Sunken Garden

This partly wooded area of the gardens contains a mixture of themed sections, resulting from different projects undertaken over the past ten or so years. At the upper end, cascading peat wall terraces step down through the woodland, leading to the Victorian sunken garden, stumpery, bamboo area and bog garden. Peat wall terracing is an interesting landscaping concept and the garden at Broughton Grange proves a rare example of this. The terraces are planted out with woodland shrubs such as Azalea spp., Daphne spp., Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) cultivars and many ferns. Herb layer plants include the rampant wild garlic (Allium ursinum), Helleborus spp. and dog’s tooth violet (Erythronium dens-canis). The area has a predominantly ericaceous theme and plants have been selected in order to provide good colour in late spring.

Overlooked by the peat wall terraces and next to a round pond, the small, shaded Victorian sunken garden contains a range of herbaceous plants and ferns set within small peat walls. During spring and early summer, candelabra primula (Primula beesiana) flowers rise above foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) and these are complemented by the bold heart shaped foliage of Hosta ‘Wide Brim’. Look carefully to see snowbell (Soldanella villosa), delicate Asplenium Trichomanes and Athyrium filix-femina ‘Congestum Cristatum’ growing in the low surrounding peat walls.

Situated next to the Victorian sunken garden is a small bamboo area, densely planted with an assortment of temperate bamboos, through which narrow paths wind. It features good ornamental specimens of bamboo such as Chusquea gigantea, Phyllostachys bambusoides ‘Castillonis’ and Phyllostachys arcana ‘Aureosulcata’, mixed with a herb layer partly consisting of the large leaves of Petasites japonicus. Some additional bamboos of interest, such as the smaller Fargesia murieliae ‘Simba’ and Chusquea culeou may be found just beyond the main planting.

A large stumpery, situated between the bamboo zone and bog garden, was completed in 2007. Created using 50 tons of soil and a collection of old tree stumps, it showcases a classic combination of hosta, ferns, hellebores and saxifrages surrounded by larger trees. Historically, stumperies were originally a Victorian concept, becoming quite popular and widespread in 19th century gardens. During the Victorian era, many different ferns were being introduced to Britain from around the globe and garden stumperies were frequently used to cultivate these. Planting up the stumpery at Broughton is an ongoing process.