Garden open to the public by kind permission of Mrs. Melissa Bonn
Oaklands, built in 1811 and originally a working farm, was inherited by the present family in 1973. The gardens and grounds you see today were originally fields but in 1976 Jurat Bonn began planning a garden fit for this lovely property, including planting the many rare and unusual trees to form the wonderful arboretum.
Through the honeysuckle covered arch on the left of the drive, the small patio garden contains carefully clipped olive trees and rose beds. The swimming pool garden is undergoing replanting as the huge Leylandii hedge has been removed and the new climbers will be trained above the perimeter wall. A new border is being created using hot colours but the garden still contains the large Camellia Williamsii “Donation” which was grown from the original shrub at Borde Hill in West Sussex where the Bonns once lived.
The terrace, where the teas will be served, is covered with Alchemilla Mollis and the well known Erigeron Karvinskianusm and from here the full vista of this lovely garden can be seen. The large lawn, where Jersey cows were once kept, has curved island beds and herbaceous borders filled with shrubs and plants. Rosa ‘Fresham’ (with its bright red semi-double flowers) and Rosa ‘Mundi’ grow in abundance here. Everywhere there are specimen trees and shrubs including Drimys Wintery, Eucryphia, Hoheria, as well as many named camellias and magnolias. At the far end, in front of the holly hedge, is a Prunus Serrula with its magnificent mahogany coloured bark and Cornus Alternifolia (Pagoda tree) which is very similar to the more well known ‘Wedding Cake” tree.
Through the gate dwarfed by the old Monterey Pine is the large pond which was dug out by the Bonns. Here are masses of arum lilies and gunnera, azaleas, euphorbias, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and irises, Magnolia ‘Iolanthe’ with its rose pink flowers and the trees Nyssa Sylvatica and Nyssa Sinensis, decidious trees which are known for their attractive autumn colours. Above the pond along the old drive is a collection of camellias brought from Cornwall. This lower part of the garden is surrounded by woodland which acts as a windbreak for the property and provides a marvellous habitat for birdlife and insects.
The garden was hit by the gales during the winter when any trees came down or lost huge branches and a great deal of tree surgery and clearing was undertaken. Where possible the fallen wood off the beaten path has been left to create wildlife habitat. Walking back to the house amongst the daffodils, the area is full of London Plane trees, Silver Birch, Acers, Michelia Doltsopa with its large heavily scented white flowers, a walnut (Juglans) -reputed to be the biggest in Jersey- Cercis Siliquastrum (Judas tree), Pterostyrax Hispida (Epaulette tree) with small fragrant white flowers and, of course, more beautiful camellias including the dark red ‘Elizabeth Bonn’ and magnolias.
The informal and natural feel of the garden is paramount as the new generation of the Bonn family carefully encourages the snowdrops, violet and bluebells, removing old rhododendrons, planting new trees and designing new beds. There is a kitchen garden at the rear of the house which provides almost enough fruit and vegetables to keep the family self sufficient with a beautiful wisteria arch.
This is a garden to wander round slowly and savour -we hope you enjoy your afternoon.
Please walk carefully through the uneven path in the wooded area.
La Rue D’Elysee
15th of August
Route 9 (Liberation Station to Greve de Lecq)