About the garden
The priory is 600ft above sea level and very exposed, so the first thing that Maria Chaworth-Musters, the creator of the garden, planted were the yew hedges. An annual feature of the garden is the carpet of daffodils in the orchard, some of which are extremely rare. The carpet of yellow, apricot, white and orange is a sight to behold during March and April. Colourful tulips have been added to the garden. Other plants grown at this time of year include a wonderful collection of magnolias and snake’s head fritillary – which underplant the trees in the specimen shrubbery area – hellebores and finally a stunning collection of both herbaceous peonies and tree peonies. A stunning woodland carpet of bluebells can also be found in the spring.
The herbaceous borders are the highlight of the summer months. The walled rose garden is filled with old-fashioned roses; under the old Elizabethan wall are many agapanthus and some tender shrubs. The borders around the old walls have a mixture of trees and shrubs.
In the centre of the garden the pergolas are covered with roses, vines, clematis and Lonicera, and are surrounded by a knot garden made up of architectural box and yew topiary birds. An extensive collection of hydrangeas provide wonderful autumn colour throughout the garden. Many of the trees have wonderful autumnal colours of red and orange to enjoy, along with pale mauve and white colchicums.
The topiary is the original framework from which the garden was established and in winter it is still an outstanding feature. Even when snow-covered, the garden’s topiary is magnificent, with the bushes shaped into swans, castles and peacocks. The start of the year heralds the arrival of 60 varieties of snowdrops. The collection is made up of the usual white snowdrops, as well as some rarer yellow types.