Ethy House, Lerryn

Ethy stands on a commanding eminence over the Lerryn River and the neighbouring countryside.  The imposing mid-18th century house with its 19thC additions complements this position perfectly, and from much of the garden there is always the pleasure of glimpses of the ‘borrowed landscape’.  Andrew and Vanessa Leslie have lived here for thirteen years and have done much to beautify their eighteen acres with energetic clearance and judicious planting.

A large group of members gathered in the courtyard enjoying refreshments while Andrew gave us a history of the house and its former owners, and then led us on a guided tour which began on the parterres which surround one side of the house in true classical fashion.

I particularly admired the long rectangular pool on one terrace, its clean lines echoed by an avenue of elegant Eucryphia. Then it was through the high wall into the beech woods behind and this is where Andrew has cleared away a veritable jungle of sycamore, brambles and weeds to open up the spaces – revealing a carpet of bluebells – and then planted them with a remarkable collection of specimen trees such as Quercus coccinea, Metasequoia and even some from the Far East such as the Taiwan Chestnut.  An especially pleasing sight was a grouping of Cornus in full flower.

One session of extensive clearing in true pioneer fashion suddenly disclosed a view of Golant & the River Fowey and a rustic summerhouse has been built here so the scene can be enjoyed in comfort.  Winding paths led us through the woods to the unexpected sight of a large pond complete with irises and sculpture which had been created by Andrew and from which the ground sloped gently down to the kitchen garden.

Our tour ended in the walled rose garden, possibly the site of the original medieval house. Energetic roses such as ‘Rambling Rector’ and Rosa Moyesii have plenty of space here in which to flourish and this colourful, sheltered area was the perfect ending to our visit to this beautiful garden with all its variety, and we were very grateful to the Leslies for giving up their time and welcoming us to Ethy.

Report by Angela Stubbs
Photos by Christopher Gadsen
13th May 2011