The Naked Garden or Abbey house gardens is a beautiful tranquil garden set in Malmesbury, the only thing you should take into account before visiting is that some days clothes are optional! Click here if you are brave enough for clothes optional days, I would have to shed a stone before I even considered it, and even then I think I would have to be roaring drunk! Shame really, how nice would it be to have an all over tan, and probably if we are honest who wouldn't walk around naked on a summers day in your own garden if you knew you were totally private. Skinny dipping springs to mind.
Ian & Barbara bought Abbey House in 1994 to make it their home for their family of three children and in the autumn of 1996 decided to create a garden that might attract visitors from around the world to the historic town of Malmesbury.
Ian formerly enjoyed a career in property development. Some of his most notable work is visible in London; buildings such as the Marco Polo building opposite Battersea Park by Chelsea Bridge and the Sainsbury Homebase building in Kensington.
Barbara is a self confessed ‘Jack of all Trades’ listing teaching, fashion modelling, promotional, sales and marketing work on her C.V.
Both enjoy the decorative arts in all its forms and whilst Barbara grew up in a garden with a small holding Ian made his first forays into horticulture as an adult once he owned a property with land on the east side of the country.
The purchase of C16th Abbey House with an unusually large 5 acre town centre garden, fed an interest in history the couple share. Empty for 3 years after its previous owners had vacated, it needed a good deal of work and love to bring it back to the comfortable family home the Pollards knew it could be.
Ian & Barbara now spend their every moment tending family and garden, rarely going further than the garden gates. “We can visit other gardens in our library of books and from our collection of DVD’s” says Barbara, “although I’m not sure our children will forgive us the lack of holidays away!”
Ian’s epitaph will read “Why not?” This is the first question he asks when an idea comes into his head. If he can’t find a good enough reason to answer that question… he goes ahead.
"We both try not to take ourselves too seriously although we take what we do very seriously. It seems a person only has so much control in life and when you work with nature, especially the weather, you have to accept what happens because there is nothing else you can do!!"
"We like to be occupied and feel that whatever the reason is that we have found ourselves where we are we should do our best to make the best of our situation and our environment."
"We are happy to share our environment with others – what would be the point of creating something lovely if no-one saw it? – and to work to the best of our ability to create a visitor experience that is as good as it can be"
The information above was taken from The Naked Garden website.
There are a few lovely sculptures in the garden, including a fish that caught a man.
If you look closely you will see the fish has the most beautiful eyes.
There are some nice railings dotted around the garden as well as innovative gate hardware.
This is Ian relaxing in his beautiful garden, fully dressed on the day we visited, although we have been witness to a rather spectacular leopard skin thong.
Here are a few more artistic features, with another picture of the amazing face hedge.
This is a great place to visit, Malmesbury itself is not in my opinion a great town, if anything it looks a little run down and has more than its share of teenagers in their racing cars that seem to frequent the car park.
Malmesbury should be very greatful that The Naked Garden has bought a true gem to their town. Tetbury is only a few miles away and is well worth a visit, lots of nice Cafe's, very interesting antique shops, and very pretty adjoining streets and houses. Not forgetting Prince Charles's gift shop, great for a look around as the shop has some nice displays, and as you would imagine the shop is of a really high standard as a building. The items in the shop however probably go down a storm with visiting Americans but sadly don't do a lot for me, apart from the Highgrove Organic fruit and veg that is for sale on occasions.
This archway will be stunning in May with its laburnum flowers making a massive canopy, underplanted with hundreds of purple Alliums, truly stunning.
Here is a photograph of the tunnel in May from the Naked Garden website.
So that's lunch at Tetbury and a stroll around the pretty Cotswold town, then the short Drive to The Naked Garden for a relaxing afternoon. I will show you a small glimpse of Tetbury in my next blog.
Lastly has anyone noticed that Mr B has added his name to his photographs? I think he was fed up with me pinching the odd photograph of his and not giving him the credit! That's spoilt my fun, sorry Mr B.
The rest of the photographs really are all mine, I feel a name adding session coming on!