Things to see in the garden at Avebury Manor
The garden at Avebury Manor is arranged as a series of 'rooms', each with a different name and individual character. In this tranquil and relaxing space you can take your time to sit and enjoy the sights and scents around you.
Autumn in the garden
As we move into autumn, the gardening team are now busy planning and preparing for the upcoming restoration works at Avebury.
The iconic Lavender Walk in the East Garden (shown above) is due to be refreshed with new Lavender. For a period, the old lavender will be gone and much needs to be done to prepare the beds and to add late winter bulbs (snowdrops and winter iris). Supplies of new Lavender won’t arrive until spring 2024 but by next summer we’re sure it will look spectacular!
The topiary parterre will also begin restoration with the removal of the dead shrubby honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida). Sadly, this plant was unable to withstand the temperature extremes, recorded from summer 2022 to late winter 2023 (+40 degrees to -13 degrees) and we will replace with yew (taxus baccata), arguably one of the most resilient and reliable evergreen plants growing in the UK. The new parterre will be planted this autumn, allowing the roots to establish over the coming winter.
While the growing season continues, the floriferous Monks and Church gardens will continue to be regularly tended to extend the colourful displays. As late autumn approaches, we will lift our precious Dahlias and overwinter them in our polytunnel. We will also plan and begin installing ‘Knot’ parterres in some of the beds to improve the enhance the structural elements within the garden.
The Kitchen Garden
The Kitchen Garden is now packed with a wide range of organically grown produce and cut flowers, all of which are regularly harvested and displayed for visitors to see and take some home. The gardening team are working to extend the seasonal availability of produce and this will continually change according to seasonal availability.
Any donations we receive help the gardening team continue their work in the gardens.
The Monk’s Garden
The Monk's Garden is abundant with a wide variety of herbaceous perennials and annuals, including vegetables, to enhance the potager style we planned this year.
Horticulturally the Monk's Garden presents the greatest challenge to the gardening team because it has a challenging micro-climate. Our aim is to improve this important space in terms of its resilience to weather extremes.
The Church Garden
There are two key aspects to the Church Garden. One is the stunning flowering display in the hot border which includes plants such as Clematis ‘Ernest Markham’, Helenium ‘Moreheim beauty’, Achellia ‘Terracotta’ and Campsis radicans. The second is a reminder to those who visit Avebury that the Church Garden is the perfect place to rest and reflect, and for children to play (with garden games available in good weather).
The Topiary Garden
We've faced the challenge of the lattice shaped topiary being first of all stricken by box blight and its selected replacement (Lonicera nitida - shrubby honeysuckle) succumbed to extremes of temperature over the last year. However, we are very pleased to announce that later this year the topiary will be replaced with (Taxus baccata - yew) which will be much more resilient in the face of unpredictable climate.
We are equally pleased to announce our plans to restore the Lavender Walk in the East Garden. The old lavender will be replaced with a new variety understood to be more resilient to a changing climate.
In addition to the new lavender, we will plant a great number of snowdrops and winter iris. The Snowdrops will be Galanthus nivalis and the Winter Iris will be Iris reticulata to enhance our planned winter displays.
Adapting to our changing climate
In recent years, one of the overriding challenges at Avebury Manor Garden is to find solutions for the climatic extremes which have been recorded here and obviously affect everybody.
Some of these are as follows:
- We’ve migrated towards a completely organic horticultural practice, which we are already seeing benefit the wildlife and pollinating activity in the gardens.
- We have deliberately allowed the height of the lawns to increase enough to allow clover to flower and attract bees, hoverflies, and other pollinators. Although, as part of the management of the lawns, we also ensure that they are well maintained.
- A significant preoccupation of the gardening team is to ensure that our garden compost is returned to the soil as an invaluable mulch to conserve moisture and sustain good soil health.
Exploring the garden
Picnics and shelter
The South Lawn island beds are overlooked by the earlier entrance to the manor, while the Church Garden is sheltered from the wind and provides an opportunity for picnics, reading and relaxation.
The Orchard in Avebury Manor Garden is registered as a Silent Space. Here we encourage people to switch off and to take a few minutes to reflect silently and listen to nature.
As the season progresses the range of produce available will increase and will be available for visitors to take away and any modest contribution into the donation box is welcome and will be used specifically to look after the garden.
Some of the other Avebury Manor Garden rooms
Lion Walk: On a stroll down the Lion Walk you’ll see colourful herbaceous borders, and some of the floral highlights are achillea, echinops and phlox.
The Orchard: Grass paths are cut through longer areas of grass in the Orchard to encourage wildflowers and attract beneficial wildlife. Seasonal plants include wild thyme, dropwort, corn marigolds, field daisies, lady's-bedstraw and cornflowers.
The East Garden: The highlight of the East Garden is the wonderful lavender walk which leads to the front door of the manor, flanked on either side by formal lawns. We’re currently developing a border which will provide additional winter interest.
South Lawn: The South Lawn was the original entrance way to the manor and was previously partly a cherry orchard. Now there are island beds and a formal lawn with an astrolabe in the centre. If you walk to the back of the garden, you’ll find a poignant reminder of earlier lives with the gravestones of pets long gone. Although some are hard to read others can be seen to say ‘Herbie my faithful friend’ and ‘Adorable Daisy’.
Italian Walk: Explore the furthest corner of the garden to find this double row of 58 clipped yew columns.
Half-Moon Garden: This has its name because of the curved brick wall which acts as a backdrop to climbers and provides additional warmth for herbs growing along its base. In front of this a yew hedge replicates the shape and is the perfect foil for an extensive pastel-hued herbaceous planting divided up by clipped yew and lonicera.
Wildlife in the garden
As well as being home to hedgehogs, the garden is a haven for a huge variety of wonderful creatures, including grass snakes, great crested newts, stoats, numerous species of butterfly, ladybirds, dragonflies, mayflies, bees and other beneficial insects.
Among the more common garden birds, others such as goldfinches, woodpeckers, red kites, buzzards, owls, house martins, swifts and tree creepers visit or live in the garden. Take a seat on one of the benches and stop to watch for wildlife in this tranquil space.
The Circles Restaurant serves lunches, cakes, snacks and drinks. Visit the National Trust shop for sustainable products and gifts, or browse Cobblestones second-hand bookshop.
The 16th-century manor house is furnished to display the time periods of some of the previous residents, from Tudor times until the 1930s. Unlike many places, at Avebury Manor you are allowed to sit in the chairs, touch the displays or play a game of billiards.
Discover artefacts from archaeological excavations in the museum. Step inside the large threshing barn and see the 16th-century dovecote near the wildlife pond.
Visiting Avebury and the surrounding landscape is a unique experience. The area contains multiple Neolithic and Bronze Age features including the largest stone circle in the world which you can enter and explore.
Avebury is a two pawprint rated place. With miles of space to explore, dogs love walks at Avebury. Find out where you both can go and where to find water bowls and treats.
From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.