In July 2012 the Brockweir, Hewelsfield and St. Briavels Garden Society visited Veddw. They subsequently wrote up their visit for their website and the members have kindly given me permission to reproduce their comments here. To see the original and to find out more about this lively society visit their website here.

9 July: We visit Veddw House Garden

Campanula Lactiflora at Veddw copyright Charles Hawes

It was with great anticipation that Garden Society members and friends assembled on the sunny early evening of July 9th. Anne likes honest responses, rather than general compliments, so we have said what we think did not work, as well as what we admired – though we didn’t all agree on everything!

‘Everywhere smelt and looked wonderful. The strength of the sculpted structures of this garden was that all the rain had made the hedges even more beautiful.’

‘I liked the peace and tranquility, partly just being in the midst of such full, loosely structured planting. I liked the wavy hedges and the structure and contrast they provided, also the natural flow of the paths round the sloping areas and the fact that you could get a view of the whole thing by walking up to the edges of the ‘bowl’ and the interesting seats there.  One thing that surprised me was the attractiveness of the ground elder bed with the old rusty churns.’

‘I came to appreciate the wild flowers (weeds) how attractive they can look, I have been throwing them away for years.’

Weeds at Veddw

‘Most memorable – being able to view various parts of the garden from different elevations – particularly the hedges, also the reflecting pool.’

‘The foliage is such a strong element, both for its shape and its hot colours contrasted with the acid yellows and greens of Alchemilla mollis and the silvers and golds of the grasses and cardoons. There were relatively few flowers, but they leapt out with their sharp contrasts: deep yellow Hemerocallis, red, orange, and yellow Alstromeria, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and Lysimachia against dark green red foliage. When Anne Wareham likes a plant she likes a lot of it. The Campanula lactiflora is there in sufficient quantities to evoke the sky over the patchwork fields.’

‘Anne Wareham is obviously not afraid of dramatic effect or using colour. My favourite effect was the 2 doves at the end of axes – one at the top and one at the bottom of the garden.’

‘The hedges were very effective and although some were quite tall they didn’t seem to dominate the garden and also didn’t make it too formal.’

Veddw Hedges copyright Charles Hawes

‘I enjoyed the contrast between the formal hedging and the mass planting of rampant perennials and grasses. It’s a real mixture of tidiness and untidiness.’

‘I think the height of the plants growing within the hedges was too tall.’

‘The curved and swooping beech hedges were lovely.’

‘I didn’t think the relatively new area of interplanted squares of box hedging was quite so successful.’

‘I didn’t quite get the grass parterre from a visual point of view though I appreciate the symbolism of the old tithe boundaries.’

‘The dyed black pond was great. I loved the reflective pool – it was wonderfully tranquil and very Zen.’

Reflecting Pool, Veddw, copyright Anne Wareham

‘The reflective pool area is very well designed but left me cold really – too sterile and I was especially not keen on the pink! ‘

‘The pool garden with the wonderful reflections was so calm and peaceful, if I had that I’m afraid the remainder would become a jungle.’

‘I particularly like the way she has spouting grasses at the edge of beds near paths so you have to walk round / through them.’

‘Anne believes that gardens should be considered an art form, especially if they evoke strong feelings, make us think, and possess formal beauty. This garden is definitely art, if those are the criteria. Reducing all my responses is an impossible task. I need more time to think and feel. To create a garden like that, with very little money, is going to take me (and him) 25 years of hard graft – plenty of time to think and feel.’

Charles' garden, Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

Courtesy of  Wye Garden – the Brockweir, Hewelsfield and St. Briavels Garden Society

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