Nestled comfortably in the idyllic Hampshire countryside, West Green House is home to one of England’s best-loved gardens. The house was bombed by the IRA in the early nineties. Thankfully no one was hurt, but much of the house and forecourt were left in ruins. For the last two decades the incomparable Marylyn Abbott has been working tirelessly to restore and recreate West Green. She bought the lease from the National Trust with a vision to transform it into an exhibition garden. Originally famed for her acclaimed garden at Kennerton Green in Mittagong Australia, Marylyn was keen for a challenge in the northern hemisphere. She was already a known expert at working with the harsh Australian sunshine, but the garden at West Green House showcases her talent for creating a cool garden in the subtler English light.
Having spent 16 years as the marketing and tourism manager at the Sydney Opera House, Marylyn’s second love is for opera. The admirable acoustics within the high walls and yew hedges of the theatre lawn at West Green create a natural auditorium, lending itself perfectly to intimate performances. Over the years the annual opera season has picked up steam attracting opera lovers from far and wide, and preparations are underway for another busy season this July.
Aside from the opera, the venture has expanded to include Afternoon Teas, Supper Clubs, Literary Talks, an Illuminated Garden and even a Christmas Pantomime. While West Green House continues to go from strength to strength, Marylyn has managed to preserve a uniquely personal element that makes the place so well loved.
For the last 12 months I’ve been lucky enough to work here, and have adored watching the seasons unfold in this beautifully curated garden. Last Week the roses were in full bloom and I was determined to capture it with a few images.