Monk’s House in Midsummer

The Italian garden

A few days before the summer solstice, I was lucky enough to be invited for a picnic and tour of the garden at Monk’s House, the country home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, with the garden team from Charleston. The visit was part of an exchange of ideas between the two gardens, once owned by the two sisters: Vanessa and Virginia.

We were hosted by head gardener Lucy, who hauled deck chairs out of Virginia’s writing hut so that we could picnic on the bowling lawn (we sat on the grass, but it was a lovely thought).

After one of the wettest starts to June on record, the sun came out and the garden where Leonard continued to work for many years after Virginia’s death was dazzling.

Venus guarding the orchard at Monk’s House
The conservatory is filled with the flowers Leonard Woolf loved to grow
Garden rooms at Monk’s House have been formed by the imprint of former outhouses
Roses and lupins make for a romantic scene outside Virginia’s bedroom window.
Looking into the orchard underplanted with a wildflower meadow. Leonard Woolf used to cut the grass early for tidiness, but head gardener Lucy is keen to leave it a little longer these days to promote biodiversity.
This north-facing border under the red crab-apple tree is in the process of being replanted.
Fruit trees were integral to Leonard and Virginia’s garden. Here you can see the apple tree’s diagonal cordon.
Virginia’s bust looks out north from the fishpond lawn where the Woolves loved to entertain.
Virginia’s writing hut.
Inside the writing hut: a room of one’s own.