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Garden Visit | Three unusual and very private gardens in Hampshire

Clover Farm, Brocas, and Bighton House

Join us for an exclusive visit to three distinctly different private gardens.

Clover Farm, Shalden, near Alton 

Over the last twenty years, Tom and Sarah Floyd have created a wondrous garden on the different levels of land around their house with views beyond. Beside the house, the lawn is bordered by perennials, and curved steps lead dramatically down to a jet-black circular pool where sentinel Irish yew columns flank a stone bench.  Then yew hedges form a long vista into a square garden planted with Rose ‘Chandos Beauty’. Below, along a lime avenue, the visitor is drawn to a wildflower meadow crossed by diagonal mown paths.  Returning to the house we are led through a rose garden and a stunning contrasting garden of ornamental grasses. We have more than three acres to explore, with Sarah as our guide.

Brocas, Ellisfield, near Basingstoke

Bernard and Caroline Cazenove have continued to develop their elegant garden with passion and inspiration during their more than thirty years here. This garden is quintessentially English – rising to a crescendo in June when we will be visiting. The glory of the garden is their walled rose garden where a mass profusion includes ‘Fantin Latour’, ‘William Lobb’, ‘Jacqueline du Pré’ and ‘Complicata’. These are accompanied by billowing masses of Campanula ‘Pritchard’s Variety’, Salvias Peonies and Nepeta.  The scents are overwhelming.  Beyond the haha are new prairie plantings. Recent storms have offered opportunities to create meadow plantings of grasses and herbaceous plants where the sun filters through.

This is a continuously changing garden full of new ideas. Caroline will guide us around the garden she has made.

For lunch, we will travel to The Three Horseshoes at Bighton, an independent freehouse with creative chefs and a charismatic team.

Bighton House, Bighton, near Alresford 

Steve and Linda Garnett arrived here in 2001 to restore and transform their new home which sits in a wonderfully elevated position overlooking the Hampshire countryside. Although a large garden, it has been designed with different areas for family and friends to enjoy, offering a variety of atmosphere, style and colour all year round.

Xa Tollemache has helped since 2004 with the overall design to offer a large walled garden with ripple beds, rose garden, tunnels of wisteria, enchanting arbours of hornbeam and an inspirational vegetable garden. George Carter designed the pavilion in the centre of their long herbaceous border as well as bridges, an apple store and other features. Their Orangery and greenhouse/conservatory are inspiringly planted and maintained by Lisa Rawley. Stepping out behind the house, we see a small decorative pool with moisture-loving plants and ferns alongside contemporary garden seating with sculpture by David Harber.  Catherine Coombes planted the numerous pots with flair and imagination. This is a marvellous example of designers and owners enjoying working together to create an outstanding garden. 

Linda, Lisa Rawley and the Estate Manager will guide us and offer tea and cakes at the end of our visit before our return to Alton Station. 

Image: Brocas, photo by Susie Bell