The Best of English Gardens tour took an unexpected detour to a delightful private garden called Chiffchaffs, another NGS Garden open to the public by appointment. The owner is an 87-year-old plantsman named Kenneth Potts. Mr. Potts studied forestry but later opened a nursery, called Abbey Plants, specializing in unusal plants. We had a wonderful morning in his garden.
One of his proudest moments was showing his Acer griseum tree which had self-seeded to produce two new offspring. Acer griseum is notoriously difficult to propagate because each tree produces a very low percentage of viable seeds.
There were extensive plantings of choice woody plants surrounding the house as well as a woodland garden which had enormous gunnera specimens.
The woodland garden had an especially nice Cornus alternifolia ‘Variegata’ tree, a North American native. Chiffchaffs, although a complex garden, is on a very human scale. It gives the impression that maybe, if you work very hard for many years, you might be able to create something like this in your own plot.