A small path offers, to the right, a view of the incredible range of shades on offer from our shrubs, all the way from the gold of the rare Quercus robur ‘Concordia’ to the contrasting red and green of Photinia x fraserii ‘Red robin’ and deep purple of Cotinus ‘Grace’. To the left, a fine display of hostas (the variegated ‘Frances Williams’ notable among them) interplanted with a splendid Euphorbia introduced here, E. griffithii ‘Fireglow’. Over-hanging this bed are two fine specimens: an incomparable Hoheria ‘Glory of Amlwch’, offering a bright white-flowered home to every bee in Devon from July, and an unusual dogwood, Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘Bodnant Form’, its strawberry-like fruits an insipidly-flavoured dissappointment in September to those who try them.
Bordering the Tennis Court lawn is a large Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Rustica Rubra’ brought here by Lionel Fortescue from Eton, who had imported it from Italy and believed it, at the time to be something rather better! Looking around The Tennis Court lawn, you can see how ghosts of the medieval vicarage are used in the Fortescue design – the old staircase with its newel post, the terrace stonework where horizontal remains give way to Fortescue’s vertical stonework, a distinctive feature of this high rainfall area, enabling good drainage.
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