|First view of Vann, as you enter through the front garden|
Always a joy to visit, whether it's spring or summer, Vann - the only property in England with a Gertrude Jekyll water garden - opened its doors this week for the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). This happens to be one of my favourite gardens, but I've never visited this early in the season before, and was delighted by what I saw today. Great drifts of hellebores, daffodils and fritillaries nodding their heads in a slight breeze in this unseasonally hot March weather.
|The large pond overlooked by the house at Vann, which feeds the Jekyll water garden below|
This is Gertrude Jekyll's only water garden, which she laid out and planted personally in 1911. It is a series of small ponds fed from the large pond at the top of the garden (above) criss-crossed with bridges and walkways. But it is the style that is truly Jekyllesque, with great drifts of plants as far as the eye can see, arranged in blocks of colour and texture.
Although it's a little early in the season to see the water garden at its blousy summer best, now is the time to see its structure and part of its charm is the bright, early season colours, with lingering hellebores, and spring bulbs in abundance. Later in the year, the garden becomes a wonderful, verdant jungle (below). During the season, current owner, Mrs Caroe opens every Wednesday until the end of July giving avid Jekyll fans the chance to see the water garden flourish as the seasons change.
Vann is a true example of house and garden complementing each other. The house (not open to the public), dates in part to the 16th century, but was added to by former owner and grandfather of the present residents - W.D. Caroe - the Arts and Crafts architect, who was clearly influenced by Edwin Lutyens. Both the towering chimneys and the Bargate stone pergola are reminiscent of Lutyens work elsewhere in England.
Vann opens throughout the season for the NGS - check website here for details. Definitely a garden worth visiting if you haven't seen it yet and to see further pictures later in the season, click here. Easily combined with Ramster (opens April) or Loseley Park (opens May) if you want to visit other gardens in the area.
|Gertrude Jekyll's water garden in early spring|
|The water garden at Vann in mid summer|