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A unique garden near Bromyard

From The Hereford Times - click here....!

Discover an intriguing mix of exotic and native plants in a unique garden near Bromyard.

Ros Bissell and her 94-year-old mum Rosie Johnson are passionate about plants.

They have a seven-acre garden packed with thousands of unusual and exotic flora as well as some of the more commonly known species, plus a well-managed kitchen garden making them self-sufficient in fruit and veg.

It's quite simply a little bit of nature's magic tucked away off the beaten track between Tenbury Wells and Bromyard with surprises along every pathway.

And the key to this natural gem known as Moors Meadow, at Collington, near Bromyard, is that they don't follow the gardening rules – they make it up as they go along, said Ros, aged 58.

"What will work for one garden may not work for the neighbouring garden. If you want to try something – try it." She pointed out they had put in plants which were not supposed to thrive in certain places and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.

"We cannot resist new plants. We have got to squeeze them in somewhere," she said - although her mum is trying to stop her planting any more trees due to the limitations of space.

The garden is open to the public by appointment and a few days of the year as part of the National Gardens Scheme and Ros said: "One visitor said they had been to a lot of botanical gardens and we have more plants than them.

"Most of the people who come here are gobsmacked – they cannot believe it. Lot of people ask if I have had training. We do what we want and what we feel. It is natural but maintained and shows what you can do on not that much money. We have 40 species of viburnum and we just like trying different things."

Rosie and her husband Tom, a farm labourer, bought the property including a run-down house in 1955 and moved in with their six children – Ros, the youngest, came along a couple of years later.

The place was in such a bad state that it had gone to auction and did not attract a single bid. "When my parents first came here it was just fields, the house was derelict and there was no motor access from the main road. They ran it as a small-holding and we had Jersey cows, pigs and chickens – with some market gardening."

The site also acts as a peaceful sanctuary where people can go and relax into the natural beauty without unnatural noises or interruptions.

Ros added: "We do not get the road noise here and I have people come here deliberately because they are so stressed, they know coming here they will feel better.

"We decided to open the garden to the public because it is here and we like to share it." She added that their days off are often spent visiting other gardens.

Ros and Rosie - a former Land Army girl - make a formidable gardening duo. Despite her advancing years, Rosie does a lot of work in the garden and Ros admits she can keep going longer than her when it comes to weeding.

It is hard to know where to start when describing this remarkable creation – it is a unique blend of free-spirited wilderness and cultivated plant life within certain defined areas such as the fernery, the grass garden, the shrubbery, the jungle garden, the lake, the fruit trees and the herb garden – to name but a few.

Also dotted about are a number of sculptures – some created by Ros, some by her husband Dave and others by local sculptors. There are even bits of farm machinery and other items like old car springs that Ros found in the buildings which have been used to support plants or as an artistic feature.

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