A Garden from Scratch

Having moved to their new home at Langdale in Offenham, Worcestershire in June 2009, Sheila & Adrian James have created a new garden there from scratch. They now open the garden at Langdale under the National Garden Scheme (NGS), and also by arrangement for small group visits from which donations to local charities & causes are made from the money raised.

There had never been a cultivated garden at Langdale before they arrived, so they were lucky enough to be able to start from a blank canvas.  The garden took 4 years to build, first opening for visitors in 2013.


There were some specific features that Sheila & Adrian wanted to include in the design, as well as it being a space where they could grow as wide a range of plants as possible in a Worcestershire garden. There were two main design objectives. Firstly, that there would always be something of interest in the garden, whatever the season. And secondly, even though the site is naturally flat and relatively small, once mature the garden at Langdale would be a garden of rooms, a garden that you need to explore to discover what is there, a garden where you can lose yourself for a while.

 As well as being the under-gardener at Langdale, Adrian is a garden photographer and gives garden & travel talks to groups. Visit Adrian's Photography website ...

The Garden through the Seasons


The garden in Spring


The garden in Summer

Autumn / Winter

The garden in Autumn and Winter


National Garden Scheme

Langdale is open every year under the National Garden Scheme as part of the NGS Offenham Gardens group.  In 2019 the dates are Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th August.  Full details can be found on the NGS web site.

Group visits by arrangement

Sheila & Adrian open the garden at Langdale to groups by arrangement (up to 12 group visits per year) between early & late summer.  There is a per head charge which includes entrance to the garden and refreshment option.  The home-baked refreshment options are: (1) traditional tea / coffee and cake or (2) glass of wine and rustic savoury canapés.  Group size: minimum 10 maximum 50.  All money raised from group visits is donated to local charities & causes.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss a visit to Langdale for your group.

Additional local places you might also consider when visiting Langdale:-

The Art Pad

Wendy is a glass artist specializing in glass art for the garden.  We feature some of her brilliant work at Langdale. By arrangement Wendy will open her studio in Offenham to groups.
Visit The Art Pad website ...

Cotswold Garden Flowers

Many of the plants growing at Langdale have been supplied by Cotswold Garden Flowers.  Of Bob Brown fame, the nursery at nearby Badsey sells a large range of plants, many of which are just that bit unusual.  You might just visit the nursery while you are here, or arrange a group visit to them for before / after your visit to us.
Visit Cotswold Garden Flowers website ...


Langdale Winter 2018 / 2019

the wedding cake treeAmongst the criteria we had in mind when we designed and built the garden here at Langdale, one was to give ourselves an area in which we could have plants for winter interest.  So many people “put the garden to bed” in late autumn and then don’t really think much about it again until spring is well on the way.  Our aim is an all-season garden.  The part of the garden we refer to as the Woodland Border was the area we selected for this, partly because it is what we see through the window from the table in the kitchen.  We are also lucky in that it is back-lit by the setting sun.  Winter interest is achieved by careful selection followed by correct treatment – for example we prune the dogwoods hard back each year to keep the stem growth vigorous & colourful.  As the garden starts to mature, we are well pleased with the result, left.  Viewed under the tiered branches of Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ (the wedding cake tree) are the bright orange stems of Cornus sangiunea ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’ and the zingy green stems of Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea'.  In contrast is the spear-like foliage of Astelia chathamica 'Silver Spear' and Astelia ‘Red Devil’, with the witch-hazel Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Hillier’s Clone’ giving us scented spider-like flowers in sunny yellow.  Close by is Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ which fills the air with its perfume through the winter months.  And all of this in January, the depths of winter!  Who says there is nothing to enjoy in the garden in winter?!

Acacia baileyanaWe like to garden with as wide a range of plants as we can, including some that are borderline hardy and some that are down-right tender.  Of course, most of those are over-wintered in the frost-free safety of our greenhouse.  But we take a risk with some of the borderline hardy ones, and we get away with it most of the time, mostly I think because we garden on very free-draining soil which in some cases we make even more free draining through the addition of grit – it has long been my opinion that many winter casualties occur through sitting in cold wet soil rather than through the temperature alone.  We have managed to get Acacia baileyana to a sizeable established tree.  It is planted in the Salvage Garden and tucked away in the relative shelter between the raised platform and a large protective hedge.  The flowers can be damaged by a sharp frost, but it has been an absolute picture this year, right, photographed in mid-February.

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