Winterbourne House: a garden visit

I visited Winterbourne House last June in a rainstorm- one with serious rain, requiring numerous dashes for cover. It was part of a day in Birmingham which was sort of accidental, but Winterbourne was really worth the afternoon. The House itself is a fascinating story of family philanthropy and vision in late nineteenth century industrial Birmingham, and the garden is a charming example of gardening in that period. It has a wonderful and immense Victorian rockery, a Lutyens-style massive pergola, an Oriental Valley with gunnera as it should be, and some charming border planting. The garden holds the National Collection of Anthemis and Iris unguicularis.  I have never seen massed plantings of Anthemis and I was there at just the right time, it woke me up to anthemis and summer daisies in general.

The massive Lutyens-style pergola just after rainburst
The massive Lutyens-style pergola just after a rainburst

The planting round the pergola was looking really bedragged, no surprise given the rain, but it all needed a bit more oomph to match the big, chunky pergola supports.

Dark and light...
Dark and light…

I loved this view through the purple beech leaves. Nothing complicated, just a relaxed clump of white Veronicas, but a really good contrast with the beech.

Gunnera manicata, running wild..
Gunnera manicata, running wild..

And in the Oriental Valley, a Japanese style bridge was almost besieged by the magnificent Gunnera manicata running wild in the rain.  These Gunnera must have topped 3m, absolutely colossal.

Some of the National Collection of Anthemis seen through Dierama...
Some of the National Collection of Anthemis seen through Dierama…
Sheer joy...anthemis en masse
Sheer joy…anthemis en masse