The Natural Order of Things

Horticulture is a pursuit of such breadth and all-encompassing habit, that many of those who practice it may seem as distant from one another as those of different professions altogether. Winterbourne was conceived at the height of the Arts and Crafts movement. Inspired by the movement’s chief protagonist, Gertrude Jekyll, the cult of the herbaceous border is writ large across the suburban villa landscape. Yet, although Jekyll’s ideas have long since endured … More The Natural Order of Things

Snapshot: Now and Then

 Winterbourne’s broad terrace was employed successfully by architect, JL Ball, as a means of transitioning from house to garden. Ball prescribed a typically understated treatment of the retaining wall and in particular the small verandah which links projecting cross wings on either side: ‘the ceiling and walls inside the verandah to be whitewashed and the … More Snapshot: Now and Then

Food for Thought

When Winterbourne’s architect, Joseph Lancaster Ball, was instructed by the Nettlefolds to design the hard landscape immediately surrounding the property, he gave as much care and attention to the five-sided Walled Garden as he did to the house itself. Here, Arts and Crafts traditions emerged again in the surrounding country first tamed by Ball, and … More Food for Thought

Blowing Hot and Cold

In 1944 Winterbourne’s third and final private owner, John Nicolson, bequeathed the house and garden to the University of Birmingham. Responsibility for the garden was assumed by the Department of Botany who quickly renamed the grounds as the ‘Winterbourne Research Gardens’ supplementing the already established plant collection with new species intended for use by students … More Blowing Hot and Cold