The Williams family have lived in Armscote Manor for twenty five years and over those years have extended the formal and informal gardens, creating a lake, heritage orchard, nutteries, canal, herbaceous borders and a wind garden. The have planted over 15,000 trees to provide shelter for ground nesting birds and other wildlife.
As the countryside and gardening have long been our passions, it seemed appropriate that our fundraising events for Shipston Home Nursing cover a wide range of associated interests. We have welcomed leading garden designers, garden historians, authors, artists, photographers and nurserymen, to give lectures and host workshops over the years. We have a loyal and enthusiastic following for these events and have raised over £30,000 for this locally funded, home-based hospice care.
We are associated with The Women’s Farm and Garden Association (WFGA), a charity established during the First World War to help mobilise the Women’s Land Army. There were seventeen WFGA trainees here. Over the past nineteen years WFGA trainees have used this scheme at Armscote Manor to enhance or change their lives; many of our trainees are ‘career-changers’ and, following a year with us, many are pursuing various horticultural career paths. We have also sponsored four WFGA ladies to train with Historic Royal Palaces at Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace.
For the past three years we have joined the Government-led Apprentice Scheme. We have trained a Horticulture Apprentice and now, in conjunction with Mansell Farm, are training a young man from the hamlet for his Agricultural Apprenticeship. For more information about this scheme and the WFGA please see our gardening page.
Both myself (Deborah Williams) and Gwyn Perry, our Head Gardener, have undertaken CEVAS training (Country Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme) in order to be able to welcome school groups to the grounds. If you would like more information please visit our access to farms page or contact me via email.
Conservation is of great importance and we are members of the Country Stewardship Scheme. We endeavour to keep margins and hedgerows for wildlife and wild flowers. Our lake attracts many birds, including swans, geese, Moorhens, duck and Coot. Dormouse boxes, Barn and Little Owl boxes and tree sparrow boxes are placed around the wooded margins.
Tulip Armscote was introduced in 2010 and we have sold out every year since their introduction in 2011. All monies raised from the sale of the bulb are donated to Shipston Home Nursing in memory of Leighton Evans. There is more information and an order form on our tulip page for this beautiful white frill edged flower. We will have more bulbs available for sale in the summer for autumn planting, they can be bought on our shop page or locally from Bumble and Wild, Taste of the Country, and Whichford Pottery. This is the perfect bulb to plant in our still very popular Armscote Bee Pot which is frost resistant and made by Whichford Pottery. A new smaller pot was added to the range this year to be used for planting herbs or smaller plants for the windowsill. The pot still has our bee motif and at £8.50 and makes the perfect gift.
We have reared a flock of rare breed Portland Sheep for the last twenty years. Recently we have added a few black Welsh Mountain Sheep. A few years ago we had our fleeces spun to produce a range of double knit Portland wool, Portland with a dash of black Welsh Mountain Sheep and Portland with a splash of black Welsh Mountain Sheep. In 2016 we introduced an Armscote Manor Black Welsh Mountain wool. Edna and Kate have been knitting rather wonderful items in the wool that can be seen on the shop page. Charlie and Hannah and Tedblogs also use our wool for their knitting kits. The wool can be bought online from our shop or from the Bourton Basket in Bourton on the Water. Armscote Manor sheep will be shown yet again at the Shipston on Stour Wool Fair and the wool, kits and knitted items will also be on sale at this event.
The Annual Charity Tennis Tournament is our favourite event of the year and held in June. Local beautician Averil Plank has kindly agreed to support the event, giving short treatments in between games, to support SHN.
A select number of garden clubs and groups visit the gardens during the year and are always generous in making a donation to our chosen charity.