Mill Dene Garden
Mill Dene Garden
Mill Dene is a delightful 2 1/2 acre garden built upon a series of shallow terraces. The old mill pond has been incorporated into the design of the garden, which has been open to the public only since the early 1990s. Among the garden areas to view are a winter garden, chamomile lawn, and wild garden.
History
The Domesday Book of 1086 records a dozen mills in Blockley. While Mill Dene can't claim to date back to the 11th century, the mill we see today almost certainly stands on the site of a Norman mill. Throughout the medieval period the mill ground corn, but in the Victorian period the property was converted into a forge. The property became a residence in 1914, and in 1964 the Dare family purchased half the mill property. The family bought the other half of the mill in 1975 and over the course of the next 15 years began to develop the area around the mill building into a garden. The garden was opened to the public in 1992.

Visiting
The garden is well signposted within Blockley and is easy to find. There is a small parking area and an honesty box for admission, with free maps of the garden. We visited on a sunny afternoon in June, and the colours were absolutely lush.

Mill Dene is a garden to move through slowly; plants are packed together, creating masses of colour and variety of shapes and sizes. What really struck me were the wonderful whimsical touches scattered throughout; sculptures of cats ready to pounce, a wooden fence arranged with an open space to create a frame for the neighbouring garden, mirrors arranged to reflect light and enhance the sense of space in a shady alcove, and humourous signs at odd intervals beside the path. One was an old railway sign, directing visitors to the correct platform for the train to Manchester!

There are small water features, half hidden by overflowing plants, and a wonderful shell grotto reached by an Orriental bridge. Mill Dene is very obviously a labour of love by people who enjoy their gardening! The setting is superb, with the tower of the 12th century parish church visible at the top of the hill, and glimpses of green vistas over the nearby fields.

Highlights
  • Cricket lawn with benches from the Mount at Lords
  • Ornamental Fruit Garden
  • Rose Walk
  • Vegetable and Potage Garden
  • Mill Pond
  • Oriental bridges
  • Shell Grotto