To the east of the herbaceous border is the circular Beacon Garden, denoted by the tall Beacon positioned at its centre, and erected to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. The Compton family crest incorporates a beacon, and this monument within the garden cleverly references this heraldic device.
Planted in the green beneath the structure are hundreds of Narcissi, to welcome our Spring visitors. Surrounding this central feature, are four beds planted with a central Weeping Pear Pyrus salicifolia, underplanted with a carpet of Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’. Several Magnolias are planted in the outlying beds; the April flowering Magnolia x loebneri cultivars ‘Leonard Messel’ and ‘Merrill White’ followed later by the red/purple flowers of ‘Susan’ and the yellow hues of ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Yellow Lantern’. The beautiful oriental Magnolia flowers are complemented in May by the frilly blooms of pale pink and deep red Paeony species. The Paeonia officinalis are the first to bloom, and as they fade the Paeonia lactiflora open, to give several weeks of colour.
The island bed has recently been replanted, after the removal of a large planting of pink Geranium. This has allowed for a more interesting collection of plants to be used: Helleborus foetidus, Bergenia ‘Baby Doll’, Anemone tomentosa, Geranium ‘Philippe Vapelle’ and Roscoea purpurea which provide a longer season of interest.
Other shrubs of note are Cercis siliquastrum commonly known as the Judas Tree, which has tiny bright pink flowers before the leaf appears. The same bed also hosts two Rhodotypos scandens which are rarely grown, and a Euonymus alatus, which has spectacular flame coloured leaves in Autumn. Edging this bed and the one opposite are informal rows of Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’, its delicate variegated leaves softening the entrance to the garden. A Malus siebaldii (Crab Apple) with a frontal planting of Hydrangea panniculata ‘Grandiflora’ offer further interest. Beyond the immediate area of the Beacon Garden, a path lined each side by a colourful mass planting of Astilbe species in various shades of red and pink, leads onto the Rhododendron Walk.