Summer in the gardens at The Vyne

A view of the lake in summer at The Vyne.

Early summer sweet peas and vibrant wildflowers pave the way for beaming sunflowers and burgeoning dahlias in The Vyne’s walled garden. In the orchard, wild garden and wetlands you can lose yourself in the long grasses, wild blooms and heady buzz of nature.

Historic landmarks include an ancient and teetering Hundred Guinea Oak, the once illustrious 17th-century Summerhouse and the remnants of a Victorian iron bridge we’re hoping to rebuild. Looking out for both people and planet we're striving for evermore sustainable gardening while continuing a well-established partnership with garden therapy charity Thrive.

 

 

In the walled garden 

A wildflower 'mini-meadow' in The Vyne's walled garden has wowed visitors while supporting pollinators.
Wildflowers bloom in a 'mini-meadow' in The Vyne's walled garden
A wildflower 'mini-meadow' in The Vyne's walled garden has wowed visitors while supporting pollinators.
" Feast the eyes on a rippling sea of riotous colour "
- Wildflower Meadow

Wildflowers 

Flowering from late June to early August and popular with visitors and nature alike, over 50 varieties of wildflower, ranging from poppies and rose campion to larkspur and corn marigold, were specially chosen by the garden team for their vibrant colours, to help attract insects like bees and hoverflies, butterflies and moths in need of pollen. Feast the eyes on a rippling sea of riotous colour that pops with dominant, hot reds and oranges contrasted with mellow blues and purples. The rainbow effect is completed with a sprinkling of cheerful yellow and white blooms. 

The Vyne's long dahlia border is a magnificent floral spectacle in autumn
hundreds of colourful dahlia flowers in a big walled garden border
The Vyne's long dahlia border is a magnificent floral spectacle in autumn

Dahlias 

From August to September, the garden’s magnificent dahlia border of over 250 plants bursts into bloom. Dahlias were an important part of horticultural life at The Vyne in the 19th century, when head gardener Mr Broomfield regularly won prizes for his blooms at local shows. 

Growing fruit, veg & herbs 

Well-tended by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, you can see flowers, fruit and vegetables growing in row upon row of neat rectangular beds. In the herb garden located inside the walled garden, you’ll find creeping red thyme, lemon bergamot, nepeta cataria, Echinacea, Agastache, Dyer’s chamomile, coreopsis, woad and reseda, bullet chives, coriander, valerian, nasturtiums, calendula, basil varieties ‘Sweet Dani Lemon’, ‘Cinnamon’, ‘Neapolitano’ and ‘lime basil’ and green and red perilla, or Chinese basil and Chinese rhubarb. 

Colourful sweetpeas on a frame in foreground, with brick garden wall in background

When in flower, bunches of sweet peas, sunflowers and dahlias grown in the walled garden are available for a suggested donation at Visitor Reception. The same goes for seasonal produce.

Gardening for wildlife 

We’re working to make The Vyne’s gardens more eco-friendly. The wildflower meadow and herb garden support pollinators such as bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths. New hornbeam hedging surrounding the herb garden will grow to provide more space for wildlife such as insects, birds and mice. 

We use peat-free soil to reduce impact on dwindling peatland habitat. We don’t use pesticides and, come winter, we leave some dead plant matter in the flowerbed for bugs and insects to shelter in in the cold weather. 

" The wildflower meadow and herb garden support pollinators such as bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths. "
- Gardening for wildlife

Community gardening 

Gardening can bring profound positive change, from improvements in physical and mental well-being to gaining skills, knowledge and abilities. We’re pleased to have alongside us these many years gardening for health charity, Thrive. This not-for-profit helps people living with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable. Thrive maintain and care for some of the beds in the walled garden and you might spot them at work, wearing their distinctive purple polo shirts. 

Elsewhere in the gardens 

The Vyne's orchard in summer
The Vyne's orchard in summer
The Vyne's orchard in summer

Orchard 

Wander past the leafy branches and bountiful boughs of The Vyne’s orchard trees, featuring mulberries and traditional apples that will eventually be picked and made available for a suggested donation at Visitor Reception. The fruit trees thrive surrounded by frothy swathes of white yarrow and delicate yellow buttercups. 

You can take a stroll up the increasingly verdant Lime Avenue that runs between the walled garden and the summerhouse garden.
The Lime Avenue in late spring.
You can take a stroll up the increasingly verdant Lime Avenue that runs between the walled garden and the summerhouse garden.

Lime Avenue 

No visit to the gardens at The Vyne would be complete without a promenade up the Lime Avenue. Half-way up, you’ll find a natural play area for toddlers while at the top of the Lime Avenue, the ancient Hundred Guinea Oak still (just about) stands. This teetering tree is over 650 years old and would have witnessed the visits of Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Horace Walpole, the Duke of Wellington, Jane Austen and even an entire school of Second World War evacuees over the centuries. 

The 100 guineas oak, which is over 600 years old, at The Vyne, May 2021
The 100 guineas oak, which is over 600 years old, at The Vyne, May 2021
The 100 guineas oak, which is over 600 years old, at The Vyne, May 2021

Summerhouse garden 

A stroll up the Lime Avenue leads to the distinctive Summerhouse. A long-lost remnant of 17th-century grandeur, the summerhouse was once used for banqueting before later being stripped out and used as a pigeon-loft – lucky pigeons! It would have had a first floor taking guests up to the strategically positioned windows that would have revealed captivating views across the orchard to the rolling parkland across the lake. We hope one day to be able to restore the summerhouse to its former glory. 

The central flowerbeds showcase purple asters, blue periwinkle, white and yellow erigeron and clematis. In the border thrive pinky-purple geraniums, yellow Lady’s Mantle, white Goats Beard, bluey-purple Acanthus Spinosus, yellow and pink Tellina Grandiflora, blue Aconitums, yellowy-orange Heleniums, burnt yellow Rudbeckias and tall pink Phlox. 

Explore the grounds of a former Tudor palace.
The Vyne
Explore the grounds of a former Tudor palace.

South drive, west garden and north lawn 

Surrounding three sides of the mansion, take in views of the house. Rich blues and yellows pack the West Garden’s wide border, including historic varieties planted here in the 20th Century such as vivid blue salvia, bright yellow Solidago (goldenrod) and deep blue campanula. The path leading to the stone gallery is lined with Gruss An Aachen roses. 

Perfect for flinging out the picnic rug, the north lawn showcases the mansion’s classical portico which looks out onto views across the lake to the north parkland beyond. On select dates in summer, evening open-air cinema screenings and theatre performances take place here. 

Wild garden 

Blurring the line between garden and countryside, the wild garden sits between the manicured north lawn and the swaying grasses and rippling waters of the wetlands. The gravel path undulates through the garden featuring Japanese cherry trees and long grass permeated with rural flowers such as yarrow, buttercups and forget-me-nots. Picnic benches nestle amongst thriving the foliage. Further on, the Jurassic-looking giant leaves of Gunnera plants erupt from on the bank by the lake and in a dip leading to a culvert.  

Keen eyes can look out for the remains of a Victorian bridge that The Vyne is looking to rebuild.
Keen eyes can look out for the remains of a Victorian bridge that The Vyne is looking to rebuild.
Keen eyes can look out for the remains of a Victorian bridge that The Vyne is looking to rebuild.

Fallen Victorian bridge 

Ambling by the lake in the wild garden, you may notice the crumbled brick foundations of what was once a Victorian iron bridge at the boundary where Morgaston Woods stops and parkland begins. Storm damage led to the collapse of this bridge in 1986 and we’re looking to rebuild it and restore historic views of the gardens. 

Teeming with wildlife, The Vyne's wetlands offer a quiet spot to unwind and become one with nature.
The Vyne's wetlands
Teeming with wildlife, The Vyne's wetlands offer a quiet spot to unwind and become one with nature.

Wetlands 

A haven for wildlife, listen out here for birdcalls sailing on a summer’s breeze. A morning stroll around the wetlands via the surrounding parkland reveals buzzing insects, ancient trees and a path less travelled into Morgaston Woods.