Compton Acres

The Italian Garden, Compton Acres

I guess one of the joys of our hobby, is an excuse to get out and about, especially with a well made, beautifully engineered camera. In this case my good old Pentax ME super again! Once again with a 24 exposure of Agfa Vista 200 from Poundland! There is something I like about the discipline of have 24 or 36 opportunities to record a day out – and that’s it. And so it was that one sunny day I ended up at Compton Acres gardens near Bournemouth.

The gardens were founded by Thomas William Simpson who had become wealthy from the manufacture of margarine, of all things! It first opened to the public in 1920. We used to come here as a family when I was a kid. Then it was a garden, these days it is a “venue” and has a shop, restaurant, studio, garden centre and a couple of blocks of retirement apartments plonked in the middle of it. in my humble opinion, none of which has improved the experience! The gardens are however the joy that they always were.

The gardens are laid out on a circular walk in five main sections – I hope you enjoy the mini tour!

Wrestlers of Herculaneum

The first in the Italian Garden. This incorporates a Roman Garden, and a small Palm Court. You may recognise this scene from Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon”.

The Italian Garden
The Wedding Venue
The Palm Court
Roman Garden

Next comes the Wooded Valley. This is the home to hidden waterfalls and ideal growing conditions for shade loving plants.

Waterfalls – lovely sound
Rhododendron falconeri
A cool spot on a hot day.
Sculptures dotted here and there

This area leads onto the rock and water garden. Many tons of red sandstone were shipped in to create this, the addition of sympathetic sixed sculpture is a good one I think.

The rock and water garden

Next up is the Heather Garden, this is spectacular in late summer and early autumn but looks a bit sad in spring. This was once Mr Simpsons cactus garden, sun drenched and sandy as it is, but reportedly the was years put paid to that, so it’s now laid to heather.

The Heather Garden

This leads to the star of Compton Acres, it’s Japanese Garden. I must confess to a love of these and this one is held as being one of the best in the country. Stone and plants were imported from Japan. The teahouse is covered in Wisteria, while there are Koi carp in the water!

Into a little piece of Japan
The classic view as you walk in
The teahouse
there be dragons!
Tea House (and kitchen window!)

Just behind the teahouse keen eyed viewers will notice the lovely addition of a PVC white window, whilst I’m sure there is a lovely view from the apartments, it doesn’t help with the feeling of being transported to Japan. The garden is now overlooked by this block and it is to it’s detriment. Things move on I know, sometimes not for the better.

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