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Garden Visit | The Hope and Little Malvern Court, Worcestershire

Wonderful Worcestershire Gardens

Today’s gardens are located in and around Worcester in the unspoilt Sapey valley and beautiful Malvern Hills. This morning we are fortunate to be visiting The Hope, the private garden of great friend of the Museum Shane Connolly and his wife Candy. Shane is one of the country’s leading floral designers, whose work has attracted clients including HRH The Prince of Wales.

The Hope is a fine stone farmhouse dating from 1680 with a traditional square farmyard of barns, some 18th and 19th century and some pre-dating the house. It has been in Candy’s family since 1961 and the garden, of approximately one acre, hidden in the Sapey Valley, has been a weekend hobby project for Shane and Candy’s since 1991. A place of inspiration and sanctuary, it is also a vital resource for Shane’s sustainable floristry, as he will explain to us over morning coffee and while we explore. The hillside garden, still developing and evolving, wraps around the house, with a formal front garden, a clairvoyee overlooking a long pool, a vine-clad garden room, a vegetable garden made during lockdown and a greenhouse built entirely from recycled elements. Below this, an avenue of giant poplars leads into an area of woodland and springs, where the Sapey brook flows through the valley.

Shane and Candy are kindly hosting lunch for us in their 18th century oak-framed granary and afterwards we will drive to Little Malvern Court where we will be met by head gardener Hugh Thomas who will be our guide. In a magnificent setting in the Malvern Hills, overlooking the Severn Valley, the property is steeped in history, having been in the Berington family since the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Around the house – a 15th century former Prior’s hall and a courtyard of adjoining monastic buildings – the garden has terraces that were laid out in the 1980s, devised by Arabella Lennox Boyd and Michael Balston. The rose garden in this area has been recently renovated by Hugh and his team. A series of garden rooms afford views down over the lawns to a water garden, featuring a chain of interconnecting lakes, originally the fish ponds for the monks. These are criss-crossed by bridges, creating a waterside walk. The garden has a notable collection of trees, many of which are spring-flowering and the lawns are peppered with spring bulbs. Venerable clipped yew hedges enclose the garden. We will conclude our visit with afternoon tea.

This event has been organised by the Garden Museum’s Garden Visits committee. We recommend you read our Garden Visits Attendee Charter and Refund/exchange policy before booking your place on any of our Garden Visits. All tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable.

Image: The Hope © Shane Connolly and Little Malvern Court © Clive Nichols