The gardens at the Manor House at Stevington have been lovingly transformed over the last thirty years by Simon and Kathy Brown into the tranquil gardens that we see today.
DVP for Bedford Jason Reddy (79-84) organised a trip to Kathy’s Garden on the 24th May. After refreshments and canapés on the lawns in front of the house, we were given guided tours around the gardens by the Browns. We heard how Simon and Kathy had found the house which at that time had a very limited garden and, after buying extra land to the south and east, set to work…within nine years, they were ready to open the garden under the National Garden Scheme.
We learnt about the history of the house which was built in 1876 on the site of a former hospitium or guesthouse from the 1200s. There is recorded evidence from 1264 that the nuns who looked after the hospitium had a vineyard and garden at the site. The development of the present day garden has been a joint collaboration between Simon and Kathy over the years taking inspiration from garden visits at home and abroad and a developing interest in art. The gardens include a formal garden, transformed from the former donkey paddock, with its rose arbours, fountain, topiary and avenue of lavender, inspired by visits to France, as well as a Wisteria Walk and Gazebo. There is also a Cottage Garden, Art Gardens, Ornamental Grasses Garden, Edible Flower Border, Orchard, Ginkgo and Eucalyptus Walks and a wildflower meadow. A riot of colour and scents.
As the sun began to set, we had coffee and dessert in the conservatory before saying farewell to our hosts.
Kathy Brown’s garden is open to the public on Tuesday afternoons throughout the summer. To find out more information please visit their website here.