Tucked away down the kind of country lane that makes you feel like you might never find your way home, lies Waltham Place Organic Garden. It nestles into the landscape bordering the Chiltern Hills in Berkshire and is truly a hidden gem.
The garden is run on entirely organic and biodynamic principals, but the philosophy of working with the natural world informs every part of the garden, from its design and structure to the way it is maintained and kept. The garden’s creator, Strilli Oppenheimer, asks vsitors to “look at the gardens with a different eye, to be accepting of the less formal, less tidy look. I am a gardener of place, who seeks to work with the nature of the place, adapting and evolving to its ecology rather than producing a decorated garden.”
Oppenheimer’s approach asks the visitor to consider that a garden can be developed according to how it grows and what lives there already, rather than being primarily an aesthetic experience or imposing a design upon a landscape. Its a refreshing and invigorating approach and a masterclass in organic philosopy. Even if, like most gardeners, you enjoy a degree of order, colour or unusual and exotic plants, Waltham Place will challange your gardneing philosophy and give you fresh ideas.
It’s not an easy place to visit, there are no opening hours during which you can just pop in – the garden can only be visited by arrangment. You also won’t find the usual cafes, play areas or gift shops that larger gardens provide. But, if you’re looking to visit a garden that is truly unique and thought-provoking then contact the estate office to find out more.
“Waltham Place has a No Photography policy. Since 2010, Artur Urbanski, the Polish photographer, has visited places of natural beauty around the world, photographing people as they take their holiday snaps. ‘Whenever I am somewhere beautiful in the world, I see the same thing. People take out their cameras or mobile phones and try to capture a moment, then, more often than not, they move on straight away. We are losing the experience of being there because we are focused on the technical process of trying to capture it, for the sake of using it in the future, to post on social media, to show our friends, or just to say we’ve been there.'”