Somerset Gardens

Somerset Gardens

Tour highlights:

• Dan Pearson’s garden – rare opportunity to see Dan’s private garden
• Shopping in Pan Global Plants with Nick Macer
• Recently designed Piet Oudolf garden at Hauser & Wirth
• A romantic, Italianate garden designed by the revered Edwardian architect Harold Peto
• James Hicthmough’s perennial meadows at Wudston House
• Derry Watkins, contemporary hillside garden
• Staying in the beautiful town of Bath

Day one – Wednesday 25th July, 2018

Our tour begins with an afternoon flight from Dublin to Bristol. On arrival, we will be met by our coach and he will drive us to our hotels in Bath. We can spend a lovely evening exploring this beautiful and historic town. Once we are all settled, Jimi would be delighted if you would join us for dinner. This is an opportunity to meet your fellow travelers.

Day 2 – Thursday 26th July, 2018

Our coach will collect us at 8.30am and take us to our first garden. As plants people, I am sure you will agree Pan Global Plant Nursery is such a treat. We will be met by Nick Macer, who will introduce us to his plant lover’s paradise.
Founded by Nick, Pan-Global Plants is a specialist plant nursery that provides an inspiring selection of the finest, most desirable and often rarest plants capable of growing on these isles. Many nurseries use the words ‘rare’ and ‘unusual’, but at Pan global those words are not used lightly. The nursery is set in the walled garden of a large estate Frampton Manor. This is an opportunity to pick up something rare and unusual for your own garden. Jimi has bought a lot of the Hunting Brook plant collection from Nick.
Moving on from Pan Global our coach will take us to our next destination, Derry Watkins Special Plants Nursery and private garden. We will have lunch with Derry before starting the tour of her 1 acre garden. Set high on the Cotswold way, the structure and imaginative modern design is the work of her architect husband Peter Clegg which is then paired with Derry’s keen eye for unusual perennials and expert plant combinations. The steepness of the south facing site, mercifully sheltered by mature trees enables tender plants and shrubs to flourish and in fact grow to immense size. Derry uses bold shapes in gravel, water and grass to echo the outlines of the magnificent surrounding landscape. Her impressive nursery sells a wide range of beautifully grown hardy and tender perennials.


Day 3 – Friday 27th July, 2018

We start our day with a guided visit to Hauser & Wirth. Piet Oudolf, the internationally-renowned landscape designer from the Netherlands, has designed the landscaping scheme for the entire site, including Oudolf Field – a large perennial meadow to the north of the farmyard and new gallery buildings. Carefully shaped and planted, the garden echoes the tradition of classical gardens, but the variety of species and combination of plants creates a looseness, softening the formality of its appearance. Wide canopied trees have been planted between the gallery and garden to frame the view of the garden for visitors as they leave the buildings. The surrounding hedges provide a sense of enclosure, whilst the view of the hills and fields beyond remain visible. There are a series of paths cut through the vegetation, inviting visitors to wander through the garden. Oudolf’s landscaping design continues around the buildings including the inner cloister courtyard, where the old buildings meet the new.

After lunch we will travel on through the beautiful countryside to our next destination, Iford Manor.

Harold Peto’s garden at Iford Manor demonstrates his love of Italy. With a cloister garden of Pompeian scale, terraces, columnar cypresses, it is home to Peto’s vast collection of statues, urns, sarcophagi and terracotta. Tucked away at the bottom of a tranquil valley, paths twist and turn around ancient statues, columns, terraces and architecture which, combined with ebullient planting schemes, lead you on in anticipation of the next delight. Steeped in history, visitors often say a visit was like stepping into another world.

Day 4 – Saturday 28th July, 2018

Our final day starts with a guided tour of David Morrison’s wonderful private garden. Recently featured in Country life magazine. The garden of Wudston House was started in 2010 on completion of the building of the house. The overall layout of the garden was designed by the owner, but extensive advice and input on the planting has subsequently been received from Nick Macer, James Hitchmough, who has created a perennial meadow, and others.

The garden covers approximately fifteen acres at present. Late summer, the borders have red, yellow and orange herbaceous plants such as asters, echinacea, rudbeckia. There is also a formal cutting and vegetable garden, sunken white garden, glass houses, lime avenue and oak framed hornbeam tunnel.

After lunch we will travel on to our last but certainly not least, the private garden of garden designer Dan Pearson. We are incredibly privileged to be able to visit Dan’s garden Hillside. Previously a small holding that produced vegetables and fruit for Bath and latterly put down to cattle, the land extends to 20 acres. Dan has taken a small part of this for garden and has been developing habitats in the remainder, over-seeding meadows, encouraging wild places, replanting mixed hedgerows and planting trees and a new orchard.

Hillside is a new garden, planted up in three phases over the last six years. A new land form to accommodate a spine to either side of the house, ring fences the garden itself. The organic kitchen garden that surrounds the barns was the first area to be developed in 2014. A haha allows uninterrupted views out from the house and wildflower banks give the impression that the house sits in the landscape. The ornamental garden lies to the east of the spine. The first phase of the planting was installed in spring of 2017, the second in autumn of the same year. The planting is carefully selected for the open south facing site and for the naturalistic compositions that make the link to a managed ditch where Dan experiments with ornamentals in wet grassland and the meadows beyond.

Just after lunch our coach will collect us and ferry us to the airport where we will take an afternoon flight home.

Booking Information

Tour Price is: €460 per person

Tour price includes:
• Comfortable coach transport.
• Admission to all gardens.
• Friendly and knowledgeable professional tour coordinator.
• Botanical expertise of Jimi Blake
• Evening Meal on the 25th July
• Lunch with Derry on the 26th July

Tour price excludes:
• Airfare and Accommodation – You will book your own flights and accommodation but only after we send you an email confirming that our reservation minimum has been met and the tour will proceed.
• Travel insurance. (See below)
• Lunches. Budget £10 per lunch minimum.
• Evening meal on the 26th and 27th July

Payment schedule:
• A non-refundable deposit of €200 is due when you book your tour.
• Final payment, in full, is due by Feb 28th, 2018.

Travel insurance is required in case you have health emergencies or other unforeseen issues arise. We recommend AA Travel Insurance and you can get a quote online at Click here for Travel Insurance. There are many providers so you may identify other travel insurance providers on your own. Before departure, you will be required to provide evidence that you have obtained travel insurance.

It’s easy to book your garden tour, just let us know by return email and we will hold your place. Later we will ask you to fill out our online booking form and at that stage you can pay the deposit by paypal or direct debit.
Your trip reservation will be confirmed by email upon receipt of the completed Reservation Form and trip deposit/full payment. Payment in full must be received by Feb 28th, 2018.

For questions or help completing your reservation, please contact Orlaith Murphy.
Phone: 087 6453042 or Email:

As a small tour company Jimi Blake Tours offers tailored tours for keen gardeners and plant enthusiasts. Each tour is guaranteed to proceed as soon as the minimum of 20 reservations has been met. In the event that our reservation minimum is not met by Feb 28th, 2018, we reserves the right to cancel the tour. Deposits/payments will be refunded in full if the tour is cancelled.

Please DO NOT make your airline reservations until we have guaranteed (by email) that the tour will proceed.

If you would like to join us, then simply contact Orlaith by email at or by phone on 087 645 3042.

To avoid disappointment, please book early.

On booking, we will supply you with information on suggested accommodation

This article has 4 comments

  1. Hello, I’m interested in booking on the Somerset Tour. Can I do this by email as I’m not good at booking online?

  2. Hi Orlaith , I am interested in he Somerset Tour and the Dutch Tour

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