A visit to Coton Manor

My car could probably drive itself to Coton Manor. The route is so familiar. I’ve been  visiting  the garden for about 20 years. And each time I learn something new. I  take a pen and paper to make a note of planting combinations. I always have to walk around the garden in the same direction. First, the top terrace, by the garden school, where there’s beautiful terracotta pots of seasonal plants. Tulips today, mass planted in a single colour. Then on through the rose and lavender garden. Through the arch to the top woodland walk. Down the slope, following the stream, watching the ferns unfurling, spotting a patch of erythronium dogs tooth violets and some maroon tipped trilliums. Crossing over the  rill, we walk through the wildflower meadow- full of cowslips and camassias.  Not horticultural matters, I know, but the little speckled bantams that live at the bottom of the stream garden are such a delight to see. We chuckle over their  fluffy feathered legs, and their funny little ways. Today, one spots a fly, and zigzags crazily through the orchard, neck outstretched to catch the tasty morsel. There’s flamingoes. Puzzling when first encountered.  But a treat to look forward to on every subsequent visit. They are seemingly colour-coordinated with the orange pink tulips along the stream bank. Today we walked through the bluebell woods.  We stood still and just gazed. A sea of blue, set against the smooth grey beech trees. And then, the scent. We store up such glory- to last the whole year. Until next time.  

Coton Manor’s five acre bluebell wood- open until 15th May 12 noon to 5.30

I am always drawn to houses built with the warm honey coloured Northamptonshire stone.  The original Manor House was destroyed during the Civil War and rebuilt in 1662, using  stone salvaged from nearby Holdenby House.  The current owner’s grandparents moved to Coton in 1926, extended the house and created the bones of the current 10 acre garden. A history of the house and gardens has been written by Ann Benson, available through the Coton manor website http://www.cotonmanor.co.uk. 


We always hope to be in time for the wisteria flowering. Such a glorious scent.


The lavender-edged terrace garden has Tulip Elegant Lady and double late peony flowered Black Hero. Soon there will be geraniums, erysimum and heucheras to cover the bulb foliage. The garden school is on the right. Courses still available (at time of publication) this summer are by Sarah Price, Tom Duncan,Johnathan and Peter Gooch, Martyn Rix, Brian Ellis, Rosy Hardy and the owner Susie Pasley-Tyler.

Tulip Black Hero- a double peony flowering form   

I always find plenty of inspiration for container planting. This is my favourite at Coton, the copper urn and Spring Green Tulips.


Tulip Yellow Spring Green. New to me and something I will try this year.   
ELegant Lady Tulip. Reliable and  lives up to its name.

fringed Blue Heron tulip. Such a colour!

Honesty (Lunaria annua) An unusual bi coloured form.

iris – possibly Plum Tart. 
Plants, seeds and bulbs can be purchased at the nursery. The garden opens Tuesday to Saturday 12 noon to 5.30  from 25th March to 1st October. Mum and I have bought season tickets, which means we can visit the garden through the changing seasons and obtain lots of planting inspiration. 

Do you have a favourite garden that you like to visit? What planting inspiration have you found?  Please leave a comment so that I know I’m not talking to myself here. 

18 thoughts on “A visit to Coton Manor

  1. Ooh I need to go there again, have only been once, on a quick, unplanned visit. I remember the pots on the terrace and exotic birds and being cross that I did have my camera or enough time! I can thoroughly recommend Tulip ‘Yellow Spring Green’, really fresh and pretty but not always easy to get hold of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let me know if you come this way Harriet. Would love to wonder round that garden with you. I’ve bought a season ticket, so mum and I can go and see the changing seasons. I’d never seen that tulip Spring yellow before, very striking.


  2. I am a great fan of Coton. The garden is a delight and I love going on their garden courses. I have bought some fine plants from their nursery as well. I think that large copper urn is my favourite container there as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mum and I pressed our noses up against the garden school windows. I rather fancy the one being run by the owner Susie. I love her planting combinations. Would love to know what she’s planning for next season. The tulips were planted like silk ribbons through the garden.


  3. Coton Manor sounds idyllic…So nice to vicariously visit a garden that the writer knows so well. Have yet to experience a bluebell wood, but hope to before too long..(maybe next Spring – woohoo ; ) That verdigried copper urn with tulips is so evocative of a warm bee buzz quiet afternoon in the 19th century, one imagines Proust must surely be perched languidly somewhere nearby…Really enjoyed your observations, and lovely photos, as usual ; )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for all your lovely comments Jo. There’s something so magical about a bluebell wood. We just stood still on the spot for about half an hour- just living in the moment. We could hear a cuckoo at the top end of the wood. I am easily transported back there. I hope you can come with me next spring.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just saw this…Got all in a twist when saw I had inadvertantly re-posted my comment, with major errors to boot…Sigh. Anyway, A bluebell wood, and the call of a cuckoo…two things I definitely must experence…Would love to ramble through their with you next Spring..I may try to get there this summer for a walk while am in the UK, and to see their nursery. If you’re around in July..and free for a bit….possibly we could meet up?

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