The Garden and Maze
The Garden in History
The present garden at Harper’s Mansion covers two acres; all that is left of the original 100 acre purchase of James Harper in 1834. In 1850 the garden was described in an advertisement for the sale of the house. It reads:
"Fronting the house about an acre of land is handsomely laid out as a flower garden, with carriage road from the principle entrance to the dwelling house. In the rear is a large Kitchen Garden, well stocked with choice fruit trees, and a dwelling house for the Gardener. Close to the kitchen is a never-failing well of water. To the east of the dwelling is a small horse paddock, cleared and fenced, containing upwards of four acres.
The rest of the land is fenced in, and consists principally of the richest alluvial soil. The timber on the land can also be made available for various purposes."
When the National Trust excavated the site in 1984 they found the remains of a squared cottage garden in front of the house with an axial path and evidence of a fence and gatepost. The rest of the land had reverted to paddock.
Today the garden is maintained by volunteers and while not pretending to be 'heritage' is in keeping with the house and can be enjoyed for itself or for its expanding collection of heritage roses and camellias, its fruit and vegetable garden and its Hazelnut and Woodland Walks.
The Garden Today - A Garden for All Seasons
The Garden Plan 2016
The maze was planted in 2000 and now is over 3 metres tall. It is made of 370 Cupressocyparis leylandii. The total length of the path is 350 metres but, if you can find the quickest way out, only 185 metres.
In 1995, before the main garden was laid out, Heather Cant, a leading name in the rose world and then a member of the Harper's Garden Committee, drew up a list of heritage roses and selected several varieties for planting in the long border running from the front gate to the house. Over the years this border became overgrown with other perennials and in 2009 a decision was made by the Garden Committee to restore this bed and to extend the plantings into the main garden to make heritage roses a major feature. Including these roses in a National Trust garden was seen as a way to secure their future. This work was completed in 2012 with the planting of 60 plus roses including some of the earliest introduced into our gardens.
For a full list of the Heritage Roses planted at Harper's Mansion click here - Garden - Heritage Rose List 2014