Rodmarton Manor Garden

 Rodmarton Manor

My post Exceptional Snowdrops and Gardens: England February 2018 gave an overview of our recent trip to England.  To read it, click here.  As promised, I am going to focus more closely on some of the venues that Michael and I visited, starting with Rodmarton Manor.

We visited Rodmarton in February 2017 also and were very privileged to be hosted during both visits by Simon Biddulph, the current owner.  Simon grew up at Rodmarton, and it was built by his grandparents, Claud and Margaret Biddulph.  We were given a tour of the house and gardens; however, no photos are allowed inside the house.

Nursery News:  Our 2018 Discounted Hellebore Offer has been emailed to all our customers and orders are due before April 7.  Our first open house sale featuring hellebores and early spring shade plants is Saturday, April 14,  from 10 am to 3 pm.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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The Village of Rodmarton features a Norman church built in the 1100s.

Rodmarton is a tiny and very scenic village in the Cotswolds near Cirencester.  The Biddulphs built and furnished their home there between 1909 and 1929, using what is now called the Arts and Crafts style.   Everything, including the amazing furniture, was made by hand on site using local materials and craftsmen.

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The entrance drive to Rodmarton Manor.

The garden’s outline was laid out by the architect of the house, Ernest Barnsley, but Margaret Biddulph, a trained horticulturist, and her head gardener created the eight acres of gardens. The Rodmarton Garden is considered a fine example of the Arts and Crafts gardening movement, which emphasized harmony with the house and featured garden rooms outlined by walls or clipped evergreens and leading from one to another.   To read an excellent article about the Rodmarton garden, click here.

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The front drive is lined with moss-covered staddle stones, which were originally used to support grain storehouses and keep water and rodents out.

.Inside the wall pictured in the photo above, note the espaliered trees.

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Clipped hedges, quirky, ornamental buildings, and long views from “room to room” are important characteristics of Art and Crafts gardens.

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In February, all the borders were dormant—-I would love to see Rodmarton in June.

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Just one of many Art and Crafts style structures in the garden.

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This view looks through at least four garden “rooms”.

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Arts and Crafts design considered the garden an extension of the house, and beautiful views of the house are everywhere.

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the South Terrace

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The layout and structure is quite grand, but close attention is also given to smaller details and the garden is richly planted.  Here, some masses of spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum, against a stone wall.

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Yellow snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis Sandersii Group, in groundcover.

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Winter-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum, beside a moss-covered stone wall.

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Snowdrops in a stone urn on the wall leading to the Topiary Garden.

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the Topiary Garden

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Planted stone troughs in the Topiary Garden.

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Pleached lime trees in the Topiary Garden.

.I was very envious of the moss, which covered everything, including the lime trees.

Snowdrops are everywhere at Rodmarton in big, glorious clumps.  For this post, I will show you the varieties selected by the Biddulphs at Rodmarton.

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Simon Biddulph grows many of his snowdrops at the base of small trees inside Rodmarton’s walled orchard.  Here, Simon tells us about his gorgeous selection ‘Rodmarton Regulus’, a very large and vigorous snowdrop with big flowers.

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‘Rodmarton Regulus’

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‘Rodmarton Regulus’

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‘Rodmarton Arcturus’ with its big, rounded petals is a favorite.

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‘Margaret Biddulph’, a rare virescent (greenish) snowdrop.  My favorite of all the snowdrops I saw was a virescent called ‘Claud Biddulph’ after Simon’s grandfather, but the wind was blowing so hard the photo didn’t come out.

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‘Rodmarton’, a double snowdrop—it was blowing so hard it was difficult to get the snowdrops in focus!

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Galanthus RS 2015/02, under evaluation

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Galanthus RS 2015/01, also under evaluation—I love those twisted outer segments.

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Michael with Simon Biddulph (left) looking thoroughly frozen after our windy and cold visit in 2017.

We are so grateful to Simon Biddulph for giving us a private tour of Rodmarton, not once but twice, and sharing his memories and snowdrops with us!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

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10 Responses to “Rodmarton Manor Garden”

  1. All photos just beautiful but the moss covered straddle stones are beyond words. TY!

  2. Ali Morris Says:

    What a joy to see a dormant garden!

    • Dormant from the standpoint of the beds and borders, but the whole place was teeming with snowdrops and other winter interest plants. However, with everything else under the soil, you could really see the bones of the garden, which was fun.

  3. Those pollarded lime trees are quite exquisite! That is the style more commonly used here.

    • Tony, Where is here? Someone sent me a photo that showed those trees with leaves, and it is amazing how full and luxuriously green they are. Carolyn

      • I am in Los Gatos near San Jose in California. Pollarding is very unpopular with most arborists here, but I like it in the right situation and for the right trees and shrubs. The ‘American’ style of pollarding is cutting back to the same knuckles annually. The knuckles in your picture seem elongated probably because they are so old. The ‘English’ style of pollarding leaves a peg of stub a few inches long on each knuckle so that it elongates a little bit each year (more than those in your picture), which gives the trees a more distinguished and gnarled appearance. It is rare to find an arborist here who approves of pollarding, and even more rare to fine one who wants to use the ‘English’ style. Although I prefer the ‘American’ style on my trees, I would prefer the ‘English’ style if I had pollarded sycamores (planes). Some trees work better with one style or the other.

  4. Beautiful. I love those mossy pleached limes so much!

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