Barley Wood is pretty, close to Bristol and free to get in which means when we get visitors in the summer we take them here. It also has a café and toilets. For those with an interest in British gardening, the walled garden has a mystique, even though we are talking here about vegetables. Very pretty vegetables though.
Just entering the gates the place has a romantic feel, with stone walls, espaliered pears and an apple orchard that leans over the lane to the car park. In amongst the apples are little bumble bee houses (aaaaah…) which as well as being cute, pollinate the orchard. Then once you have parked your car there is an avenue of cordoned apples which in the spring cheer you up with blossom.
[mappress mapid=”3″]This leads to the walled garden proper and you are rewarded with a view (in summer) of your blousey herbaceous perennials, purples and yellows dominating recently. You might get the impression that I’ve been a few times at different times of year and you’d be right. On both sides, behind giant yew hedges, are swimming pool sized vegetable beds with scrambling squashes or dramatic purple kales, again, depending on which time of year you visit.
Always and everywhere there are the trained, fanned and espaliered plums, pears and well every type of fruit you can think of. This is where the class of the place shows, though I’m not saying its Chelsea level, but it is cool as fck for those into productive and decorative gardening.
The old glass houses, with their white wood and steel ribs against red brick, have been converted into a café/restaurant and some light industry (florists, I think). The garden’s one gardener is hanging on in there in a corner of a glasshouse and amongst the cold frames. He’s passionate about his craft, by the way, and was happy to talk when I got overexcited by the salsify he was growing which I had only ever seen in books (at the time, I’ve grown it since). He gave me a stags horn plantain plug, saying: “Try one of these, I’ve no idea what they are like, they’re new.”. That means something, that.
Go to Barley Wood for a free visit to something really good.
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