We have completed our last TOD Garden Tour of 2022, all of which have been a great success. Now starts the planning for next year’s! Please check this website on a regular basis, as well as @rosieposieirving and @michaelrosarian on instagram, for updates.
TOD Garden Tours is the brainchild of Michael Marriott and his partner, Rosie Irving, dreamed up on a gloomy, grey December morning. Our small, friendly group tours, (usually no more than 16), will provide access to, and guide you around, a lovely selection of superb private and public gardens in the U.K. and Ireland, carefully selected for their striking, structural, colourful garden design and/or super abundance of gorgeous roses.
EACH TOUR IS PRICED SEPARATELY AND, UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED, INCLUDES GARDEN ENTRY FEES & AFTERNOON TEA AND CAKE
The joy of these tours is that you’ll get the benefit of not one but two experienced horticulturists; one a world-renowned rose expert and life-long gardener; the other a colour loving, garden design trained horticulturist and Horticultural Producer for many UK TV garden programmes. There’s a glorious, bantering interaction between the two which not only makes the tours unique but also rather special and lots of fun!
The tours are each single day events, visiting two, sometimes three gardens, each starting with an introductory talk from the garden owner or head gardener. Numbers are limited to a maximum of 16 to enable you to obtain the maximum benefit from their bantering expertise.
The tours are designed for you to travel to each of the locations, (and in between each garden), independently. For those of you wishing to travel the night before, or extend your visit, lists of a range of accommodation local to the tour gardens can be supplied as suggested by the various garden owners.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what TOD stands for, it’s Two Old Duffers!
Michael & Rosie both have degrees related to horticulture. Rosie is extremely proud of her *1st (don’t ask her what that means!). Michael can hardly remember anything about his!
© Arit Anderson
Rosie trained in Garden and Planting Design at Capel Manor College and, after gaining her degree in horticulture, taught Plants and Planting Design at Kingston Maurward College. Her co-designed Hepworth exhibit was proudly displayed on Tate Britain’s front lawn during the summer of 2015. She loves nothing better than to put together great colour combinations in the garden and has a delightful approach to the subject. For the past 12 years she has worked in the TV industry on numerous gardening programmes and has gained a reputation as the ‘go to’ person for consultancy within the industry.
Michael brings to the party 35 + years as head rosarian at David Austin Roses & is now widely recognised as a world expert on the subject. He has designed thousands of rose gardens of varying sizes worldwide including some of the gardens we’ll be visiting on these tours. He has also led garden tours as well as lecturing extensively around the world. He has a refreshing approach to the subject and is always happy to answer questions.
Both love to garden and their combined knowledge and legendary light hearted differences of opinion mean that these tours should be full of fun as well as gardening & garden design related advice
Here are details of the 2022 TOD Garden Tours:-
23rd June £115
A trio of Dorset delights with completely differing styles and content awaits you on this mid-summer tour.
Dorset Walled Garden
This beautifully designed and maintained garden, enhanced by the wonderfully creative Isabel and Julian Bannerman, is set within the valley of an organic farm in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
At the time of our visit the main herbaceous border should be full and overflowing with floriferous beauty interspersed with the tasteful trademark Bannerman oak obelisks. There is also a rill and gravel garden to discover along with a beautiful walled kitchen and cutting garden. Oh, and did we mention there are around 400 roses!
The garden attached to this mid-18th century Old Rectory has been created by its current owners, Richard and Emily Cave, with the assistance of renowned international garden designer Arne Maynard. The drive curls around Arne Maynard’s trademark semi-circle of pleached crab apples and a thatched summer house stands sentinel to one side.
A tree-lined bank drops away through the atmospheric ivy and fern filled woodland garden to gin-clear springs which feed both the lake and new natural swimming pool, ultimately leading to the mass of roses that are the heart of Emily’s cut flower business.
The Old Parsonage
Step back in time when entering the peaceful, historic village that contains probably one of the best-known small gardens in England, created by Charlie McCormick, husband of renowned architect Ben Pentreath.
This is essentially a cottage garden populated with old English cottage flowers that should have reached their peak at the time of our visit. We’ll also discover Charlie’s latest project, the ‘Show Bed’, where flowers and vegetables form the basis of his triumphs and near-misses on the show bench! The garden has tremendous personality, as does its creator, who is also a dab hand at baking the most divine looking and tasting cakes, which we will all be treated to at the end of the tour of this gorgeous garden.
Please email if you would like to be placed on the waiting list
28th April 2022 – £100
It’s tulip time in two very different and beautiful gardens. One relatively newly created by an internationally acclaimed garden designer, the other a classic Arts and Crafts garden and house.
A rare opportunity to visit the very beautiful private garden of RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner and garden designer Arne Maynard. His beautifully maintained garden can be found nestled in a secret Welsh valley wrapped around a stunning late medieval farmhouse. It combines formal topiary and pleached malus trees with soft native planting, all blending seamlessly into the wider rural landscape of fields containing a mix of orchids and other wildflowers. This year Arne is planting almost 2,000 tulips and we’ll be there just at the time hopefully when they, and the pleached trees, are at their very best.
© Arne Maynard
High Glanau Manor
High Glanau Manor is a handsome important Arts & Crafts house set in 12 acres of gardens designed in the 1920’s by H. Avery Tipping, Architectural Editor of Country Life. It was his last home. The gardens are beautiful and have been restored to their former glory and retain many original features such as the formal terraces, octagonal pool, glasshouse and pergola as well as the double 100′ herbaceous borders which have been reinstated. Both house and terraces have spectacular views over the woodland gardens towards the Brecon Beacons. Our visit is timed to coincide with the glorious display of tulips throughout the garden.
© Rosie Irving
Please email if you would like to be placed on the waiting list
6th June 2022 – £115
Three wonderful gardens wrapped around handsome, historic houses. All three gardens retain the best of their original features with wonderful additions and changes made by the present owners.
An exciting and very rare opportunity to see the garden of renowned interior designer, cook, author and retailer, Sophie Conran, (daughter of the late Sir Terence Conran) and afterwards enjoy tea and cake inside her beautiful drawing room. Here you will find a romantic manor house garden set on the edge of the Marlborough Downs containing a beautiful array of perennials and shrubs surrounding the sweeping lawn. Wind your way through woodland paths; enjoy a moment of peace by the pond and visit the new, beautifully crafted traditional large greenhouse set within a productive vegetable and pretty cut flower picking garden.
© Rosie Irving
© Rosie Irving
© Rosie Irving
This glorious 4 acre garden is made up of a series of rooms around a listed manor house and dovecot. Divided by yew hedges and moats, the garden rooms are furnished with specimen trees, mixed borders and stunning displays of old roses plus fountains and statues to focus the eye. The garden and its roses were nurtured by the present owner, Victoria’s grandmother, Elizabeth Blackwell, between 1945 and 2000. Elizabeth planted 70 varieties of old roses ranging from the vigorous climber ‘Scarlet Fire’ to the cascading fragrant blooms of ‘Cecile Brunner’ and Victoria has some wonderful tales to impart about her grandmother. This is a garden for anyone who loves roses and to convert those that don’t but it’s not all about roses! The garden has a magical atmosphere with its old stone walls and buildings combined with the moat and some modern day design updates by the notable garden designer James Alexander-Sinclair. Definitely a garden to delight the senses!
Blacklands (Bayntun Flowers)
Another wonderfully atmospheric and varied garden set in 4.5 acres of beautifully designed and gardened areas with not one but 3 walled gardens and situated next to the river Marden. Owner Polly Nicolson is an artisan organic flower grower and gardener with impeccable taste. Working hand in hand with designer Arne Maynard they have together created spaces that both echo and frame the beauty of the 120 acre estate around it. The organic garden contains immaculately pleached Malus and lime trees as well as a productive and beautiful fruit and vegetable growing area, rose garden, topiary and woodland walks with a selection of fine specimen trees to delight the eye as well as a handsome old conservatory. Polly is constantly experimenting with rare, new and unusual flowers and bulbs. The garden is not generally open to the public and so this is a very privileged private visit.
Please email if you would like to be placed on the waiting list
22nd June 2022 £100
Marvel at the beauty of nature, flowers and clever garden design all rolled into one glorious day with three very special gardens.
Preen Manor is a hidden gem of a garden set in 6 acres on the site of an old Cluniac Priory and Norman Shaw mansion. It’s a plantsman’s garden, developed over the last 40 years on a sloping hillside with incredible far reaching views over parkland and Apedale to Wenlock Edge. Divided into a number of different themed enclosed garden rooms on several levels, it includes a very pretty potager with beautifully shaped iron arches covered in trained apple and pear trees, a fernery and sunken chess area. The canal garden is stunning; above which is a wonderful Grade II listed long stone wall and formal terraces. There is also a stream with water garden and woodland walks and the most magnificent views out towards the wider rural landscape. The adjacent churchyard contains possibly Europe’s oldest yew, said to be planted in A.D.450!
© Rosie Irving
The victorian 1 acre walled garden where Victoria and Barney, along with their team, grow extraordinary English garden flowers can be found in the grounds of Stokesay Court, described in Pevsner as ‘the most grandiloquent Victorian mansion in the country’!. Visitors describe it as being like a large old fashioned cottage garden, magical and romantic, alive with birds and insects. Nestled within high brick walls a great abundant oasis of flowers grow each year giving buckets of fragrant floral beauty between the months of April and October. The gorgeous blooms are picked and conditioned overnight in one of the beautiful traditional old outbuildings before their onward journey.
The Cottage Herbery
Kim and Rob Hurst have been running their successful herb nursery since 1976 and have won several gold medals for their displays at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. They have recently created the most stunning late season contemporary gravel garden encompassing movement, flow and a naturalistic raw beauty. It’s planted with hardy, vibrant perennials, eye-catching grasses and the odd surprise rare plant. On the edge of the gravel garden they’ve cleverly included the skeletal remains of an old hop picking barn, covering the uprights with rambling roses and other climbers. The barn leads directly onto a tranquil, very stylish natural swimming pond gloriously framed by the wide countryside beyond. This hugely atmospheric garden proved extremely popular when visited earlier this year and our visit on this tour is timed to coincide with seeing the magnificent beauty of the tall rambling roses in full flower cascading over the barn along with a newly planted wild flower meadow. All the plants for sale in their on-site nursery are grown by Kim and Rob in a peat-free growing media.
BERKSHIRE and OXFORDSHIRE
Folly Farm and Garden and Wood
30th June £115
Details to follow.
29th June 2022 £110
An exciting contrast between two gardens, each started from a blank canvas, ending up very different in design but both full of style and plants.
This beautiful and unusual garden is described by Elle Deco as a ‘romantic, informal cottage garden starring a wild flower meadow and Victorian greenhouse’. Created in 1984 by enthusiastic and knowledgeable garden owners Richard and Sarah Cundall when they moved to Jackson’s Wold and designed to sit in harmony with the surrounding countryside, the garden is a profusion of colour and scent with unusual plants and innovative design schemes.
Alan Titchmarsh says ‘it not only has the most stunning formal gardens filled with beautiful blooms, it also commands the most breathtaking views over the Yorkshire wolds’.
‘Without doubt one of the great gardens of the early 21st century…’ Sir Richard Carew Pole, Past President R.H.S.
Set within 18th century walls of the original kitchen garden for Scampston Hall, the walled garden has an exciting, modern feel to it and complements the adjacent 18th century Capability Brown parkland. It had been derelict for nearly 50 years when Sir Charles and Lady Legard took on the huge task of renovating with the help of Piet Oudolf in 1999. Since opening to the public in 2005 it has received a great deal of international acclaim and featured on Gardeners’ World in October this year. Oudolf’s planting ideas are now much imitated and this walled garden is an outstanding example of how he combines his skill as a designer with his authority and knowledge as a plantsman. It still remains his largest private commission in the UK.
27th July 2022 £110
History, ambition and the very essence of what makes gardens great combined into one fascinating tour.
Marvel at how the past and present jostle alongside each other in these vast gardens where 130 acres are being reclaimed with an ambitious 20 year plan under the supervision of inspirational Chelsea gold medal winning international garden designer, Dan Pearson. We’ll be able to see a parterre planted with bold combinations of perennials, grasses and clipped yews as well as The Garden in the Ruins; a wonderful example of naturalistic planting and botanical rarities and The Courtyard, dotted with a series of clipped hornbeam sentinels, sculpted to reflect the castle architecture. The rose garden is planted in the shape of an old rose and Mr Marriott helped in its design by advising Dan Pearson on varieties for it. There are also wild flower meadows and rambling woodland to discover as well as spectacular views of the Lake District mountains and Lowther Valley to be seen from the Western Terrace.
This historic garden is remarkable in that not only is it the world’s oldest topiary garden but amazingly it remains one of the very few topiary gardens to remain unchanged in design since its original creation in the 17th century. We’ll be seeing 10 acres of gardens hidden behind high stone walls. The topiary is made up of a surreal and unique collection of ancient box and yew trees, all sculpted in abstract or geometric shapes beautifully underplanted with an ever changing array of tasteful bedding plants. Beyond the romantic old orchard, separated by amazing giant beech hedges, are magnificent herbaceous borders and Britain’s first recorded ha ha. There are also wild flower meadows, rose, herb and vegetable gardens to discover as well as a willow labyrinth.
© Levens Hall, Kendal
This promises to be a fascinating opportunity to see behind the scenes of one of the UK’s most sustainable makers of peat free compost meeting Professor Jane Barker who, together, with her farmer husband, Simon and using old garden recipes, have developed a range of wholesome composts on their farm at Dalefoot using bracken and wool from their flock of white faced woodland and cheviot sheep that graze on the nearby fells.
16th and 17th August 2022 £150
June Blake’s Garden
Jimi Blake’s Garden at Hunting Brook
Patthana Gardens (T.J. Maher’s Garden)
More details to follow shortly
22nd August 2022 £100
Marvelling at the beauty of nature, flowers and clever garden design all rolled into one glorious day.
Wollerton Old Hall
Wollerton Old Hall is a superb garden described by many, including Chris Beardshaw, Carol Klein and Sir Roy Strong, as one of the very finest in the country and winner of a number of awards. To quote from their website:
Set around a 16th Century Hall (not open to the public), Wollerton Old Hall is a formal, modern garden on an old site. Located in north Shropshire and covering 4 acres, its garden rooms are richly planted with perennials and bursting with design ideas. The garden is renowned for its salvias, clematis and roses, growing in controlled exuberance, and the clever use of colour, form and scale.
We will be visiting it at arguably the best time of year when the herbaceous border, the dahlias, clematis and roses will all be looking superb and on a day when it is closed to the public
Hodnet Hall Gardens
Hodnet Hall Gardens is another stunningly beautiful garden covering 60 acres with sweeping lawns, a chain of interconnecting pools and a wonderful array of flowering plants including a rose garden and many magnificent trees including some ancient oaks. Many of the trees and shrubs including acers, sorbus, cotoneaster, berberis and parrotia will be starting to show their autumn colours. A new development this year is the revitalising of the walled garden for vegetable, fruit and flower production. The whole grounds exude a wonderful air of calm and include some superb buildings including a tythe barn, smoke house and 16th century dove cot.