1st August 16

RHS Tatton 2016 – Our award winning garden

Following on from our Bronze award winning Back to Back garden, at RHS Tatton last year, we decided to exhibit this year, again with the Cheshire Gardens of Distinction, to see if we could top the Bronze.

We have a team of 4 gardeners here at our historic Adlington Hall. Between them, they manage to keep the 60 acres of Cheshire park land we are situated within neat, tidy and colourful all year round. The gardens and grounds are open to visitors throughout the summer months

Preparation for this year’s Back to Back Garden started early in the autumn of last year, 2015. Our Head Gardener, Anthony O’Grady, was asked to come up with an idea of the type of garden he would like to exhibit. Whilst visiting a exhibition at Liverpool university, Anthony came across a poem that was written about Adlington Hall. Written by Thomas Townsend, 1st Viscount Sydney (24/2/1732 – 30/6/1800) it is believed to have been written after November 1778 and is housed in the original scrapbook, in the university. The full poem follows;

On a Building dedicated to friendship in Adlington Garden. By Mr Thomas Townshend

Stranger forbear; nor with unhallow’ed feet

Dare to profane this sacred floor :

For knows ye Guardian Goddess of his seat

Hath long ye Name of friendship bore,

When this shrine her votive sons repair

To Celebrate each festive Rite,

Mirth, wit and wine ye genial moments share;

With Harmony their Hearts unite.

Thy self examine, and with candor seam

The ruling passion of thy Breast;

To Friendships Temple welcome is ye man

Who with a social mind is blest.

The idea was to recreate a garden around the era that the poem was written. Anthony wanted the garden to pay homage to the eclecticism of the early English landscape garden. There would be a serpentine path that would lead to a classical niche set in a mossy glade framed by mixed borders. It would be both contemporary in its planting and strongly evocative of the 18th century English garden.


The following list of plants were used;


Amelanchier Lamarkii
Buxus Sempervirens “Latifolia”
Rosa alba single form
Betula Pendula “younngii”
Enkianthus Campanulatus
Ceratostigma Willmottianum
Acanthus Mollis
Phlomis Russeliana
Verbena Bonariensis
Iris Siberica
Hemerocallis Summer Wine
Echinacea Purpurea
Sidalcea Malviflora
Penstemon Firebird
Geranium Renardii
Aster Frikartii Monch
Hemerocallis Stella D’oro
Knautia Macedonica
Chrysanthemum Maximum Wirral Supreme
Polemonium Caeruleum
Persicaria Amplexicaule Speciosa
Astrantia Major Start of Fire
Veronicastrum Virginiana
Linaria Purpurea Canon J Went
Euphorbia Sikkimensis
Sanguisorba Tenuifolia
Geranium Phaeum
Anemone Tormetosa



Anthony’s ideas for the Back to Back Garden came together beautifully and culminated in a stunning piece of art that has been exhibited at the RHS Tatton, for the last week. This was all done whilst keeping the grounds of Adlington Hall looking beautiful for our public opening dates.

We were more than delighted when the results were announced to find out we had topped last year’s Bronze award, with a ‘Silver Gilt’ award. We were also were honoured with ‘Best Show Feature’. A huge success for Anthony and his team; Bart, Matt and Paul, safe to say we are very proud of them all and glad all their hard work has paid off!


Silver gilt medal, awarded to Adlington Hall’s ‘Back to Back’ garden – RHS Tatton 2016


Anthony said the following about the awards:

“As part of ‘Cheshire gardens of distinction’ we prepared and built a small ‘Back to Back’ garden that evoked a mossy glade in an imagined 18th century corner of Adlington. How we fitted over 1500 plants, more than 1 tonne of grit sand and stone as well as a unique wooden columned niche, into a 6×4 metre plot now seems a mystery. However, the esteemed judges of the RHS loved it and awarded it a silver gilt medal and as part of the ‘Cheshire gardens of distinction’ exhibit, Best Show Feature   We hope our back to back garden acts as inspiration on how such a small space can deliver a feeling of peaceful tranquility.” 

Anthony with Best

Anthony O’Grady, Adlington Hall Head Gardener, with the ‘Best Show Feature’, awarded to all gardens that exhibited as part of the Cheshire gardens of distinction.

The gardens and grounds of Adlington Hall are open to the public, between 2pm and 5pm (last entry 4pm) every Sunday, until 25th September.

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