In making the gardens, Bernard recognised the poor soil and dry conditions at Fullers Mill resemble those of the Mediterranean. He consciously made use of plants naturally adapted to such places. The wild Tulipa sprengeri, now extinct in the wild, is an unusual sight in late May. In Summer the elegant birch grove of Betula ‘Silver Grace’ becomes a romantic, dreamlike scene underplanted with silver and purple. The Top Garden is transformed by flowering shrubs, which later form the backdrop for majestic displays of lilies.
The River & Mill Pond
The sound of rushing water draws the visitor to the weir and footbridge across the River Lark. The Lark ceased to be navigable in 1900. When Bernard bought the property the Mill Pond had disappeared under a tangle of fallen trees, brambles and nettles. Additional work has been done since then. Now the area is planted with massed Primula, Darmera and the skunk cabbage Lysichiton along with other moisture loving plants.
Beyond the Mill Pond lies the Inner and Outer Quandaries, offering a more sunny open aspect. A succession of snowdrops continues here in winter with many large flowered varieties followed by daphnes and paeonies. In summer the air carries the spicy scent of Spartium, hinting at the Mediterranean. While the Indigo plant Indigofera, Crocosmia, arum lilies and a stunning white-flowered Angel’s fishing rod Dierama, form an elegant display.
The Low Garden
To the west of the Mill Pond is the Low Garden. The original planting has been rejuvenated with many choice new plants added. During Spring the birch bank is carpeted with Crocus tommasinianus. Followed by Anemone blanda, which in turn make way for Galactites tomentosa in summer. The raised terrace beds are packed with alpine plants, overlooking a wonderful fresh mass of the shuttlecock fern Matteuccia. Beyond this, in late June the giant lily Cardiocrinum giganteum, produces its stems of tall trumpet flowers. This bulb takes about seven years to flower and then dies. The mix of shady areas and sunny glades in the Low Garden offers ideal conditions for a whole range of charming woodland plants in spring and summer together with lilies.
The Strip contains the Chatto bed, planted with sun-loving foliage plants mainly obtained from Beth Chatto’s superb garden in Essex. Further along is a lovely example of Crataegus x prunifolia and a huge Himalayan rose Rosa brunonii, which is covered with very sweetly scented flowers in June. There are views from here across the lake.
Fullers Mill Cottage & Private Garden
Fullers Mill Cottage and its private garden are not open to visitors.