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Fernbank

Congresbury

Enter an alternative universe behind Victorian house within conservation area of ‘The kindest village in Britain’. Quirky ⅓ acre garden with lots of surprises. Explore the potager, greenhouse, potting shed, Wendy house, lily ponds and banks of potted plants. Type poetry in a beach hut, lounge on a blanket on the lawn. Quiz for kids. Delicious teas in conservatory accompanied by birdsong. Enjoy!
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    Don’t listen to me; here are a few of the comments from our visitor book-

    The best Open Garden I have ever visited. Fantastic.
    Exquisite; touches all the senses! Your garden is oozing with spectacular imagination.
    Every space is filled with wonder.
    Can I come and stay?
    The best hour I’ve spent in a long time – don’t tell the wife!
    Wow what more can you say! It’s amazing and lots of fun. We loved it! Will be back again - should be in 'Country Living Magazine'! In fact it's better than the magazine!
    AB-FAB. quirky, gorgeous. Thank you!
    What a treat. Lovely garden especially love the summerhouse. It could be a Malvern Show Garden, and it would be gold! You must count the pots when you water and phone Guiness for the records!
    Lovely garden, plants and people. Thank you. x
    Really wonderful, especially the compost heap.
    Thank you for having us in your beautiful garden. REALLY, REALLY enjoyed the cakes!
    Quite simply, the best small garden I have seen. Monty Don, eat your heart out.
    Delightful; worth the journey from Sidmouth.
    So beautiful and creative, don’t want to leave.

    POTTED PLANTS. I grow many hundreds of plants in pots, which I water, with a complicated arrangement of butts, dipping barrels, ball cocks and siphons. I make compost, leaf-mould and a liquid feed from comfrey and nettles but there is never enough, one year I ordered ‘a load’ of mushroom compost and 13 tons of it was tipped onto the drive.

    DIY. I've made various items for the garden including a Victorian style cloche, a beehive, a fireplace and a dovecote. I transformed the greenhouse and four sheds using scraps of wood, lead and paint. When I was given a large church pew, I built a canopy for it out of an old dog kennel. I've also made several scarecrows.

    HISTORY. Fernbank and the Methodist chapel were built in 1878 by the mill-owner who gave the house to his son Thomas, as a wedding gift. A path led directly to a gate at the back of the church. To celebrate the birth of Percy, they planted a copper beech, which is now a magnificent tree. Three family households shared a private telephone system and three gardeners. Little sister Emily used to frighten the family by sitting behind a chimneystack to read or sketch the view. Grandmother was so annoyed by the debris blowing into the kitchen from the wisteria that she tried to kill it by pouring bleach out of the window. Thomas died at the age of 88 having fallen out of a damson tree and his son Maurice died at 92 after a fall from an apple tree. Following the sale of the house in 1981, the was garden redesigned. Our family arrived in 1995 accompanied by 300 pot plants and a Wendy house.

    WILDLIFE. Despite being on a busy road in the center of the village, the garden is a haven for wildlife. A kingfisher is seen about three times a week, visiting the pond for sticklebacks. I rarely dig, and seeds germinate at will. A foxglove has become a doorstop in the greenhouse; a robin is nesting in the conservatory, and takes currents from my hand. Frogs are blocking the spout of the watering can. Thrushes have raised three broods this year but it makes little difference, runner beans and lettuces are demolished and the hostas are shredded. I try not to disturb the slow worms sleeping curled up under the carpet in the compost heaps. In the evening hedgehogs snuffle past me while bats and owls fly overhead. Badgers are digging up the lawn. We have rare breed Burmese bantams.

    A MOVABLE GARDEN. The Congresbury and District Horticultural Society celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2011 by inviting Chris Beardshaw to give a talk. We decorated the venue with numerous pots and props from the garden, which were trundled along the road in a relay of wheelbarrows. I repeated the exercise to create a 'palm court' for Tea at the Ritz in Congresbury in aid of the hospice.

    MEDIA. The garden has been featured on Shedheads by Attaboy, Points West with Mary Payne, Amateur Gardening 9 June 2001, the Evening Standard 28 Aug 2007, The English Garden Oct 2007 with photos by Rowan Isaac, and Sally Gregson’s book Ornamental Vegetable Garden 2009.

    VISITING. Please park with care in Broad St, Mill Leg, Riverside car park (behind the bus shelter on A370) or in allocated spaces at The Ship & Castle (100yds).
    You are welcome to drop off any less able passengers. Narrow gates, paths and some gravel, mean wheelchairs access is very difficult if not impossible. (Though some have made it to the lawn.)
    Public toilets are located at the Ship & Castle car park.
    There are lots of places to eat nearby and easy walks to enjoy along the river.
    .

Fernbank- Canceled

Refreshments:

On this day, this garden is open by arrangement, which means that you will have to contact the owner to arrange visits for groups.

Pre-booking essential, please go to our events page to book your tickets.

Admission by donation

Admission:
  • Adult:
  • Concessions:
  • Child:

On this day, this garden opens as part of .

Admission also gets you entry to this garden in the area:

Click the dropdown arrow next to the opening date above to find details of entry costs and to add the opening to your online calendar.

Click on any opening date on the calendar above to find details of entry times, entry price and to add the opening to your online calendar.

  • Regular opening
  • Open by arrangement only
  • Cancelled opening
Owner Information

Julia Thyer
http://www.juliathyer.blogspot.co.uk

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How to find us

Fernbank
High Street
Congresbury
Somerset
BS49 5JA

Midway between Weston-super-Mare and Bristol.
  • More detailed directions
    From T-lights on A370 at Ship & Castle, turn into High St (B3133 to Churchill). Garden 100yds on R. Drop off only. Park at Ship & Castle, side streets or car park N of river.
Accessibility information

Narrow gates, and some gravel paths make wheelchair access very difficult. A few intrepid explorers have made it to the lawn and patio.

More about Fernbank

Don’t listen to me; here are a few of the comments from our visitor book-

The best Open Garden I have ever visited. Fantastic.
Exquisite; touches all the senses! Your garden is oozing with spectacular imagination.
Every space is filled with wonder.
Can I come and stay?
The best hour I’ve spent in a long time – don’t tell the wife!
Wow what more can you say! It’s amazing and lots of fun. We loved it! Will be back again - should be in 'Country Living Magazine'! In fact it's better than the magazine!
AB-FAB. quirky, gorgeous. Thank you!
What a treat. Lovely garden especially love the summerhouse. It could be a Malvern Show Garden, and it would be gold! You must count the pots when you water and phone Guiness for the records!
Lovely garden, plants and people. Thank you. x
Really wonderful, especially the compost heap.
Thank you for having us in your beautiful garden. REALLY, REALLY enjoyed the cakes!
Quite simply, the best small garden I have seen. Monty Don, eat your heart out.
Delightful; worth the journey from Sidmouth.
So beautiful and creative, don’t want to leave.

POTTED PLANTS. I grow many hundreds of plants in pots, which I water, with a complicated arrangement of butts, dipping barrels, ball cocks and siphons. I make compost, leaf-mould and a liquid feed from comfrey and nettles but there is never enough, one year I ordered ‘a load’ of mushroom compost and 13 tons of it was tipped onto the drive.

DIY. I've made various items for the garden including a Victorian style cloche, a beehive, a fireplace and a dovecote. I transformed the greenhouse and four sheds using scraps of wood, lead and paint. When I was given a large church pew, I built a canopy for it out of an old dog kennel. I've also made several scarecrows.

HISTORY. Fernbank and the Methodist chapel were built in 1878 by the mill-owner who gave the house to his son Thomas, as a wedding gift. A path led directly to a gate at the back of the church. To celebrate the birth of Percy, they planted a copper beech, which is now a magnificent tree. Three family households shared a private telephone system and three gardeners. Little sister Emily used to frighten the family by sitting behind a chimneystack to read or sketch the view. Grandmother was so annoyed by the debris blowing into the kitchen from the wisteria that she tried to kill it by pouring bleach out of the window. Thomas died at the age of 88 having fallen out of a damson tree and his son Maurice died at 92 after a fall from an apple tree. Following the sale of the house in 1981, the was garden redesigned. Our family arrived in 1995 accompanied by 300 pot plants and a Wendy house.

WILDLIFE. Despite being on a busy road in the center of the village, the garden is a haven for wildlife. A kingfisher is seen about three times a week, visiting the pond for sticklebacks. I rarely dig, and seeds germinate at will. A foxglove has become a doorstop in the greenhouse; a robin is nesting in the conservatory, and takes currents from my hand. Frogs are blocking the spout of the watering can. Thrushes have raised three broods this year but it makes little difference, runner beans and lettuces are demolished and the hostas are shredded. I try not to disturb the slow worms sleeping curled up under the carpet in the compost heaps. In the evening hedgehogs snuffle past me while bats and owls fly overhead. Badgers are digging up the lawn. We have rare breed Burmese bantams.

A MOVABLE GARDEN. The Congresbury and District Horticultural Society celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2011 by inviting Chris Beardshaw to give a talk. We decorated the venue with numerous pots and props from the garden, which were trundled along the road in a relay of wheelbarrows. I repeated the exercise to create a 'palm court' for Tea at the Ritz in Congresbury in aid of the hospice.

MEDIA. The garden has been featured on Shedheads by Attaboy, Points West with Mary Payne, Amateur Gardening 9 June 2001, the Evening Standard 28 Aug 2007, The English Garden Oct 2007 with photos by Rowan Isaac, and Sally Gregson’s book Ornamental Vegetable Garden 2009.

VISITING. Please park with care in Broad St, Mill Leg, Riverside car park (behind the bus shelter on A370) or in allocated spaces at The Ship & Castle (100yds).
You are welcome to drop off any less able passengers. Narrow gates, paths and some gravel, mean wheelchairs access is very difficult if not impossible. (Though some have made it to the lawn.)
Public toilets are located at the Ship & Castle car park.
There are lots of places to eat nearby and easy walks to enjoy along the river.
.

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