It cast its spell as soon as I walked through the gates. I imagine The Garden House grounds in Yelverton are beautiful in all seasons, but early summer must be one of the best. Fresh greenery and perfect flowers growing in informal Devonian surroundings.

My sister has praised them for years and we eventually arranged a time to go together.

Every pathway leads to appealing features and there are benches everywhere. To rest, take in the scenery, read a book amid nature, or live in the moment. Listen to the bees droning; catch wafts of floral scent.

There is a bowling green, tennis court and walled garden, where I was instantly drawn to a castle turret-type folly bejewelled with wisteria. It is the remains of a house from 1603 and called Tower Steps. The ivy-edged stone treads spiral to the top, making an ideal survey spot to decide where to explore next. I was intrigued by a charming thatched cottage on the perimeter. What a lovely writing den it would make, I daydreamed.

To the right is the Jubilee Arboretum, opened in 2013 by the Countess of Wessex. The trees are in full glory leading down to the lake, edged with yellow and purple irises. It is a meaningful touch that a rowing boat moored there is named after Nancy Fortescue, the daughter of Lionel and Katherine who transformed the former vicarage and estate after World War Two.

Around the rest of the ten-acre site, there are even more delights. A dovecote nestles at the bottom of Devon Lane opposite the bulb meadow, where a footbridge is festooned with even more wisteria. A second one forms part of a public footpath and leads to the picturesque village of Buckland Monachorum.

Every corner is precious, from the Jungle Path to the Magic Circle – another folly. This one imitates ancient majesty splendidly but on a smaller scale.

Narrow trails crisscross glades and flowerbeds, and it is easy to overlook some parts, so it is a good idea to check the map handed out at the entrance. I nearly missed a huge wooden dragon carved from a fallen tree trunk.

Crucial before leaving, is a slice of cake and a cup of tea at the tearoom before heading to the plant sales area. I stopped myself from buying as I will be moving soon, but my sister bought a few leafy beauties to add some Garden House sparkle to her own.

Until next time,
Sue. X