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The Folly Garden

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A folly, an ornamental moat and an irresistible, colourful garden designed to delight and inspire!


This RHS Gold Medal award-winning Folly Garden was designed for Chelsea Flower Show in 1990 by Kate Chambers, in conjunction with the Women’s Institute. It was originally called ‘This Green and Pleasant Land’ The choice of title was taken from William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’, long associated with the Women’s Institute. It was opened at Bridgemere in the presence of 200 WI delegates from across the UK.


The folly is a replica of Mow Cop and was built with reclaimed stone. The garden, includes a moat with a traditional lavender border which is full of wildlife, including newts. The original concept of the garden was to represent an idyllic garden retreat, being reclaimed by nature.


The planting was originally based on damp woodland, meadow and dry stony grassland, to suggest different aspects of ‘ this green and pleasant land’. Planting is now mainly spring and summer herbaceous with colour provided by an abundance of rhododendrons and azaleas flowering in late spring and early summer.


Our Head Gardener Bernard recommends you particularly look out for these stunning plants:

The folly in spring is set on fire with spectacular colour from the collection of azaleas and rhododendrons. Look out for the rare Rhododendron Sinogrande with its magnificent leaves, which can be up to 50cm in length and pale yellow flowers; one of the most impressive and quite extraordinary rhododendrons we have in our collection of over 100 in the gardens. Also the unusual and handsome Ilex aquafolium ‘Perry’s Weeping’, a rare and very old holly tree. Finally the Acer palmatum ‘Ariadne’ with it’s orangey, pink leaves with stunning green veins appearing in the spring, then turning to maroon in the summer and finally deep red and orange in the autumn - a real stunner! A garden of vibrant colour!

Plants to look out for...


Click on a plant to find out more:

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