February 2013
The Rose Stroll – a fragrant walk around Barrington Court with Head Gardener Christine Brain
Thought to have been completed in 1560, Barrington Court has led a chequered history. Having housed some very wealthy members of society, by the time the National Trust acquired the property, it was inhabited by a farmer and some chickens.
The manor house that stands at Barrington Court is believed to have been completed by 1560, although there is evidence that this was by no means the first house to stand in its place in fact, the site was recorded in the Domesday Book.
The now empty Tudor manor house and gardens at Barrington were lovingly restored by the Lyle family in the 1920s. What were once cow yards, pens and fields became the delightful flower gardens you can still see today; the original garden designs were by Gertrude Jekyll. Roses, irises, peonies and apple trees abound, and much more besides. Look out for the delightful dancing faun statue in the centre of the The White Garden within the old farmyard walls.
Traditionally, every country house estate had a kitchen garden, which made it almost self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables. Many have now disappeared, but at Barrington the superb 1920s planting scheme remains defiantly in cultivation, supplying food for the restaurant and plants for sale. The carved stone fruit and vegetables over the entrance doorways announce what lies within. This working stone-walled kitchen garden gives great inspiration for visitors who grow their own fruit and vegetables at home. The arboretum is also home to a wide variety of trees.
In the restaurant eat freshly cooked vegetables straight from the gardens and drink Barringtons south Somerset-produced cider or apple juice. Sit outside and have a pasty and cup of tea or browse in the shop and buy a present for someone special.
Parking is free.
There is asome great holiday accommodation at Barrington: visit www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk for more information.
Walk among scented roses
A walk around the intimate family garden at Barrington Court in June will give you the wonderful scents and sights of bush roses, rambling roses and many others. Its around a 45-minute walk to take in the roses.
Many of the varieties Jekyll originally chose are no longer available, so over the years, gardeners have aimed to find species as close to those types and colour schemes.
In the walled flower garden which comprises the White Garden, the Lily Garden, the Rose and Iris Garden and Bustalls there are bush and climbing roses, and throughout the garden, youll come across many very old-fashioned varieties with glorious scents as well as some more modern varieties, including the Gertrude Jekyll rose itself. There are also some to be seen on the outside walls of the kitchen garden and around to the courthouse. The colour range of the gardens roses takes in buff yellows, pinks, whites and magenta.
The Rose and Iris Garden is where youll see the greatest remaining influence of Gertrude Jekylls designs. Theres a centre bed and various climbers on the wall. You can see some lovely English hybrid musk roses known as Vicars daughters as they were bred by the Reverend Pemberton from Essex. The individual flowers, named after his daughters, are called Felicia, Cornelia and Penelope and are shades of pinks and whites. Also look out for the yellow Buff Beauty and follow your nose to the lovely scented rose in the corner called Blanche double de Coubert.
Youll see some beautiful examples of trained white, pink, red and apricot roses over the old calf pens near the courthouse, known as Bustalls, which are buildings dating back to the early 1800s when this area was Barringtons farmyard.
Meet the Head Gardener
Christine Brain, Head Gardener at Barrington Court, has been working in the garden since 1978. Her favourite roses are in the Lavender Walk, which joins the Rose and Iris Garden to the White Garden, where there are Penelope roses and other hybrid tea roses dating back to when the garden was first laid out in 1925.
Her tip for growing roses is to plant robust varieties which are as resistant to disease as possible. She finds the English musk roses to be very resilient.