The Garden at St Michaels Croft
The garden at St Michaels Croft is an approximately 1 acre south facing garden of topsoil over clay and chalk with large amount of flint just below the surface.
The garden is surrounded by 150 year old trees and is planted for year round interest.
The garden has been developed over the past 19 years and started life as a large patch of grass with none of the current features, facilities or planting.
Each large border has a theme such as Hostas (over 150 varieties in the garden from miniature to giant), Rhododendrons and Azaleas, Ferns, Palms and Bananas and Perennials.
Brugmansias (or Angels Trumpets) are a great favourite for pots. A dozen varieties are grown.
There are several colonies of honeybees in one corner of the site and St Michaels Croft Honey, from spring blossom (especially hawthorn and later on wild blackberry), is usually for sale.
There is a pond with waterfalls and a large vegetable plot.
Two greenhouses are used for overwintering Bananas, Brugmansias and other tender species and are used for Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Peppers in the summer.
Specimen trees include Atlas Cedar, Liriodendron Tulipfera (Tulip Tree) and Weeping Willow.
There are plants for sale.
The original Croft is the single story cream painted stone building which is now the middle part of the property.
The Croft dates from the 1860's and was built as part of the Woodcock Hill estate.
Over the years it has been variously an apple store, a gardeners cottage and, just after the second World War, it was home to a refugee couple from Eastern Europe who raised 3 children in this tiny cottage using water and electricity supplied by pipe and wire from Woodcock Hill House.
This family revisited their former home a few years ago.
The present house was built around the Croft in 1979 using old stock bricks and salvaged wooden beams.
The patio surrounding the house is constructed of 4 inch thick slabs of York stone mined in the Pennines salvaged from the platforms of the Berkhamsted shunting yards which were dismantled to make way for the current station car park.