The Hermitage is a formal garden of a country house in a wooded valley north of Bath. Measuring 2,400 square metres, the soil is clay-based and slightly alkaline (pH 7.4). In a north-facing location, with damp conditions the frosts can be hard and long lasting. Hardiness zone USDA 9. Planting in the herbaceous borders is in a largely blue palette that includes agastache, asters and agapanthus. See below for key plants from The Hermitage. Words Stephanie Donaldson
In the North Garden, two lawns are separated by yew bastions interplanted with Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’, Verbena bonariensis and Knautia macedonica, with standard wisterias marking the point where the
far lawn drops away into the valley.
The herbaceous borders adjoining the North Garden offer expansive views. Planting includes agastache, asters, nepeta and artemisias, with Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea ‘Red Pillar’ providing permanent structure. The borders are enclosed by a semi-circular yew hedge with plantings of hydrangeas and groundcover leading to a woodland walk and small arboretum.
The sunny South Garden borders a quiet lane alongside the house. Existing elements of the old garden were incorporated into the new design, including part of the terrace, a bright-red Japanese acer and a large yew. Water flows over the rim of a stone trough into a sinuous, curving rill.
The pleached crab apples, Malus x zumi ‘Golden Hornet’, planted along the line of the gothic balustrading, give the upper and lower terraces a sense of privacy. A pair of Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ flank the steps leading to the lower terrace.