Babbling brooks are a part of life in the prosperous Cotswold village of Blockley. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Blockley was at the heart of the English silk industry, and the Blockley Brook, which powered the mills, runs through the village and through the surprising garden of Colebrook House. Enter by its discreet gate, and a smaller body of water, the Cole Brook, draws you in, enticing you to follow its fern-lined course, crossing and re-crossing it via a series of small Georgian bridges, until it disappears beneath a grand lawn. Here, in front of the Georgian home of George and Melissa Apsion, you get a first glimpse of the garden’s magical appeal.

Colebrook House
© Jason Ingram

A gloriously high, undulating yew hedge adds to the dramatic angles and strong structure of the parterre created by designer Todd Longstaffe-Gowan in the new walled garden. The cut-flower borders near the house provide a dazzling display throughout spring and summer with a succession of bulbs, including tulips, and annuals. The pretty Claverton cloches create a strong link to the beautiful Georgian orangery beyond.

Watch a tour of Colebrook house and brook

Colebrook House
© Jason Ingram

Todd used fastigiate Irish yews in this newly created walled garden to remind the owners of holidays in Italy. The trained sour cherries that line the Cotswold-stone walls reference the more productive walled gardens of the Georgian era, but in this modern parterre the beds are largely given over to a succession of flowers for cutting. In spring, the area is dominated by a host of coloured tulips, including white Tulipa ‘Très Chic’ and fringed Tulipa ‘Cool Crystal’.

Colebrook House
© Jason Ingram

The yew buttons that spill on to the lawn are a nod to the silk-weaving history of the village, and create a wonderful dark backdrop for the white blossom of Malus ‘Evereste’.

Colebrook House
© Jason Ingram

The Cole Brook cascades over mossy boulders into the historic mill pond garden, where a palette of greens creates a feeling of calm.

Colebrook House
© Jason Ingram

The mill pond garden was an existing feature that Todd has reinvigorated with new planting. Framed by a leaning willow, the shady space celebrates form and texture with an abundance of ferns and foliage, brightened in spring by the small, pale flowers of Galium odoratum.

Colebrook House
© Jason Ingram

The Blockley Brook cuts through the garden, separating the formal areas around the house from the romantic meadow on the far bank. The bench is positioned to enjoy the soothing spectacle of the cascading Cole Brook in the mill pond garden.

Here's another beautiful example of a Georgian walled garden

Wondering how to grow tulips?

8 top Colebrook tulips

Tulipa ‘Innuendo’

Tulipa ‘Innuendo’
© Jason Ingram

A bright and vibrant candy-pink and ivory Triumph with unusual glaucous foliage. A fun and refreshingly playful choice. Flowers April to May. 45cm x 10cm.

Tulipa ‘Blushing Girl’

Tulipa ‘Blushing Girl’
© Jason Ingram

Rich ivory petals are marked with a modest edge of cool lilac-rose. Flowers April to May. 60cm x 10cm.

Tulipa ‘Florosa’

Tulipa 'Florosa'
© Jason Ingram

A graceful, viridiflora. The shapely, slender petals are cream, strongly streaked with green and pastel-pink tips. The wonderful shape develops as it matures, bringing a sense of dynamism to schemes. Flowers April to May. 45cm x 10cm.

Tulipa ‘Lady Jane’

Tulipa 'Lady Jane'
© Jason Ingram

A slight but striking tulip, bred from Tulipa clusiana, that will happily naturalise if given free-draining soil. The outer petals are washed in pink and demurely open out in the sun. Flowers April to May. 40cm x 10cm. AGM.

Tulipa ‘Cool Crystal’

Tulipa ‘Cool Crystal’
© Jason Ingram

An exuberant double that packs a punch. The layered and fringed petals are deep pink with flashes of white at the base. Flowers April to May. 45cm x 10cm.

Tulipa ‘Angélique’

Tulipa ‘Angélique’
© Jason Ingram

The colour of the soft blush-pink petals on this showy double deepen with age. It has strong stems and makes a spectacular cut flower. Flowers May. 45cm x 10cm.

Tulipa ‘Spring Green’

Tulipa ‘Spring Green’
© Jason Ingram

This viridiflora is one of the best for naturalising as it tends to return year after year. Enjoys partial shade. Flowers May. 50cm x 10cm. AGM.

Tulipa ‘Flaming Flag’

Tulipa ‘Flaming Flag’
© Jason Ingram

An eye-catching broken Triumph tulip, with white petals beautifully marked with soft-purple flames, and handsome grey-green leaves. Flowers April. 55cm x 15cm.

USEFUL INFORMATION Address Colebrook House, Lower Street, Blockley, Gloucestershire GL56 9DS. Web ngs.org.uk Open Open for NGS as part of the Blockley Gardens group opening, 23 April and 11 June, 2-6pm. Admission £8. Find out more about Todd’s work at tlg-landscape.co.uk

Here's more beautiful tulips to grow

Authors

Hannah Gardner is a Kew trained head gardener with twenty years experience based near Bath. Hannah founded her design studio New British Landscapes in 2010 and became a freelance consultant specialising in sustainable and organic horticulture in 2021. She pursues interests in travel, design, writing, consultancy, plantsmanship and practical horticulture.