The Warders Garden
Theodore Dewey created a garden of variety and excitement, which he opened for charity, reaching its prime in the 1960’s and early 70’s. The original garden at Warders was much smaller, stopping at the end of what is now the main car park with a ha-ha overlooking a meadow called Blower’s Field. This led down to the Mill Stream, which often flooded. The meadow was owned by Bordyke End, the house next to Warders, and a row of poplar trees was planted along the stream by Dr.Goodridge’s grandfather in about 1920, when he owned the Bordyke End. Dr.Bunting, a previous partner, bought Warders, Blower’s Field and the right of way to the field along the western border of the Warders property from East Street, which is now part of the car park.
Dr.Dewey, another previous partner, bought the 2.5 acres of Warders in 1935. He initially developed a large rock garden on the site of the main car park. It contained a mass of bulbs as well as many small firs and azaleas. In 1962 he started to plant up the old orchard of Blower’s Field. Many of the trees are now fine specimens, including the Dawn Redwood, Brewer’s Spruce, Snowdrop Tree, Pocket-handerchief Tree and Cornus Kousa. In addition there were numerous maples, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, as well as a specialist collection of snowdrops. The garden was the subject of an article in Country Life in the 1970’s
After Dr. Dewey died, a dentist, Mr Cooper, bought Warders. Mrs Cooper was a flower decorator and planted specimens which were useful for flower arranging. They built a bungalow in 1983 beyond the ha-ha, and lived there, having sold Warders to a bank manager. The practice bought Warders in 1987 and the bungalow in 1993, which was converted into ‘Little Warders’ to provide extra consulting rooms.
The area owned now by Warders is only part of Blower’s Field, as in two stages land had been sold to enable a development by the local housing association. When the practice bought Warders parts of the garden were past their peak, so that the current partners did not feel it a desecration to turn the rockery into a car park.
The practice has continued to maintain the garden to a high standard. In 1990, we won a competition run by Pulse Magazine to find the best surgery garden in Britain. The surrounds of Little Warders are delights in spring while around the car park are examples of trees originally in the garden including a gingko, eucryphia and maple.