After crossing the bridge immediately above The Cottage Garden, the steep banks of The Quarry Garden come into view as a path forks sharply to the left. Much of the stone used in recent developments at The Garden House originated from this area which was subsequently sculpted with a digger into steep well-drained banks of our shaley yet surprisingly fertile soil. Taking full advantage of the frost drainage they provide, the planting includes a colony of the somewhat tender spreader, Euphorbia stygiana – unscathed in the past three winters, and soaring spires from Echium pininana. Elsewhere, Salvia, Phlomis, Cistus and Perovskia intermingle with Alchemilla mollis and Potentilla recta – one of the few places these species are let loose!
The area also features a deep cleft with a series of pools and tumbling cascades which make use of the quarried formation of our slate bedrock. Here the populations of tadpoles and water boatmen are a delight to children (especially!). To the right the path winds towards an oak-framed summer house that offers shelter during periods of inclement weather as well as breath-taking panoramic views over this section of The Long Walk.
Descending the path to continue along the Long Walk, you pass a bank where the planting has taken its cue from wild alpine turf. Here the rare native (and seeding!) pulsatillas begin the season with silky clumps of nodding violet bells. They are followed by a summer carpet dominated by of Phlox, Thyme and Helianthemum, all viciously cut back after flowering. Broadening the season of interest, the planting also features colonies of Roscoea humeana, Dierama pauciflorum and Greek Chamerion dodonaei.
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