This outstanding example of the Arts and Crafts style of landscape design uses a combination of rock-work and water to create a realistic landform giving views from and under the bridges.
Many tons of red sandstone and grey limestone were used to create two contrasting areas. Mature specimens of “dwarf” conifers are interspersed with a huge variety of appropriate plants including Euphorbia myrsinites, Fascicularia bicolor, Iberis sempervirens and many spring bulbs. It is thought to be one of the largest privately owned rock garden in the country.
Compton Acres consists of five themed sub-gardens: an
Italian garden, a rock and water garden, a heather garden, a Japanese garden
and a less formal garden called the "
Alpines and rock gardens
alpines and rock gardens were once a big thing.
There were various things every serious gardener had to have, and a rockery was definably one of them.
When we started our landscape and design business we were building them every where I loved constructing them ,all the different types of rocks that were available meant you could design them in a huge variety of ways and incorporating them with water, fish ponds, waterfalls etc.
Rockeries and alpines had come into fashion in the late 19th century .
Grand rockeries were quite simply, a status symbol for wealthy gardeners.
Expensive they may have been to build and maintain,but with the latest plants being brought back from across the world by adventurous plant hunters they were perfect for showing off your wealth.
The ever-expanding middle classes went in for them too, so the market for plants was clearly enormous. unfortunately commercial nursery's jumped on the bandwagon and sold many totally unsuitable for the smaller rockery's.
Soon the source of the stones started to dry up and you paid a lot for a very few small boring ones many working families even made there own stones out of concrete usually with disastrous results .
The best stones were Charlton mackerel and ham we perfered to go and hand pick a load to find the best and most unusual shapes, my favourite was /still is Charlton mackerel it was fascinating to break apart as it was full of really interesting fossils and was just fantastic to use thinking of ways featuring the fish and ammonite fossils in walls ,you can still buy small amounts direct from the quarry but its
very expensive and we use it occasionally as fossil pictures in the sides of walls
soon sadly all the good quarries closed and the stone left just wasn't suitable for the job and there were some ugly rockery's built for a while in bad areas with rubbish plants no wonder they went out of fashion .
With the demise of the rockery, there has been a massacre of plant availability, so we have been busy cultivating our own favourites at our nursery growing a mix of hardy perennials ,selected grasses, succulents and alpines we still build rockeries nowadays but they have changed with the times we also have been trying to source new supplies of stone from other parts of the country some as far away as India the problem of course is haulage costs