During the winters of 2004 and 2005, the Bottom Terrace underwent a major refurbishment which involved re-widening the central grass path and the installation of an improved, wheelchair friendly circulation route. Adding an essential spine to the scheme as well as emphasising the central vista by equalising the dimensions either side, is a narrow serpentine hedge of Phillyrea angustifolia with soaring sentinels of Cupressus arizonica ‘Blue Ice’ for contrast.
The colour scheme centres around the interplay with sultry deep purple foliage of Actaea simplex ‘Black Negligee’, architectural Angelica gigas, and Bronze Fennel with the brazen boldness of orange Dahlia coccinea var. palmeri, Phlox, potentillas and astilbes. High summer sees the arching spires of Lilium henryi, its chocolate spots echoed in Dahlia ‘Dark Desire’. The warmth of the scheme is tempered by long-blooming Nepeta grandiflora ‘Bramdean’ and Geranium ‘Rosanne’.
The most recently restored section of the bottom terrace is the Sunken Garden, beyond the thatched barn and to the left. Now it is reached by a path which curves its way down and around a nineteenth century granite turn-table base for the horse-drawn railway in the former local mining industry. This is the hottest section of the walled garden, previously the site for a peach house (though not in living memory) as can be seen in the cement rendering on the back wall. A curved retaining wall sweeps around forming the back of the purpose-built Medhurst Bench. The warm climate of their origin is reflected in the choice of plants for this secluded suntrap and includes Fuchsia, crocosmias and deliciously dark Agapanthus inapertus ‘Graskop’ contrasting with exotic eryngiums and Melianthus.
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