The Follies

'The garden is transported into quite a different league by the series of dotty and delightful follies that the owner has built.' RHS Garden Finder

dome

In about 2000 I rediscovered a small iron water wheel which I had removed from the mill pit many years ago, and the urge to use it started a spate of folly building which has been going on ever since. There are now three follies, all very large, very different and completely useless, but they amuse me and will, I hope, make you smile too. The Stone Tower gushes water through the mouths of its gargoyles. The Dome is made of 5000 wine bottles which sparkle like stained glass on a sunny day. These two have been included in the book Follies of Europe. The book's flyleaf gushes:

'Built for pleasure ..... these wonderful buildings reflect and celebrate the individuals who created them........from a contemporary fernery made of wine bottles at Westonbury Water Gardens, to the Villa Padierna's Teatro in Marbella all are testament to imagination and eccentricity.'

The Oak Tower

The Giant Cuckoo Clock

My most recent folly started as a splendid oak tower built for me by a local half-timbering specialist. It stands among conifers and has stairs to a viewing platform which overlooks the garden.

The tower has a watery theme, of course, with a broad shaft up the centre displaying the mechanism of the water-powered clock and singing bird. The bird song mechanism was made for me by the organ builder who did the restoration of the singing birds at the Villa d'Este garden outside Rome.

I've been doing a bit of research on the internet and found lots of giant cuckoo clocks, mainly in Bavaria. But I think I can claim mine as the world's largest water powered cuckoo clock. It's fun anyway; the other garden birds seem to love it and I think you will too.

(See the Follies Fellowship web site which is currently featuring the Cuckoo Clock.)

African Hut and Spiral Mound

Other features add interest to the garden. The Summer House has an African ethnic look but is actually all Herefordshire, made from elm re-growth cut a few yards away and reedmace from the pond. The Spiral Mound began as a muddy mini-mountain of spoil from the construction of the Canal, but is now a focal point in the Wild Flower Meadow. You can climb its grassy path for a view of the surrounding hills and meadows.