Baumber garden transformed from a wilderness to a '˜delight'
In its prime, the 19th century garden was part of the former Stourton Hall near Baumber.
It is a rare example of a double walled garden and covers almost four acres.
The once magnificent hall was demolished in the 1950’s.
The gardens were abandoned and quickly became an overgrown wilderness..
But David and Sonia Elton moved into the former head gardener’s cottage.
After renovating the cottage, they started the daunting task of rebuilding the gardens.
Restoration of the walls and buildings began in 2006 and actual planting started in 2013.
Amazingly, Sonia admits the couple struggled to distinguish between a daffodil and a delphinium!
But thanks to what they describe as a ‘labour of love’, they have handed a new lease of life to the entire site.
The walls have been re-built and the garden features a series of non-traditional areas, including a natural swimming pond, grasses, palms and the newly designed ‘Tropical House.’
Sonia admitted: “When we first drove through the gates, I don’t think we realised exactly how much work needed doing.
“But there was something magical about the place. Now, we want to share that magic with other people.
“It would have been selfish to keep it to ourselves - tempting as it is.”
A huge man-made lake - featuring surely the area’s only natural swimming pool - is an obvious highlight.
The old potting shed has been transformed into a cafe, with indoor and outdoor seating looking out over the gardens.
David, a photographer, has surprised himself by turning his hand to baking homemade cakes.
Sonia - and a ‘team’ of helpers - has focused more on the actual garden.
She explained; “It is not a traditional garden because we don’t have the budget or the knowledge.
“However, it’s our dream; our vision.
“Sometimes, we look at it at the end of the day and think... we’ve done this.
“It is still work in progress. We’d love to stage weddings. The potential is limitless”
The gardens are open on a Thursday, noon to 4pm, and Friday 11am to 4pm and are signposted off the A158.
They will also open on Sundays through the school summer holiday.
Admission is free and dogs on leads are welcome.
There is disabled access to the tearoom and the toilet facility and some areas of the garden.
Group visits, including a tour of the garden and a brief history of the Stourton Estate, can be arranged.
It is also possible to arrange visits for an evening if booked in advance and there are a number of courses too, including willow weaving, creative writing, Tai Chi and floristry.
Full details on Facebook or via the website www.walledgardenbaumber.co.uk