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2018-06-01 The English Garden part 1

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R SUE
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THE
english
GARDEN
SU
JUNE 2018
For everyone who loves beautiful gardens
www.theenglishgarden.co.uk
Host the perfect
GARDEN
PARTY
PORTRAIT of a
GARDENER
Juliet Nicolson on
her grandmother,
Vita Sackville-West
William Wordsworth?s
romantic garden
Rejoice in June
l
Nostalgic scented ROSES
l
Guide to garden ANTIQUES
l
LONG-LASTING cut flowers
l
How to grow HARDY ORCHIDS
�50
G R E E N H O U S E S A N D C O N S E R VAT O R I E S
G R E E N H O U S E S A N D C O N S E R VAT O R I E S
Visit us at RHS Chelsea Flower Show on Main Avenue 334
We understand how important it is to see and experience the quality of a structure in a finished setting when
helping you decide on your perfect greenhouse. That?s why we carefully select like-minded partners to work
with, who understand our ethos. Our collaboration with renowned interior designers Sims Hilditch is no
exception and our stand at RHS Chelsea Flower Show will see our greenhouses beautifully styled in an elegant,
contemporary courtyard garden.
www.alitex.co.uk
01730 826900
CONTRIBUTORS
Sarah Giles
Sarah is a freelance
journalist specialising
in gardens and food,
blogging about both
at a-cooks-plot.
blogspot.co.uk from
her home in East
Sussex. She visits
the garden at Norton
Court on page 38.
Juliet Nicolson
IMAGES: AXEL HASSLENBERG; NEIL SPENCE / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; NEIL HEPWORTH
Juliet?s most recent
book, A House Full of
Daughters, is about
seven generations of
daughters in her own
family (Vintage, �99).
She writes about her
grandmother, Vita
Sackville-West, on
page 87.
Welcome
O
ne of the best things about
British gardens is their diversity,
something that?s very much
in evidence this issue. There?s relaxed
informality and a laissez-faire approach
at William Wordsworth?s former home,
Rydal Mount in the Lake District, contemporary style in the
Angel Collins-designed garden at Manor Farm in Cheshire, and
a beautifully traditional country garden at Knowle Hill Farm in
Kent. Newby Hall in North Yorkshire is the classic stately home,
with jaw-dropping double borders, while House of Gruinard in
the Scottish Highlands is a lush, green plot, typical of the west
coast. All have one thing in common: a sense that the season is
well and truly under way and early summer has hit its stride.
Whatever style your garden, good gardening advice is always
of value, something that Vita Sackville-West dispensed every
week in her columns for The Observer in the early 20th century,
while she continued to craft and hone her garden at Sissinghurst.
This issue we?re thrilled that Vita?s grand-daughter, journalist
and writer Juliet Nicolson, has shared her memories of Vita
and Sissinghurst in the latest in our series celebrating British
gardening?s leading women. Enjoy this special treat, and the
rest of the summery inspiration in store.
CLARE FOGGETT, EDITOR
Susanne Masters
Ethnobotanist Susanne
writes about wild and
cultivated plants, is
researching edible
orchids, and selects
botanicals for product
development. Find her
guide to encouraging
hardy orchids in the
garden on page 119.
ON THE COVER
The gardens at
William Wordsworth?s
Lake District home,
Rydal Mount, proved
a rich source of
inspiration for the
poet. Photographed
by Joe Wainwright.
The-English-Garden-Magazine
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JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 3
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June 2018
CONTENTS
Gardens
30
22 Rydal Mount The former home and
charming garden of William Wordsworth is
open to visitors keen to explore the Lakeland
poet?s beautiful source of inspiration.
30 Manor Farm Designer Angel Collins and
her friend Clare Daresbury have transformed
Clare?s sloping Cheshire garden.
38 Norton Court Tim and Sophia Steel have
created a classic English country garden
around their home in Kent.
48 Knowle Hill Farm Spectacular views
over the Weald of Kent are matched by the
sumptuous, time-honed planting in Elizabeth
and Andrew Cairns? well-established garden.
59 House of Gruinard Owner Jane Gibb and
gardener Fiona Clark have overcome the
elements to create an unexpectedly lush
garden on an exposed Scottish Highland site.
67 Newby Hall This Yorkshire mansion is
famed for its long double borders, so it was
with trepidation that Lucinda Compton and
her team set about a drastic renovation.
105
77
Design
77 Garden Party Our top tips and suggested
accessory stockists to help you create the
perfect al fresco celebration.
87 Vita Sackville-West Juliet Nicolson
reflects on the work of her famous
grandmother at Sissinghurst Castle Garden.
95 Garden Antiques Bring a singular sense
of the past to your garden, with vintage,
antique and reproduction ornaments.
145 Craftspeople Stone sculptor and letter
carver Jo Sweeting creates pieces that echo
the British landscape and language.
Plants
105 Top 10 Plants The best cut-and-comeagain blooms for colourful summer borders.
111 Plant Focus Old-fashioned roses fill the
gardens of Daws Hall with delicious scent.
16
6 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
116 Plant Collectors Alun and Jill Whitehead
hold the National Collection of Siberian Irises.
119 Hardy Orchids Relax your lawn regime
and you could find these exquisite blooms
establishing themselves in the grass.
48
111
9
127 Greenhouses Sarah Wain on growing
a range of ornamental plants under glass.
131 Ponds Follow our guide to installing and
planting the perfect pool in your garden.
IMAGES SABINA R蹷ER; MARIANNE MAJERUS; NICOLA STOCKEN; ALAMY; SHUTTERSTOCK
141 In Season Home-grown gooseberries
can be enjoyed fresh from the plant.
Regulars
9 This Month A guide to gardens to visit,
places to go, things to do and nature to note.
16 Shopping The best garden gear and
accessories themed around rattan and roses.
155 The Reviewer June?s literary digest,
plus an interview with Arthur Parkinson.
162 Last Word Katherine Swift considers the
powerful links between memory and scent.
Offers
46 Subscribe & Save Save money on
a subscription to The English Garden.
103 Home Insurance Insurance for readers.
To request a brochure please go to www.gartenart.co.uk or call 020 7183 3333.
?The water is amazing, it?s like
swimming in silk. We had a couple
of dragon? ies buzzing past us... you
de?nitely feel you?re one with nature.
There were lots of things we wanted
to do to the house but this was the
one thing that we felt everybody
bene?ted from. Having the pond has
made a big di?erence to the way we
use the garden. We all love it.?
Nigel & Mandy Keene Basingstoke
Gartenart Swimming Ponds
Unit 105 Screenworks,
22 Highbury Grove,
London N5 2EF
020 7183 3333
www.gartenart.co.uk
JUNE
Gardens to Visit
Seek inspiration for your own garden by visiting one of Britain?s best
NGS GARDEN
Belmont House
Belmont, Faversham
Bird?s-Eye VIEW
Enjoy a different botanical perspective in some of England?s finest
gardens, with elevated treetop walkways and city gardens in the sky
Eden Project
The Savill Garden
Cambridge Botanic Garden
Experience four of the world?s
rainforest environments as you
stroll through the treetops,
shelter from tropical rain and
travel through clouds on the
Canopy Walkway (above),
which is strung between the
two tallest trees. Tel: 01726
811911; edenproject.com
Enjoy a sweet-scented view
and gather inspiration for
varieties to try at home
as you look down on the
rose garden from a viewing
platform shaped like the prow
of a boat. Tel: 01753 860 222;
windsorgreatpark.co.uk
The new ?Rising Path? will be
unveiled this June, giving
visitors a lofty perspective
of the Cambridge Botanic
Garden?s Systemic Beds.
Starting as a gentle slope,
it will spiral up through the
conifer collection of the New
Pinetum. Tel: 01223 336265;
botanic.cam.ac.uk
Elegant Belmont House,
built in 1796, is surrounded
by large formal lawns,
fine specimen trees, a
pinetum with a Victorian
shell grotto, and a walled
garden containing long
borders, wisteria and
a large rose border.
A second walled kitchen
garden was restored
in 2000 to a design by
Arabella Lennox Boyd,
featuring lawns, hop
arbours, pleached fruit,
vegetables and flowers.
The tea room is open all
year round, and between
1 April and 30 September
it serves light lunches on
Wednesdays, plus cakes
and cream teas at the
weekend, 1pm to 5pm.
Doors open for the
National Garden Scheme
on 30 June and 1 July,
12-5pm. Entry � children
free. Belmont House,
Belmont Park, Throwley,
Faversham, Kent ME13
0HH. For more details,
visit ngs.org.uk
WORDS RACHAEL FUNNELL IMAGES HUFTON + CROW
Kew Treetop Walkway
Explore the woodlands
at Kew from 18 metres above
the forest floor when you
traverse this 200-metre
walkway (right). Find out
about the ecosystem of the
canopy, which is rich in birds,
insects, lichens and fungi.
Tel: 020 8332 5655; kew.org
Sky Garden
Over three storeys, London?s
highest public garden is
richly planted with droughtresistant Mediterranean and
South African species. Enjoy
a cocktail with 360� views
across the city. Tel: 020 7337
2344; skygarden.london
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 9
JUNE
Places to Go
Unmissable flower shows, plant fairs, courses and exhibitions to attend this month
Get OUTDOORS
Hampshire Country & Garden Festival
10 June, Whitchurch
This year?s festival focuses on the health
benefits of gardening for all. Guest speakers
will give talks to inspire healthy eating and
creative garden projects, and there will be
an array of children?s activities. Located at
Bere Mill on the River Test, the festival will
feature local food and drink suppliers and
workshops and demos by nearby experts
and nurseries. All proceeds will go to the
North Hampshire Medical Fund, supporting
hospitals in the area. Tickets from � Tel:
01256 314759; hampshiregardenfestival.co.uk
Use your SPACE
Gardening Scotland 2018
1?3 June, Edinburgh
This weekend festival aims to encourage visitors to make the most of
whatever green space is available to them, be it a grand garden, an allotment
or a small windowbox. There will be a focus on design ideas and inspiration,
tools and accessories and, of course, wonderful plants. The country?s top
nurseries will be exhibiting and various competitions will take place, including
the Pallet Garden Competition, in which school children are tasked with
designing and creating a one metre square garden. Tickets from �.50.
Tel: 0131 3330965; gardeningscotland.com
LOOKING AHEAD: JUNE events
1?3 June, Cornwall
This rambunctious f阾e offers
international headline acts,
a vintage fair, theatre, music,
comedy and the arts, set in
the grounds of the Scorrier
estate. Tickets from �.50;
greatestatefestival.co.uk
Petersham Open Gardens
3 June, London
See some of Petersham?s
most beautiful and secluded
10 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
private gardens at this
special open day (right), with
proceeds helping to fund local
charities. Tickets from �
petershamopengardens.org
NiddFest
16-17 June, North Yorkshire
Take part in a variety of events
for nature-lovers at this familyfriendly festival situated in the
beautiful landscape of Upper
Nidderdale. Event tickets from
� niddfest.com
The English Country
Garden Festival
22?24 June, Somerset
The grounds of Bishop?s
Palace will be filled with
live music, expert talks and
garden and plant specialists.
Tickets from �95. Tel: 01749
988111; bishopspalace.org.uk
Arley Hall Garden Festival
23?24 June, Cheshire
With a Floral Marquee,
Gardener?s Question Time
sessions, and marquee and
garden tours, this festival is
brimming with horticultural
inspiration. Tickets from
�.50. Tel: 01565 777353;
arleyhallgardens.com
WORDS RACHAEL FUNNELL IMAGES PAUL WATT PHOTOGRAPHY
Great Estate Festival
LIVING LIFE OUTSIDE
Levity Dining Arrangement
Contemporary Design
Modern Craftsmanship
+44 (0)1420 588444
info@gazeburvill.com
www.gazeburvill.com
Catherine MacDonald: The Landform Garden
Ascot Spring Garden Show 2018
Photography � Catherine MacDonald
JUNE
Things to Do
Keep up to date in the garden with our monthly guide to key gardening tasks
Checklist
l Keep on top of
rapidly emerging
annual weeds by
running a sharp hoe
across the surface of
the soil. In hot weather
they will shrivel and die.
l Some crops might be
ready to harvest now,
such as quick-growing
radishes, salad leaves,
broad beans and the
first early potatoes.
l Carry on hardening
off greenhouse-grown
or tender plants,
and plant into their
permanent outdoor
spots when there is no
longer any risk of frost.
Plant up SUMMER POTS
l Put stakes in place
Few things beat bedding for
sheer flower power. If you want
to brighten up terraces and
patios, a couple of containers
bursting with well-chosen
bedding plants will add colour
from now until the first frosts.
Petunias, and their smallerflowered cousins, calibrachoa,
bloom almost continuously, as
do pelargoniums, verbena and
nicotiana. Packs of plants are
inexpensive, and most garden
centres have great deals on
them at this time of year, as well
as a vast range to choose from.
Excitingly this year, gardeners
will be able to grow a muchmissed old favourite again.
Retailer B&Q has been working
12 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
with plant breeder Syngenta to
bring back the busy lizzie
? one of the UK?s most popular
bedding plants. It hasn?t been
available in recent years due
to a persistent fungal disease,
impatiens downy mildew.
The new ?Imara Bizzie Lizzie?
(below left) has resistance,
enabling gardeners to grow
this versatile plant once more.
Unlike most bedding plants,
busy lizzies also thrive and
flower in shade.
Fill containers with a mixture
of good-quality multi-purpose
compost and a little John Innes
(the loam increases its nutrientholding capacity). Leave
enough space for the plants
to fill out, and pop in a couple
of controlled-release fertiliser
pellets to keep them well fed.
Watering and deadheading
will be your main jobs over
summer; consider fitting a
simple drip-irrigation system,
to cut down on the hard work.
l Take cuttings of
pinks (dianthus).
Pull non-flowering
shoots from the parent
plant, peel off the
lower leaves and poke
the stems in around
the edge of a pot of
gritty compost.
WORDS RACHAEL FUNNELL IMAGES SHUTTERSTOCK; B&Q
The risk of frost has passed for much of the country, so now is the time
to fill containers with colourful bedding plants for a fine floral spectacle
around perennial
plants before they
grow much taller.
FOR THE FINEST CONSERVATORIES, ORANGERIES & ROOFLIGHTS
R E Q U E ST A B R O C H U R E
+44(0)1476 564433
www.valegardenhouses.com
JUNE
Nature to Note
Your monthly guide to encouraging and caring for garden wildlife
JIMINY Cricket!
Look out for speckled bush-crickets
Appearance: The speckled bush-cricket is a frequent
garden visitor. This flightless, grass-green insect has
antennae twice the length of its dome-shaped body.
Although it is unable to fly it still has small forewings,
which are even smaller on females. Females also have
a long, sword-shaped ovipositor. These crickets rub their
wings together to make a high-pitched chirping sound,
which you can pick up using a bat detector.
Habitat: It?s likely you?ll come across these bright insects
while you?re gardening ? their preferred habitat is hidden
within vegetation, especially brambles.
What you can do: Allow areas of your garden to grow wild
to support cricket populations. They are a valuable food
source for other garden visitors, such as bats and birds.
Stachys byzantina
Also known as lamb?s ear, this
popular perennial is known for
its wool-soft leaves, which create
a silvery ground-covering. Its
attractive purple-pink blooms
appear from June
through to September,
and are relished by
pollinators. Wool carder
bees are particularly
fond of this variety,
as are bumblebees.
For best results, plant
south-facing in full sun
where possible, and
in well-drained soil.
Stachys is a good choice
for gravel gardens
or sunny borders,
since it is reasonably
drought-resistant.
14 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
Help wildlife this JUNE
Should hot summer weather arrive this month, be sure to
keep your garden?s birds and wildlife cool and well watered
l Avoid feeding garden birds dry foods
such as bread in warmer weather, since
it can hasten dehydration. If you?re
supplying nuts, take care to chop them
into smaller pieces or use a feeder,
otherwise they may choke baby birds.
Birds are heavily reliant on insects
in early summer, so if your garden is
abundant in invertebrates, try digging
up unused areas of garden borders to
reveal fresh food.
l Water resources become even more
valuable during the summer months,
so keep bird baths topped up and
consider putting out a shallow dish
of water for hedgehogs.
l Amphibians can struggle in
summer heat, but you can protect
visitors to your pond by creating
a cool shelter such as a log pile nearby.
Half bury the lowest logs in the soil and
pile them up, filling gaps with moss and
leaf litter to create lots of cavities where
frogs and toads can hide. You can use
bricks or stones as well, or buy a readymade frog house.
WORDS RACHAEL FUNNELL IMAGES SHUTTERSTOCK
A PLANT FOR POLLINATORS
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At the heart of these powerful, stylish lawnmowers is a choice of either electric, cordless
or petrol engines powered by Cobra, Briggs & Stratton & Honda.
Cobra products are available in the UK, throughout our network of specialist dealers.
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SHOPPING
1
2
3
4
Rosy Glow
5
Embrace the trend for pretty
florals with our roundup of the
best rose-themed accessories
1. Albertine Embroidered Blush Cushion, �.80.
Tel: 03332 008009; lauraashley.com
2. Classic Tool Bag, �.95. Tel: 01865 655377;
gardengirl.co.uk 3. Millefleurs Large Candy Dish,
�. Tel: 020 7730 5064; joannawood.co.uk
4. Wildrose Coffee/Teapot, �9. Tel: 0800
68648110; villeroy-boch.co.uk 5. Striped or
Premestine Rose Print by James Bolton, from �.
Tel: 01273 511944; www.rhsprints.co.uk 6. Tall
Circular Obelisk, �5. Tel: 01285 706511; muntons.
net 7. Storage Basket Rose, �.95. Tel: 0115
9608472; torimurphy.com 8. Raw Steel Rose Arch,
�5. Tel: 0330 3332123; coxandcox.co.uk
9. Porcelain Rose Hook, �. Tel: 01225 319058;
brissi.com 10. RHS Collection Gold Leaf Hampton
gloves, �. Tel: 01483 211320; rhsshop.co.uk
6
8
7
10
16 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
WORDS RACHAEL FUNNELL
9
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garden - perfect for sheltering from the ever-changing British weather.
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SHOPPING
1
2
3
4
Woven Wonder
Create a cool classic look
with our pick of the best rattan
furniture and fittings
5
7
1. Hanging Rattan Nest Chair, �5. Tel: 01993
845559; gardentrading.co.uk 2. InOut 629 Day
Bed, �421. +39 (0)432 656 611; gervasoni1882.it
3. Rattan Weave Lantern, �0. Tel: 020 8508 0411;
alexanderandpearl.co.uk 4. Rattan Large
Coral Mirror, from �100. Tel: 020 7730 6400;
soane.co.uk 5. Natural Storie Stool, �. Tel: 0114
3217000; bobbyrabbit.co.uk 6. Rustic ThreeTier Storage Rack, �.95. Tel: 0844 5672400;
thefarthing.co.uk 7. Rattan Upholstered Venus
Chair, from �500. Tel: 0207 730 6400; soane.
co.uk 8. Cabana Two-Seater Garden Sofa Pod,
�9. Tel: 03456 049049; johnlewis.com 9. Lene
Bjerre Mai Basket Set, �0. Tel: 0345 2572627;
sweetpeaandwillow.com 10. Cox & Cox Rattan Tub
Chair, �5. Tel: 0330 3332123; coxandcox.co.uk
6
10
8
WORDS RACHAEL FUNNELL
9
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 19
Explore the flora and fauna
with Titan?s award-winning
tours and cruises
South African?s Garden Route is world-renowned for its scenic beauty, and the
Tsitsikamma National Park section showcases a verdant carpet of indigenous
plants rolling down the sea. The Cape of Good Hope and the Drakensberg
Mountains are unique and very different floral treasure-houses.
South Africa is a visually radiant land, its natural beauty and diversity perhaps
most memorably illustrated in its wildlife-rich national parks and the endless
scenic Garden route, a stretch of forests and wetlands, rivers and lakes that
fringe the southern coastline.
All tours include Titan?s award-winning VIP door-to-door travel service?
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A mauve rhododendron
makes the perfect tonal
backdrop for alliums,
aconites and irises.
RYDAL MOUNT
Splendour in
THE GRASS
Rydal Mount was William Wordsworth?s home for the best part of
his life. The little-changed, charming house and garden now opens
to visitors keen to explore the poet?s beautiful source of inspiration
WORDS CLARE FOGGETT PHOTOGRAPHS JOE WAINWRIGHT
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 23
Fragrant yellow
daylily Hemerocallis
lilioasphodelus
emerges through
mounds of catmint.
24 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
A
�
S ONE OF THE 19 TH CENTURY?S GREAT
Romantic poets, it stands to reason
that William Wordsworth created his
garden at Rydal Mount in the Lake
District with Romantic ideals in mind.
?He believed that gardens should be a part of nature,
in contrast to formal gardens that are cut off from
nature,? says Rydal Mount?s curator Peter Elkington,
just as Romantic poetry emphasised its poets? love of
nature and the inspiration it offered them. One day,
Peter says, Wordsworth was walking along a path
to the rear of the property when he bumped into
a labourer as they passed an old well. Wordsworth
recorded the meeting in
The Fenwick Notes. ?What
a nice well would that be if
all that rubbish was cleared
off,? the labourer said.
Wordsworth writes: ?The
?rubbish? was some of the
most beautiful mosses and
lichens and ferns, and other
wild growths, as could possibly be seen. Defend us
from the tyranny of trimness and neatness, showing
itself in this way!?
Nearly 170 years after Wordsworth?s death
in 1850, the garden around his former home is
looked after with a similarly light touch. Peter
and head gardener Helen Green are responsible
for the property?s five acres of ?up hill and down
dale? garden, and care for it in a way of which
Wordsworth would surely have approved: sensitively
managing its mature trees and shrubs, maintaining
the relaxed regime and romantic atmosphere and
opening its doors to visitors (Wordsworth frequently
welcomed guests to his home). After Wordsworth?s
wife Mary died in 1859 the property passed through
various owners, including one man who became so
fed up with hordes of Wordsworth fans coming to
visit their idol?s former home that he took to shooing
away the unwanted visitors.
?It was only in 1969 that Wordsworth?s greatgreat-granddaughter Mary bought the house,? says
Peter. ?It was pretty derelict at that point and the
garden was quite overrun, but the basic design was
still there.? It?s not widely known that Wordsworth
was as committed to his
garden as he was to his
poetry, and said that had
his verse not found the fame
it did, he would have been
a gardener instead. With
the help of his gardening
staff, he landscaped the
grounds at Rydal Mount,
and designed several other gardens in Britain. While
these disappeared a long time ago, the bones he put
in place here have stood the test of time, with stone
terraces, meadows and a croquet lawn all looking
very much as they did in Wordsworth?s day.
Peter and his wife Marian came to Rydal Mount to
care for the property in 1993, when Mary died, and
her daughter Susan took over. ?The garden is very
close to how Wordsworth laid it out,? he says, ?but
we have been trying to get it closer.? A lucky find a
couple of years ago ? sketches of the garden, drawn
Above The house itself
is also open to visitors,
and is almost unchanged
from Wordsworth?s day,
with memorabilia and
portraits on display.
?Defend us from the
tyranny of trimness,
and neatness, showing
itself in this way!?
Crocosmia, inula and
geraniums beside a
mossy stone path
Clipped lollipop bays
surround a sundial
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 25
in the year of Wordsworth?s death and handed
in ? are proving invaluable, capturing a snapshot
of the garden at that moment in time. ?There are
15 sketches altogether, discovered in a book that
was picked up at an auction in Edinburgh. Some
are more detailed than others, but they are all very
interesting,? Peter says.
One of the garden?s more idiosyncratic features
is a 9th-century Norse mound. ?We?re not trying
to make the garden look exactly the same, but the
sketches give us a hint as to what was here when he
was here. Now the plants have grown too much,
but we?ve cleared the mound to an extent, to show
off the way it was built, and we?ve been opening up
views that Wordsworth would have enjoyed that
weren?t there when I first arrived. We?ve opened up a
meadow that was a little overrun and
that?s beautiful now ? it flows into the
fells that you see around you ? and of
course there are lots of daffodils.?
One of the best things about the
discovery of the sketches was the
realisation that, despite many changes
of hands, the garden is still very
similar to how it was in Wordsworth?s
day. ?When they came to light it
really was a joy because they?ve
helped us look at the garden and see
that people haven?t actually changed
it that much,? Peter says. Not that
he and Helen are trying to freeze the
garden as it was during Wordsworth?s
1813-1850 tenure. For a start, many
of the garden?s most beautiful
mature trees and shrubs were
planted by Wordsworth?s successors,
including some of the magnificent rhododendrons,
which are so colourful in flower in spring. A local
rhododendron expert pointed out that these are
varieties introduced after Wordsworth?s time.
Then there?s a majestic example of the unusual and
rarely seen fern-leaved beech (Fagus sylvatica var.
heterophylla ?Aspleniifolia?). ?There is a book called
Wordsworth?s Flowers by Stanley Finch that we
look at to see what we can plant that?s appropriate,?
says Peter, ?but in a garden this old there are already
a lot of established trees and plants.?
Of course, there are weeds, too, as there are in all
gardens, but here a more relaxed approach is taken.
?Wordsworth believed
Clockwise from top The
that weeds were part of
perfect spot from which
creation and we shouldn?t
to look out over Rydal
just pull them up and
Water; purple hooded
throw them away,? Peter
flowers of Aconitum
napellus; undulating
says. Wordsworth went
lawns are mowed by
further: ?Weeds have
Peter; the bright
magenta-pink flowers of been called flowers out
Geranium macrorrhizum. of place,? he wrote, in
26 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
Tucked away amid the
Lake District?s dramatic
fells, Rydal Mount is
where Wordsworth
completed many of
his most famous works.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 27
The Fenwick Papers. ?I fear the place most people
would assign to them is too limited. Let them come
near to our abodes, as surely they may without
impropriety or disorder.? True taste has an eye
for both weeds and garden flowers, he asserted.
As late spring merges into early summer, it is
the garden?s flowers that capture the attention,
however. Delicate-scented yellow Hemerocallis
lilioasphodelus, London pride (Saxifraga x urbium),
purple-blue Aconitum napellus and catmint about to
burst its buds sit next to the emerald-green fresh new
fronds of ferns and mounds of pink-flowered hardy
geraniums such as G. macrorrhizum.
Also in The Fenwick Papers, Wordsworth wrote:
?I often ask myself what will become of Rydal
Mount after our day ? will the old walls and steps
remain in front of the house and about the grounds,
or will they be swept away with all the beautiful
mosses and ferns and wild geraniums and other
flowers?? The poet would surely be happy if he could
see the lightness of touch with which Helen and
Peter care for his garden, as he would have wanted,
with the same deference to the natural world.
Rydal Mount, Ambleside, Lake District LA22 9LU
is open daily from 3 March to October, from 9.30am
to 5pm. Tel: 01539 433002; rydalmount.co.uk
28 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
Above A relaxed
approach is taken here,
to maintain the romantic
atmosphere and avoid an
overly manicured look.
Right Mature trees add
character to this
well-established garden.
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Great
EXPECTATIONS
Designer Angel Collins and her friend Clare Daresbury had high hopes
that they could transform Clare?s trickily sloping, poorly drained
Cheshire garden into something truly special
WORDS CAROLINE BECK PHOTOGRAPHS SABINA R蹷ER
30 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
MAN O R FAR M
Pale-blue bearded
Iris ?Jane Phillips? and
white alliums are the
stars of early summer
at Manor Farm.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 31
A
�
FTER THIS YEAR?S NEVER-ENDING
winter with its low temperatures,
snow and weeks of rain, gardeners
were in a state of near frenzy about
whether their plants would ever
recover from the onslaught. It certainly hasn?t been
a good year to garden on clay, which has turned
to ankle-deep mud, refusing to dry out even when
spring stuttered to a stop-go start after Easter. One
such concerned gardener is Lady Clare Daresbury,
who owns Manor Farm, a three-acre garden in
Cheshire. This is a county where the soil can become
a quagmire in winter and bake rock-hard in summer.
?You think it?s bad now?? asks Clare. ?You should
have seen it when we moved here six years ago. The
drainage was terrible and the mud never dried out.?
Clare and her husband Peter, who was chair of the
famous Aintree Racecourse for 25 years, moved to
32 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
Manor Farm six years ago. It used to be
a working dairy farm, with cattle sheds
everywhere and soil compacted by cows
trooping back and forth twice a day
to be milked, and ?not a level surface
anywhere, including around the house?.
The couple decided it was too
expensive to level completely, so chose to
work with the site as it was. Luckily for
them, Clare knows the designer Angel
Collins, who has more than 25 years?
experience of designing gardens, mainly
for large English country houses. The
two women have been friends since they
were 12 years old and at school together.
Angel designed Clare?s former garden,
also in Cheshire, transforming an old
lime-pit into an elegant landscaped
pond. Clare trusted her friend to turn
the featureless fields of Manor Farm into
a garden that reflected the style of the
newly restored farmhouse.
Angel began with a herb garden next
to the house. This was a good place to
break ground, since
herb gardens are usually
formed of highly
structured pathways
and beds, seamlessly
extending the geometry
of the house into the
garden. Clare?s herb
garden is partially
enclosed, sheltered by the walls of the house, with
gravel paths giving the plants extra reflected heat,
which is important for Mediterranean herbs such
as rosemary and thyme and sun-lovers like alliums
and irises. A curved interlocking box hedge is formal
without being severe, its sinuous shape echoing the
circular vortex-and-pool sculpture by Giles Rayner
at the centre of the space. The view is then up and
out via formal steps to the garden beyond the house.
This sudden change in level was one of the main
problems that Angel had to wrestle with in her
The herb garden seamlessly
extends the geometry of
the house into the garden
Top Blush-pink rose
?Glamis Castle?.
Above The Herb Garden
with its Giles Rayner
water feature was the
first part of the garden
to be designed.
The double borders
have indents along
their length, breaking
up the straight lines.
Manor Farm?s
STAR PERENNIALS
Choose plants with blooms in curated colours
EASTERN
BLUESTAR
GEUM ?PRINSES
JULIANA?
This unusual, milky-sapped
perennial ? Latin name
Amsonia tabernaemontana
var. salicifolia ? has panicles
of starry, pale-blue flowers in
spring and summer. Grow in a
sunny position or light shade
in moist, well-drained soil.
A bright contrast to the
soft pale-blues and mauves
of Angel?s scheme, this
tangerine-flowered geum
prefers well-drained soil,
where it will produce an
almost continuous supply
of flowers over summer.
SALVIA ?MAINACHT?
IRIS ?JANE PHILLIPS?
This stalwart cultivar of Salvia
x sylvestris has deep-green,
sage-like leaves and masses
of slender spires bearing
blooms in royal purple. They
are long-lasting and flowers
are produced from June all
the way through to August
if deadheaded regularly.
This tall bearded iris has
flowers in a soft shade of
baby-blue, with a paler throat
and yellow beard. What?s
more, the flowers offer up
a delicious scent. Grow in
well-drained soil in full sun,
and avoid letting other plants
encroach on its rhizomes.
I wanted something in that
exact shade of powder-blue
and this iris was perfect
Above Gravel paths suit
design. The land tilts and
and set off the mix of
falls in every direction,
Mediterranean herbs
although looking at it now
and sun-loving plants
you would hardly know.
such as irises and box.
?We decided that we would
disguise the changes in level by planting hedges,? says
Angel. So in the main part of the garden where she has
designed a deep double border, the land slopes from left
to right. ?We planted yew hedging around it, to contain
and frame this formal section, and as the yew grows up,
the hedge is cut with the left side slightly lower than the
right, so what the eye registers is a level horizon.?
?I was in such a hurry to get everything done, I cut
a few corners, such as establishing proper drainage,?
Clare recalls. The house had taken a year to redesign
and build, so she was anxious to get on with the garden.
But her sins soon found her out. The hedges of yew and
hawthorn resented sitting in long months of winter wet,
and sulked or died so, after a re-think, the couple had to
have the garden drained properly. It was a setback, but
worth it, because now, after a relatively short space of
time, the garden is looking healthy and mature.
The centrepiece of the early summer garden is
undoubtedly the tough, tall bearded iris ?Jane Phillips?.
?I wanted something in that exact shade of powder-blue
and this iris was perfect,? says Clare. It is not known for
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 35
DESIGN
NOTES
From Clare Daresbury
l Big gardens can
appear overwhelming
if you can see
everything at a glance.
Divide the garden
into separate areas
with hedging such
as yew, hornbeam or
beech. For something
really stylish, go for
pleached trees. Crab
apples, hawthorn or
lime offer multiple
seasons of interest.
l If you have a double
border, the edging
doesn?t have to be
entirely straight.
Angel?s design for
the Rose Walk is
symmetrical, but
indented with recesses
along its length. This
breaks up the line, and
also means that you
can walk right into the
border and see the
planting more clearly.
l Water in a garden
can often be tricky
to maintain, but light
reflecting on even a
small body of water
can illuminate the
dullest of days.
l You don?t always
have to level sloping
ground. There are
plenty of tricks you
can play, like changing
the height of hedges,
to fool the eye into
thinking it?s straight.
l Experiment with
new plants and don?t
rely on things you?ve
grown forever. Be
adventurous, since
there are excellent
new plants becoming
available all the time.
36 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
liking wet weather and damp
feet, but has done so well in
Clare?s garden that she regularly
divides and replants them.
Irises can be regarded as
difficult. They need lots of sun
and the flowers die quickly and
miserably, turning to brown
mush after a spot of rain, and
then for 11 months of the year
the strappy foliage is hard to
disguise. Angel has planted
them en masse in accentuated
repeats right at the front of the
double border, known as the rose walk,
and because they flower in May and June
when most of the spring bulbs are over but the
herbaceous perennials are not fully developed,
they are one of the first things to really shine.
As they die down, herbaceous perennials in
various shades of blue, purple and white,
like Nepeta racemosa ?Walker?s Low?, Salvia
?Mainacht? and the much underrated whiteflowered Centranthus ruber ?Albus? fill in the
gaps, acting as a rich backdrop for the summer
flowering of the roses.
So as friends, and best friends at that, how have
the pair worked together? ?Angel is a fantastically
knowledgeable plantswoman with an eye for new
things,? insists Clare ?Left up to me, I would
probably have put the same old plants in the
borders as I did in my last garden.? Angel believes
their partnership has been a success because they
share many of the same tastes, such as dividing
up the garden with hedges and pleached trees
Top left A red brick
wall sets off the
apricot flowers of
rose ?Maigold?.
Above Nepeta
racemosa ?Walker?s
Low?, salvia and irises.
Left A pebble mosaic
of a swallow.
?As soon as the sun started
shining, everything
rushed to catch up?
so that it can?t all be seen at once, and having
the excitement of discovering different spaces
within the garden ? each of them with their own
individual character and use.
Despite everything the winter threw at
gardeners across the country this year, Clare?s
experience is typical. ?It was a really difficult few
months, but as soon as the sun did start shining,
everything rushed to catch up.? Which sums up
why most of us keep on gardening ? the triumph
of hope over expectation.
Email angelcollins@acgardendesign.com for
information about Angel?s garden design service.
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GRAND
DESIGN
Tim and Sophia Steel have created a classic English country garden
around their Kent home, with meadows, parterre, orchard and more
WORDS SARAH GILES PHOTOGRAPHS SUZIE GIBBONS
38 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
NORTON COURT
Lavenders ?Folgate?
and ?Rosea? colour in the
spaces between neatlyclipped box lines.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 39
S
OPHIA STEEL WAS BORN AND BROUGHT UP
on a farm in Kent, so when she and her
husband Tim made the decision to move
out of London to the country in the
1990s, that was the county to which they
decided to relocate. But while choosing a location
is easy, finding the perfect country house can often
be trickier. Not so for the Steels... Sophia had been
to Norton Court, set in a hamlet near Teynham,
as a teenager and remembered it fondly. So when
the couple saw it was on the market, they
immediately booked an appointment to
view ? and fell in love with it, despite its
dated 1970s d閏or and land that was, as
Sophia puts it, ?Leylandii heaven?. It was
the only property they saw.
?The previous owners were elderly so,
understandably, the garden had been more
or less left to its own devices for a while,?
Sophie recalls. ?I was a gardening novice
at that stage, but to be honest I was so
overwhelmed by moving house, coping with
four young children and Tim?s 5am starts
to commute to London every day that I
didn?t really have time to feel daunted by the
garden ? I just knew it had huge potential.?
In the intervening years, though, plenty
of changes have been made. The garden is
40 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
Above The swimming
pool sits in the larger of
the two walled gardens.
Below Sophia and Tim
Steel, who moved from
London to Norton Court
in the 1990s.
now a delightful place to be, and anyone arriving
for Sophia and Tim?s National Garden Scheme
open day each June will be hard pressed to find
a more charming approach to a property. After
parking at a picturesque country church, visitors
walk through the churchyard and into the grounds
of the 17th-century house, passing a majestic cedar
tree (Cedrus atlantica), across sweeping lawns
and through a wildflower meadow, to a pair of
symmetrically placed wedding cake trees (Cornus
controversa ?Variegata?) and a wonderful
parterre on the south side of the property.
The geometric parterre was Sophia?s
brainchild and was designed by a friend, but
an elderly lady whose mother had worked
at Norton Court told Sophia recently that
there had originally been a parterre in the
same spot, so it seems her instinct to create
one there was exactly right. The sections
of the parterre are filled with low-growing
varieties of lavender, ?Folgate? and ?Rosea?,
which have proved rather better behaved
than the original sages that quickly
smothered the dividing low box hedges.
A walled garden always has a magical
feel and there is not one but two at Norton
Court. The larger one is about a quarter of
an acre and is home to the pool, poolhouse
Clockwise from top left
Matching clematis and
lavender; two antique
urns are shown off by
scrolls of box; wide
borders are made more
colourful by peonies; the
meadow, with its view of
neighbouring St Mary?s
Church; the topiary
border, with yew, holly,
box and laurel.
Above The parterre fans
out on the property?s
south side, on a site
where it turned out a
parterre had previously
been positioned.
Left Meadow annuals
peak in June and July.
Below Bright parasols
create an inviting spot
to relax next to the
swimming pool.
and a tennis court (with the netting around it
painted brown so it doesn?t stand out too much), plus
a lawn for other games. ?It means that whatever the
family wants to do, we can all be in the same part of
the garden,? Sophia explains. Peonies add plenty of
colour, balanced by a mainly white border filled with
a wonderfully fragrant combination of disease-free
roses, ?Yvonne Rabier?, ?Madame Alfred Carri鑢e?
and ?Lady Waterlow?, and climbing Hydrangea
anomala subsp. petiolaris. It?s also home to 11
?Meech?s Prolific? quinces in pots. ?I could have put
citrus trees here, but why have Mediterranean plants
when I can have the prettiest pink quince blossom in
spring?? says Sophia. A gate leads to a south-facing
border where fan-trained apricots and plums thrive
on the other side of the garden walls, as well as
David Austin roses used for cutting.
Soil removed from the walled garden to landscape
it was relocated to the apple orchard along the main
drive, and the following year the orchard was awash
with wild flowers. Poppies, ox-eye daisies, corn
cockle, viper?s bugloss and common knapweed all
now flourish. ?They form a delightful froth that I
spend hours just gazing at,? says Sophia. ?When the
meadow is at its peak in June and July, it?s a tapestry
of colour. It reminds me of one of those Magic Eye
3D images where you can see a picture within a
picture as you focus on all the different layers. My
absolute favourite plant there is Briza media, the
quaking grass, which I always say looks like angels?
teardrops suspended on spiders? webs.?
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 43
COUNTRY
GARDEN
NOTES
From Sophia Steel
l We lived with the
Irish yews. The designer of
the French garden was Tim
Rees, and with his guidance
we uprooted everything apart
from the hollies, which we
pruned, and then replanted
the yews, Portuguese laurel
(Prunus lusitanica) and box in
new positions in the border.?
Keeping the topiary looking
good is a task that now falls
to Norton Court?s two fulltime gardeners, with its main
clipping usually undertaken
Top Originally built for
during Royal Ascot week in June.
The orchard is planted with apple
the Steel?s children, the
The second of the two walled
varieties that would have been around
treehouse is now used
gardens
is private and not on
when the house was originally built
by their grandchildren.
show for open days or when
400 years ago, all sourced from nearby
Above Heritage apple
varieties in the orchard
Sophia leads tours. It?s small but
Brogdale, home of the National Fruit
perfectly formed, and sits just
Collection. Later in the year, the apples are used to make juice.
beyond the kitchen, facing northare taken to be juiced locally. In 2017,
west with high walls on the south side cloaked
the orchard yielded an impressive 700 bottles.
in wisteria. Standard bay trees are surrounded
?The juice is delicious,? says Sophia.
by smart box hedges, there?s an attractive
?I love ?Conference? pears and would have liked
to have had those in the orchard, too, but they just greenhouse and the planting is pure-white.
?It all gives us so much pleasure,? says Sophia.
won?t grow here, even though a fruit farmer down
?I think of this as an essentially English garden,
the road grows them with no trouble at all.?
calming and serene in a very un-grand way, and
One of the unexpected highlights of the garden
sitting well in the surrounding landscape. In
is the impressive tree house with a walkway
summer I love nothing more than taking a coffee
leading to a matching balcony in the adjoining
tree, built for the Steels? children and now enjoyed outside, basking in the early-morning sun and
hearing only birdsong.?
by their grandchildren. ?The sequoias were just
crying out to have a treehouse built in them,?
says Sophia. Also impressive is the delightful
Norton Court, Teynham, Sittingbourne, Kent
topiary border: ?I saw a picture of a topiary
ME9 9JU. Open for the NGS on 11 June from
garden in France and realised that was exactly
2-5pm. Visit ngs.org.uk or email sophia@
what I wanted in an area where we already had
nortoncourt.net for private tours at other times.
44 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
garden for a year
before we started
making changes. It
seemed common
sense to get to know
it first, and that really
helped us decide what
we wanted where.
l Most topiary needs
to be pruned carefully
to keep it sharp, but
I think that some
shapes, like our box
balls in the topiary
border, are better
left to become more
organic and cloud-like.
l Underplanting trees
with lavender looks
lovely but as the trees
grow, they steal the
light. We replaced
ours with squares of
grass that are left long
when the lawn around
them is cut.
l People say that for
wildflowers to thrive
you first need to make
the soil poorer, but
we just left it as it was
when we created our
meadow and it seems
to have worked. We
do now manage it a
little ? we?ve added
yellow rattle plugs, for
example, to keep the
grasses from taking
over and I pull out
thugs like chickweed
whenever I see them.
l Quinces are happy
in large pots but
need to be pruned
regularly to prevent
them becoming top
heavy, and they need
frequent watering.
REDWOOD
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ON TOP OF
THE WORLD
Spectacular views of the Weald of Kent are matched by the sumptuous,
time-honed planting in Elizabeth and Andrew Cairns? well-established garden
WORDS HELEN YEMM PHOTOGRAPHS MARIANNE MAJERUS
KNOWLE HILL
FAR M
Penstemon ?Geoff
Hamilton?, eryngium
and roses complement
the sculpture Hydra
by David Harber.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 49
I�
T IS BOTH HUMBLING AND DEEPLY IMPRESSIVE,
in these days of big-budget, quick-fix
gardening, to visit a garden that has been
created and tended with great intensity,
skill and passion by the same owners ?
Elizabeth and Andrew Cairns ? over 35 years and
is still moving forwards. The garden that surrounds
Knowle Hill Farm has a feeling of calm solidity,
its now thoroughly mature ?bones? enhanced by
thoughtful elegant planting, lovingly honed over time
by Elizabeth with the aid of long-serving, part-time
gardening help. The garden is of a style that might
perhaps be called ?grand English cottage garden?,
and while making it clear that big decisions about it
are very much taken jointly with husband Andrew,
Elizabeth acknowledges that she is the creative half
of the partnership. There is a springtime snowdrop
National Garden Scheme opening, but the garden
is impressive all year round ? and is of course at its
most florally spectacular in high summer.
Old farmhouses such as this tend not to have
formal approaches and entrances, and Knowle Hill
Farm is no exception. However, while the house
is accessed by a narrow lane
that is both rough and steep
(and this, barely 50 miles from
London) and entered via what
was clearly the former farmyard,
a high degree of sophistication
has been achieved even here
through the use of pale gravel
Above Elizabeth and
Andrew Cairns.
Right The terrace is
enclosed by a froth of
Orlaya grandiflora, with
Clematis ?Warszawska
Nike? and ?Old Blush
China? and ?Gertrude
Jekyll? roses for colour.
50 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
and elegant linear plantings. Against a dark
backdrop of hedging, there are just a few species,
including roses, lavender, sedums and heuchera that,
to Elizabeth?s modest satisfaction, look good at all
times of year. On arrival, however, most visitors have
no inkling as to the property?s extraordinary natural
assets: accessed through a relatively small gap in
a tall hedge and via a sheltered paved sitting area is a
stunningly ?framed? view and a wide spacious garden
that wraps around the house. It is graced by lovely
topiary and deep, shrubby herbaceous borders
with clematis, roses and lots more lavender.
At the garden?s heart is the substantial
15th-century farmhouse, set high on a southerly
facing slope of the North Downs, with a seemingly
endless view of the miles of flat agricultural land
that form the Weald of Kent. The garden soil here
is highly alkaline (pH 7 to 7.5), light and very freedraining over ragstone bedrock. Moisture retention,
even after years of regular soil improvement with
locally sourced farm manure, is a constant concern,
particularly in the heavily planted, deep mixed
borders at the front and to the side of the house.
When the Cairns? took on the house in 1983 there
was, according to Elizabeth, not much of a garden at
all and the two-acre plot was uncomfortably exposed
to the prevailing westerly winds. The Great Storm
of 1987 had torn through the county and most of
the garden?s few good trees were lost. But by then
the elements of a highly necessary three-tier-deep
shelterbelt of trees (cherry, hornbeam, hazel, oak and
The upper path leads to
the greenhouse,
between dense borders,
and offers a view over
the garden below.
Clockwise from above
Trees and shrubs, such
as Cotoneaster frigidus
?Cornubia? and Corokia
?Red Wonder? shelter
deep borders; Alchemilla
mollis borders the path;
a rill-fed circular water
feature creates a calm
counterpoint; dainty
Clematis ?Pagoda?.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 51
alder) had been planted on the western boundary.
This belt of trees now does its job, and together
with the south-facing slope of the terrain makes this
feel like a wonderfully warm and sheltered garden,
despite the wide open area of lawn and the sweeping
view southwards, which is interrupted only by the
long, characterful and artfully hummocky box
hedge (once described as ?less ?cloud-pruned?, more
?children fighting under a duvet??) that frames it.
Over time, a further layer of now-tall ornamental
shrubs has grown to arch over the back of the long,
curvy-edged border that runs down the western edge
of the garden. This is a garden that reveals layer
upon layer of gorgeous planting.
In addition to the hedge, there is a serious amount
of punctuating topiary ? the former cut by the same
gardener for years; the latter clipped by Elizabeth
herself. There is also some beautifully constructed
stonework, including a long terrace that runs
across the entire width of the front of the house as
well as a small secluded pond area to one side of
the garden, its walls smothered in climbing roses.
However, this is not a garden that is dominated by
its hard landscaping. As the saying (well, my saying)
goes: ?real gardeners do it with plants?. The garden
therefore feels informal and seems to have ?grownonto? the house and hillside ? making it the perfect
place for contemplative wandering.
To the side of the house, and conveniently close to
the kitchen, is a small herb garden and, from there,
the visitor is drawn on,
via steps flanked by
Right Self-seeding
beautifully clipped box
lychnis and foxgloves
bring cottage-garden
topiary, to the higher
style in abundance.
flatter levels of the
Below A hummocky box
garden, dominated by
hedge is low enough not
roses and salvias and by
to interrupt the views.
52 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 53
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STRONG,
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AND AGILE.
Designed for garden lovers, Cub Cadet takes lawn care
to a new level.
To learn more about Cub Cadet?s latest innovations and
to find your nearest dealer visit www.cubcadet.co.uk
shrubs with strong structural presence and coloured
foliage, all punctuated by strategically placed seats
that give glimpses of the all-important view.
There are, of course several ?works in progress?.
The sudden death of an enormous shade-creating
cherry tree necessitated a radical rethink and
replanting, creating a new sloping rose bank. Work
on the creation of a small meadow orchard is an
ongoing project, but the area is already bright with
daffodils and dotted with fritillaries in spring and
early summer, while later on waving grasses are
spangled with ox-eye daises and other high-summer
wildflowers. The most recent adventure is the
Clockwise from top
The free-draining soil
suits lavenders such
as ?Ashdown Forest?, in
front of Rosa ?Jacqueline
du Pr�; Delphinium
requienii; Achillea
?Moonshine? with
Erysimum ?Apricot
Twist?; topiary frames
the view to a bench.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 55
LAVENDER AT
Knowle Hill Farm
creation of a small courtyard
against the east wall of
the house, with ?sentinels?
of clipped bay on either side,
where the intention is
to plant only leafy green
plants. This, Elizabeth says,
is a place to indulge her
current fascination with ferns
and foliage.
In her borders, meanwhile, she is punctilious
about colour. In high summer, blue-purple, yellow
and white herbaceous plants and clematis dominate
in the big border. Only white foxgloves are allowed
past the gate. A sea of lavender near the terrace gives
way to an ocean of agapanthus lower down the
slope. But Elizabeth positively relishes the presence
of any perennials and biennials that self-seed.
The list of her favourites is long and colourful and
includes gaura, honesty, orlaya, Brompton stocks
(Matthiola incana), sisyrinchium, various poppies
(including small yellow Meconopsis cambrica and
orange Papaver rupifragum) and euphorbias. These
and many others are all given licence to proliferate
and are ?managed? to maintain a look that is
artlessly informal but, at its heart, very carefully and
cleverly controlled ? which is, as all gardeners know,
no mean feat.
Knowle Hill Farm opens for the National Garden
Scheme on 15 July, 2-5.30pm. Knowle Hill Farm,
Ulcombe, Maidstone, Kent ME17 1ES. Visit
knowlehillfarmgarden.co.uk and ngs.org.uk
for more information.
56 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
U
Top Peach Rosa
?Grace? is set off by
Nepeta ?Walker?s Low?.
Above Phygelius
?Yellow Trumpet?
produces a mound
of lush leaves and
cascading flowers.
ndoubtedly the largest hard
landscaping project undertaken by
the Cairns was the creation of an
elegantly bricked and paved terrace and
?lavender walk? that runs the whole width of
the house and is a perfect vantage point from
which to take in the mesmerising view. The
slopes of the North Downs provide excellent
conditions for lavender and Knowle Hill Farm
is awash with it ? blue-purple being one of
the dominant colours of high summer. By
July, the massed lavender is in full glorious
sail, swaying under the weight of hundreds
of drowsy bees and, given fair weather, filling
the air with its scent. Two varieties have been
used on the terrace: blue-flowered ?Abrialis?
and white ?Edelweiss?.
The Cairns are members of the Bumblebee
Conservation Trust and take a great interest
in these enchanting garden visitors. Four
species of bumblebee have been observed
here, including red-tailed, white-tailed, bufftailed and common carder, as well as masses
of smaller honey and solitary bees.
The lavender is cut back just once a year,
after its flowering season has eventually
come to an end ? the decision as to when
to tackle this time-consuming job is a hard
one to take. The result, however, within a few
weeks, is neat dumplings of grey-coloured
foliage that massed together forms a
handsome ?foreground? to that all-important
view throughout the year.
MITTON MANOR
GARDENS
12 JULY 2018
10.30AM - 2.30PM
JOIN US FOR
PERENNIAL
CHARITY DAY
AFTERNOON
TEA
� per person includes a
two course lunch and a talk
from Elizabeth Gooch
Please book tickets on
our website
Enjoy Tea, Coffee, Cakes
or a Champagne Afternoon
Tea whilst listening to
live music!
N G S O P E N DAY
June 24th 2018 11.30am - 4.30pm
Mitton Manor is a 7-acre country garden that was started in 2001 and has been developed from an overgrown wilderness.
The garden surrounds a Victorian manor house and contains a range of different styles; formal box and topiary, prairie
planting and natural woodland bordered by a stream. Stunning water features and sculptures just add to the magic.
General Admission: � No charge for children under 12 (Additional charges apply for special events)
Check out our website for additional open days and more information
SEE US ON:
www.mittonmanor.co.uk
EMAIL:
info@mittonmanor.co.uk
Mitton, Near Penkridge, Staffordshire ST19 5QW
Location: ST19 5QW (2 miles west of Penkridge) At the Texaco island on the A449 in Penkridge turn west into Bungham Lane.
Turn right at the end of Bungham Lane and then immediately left. Keep right at the fork after the single file bridge.
The house is 1� miles from the bridge on the right. Car park in field before house
Image credit Clive Nichols
M ORT O N
HAL L
G AR D E N S
P U B L I C O P E N D AY S
S AT U R D AY 3 0 J U N E
1 0
A M
-
4
P M
S AT U R D AY 1 1 A U G U S T
1 0
A M
-
4
P M
GROUP VISITS FROM APRIL TO SEPTEMBER BY APPOINTMENT
FOR MORE INFORMATION visit mortonhallgardens.co.uk
T I C K E T S �per person available from rsc.org.uk/morton-hall or call 01789 403493
Refreshments will be available to purchase from the RSC Garden Caf�.
All sales on the day will be by cash only.
Proceeds from Morton Hall Garden visits and open days support
the RSC?s Stitch In Time campaign rsc.org.uk/stitch-in-time
V I S I T O R N U M B E R S A R E L I M I T E D A N D A D VA N C E B O O K I N G I S R E C O M M E N D E D
MORTON HALL GARDENS, MORTON HALL LANE, REDDITCH, WORCESTERSHIRE, B96 6SJ
HOUSE OF
GRUINARD
Highland Fling
Together with House of Gruinard?s owner Jane Gibb, Fiona Clark
has overcome the elements to create an unexpectedly lush garden
on an exposed Highland site on Scotland?s west coast
WORDS ANTOINETTE GALBRAITH PHOTOGRAPHS RAY COX
Primulas huddle around
the edge of the pond,
while a juniper drips
over its far bank.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 59
?Gardening is akin to
painting. You are trying
to paint a moving picture?
E�
Top left Crocosmia and
hydrangeas are tough
enough to withstand
the windy conditions.
Top right A wooden
suspension bridge
crosses the river.
Above Beyond the
garden?s shelterbelt lies
an exposed coastline.
ARLY EACH MORNING, FIONA CLARK,
gardener at House of Gruinard, makes
a cup of coffee and walks along the
top path overlooking the garden she
has been tending for the past 47 years.
?I note the things that aren?t working and need to
be changed so I can plan the day ahead,? she says.
Change, she explains, happens so quickly during the
spring and summer months that things that looked
good a short time ago may no longer be working.
It is this attention to detail that makes Fiona such
a successful gardener. She previously studied art, and,
for her: ?Gardening is akin to painting. Remember
that you are trying to paint a moving picture.
Gardens change all the time and something that
looked wonderful five years ago may not be so good
now. You have to have a hard heart and be prepared
to move things that are not working.?
Her skills are both enhanced and challenged
by House of Gruinard?s magnificent but gale-
60 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
prone position overlooking the Gruinard Estuary
in Ross-shire. Hills rise up in the background, and
Fiona strives to keep the views open. At House of
Gruinard it?s a balance between view and shelter.
Present owner Jane Gibb inherited the white-harled
18th-century house from her parents in 1973, but it
was her grandfather, Scottish engineer Sir Alexander
Gibb, who laid out the garden in the 1920s. When
Jane inherited, it was overgrown and neglected.
Fortunately Fiona and Jane?s complementary
skills evolved into a remarkable partnership. Jane
explains: ?Fiona is a very good plantsperson. We
discuss anything major, otherwise I don?t interfere
and focus on design and structural features. It works
really well.? Within a few years, the garden, which
benefits from the warmth of the Gulf Stream, drew
the attention of luminaries such as Christopher Lloyd
and Beth Chatto, who became regular visitors.
Jane?s features, introduced over time with a
sensitive consideration for the Highland setting,
include a pair of stone pillars, built from local stone
and topped with coping stones imported from the
Cotswolds ? a reminder of her childhood home
in Gloucestershire. Set between a boulder and a
drystone wall, they frame the garden?s entrance.
Jane also designed the arched metal gate, featuring
her children?s initials; a reminder that this is a family
garden where grandchildren are encouraged to learn
the names of plants and perhaps develop an interest
in gardening. The unusual addition of a ?ruined?
The upper path leads
to the greenhouse,
passing between dense
borders to offer a view
over the garden below.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 61
House of Gruinard?s PLANTS
Fiona carefully selects tough annuals and perennials that can cope with the conditions
FUCHSIA ?MRS POPPLE?
FOENICULUM VULGARE
LAVATERA TRIMESTRIS
Fuchsias are well adapted to coastal
positions, reliably delivering their bright
ballerina-like flowers every summer.
Fennel doubles up as a tasty herb and
a great cut flower, filling garden-cut
posies with frothy, lime-yellow blooms.
With tall spires of pure-pink flowers
on strong stems, lavatera can be used
as a long-lasting cut flower.
AGAPANTHUS
PHLOX ?BRIGHT EYES?
SWEET PEAS
Despite their flowers? exotic looks,
agapanthus are robust and thrive here
? with a boost from the Gulf Stream.
This cultivar boasts large heads of palepink flowers, each with a dark-pink eye,
above dark, purple-tinged foliage.
Try a variety such as ?Almost Black?
for deep dark flowers like these. Pick
regularly to ensure a long supply.
PHLOX ?STARFIRE?
ANEMONE x HYBRIDA
?HONORINE JOBERT?
ASTILBE CHINENSIS
VAR. PUMILA
A pure-white cultivar of this tough-asnails perennial, flowering in late summer.
Fluffy spires of lilac-pink flowers open
in late summer on this rugged perennial.
A Phlox paniculata cultivar known for
its dark-purple foliage, and contrasting
bright-magenta flowers.
62 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
The burn was dug, cleared and shaped,
and its banks planted with ribbons
of candelabra primula
croft, built by a talented local drystone dyker, the
late John Davies, was designed by Jane in memory of
her parents. It is now surrounded by a wild garden.
The main garden sits a short distance from the
house, reached by way of a winding path that
follows the course of a burn. Once an unremarkable
ditch, the burn was dug, cleared and shaped, and its
banks planted with ribbons of candelabra primula.
At the garden?s entrance, the pillars frame the
showstopping view of shrubs, drystone walls and
the rustic trellis in the vegetable garden.
Strong gales and shallow rocky soil present the
main challenges at Gruinard. Gorse was initially
retained to act as a windbreak, but as trees and
Top right Crocosmia,
inula and geraniums
border a mossy stone
path and steps.
Above Clipped lollipop
bays surround a sundial,
sheltered by hedges of
Cotoneaster dammeri
and silver-leaved
Brachyglottis greyi.
shrubs took root, some of the gorse
has been cleared. Fiona explains:
?Native New Zealand plants with
fibrous roots establish well on shallow
soil and serve as a backdrop to much
of the planting while creating valuable
extra microclimates.? All the shrubs
and trees are kept at a low level,
because of the wind.
Trial and error has, over the years,
resulted in selection of reliable players,
such as white-flowering Escallonia
?Iveyi?, and the daisy bush Olearia
macrodonta. A range of grey-leaved
brachyglottis works well when
clipped into shape, while a variety of
hydrangea are a mainstay of the summer scheme.
Plants tumble over the two main garden paths.
The top path leads past the greenhouse, while the
lower path passes by a mixed hedge of hawthorn
and beech. Here, Fiona, who works mainly alone,
uncovered a stone-edged pond fed by a natural
spring. Further on, the path opens up onto a
paved terrace punctuated with clipped bay trees
surrounding a sundial. This open, semi-formal space
stands in contrast to the rest of the garden and is the
perfect place to pause and view the planting.
Tucked into a framework of shrubs are a selection
of plants that tolerate damp and shade but enjoy
long summer days. These include pink and white
Japanese anemone, fuchsia, filipendula, white
agapanthus, phlox, astilbe, Inula hookeri and drifts
of scarlet Persicaria amplexicaulis. Fiona emphasises
that corners of the garden are easily overlooked, and
it?s important to take into account the fact that they
are viewed from different angles: visitors? eyes will
instantly be drawn to such areas if they are a mess.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 63
?Christopher Lloyd was quite critical
to start with, but as time went on he
become more admiring and supportive?
The vegetable garden once supplied cabbages
to the naval base at Aultbea on Loch Ewe during
WW2. Now Fiona has used its rustic trellis to
create an informal backdrop for plantings of sweet
peas, cosmos, Ammi majus, geum, geraniums and
chrysanthemums. Tall, deep-pink lavatera is one of
her favourites: ?It makes a successful cut flower since
it?s long-lasting in a vase,? she explains. Herbs are
also grown in this area, including dill and fennel.
The planting around the ruined croft has
expanded to include pale-yellow Crocosmia
?Citronella? combined with tall fluffy thalictrum,
aster, iris and eupatorium. More recently, the wild
area on the far side of the river was fenced off,
because, as Jane explains: ?Everything got eaten by
stags and wild goats. They even ate the plants by the
front door!? Reached by a wooden bridge, this area
includes the boat house where Fiona is scraping grass
and moss off rocks to create a rockery planting.
Getting the garden to the state it is in now has
taken time. ?Christopher Lloyd was quite critical
64 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
Above The garden
overlooks the River
Gruinard heading
out towards the sea.
Right The ?ruined? stone
croft looks ancient,
but was built in memory
of Jane?s parents.
to start with,? recalls Jane, ?but as time went on he
become more and more admiring and supportive.?
Watching this idyllic garden mature and unfold,
while sharing it with friends and family, especially
grandchildren, has been a great joy for Jane.
House of Gruinard, Laide, by Achnasheen
IV22 2NQ, is open for group visits by appointment
and also on Thursday 7 June in aid of the Gairloch
Museum, 2pm-5pm with teas. Tel: 01445 731235;
office@houseofgruinard.com
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NEWBY HALL
The fine William and
Mary house looks over
resplendent 172-metre
long double borders.
DOUBLE
VISION
Newby Hall in North Yorkshire is renowned for its long double
herbaceous borders, so it was with some trepidation that Lucinda
Compton and her team set about a drastic renovation
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS NICOLA STOCKEN
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 67
F�
Above Candelabra
primulas edge the
pool in Newby?s Water
Garden, along with
gunnera, rheum, flag
irises and arum.
EW PLACES EVOKE THE SPIRIT OF PREVIOUS
generations better than Sylvia?s Garden,
a cloistered enclave of ancient stone
terraces and ephemeral flowers that lies
at the heart of Newby Hall Gardens
in North Yorkshire. ?It was designed in 1930 by
my grandfather, Major Edward Compton, and
commemorates his wife, Sylvia,? explains Richard
Compton, whose family have nurtured the 25-acre
woodland and gardens here since 1748.
Continuity is vital for great family gardens to
survive. At Newby Hall, a seamless transition
between generations was ensured by a knowledge
transfer from Richard?s father, the late Robin
Compton VMH, to his daughter-in-law, Lucinda
Compton. ?My father was a passionate gardener
with an encyclopaedic grasp of horticulture and, for
a decade or so, he regularly took Lucinda round the
garden on his golf buggy,? observes Richard.
As a result, following her father-in-law?s death
in 2009, Lucinda, a furniture restorer, became
curator of the award-winning gardens. She is blessed
68 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
in having an experienced team of five gardeners,
among them head gardener, Mark Jackson, and his
assistant, Ian Forbes, who has worked at Newby
Hall for 28 years. ?We work together as a team
and any major decisions are discussed,? Lucinda
says. It was only after much deliberation that she
took the brave step of renovating the renowned
twin herbaceous borders, which, stretching for 172
metres, are among the longest in western Europe.
Designed in the 1930s by Major Compton, the
borders create an axis from which a series of formal
gardens radiate. ?This is Newby?s best-known view,
so any change was daunting,? concedes Lucinda.
Standing four metres deep, the twin borders connect
the south facade of the William and Mary house
with the River Ure. ?From the middle, the borders
appeared very acceptable, but looking horizontally,
from north to south, it was embarrassing,? she
explains. Over the years, thuggish plants such as
hypericum and Sinacalia tangutica had formed huge
clumps and, along with the rainbow of colours, the
borders lacked any cohesion.
Top row from left
The first step was
Astrantia
?Superstar?;
for Lucinda and Mark
Potentilla nepalensis
to visit a wide range of
?Miss Willmott?; spiky
nurseries, in order to
Eryngium planum
?Blaukappe?.
compile a long list of
Above The view down
potential plants. ?We
the double borders takes
didn?t start work until
in the River Ure.
2014, spreading the
Left The formal layout of
Sylvia?s Garden.
changes over two years,
so that the borders were
never totally empty,? says Lucinda. She envisaged
a colour scheme that reflected the surroundings: the
mellow pink brick of the house; the soft pinks and
whites of magnolias and davidias; and the colours of
the river below. ?We didn?t use a garden designer for
fear of ending up with their style, which, however
wonderful, might not suit our country-house style,?
she explains. Instead, they planned it all in-house,
led by Louise Bradshaw, the gardener responsible for
the borders. ?That way, if mistakes were made, they
could simply be corrected later.?
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 69
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Having decided on a palette of greys, lime-greens,
magenta-pinks, creams, mauves and soft-blues,
Lucinda and Mark shortlisted existing plants to
exclude abrasive colours. Casualties included sharpwhite bearded irises, pillar-box red phlox, strongyellow achilleas and giant knapweed, turquoise
delphiniums, and crimson dahlias. ?We kept barely
one third of the existing plants ? every one had to
earn its place,? she says. Among those selected to
stay were delphiniums, catmint and cardoons, while
some of the self-seeding Campanula lactiflora,
a signature plant, was replaced with the betterbehaved Campanula lactiflora ?Loddon Anna?.
At the same time, Lucinda developed a scale plan,
laying out rolls of tracing paper onto a huge table
and, working from a finalised plant list and colour
palette, trying out different designs. The plan is
based on planting in blocks of colour, using the
repetition of key plants such as Geranium ?Patricia?
and Anthemis tinctoria ?Wargrave Variety? to create
a sense of rhythm. All the while, she had to take into
account that growing conditions differ between the
top of the border, which tends to be drier, and the
bottom, which is warmer and wetter.
It was only after several years of planning,
propagating and plant sourcing, that the team
emptied the border. ?Even though I?d known the
garden for years, in every season, before making
major changes, replanting the borders was a nerveracking task,? recalls Lucinda. The shortlisted
plants were dug up, divided, potted and lined out
Above Geranium
?Patricia? adds bright
splashes of pink along
the length of the border.
Top right Intricate detail
in one of the newly built
Shell Houses that mark
the ends of the double
herbaceous borders.
Right Richard and
Lucinda Compton.
in a nursery area to bulk up. Meanwhile, the soil in
the borders was de-compacted and levelled. Finally,
the scale plan was transferred onto huge sheets of
paper, section by section and, using canes to indicate
square-metre sections, the plants were put into
position. A grid of netting, added for support, is
largely hidden by foliage by early summer, while the
wooden stakes are stained a ?dirty green? to blend in.
Three years on and the plants are maturing
beautifully. ?This is a young border, with many
plants that are new to Newby, so we are learning as
we go along,? says Mark. It has been a steep learning
curve, with delights such as Saponaria x lempergii
?Max Frei? exceeding expectations. ?We thought it
might not cope with wet winters, but it has thrived,?
he says. Achillea ?Martina?, on the other hand,
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 71
Gardening
Women
Gardening Women
Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Sissinghurst
Castle Garden
Sat 5 May - Sun 21 October
Sat
5 May - Sun
21 October
This exhibition,
co-curated
by Dr Catherine
This
exhibition,
by Dr Catherine
Horwood,
usingco-curated
her book, Gardening
Women,
Horwood,
using
her book,
Gardening
Women,for
explores how
gardening
became
a profession
explores
how gardening
a profession
forthe
women. Learn
the historybecame
of gardening
through
women.
theashistory
of gardening
through
centuriesLearn
as well
how gardening
women
madethe
an
centuries
well
as howmovement.
gardening women made an
impact onas
the
suffrage
impact
on710700
the suffrage
movement.
Call 01580
for details
nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle-garden
Call 01580 710700 for details
nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle-garden
When you visit, donate, volunteer or join the National Trust, your
support
helps
to lookvolunteer
after special
places
ever, for
everyone.
When you
visit,usdonate,
or join
thefor
National
Trust,
your
support
helps
usnumber
to look
#nationaltrust
� National Trust 2017. The National Trust is an independent
registered
charity,
205846. after special places for ever, for everyone.
Photography � National Trust Images\National Trust images.
� National Trust 2017. The National Trust is an independent registered charity, number 205846.
Photography � National Trust Images\National Trust images.
#nationaltrust
1 Eupatorium maculatum Atropurpureum Group gears up to burst into bloom.
2 Fluffy, creamy-white flowerheads of Persicaria alpina. 3 In the background, the
silvery-grey stems of Perovskia ?Blue Spire?. 4 Bobbly spikes of Salvia verticillata
?Smouldering Torches? continue to look good after the small individual flowers
have faded. 5 Euphorbia cornigera livens things up with its zingy lime-green colour.
6 The fresh green foliage of Aster x frikartii ?M鰊ch? will soon be topped by mauve
flowers. 7 Saponaria x lempergii ?Max Frei? has thrived, despite wet winters.
2
1
3
4
6
5
7
6
dislikes the wet but, because it?s easy to propagate,
there are always new plants to fill any gaps. ?It?s such
a useful colour, a pale yellow that darkens with age,
to a soft yellow, not sulphurous,? Mark points out.
Others are revealing quirks: Echinacea purpurea
?Rubinstern? and ?Magnus? hate being cramped,
monardas are fickle, while Limonium platyphyllum
looks marvellous early in the season, but develops
distorted leaves. ?It?s possibly one for review.?
Stately back-of-the-border plants include earlyflowering Crambe cordifolia, which is soon joined
by lanky giant scabious, clumps of Veronicastrum
virginicum and Datisca cannabina, huge cotton
thistles and Vernonia crinita, a late-summer
perennial that has taken time to establish. At midlevel are whitish aconites, lythrum, veronica and
sea hollies such as Eryngium planum ?Blaukappe?
? ?a good doer? ? and Eryngium x zabelii ?Big Blue?,
a head-turner with rich-blue, thimble-sized heads.
Down at the front of the border stand airy gaura,
burnet, catmint, potentilla, whorlflower and Sedum
?Jos� Aubergine? and ?Red Cauli? which, along with
several dahlias, including claret-shaded ?Hillcrest
Royal?, extend the season into autumn.
Although much attention has been focused on
the borders, Lucinda and Richard have also been
opening up vistas, turning the inevitable loss of old
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 73
NOTEBOOK
Newby Hall
A selection of the new perennials that have been
introduced into the twin herbaceous borders
during their renovation
1
Above A view down to
trees into opportunities
an urn takes in Chinese
to try new things.
dogwood Cornus kousa
Another major change
?Miss Satomi? and white
has been to move
C. kousa ?Milky Way?.
the impressive stone
memorial that was built in 1868, to commemorate
those who died in the Newby ferry disaster. It now
stands in tranquil woodland, raised on a mound of
wildflowers, with a seat at the base. ?In this new
position it can be fully appreciated and has more
purpose,? Lucinda explains.
The garden also hosts a National Plant Collection
of cornus, which was established by Robin
Compton. Known as flowering dogwoods, the
collection encompasses more than 100 individual
specimen trees, including species such as C.
kousa, C. mas, C. x rutgersensis, C. controversa,
C. alternifolia, C. sanguinea, and a rare Cornus
multinervosa, originating from seed collected by
the great British plantsman, Roy Lancaster. Among
the oldest examples is a fine Cornus kousa planted
in 1937, while newer additions include lovely,
pink-bracted kousa cultivars, such as ?Miss Satomi?
and ?Beni-Fuji?. Grouped in beds near Sylvia?s
Garden, mature flowering dogwoods such as ?Milky
Way? and ?Madame Butterfly? make a magnificent
show in early summer.
Lucinda is now at ease in her role as curator of
one of the country?s great gardens. ?Despite much
encouragement from my late father-in-law and
husband, plus an experienced gardening team, I was
nervous about replanting the borders,? she says.
?But now it?s completed and looks so wonderful,
I feel a lot happier and more confident.?
The gardens are open every day in July and August,
and every day except Monday in September, until
30 September. Newby Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire
HG4 5AE. Tel: 01423 322583; newbyhall.com
74 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
2
3
4
1 Achillea ?Martina?, a yarrow with flat, pale-yellow flowerheads from
July. 2 Sanguisorba officinalis ?Red Buttons? is a knee-high perennial
with a mass of plum-coloured flowers, useful for the front of the border.
3 Veronica longifolia adds vertical interest with its slender spires of
pure-blue flowers. 4 Saponaria x lempergii ?Max Frei? is a low-growing
evergreen perennial, offering cascades of small pink flowers from June.
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GARDEN PARTY
Sense of Occasion
WORDS VIVIENNE HAMBLY IMAGE ALAMY
Our tips for elegant entertaining and suggested stockists for
stylish accessories will help you plan the perfect garden party
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 77
GARDEN PARTY
?S
Top To extend lawns
or gravel drives, start
well in advance of the
event and consider
enlisting the services of
a landscape gardener.
ummer afternoon ? summer afternoon;
START EARLY
to me those have always been the two
The amount that can be achieved in a garden
most beautiful words in the English
depends on the amount of notice you have. If a
language,? said Henry James to Edith
wedding or anniversary is planned, there may be
Wharton. James voiced a truth many
time to extend a lawn or gravel drive so as to
of us know for ourselves: there is surely nothing
accommodate a large marquee (which should
as fine as a long summer afternoon that slips
be reserved well in advance, too). Unless
into the gentlest embrace of evening. Little
you are particularly adept at using heavy
wonder then that at this time of year it is
equipment, it is worth ringing a landscape
the garden that comes into its own for large
gardener for advice and execution. Bear in
parties as much as intimate soir閑s, for high
mind that these projects can easily overrun,
days and holidays or simply for the pure
so start sooner, rather than later.
hedonistic fun of it all.
Improvements that don?t involve
Yet for all that, the prospect of hosting
earthworks demand less time, although
a party in the garden can be intimidating.
there is one instance where this is not
The fraying edges of the lawn might seem
the case: if you will be growing wedding
more ragged than usual and the borders
flowers yourself, start thinking about the
not quite as fulsome as they could be.
colours and plants you will need at least
But with a little application, a world of
six months in advance to accommodate
difference can be achieved in a relatively
seasonality. Growing cut flowers from
Above Sweet pea
short space of time, starting with basics obelisk, � for a set
seeds and cuttings can cost mere pennies
and ending with decorative touches.
of four from Cox & Cox. per stem, provided there is time and
78 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
space to accommodate
the plants. Sow more
seed than is required
and spread sowings
over a few weeks as a
hedge against pests and
damaging weather.
Above Fill gaps in
borders with quickgrowing bedding plants.
Top right Water grass
frequently for a thick,
lush feel underfoot.
Right Plan garden
planting schemes
as early as possible.
IMAGES GAP/HEATHER EDWARDS/JULIETTE WADE; SHUTTERSTOCK
IMPROVE LAWNS
On a hot afternoon, walking barefoot over a thick
soft lawn is one of life?s great pleasures and if there
is one area that contributes most to a garden party,
it is surely this. Longer grass can accommodate
heavy footfall better than a short lawn, so set the
lawnmower blades a little higher than usual a month
before the event and take care to strim edges for
a neat finish. Products such as EverEdge promise
to give lawns a precise finish. Using a feed with a
proprietary fertiliser will encourage fresh green
growth, but avoid feeding after August when too
much growth can be damaging during the winter
months. Apply fertiliser before rain to prevent it
from scorching the grass, or water the lawn well
after application.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 79
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GARDEN PARTY
CLASSIC
DRINKS
These mixes are
ideal for easy
summer parties
PERFECT PIMMS
Everyone has their
own idea of what
makes a perfect glass
of Pimm?s. This is the
traditional recipe.
50ml Pimm?s No.1
150ml lemonade
Ice
Orange and
strawberries, peeled,
hulled and sliced
Cucumber and mint
Pour the Pimm?s and
lemonade over ice in
a tall glass. Add the
sliced fruit to taste and
garnish with cucumber
and mint.
THE ENGLISH
GARDEN
IMAGES SHUTTERSTOCK; DAVID AUSTIN ROSES
A refreshing blend of
gin, apple juice and
elderflower.
50ml gin
75ml apple juice
35ml elderflower
cordial
25ml lemon juice
Cucumber slices
Pour the gin over ice,
add the apple juice,
elderflower cordial
and lemon juice and
stir. Garnish with
cucumber slices.
before the event, gathering spent
Total moss removal is best left until
Top Paper straws make
for an eco-friendly ? and
heads as you go along, and using
another day, but overseeding bare
fashionable ? touch.
clean, sharp secateurs. Sweet peas
or mossy patches will improve their
Above right The classic
are particularly responsive to this
appearance. Grass will take around
cut rose ?Capability? can
treatment; abundant obelisks of
a fortnight to sprout after sowing;
be used in gloriously
abundant arrangements
these fragrant, colourful blooms
turf, for desperate times, is almost
Above left Streamers
are straightforward to achieve
instant, although it is likely to be a
and pompons create
and pleasing in their efficacy. A
different colour. Water both in well. a fun and festive mood.
lack of water in hot weather is the
Provided there is no drought, a little
primary cause of short stems on sweet peas ? and
watering with a sprinkler in early morning or
contributes to powdery mildew ? so if you want
evening will perk up lawns that are flagging in
to add them to table decorations, keep up with
summer heat. As the party approaches, plan to
the watering in the run up to the party.
mow the lawn the day before, or for a glorious
Fill gaps in borders with well-established
set of stripes, do it early morning on the day.
plants and annuals from the garden centre.
While there, seek out a handful of night-scented
FINESSE POTS, BEDS AND BORDERS
plants for heady perfume once the sun has set:
There is nothing like lavish planting to elicit
nicotiana, hesperis and night-scented stocks
sighs of admiration. Encourage a new flush of
are ideal for this. For instant colour, pot up
flowers by having a blitz on deadheading a week
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 81
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10% Voucher
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Own house brand
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Service rating 4.8
020 3514 3658
GARDEN PARTY
Decorative finishes will contribute to this
layout. Deckchairs can be hired from both
Denys & Fielding and The Great British Deck
Chair Company ? the latter also offers games
and peep boards ? and both will deliver and
collect. Colourful parasols and tents will also
inject an instant festive mood ? those from
the likes of Odd Limited, Raj Tent Club and
Sunbeam Jackie are ideal. Some companies
CREATE SPACES
will even create bespoke designs if a specific
At events with a mix of ages, prepare spaces
colourway is desired. Bunting is
that are out of the way of
an effective way to separate areas
poisonous plants or open water
Top left Strings of
and comes in a wealth of designs
for children, or are shaded and
festoon lights will carry
at notonthehighstreet.com ?
have comfortable seating, for
the party into the night.
from country florals to nautical
older guests. It is also useful
Above right Deckchairs
can be hired from
stripes. Alternatively, make your
to have an area specifically for
Denys & Fielding.
own using fabric remnants.
dancing or games, another for
Above left Fluted silverPaper pompons and streamers
eating and another in which
plated platter, �,
will also create a whimsical look.
guests can relax.
sophieconran.com.
IMAGES ALAMY
containers of easy-going bedding. The more
you buy of these plants the cheaper they
become, and judicious selection can yield
fetching schemes of white and grey (gaura,
bacopa, helichrysum and petunias), pinks
(nemesia, penstemon, osteospermum) and
blues (lobelia, nepeta and scabiosa).
Right Jalli
print parasol
in pink, �5,
rajtentclub.com.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 83
GARDEN PARTY
Above Use garden
flowers for low-level
table arrangements.
Top right Bunting is ideal
for separating areas.
Above right Classic
Chamberlain footed
Champagne cooler,
�7, sophieconran.com
two important tips on this: avoid strongly fragranced
flowers in table arrangements since they can put
For an elegant sit-down meal, bringing out
guests off food, and keep arrangements low if guests
tablecloths, glassware, proper plates and cutlery
are seated so they can still see across the table. Zinc
will really set the tone for your event, while a few
and enamel buckets, glass jars and silver trophies all
robust silver chargers will add a sophisticated air
make robust outdoor vases.
to proceedings. Molly Mahon offers fashionable
The right lighting will ensure the party
block-print cloth; Nina Campbell brings
continues into the night. Place pillar
refined style to outdoor table dressing;
candles in hurricane lamps ? try Oka ? on
and Nkuku sells chic accessories with an
tables. Bind twinkling fairy lights around
ethical bent.
laurel standards or yews near entrances, or
Where guest numbers are such that
string festoon lights from tree to tree: Cox
seating is impossible, consider rounds
and Cox stocks a wide range of these. If
of canap閟 and finger foods. Hire staff
your garden doesn?t have a lighting system
to ensure these circulate properly or rope
in place, you can illuminate paths and garden
in older children for the task: they will rise
steps simply and atmospherically with candles
to the occasion. Try Talking Tables, Party
in glass jars. Secure each candle to its jar with
Pieces and Little Cherry for paper plates and
a dab of melted wax and then fill the jar
accessories from sustainable sources.
with an inch of water, which will weight
Fill tables with gathered garden
Above Glass and
it down and extinguish the candle if it
flowers, such as peonies, roses,
stoneware Barrington
tips over. Tealights in sand-filled paper
hydrangeas and dahlias, depending on
Hurricane Lamp,
bags work in a similar way.
the month. Party planners always offer
� from oka.com.
84 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
IMAGES SHUTTERSTOCK
SET THE MOOD
STAN FAIRBROTHER
GARDEN STRUCTURES
BEAUTIFULLY HAND CRAFTED BESPOKE DESIGNS
Please visit
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info@limesandvines.co.uk or call 01920 413986
6311_MPS_Adver_MAY18_EnglishGarden_Horizontal.pdf
19:46
Plan now to support herbaceous plants
throughout the growing season
? Herbaceous Supports
? Obelisks & Cages
? Arches & Tunnels
? Umbrellas
? Stakes, Hoops & Semicirculars
? Trellises & Wall Supports
? Stepover Supports
? Fruit& Vegetable Cages
? Screens, Sheep & Copper Stars
Catalogue requests and enquiries:
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Prices correct at time of going to print but are subject to availability and change. From prices are per person and based on
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GRAND
DESIGN
Tim and Sophia Steel have created a classic English country garden
around their Kent home, with meadows, parterre, orchard and more
WORDS SARAH GILES PHOTOGRAPHS SUZIE GIBBONS
38 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
NORTON COURT
Lavenders ?Folgate?
and ?Rosea? colour in the
spaces between neatlyclipped box lines.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 39
S
OPHIA STEEL WAS BORN AND BROUGHT UP
on a farm in Kent, so when she and her
husband Tim made the decision to move
out of London to the country in the
1990s, that was the county to which they
decided to relocate. But while choosing a location
is easy, finding the perfect country house can often
be trickier. Not so for the Steels... Sophia had been
to Norton Court, set in a hamlet near Teynham,
as a teenager and remembered it fondly. So when
the couple saw it was on the market, they
immediately booked an appointment to
view ? and fell in love with it, despite its
dated 1970s d閏or and land that was, as
Sophia puts it, ?Leylandii heaven?. It was
the only property they saw.
?The previous owners were elderly so,
understandably, the garden had been more
or less left to its own devices for a while,?
Sophie recalls. ?I was a gardening novice
at that stage, but to be honest I was so
overwhelmed by moving house, coping with
four young children and Tim?s 5am starts
to commute to London every day that I
didn?t really have time to feel daunted by the
garden ? I just knew it had huge potential.?
In the intervening years, though, plenty
of changes have been made. The garden is
40 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
Above The swimming
pool sits in the larger of
the two walled gardens.
Below Sophia and Tim
Steel, who moved from
London to Norton Court
in the 1990s.
now a delightful place to be, and anyone arriving
for Sophia and Tim?s National Garden Scheme
open day each June will be hard pressed to find
a more charming approach to a property. After
parking at a picturesque country church, visitors
walk through the churchyard and into the grounds
of the 17th-century house, passing a majestic cedar
tree (Cedrus atlantica), across sweeping lawns
and through a wildflower meadow, to a pair of
symmetrically placed wedding cake trees (Cornus
controversa ?Variegata?) and a wonderful
parterre on the south side of the property.
The geometric parterre was Sophia?s
brainchild and was designed by a friend, but
an elderly lady whose mother had worked
at Norton Court told Sophia recently that
there had originally been a parterre in the
same spot, so it seems her instinct to create
one there was exactly right. The sections
of the parterre are filled with low-growing
varieties of lavender, ?Folgate? and ?Rosea?,
which have proved rather better behaved
than the original sages that quickly
smothered the dividing low box hedges.
A walled garden always has a magical
feel and there is not one but two at Norton
Court. The larger one is about a quarter of
an acre and is home to the pool, poolhouse
Clockwise from top left
Matching clematis and
lavender; two antique
urns are shown off by
scrolls of box; wide
borders are made more
colourful by peonies; the
meadow, with its view of
neighbouring St Mary?s
Church; the topiary
border, with yew, holly,
box and laurel.
Above The parterre fans
out on the property?s
south side, on a site
where it turned out a
parterre had previously
been positioned.
Left Meadow annuals
peak in June and July.
Below Bright parasols
create an inviting spot
to relax next to the
swimming pool.
and a tennis court (with the netting around it
painted brown so it doesn?t stand out too much), plus
a lawn for other games. ?It means that whatever the
family wants to do, we can all be in the same part of
the garden,? Sophia explains. Peonies add plenty of
colour, balanced by a mainly white border filled with
a wonderfully fragrant combination of disease-free
roses, ?Yvonne Rabier?, ?Madame Alfred Carri鑢e?
and ?Lady Waterlow?, and climbing Hydrangea
anomala subsp. petiolaris. It?s also home to 11
?Meech?s Prolific? quinces in pots. ?I could have put
citrus trees here, but why have Mediterranean plants
when I can have the prettiest pink quince blossom in
spring?? says Sophia. A gate leads to a south-facing
border where fan-trained apricots and plums thrive
on the other side of the garden walls, as well as
David Austin roses used for cutting.
Soil removed from the walled garden to landscape
it was relocated to the apple orchard along the main
drive, and the following year the orchard was awash
with wild flowers. Poppies, ox-eye daisies, corn
cockle, viper?s bugloss and common knapweed all
now flourish. ?They form a delightful froth that I
spend hours just gazing at,? says Sophia. ?When the
meadow is at its peak in June and July, it?s a tapestry
of colour. It reminds me of one of those Magic Eye
3D images where you can see a picture within a
picture as you focus on all the different layers. My
absolute favourite plant there is Briza media, the
quaking grass, which I always say looks like angels?
teardrops suspended on spiders? webs.?
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 43
COUNTRY
GARDEN
NOTES
From Sophia Steel
l We lived with the
Irish yews. The designer of
the French garden was Tim
Rees, and with his guidance
we uprooted everything apart
from the hollies, which we
pruned, and then replanted
the yews, Portuguese laurel
(Prunus lusitanica) and box in
new positions in the border.?
Keeping the topiary looking
good is a task that now falls
to Norton Court?s two fulltime gardeners, with its main
clipping usually undertaken
Top Originally built for
during Royal Ascot week in June.
The orchard is planted with apple
the Steel?s children, the
The second of the two walled
varieties that would have been around
treehouse is now used
gardens
is private and not on
when the house was originally built
by their grandchildren.
show for open days or when
400 years ago, all sourced from nearby
Above Heritage apple
varieties in the orchard
Sophia leads tours. It?s small but
Brogdale, home of the National Fruit
perfectly formed, and sits just
Collection. Later in the year, the apples are used to make juice.
beyond the kitchen, facing northare taken to be juiced locally. In 2017,
west with high walls on the south side cloaked
the orchard yielded an impressive 700 bottles.
in wisteria. Standard bay trees are surrounded
?The juice is delicious,? says Sophia.
by smart box hedges, there?s an attractive
?I love ?Conference? pears and would have liked
to have had those in the orchard, too, but they just greenhouse and the planting is pure-white.
?It all gives us so much pleasure,? says Sophia.
won?t grow here, even though a fruit farmer down
?I think of this as an essentially English garden,
the road grows them with no trouble at all.?
calming and serene in a very un-grand way, and
One of the unexpected highlights of the garden
sitting well in the surrounding landscape. In
is the impressive tree house with a walkway
summer I love nothing more than taking a coffee
leading to a matching balcony in the adjoining
tree, built for the Steels? children and now enjoyed outside, basking in the early-morning sun and
hearing only birdsong.?
by their grandchildren. ?The sequoias were just
crying out to have a treehouse built in them,?
says Sophia. Also impressive is the delightful
Norton Court, Teynham, Sittingbourne, Kent
topiary border: ?I saw a picture of a topiary
ME9 9JU. Open for the NGS on 11 June from
garden in France and realised that was exactly
2-5pm. Visit ngs.org.uk or email sophia@
what I wanted in an area where we already had
nortoncourt.net for private tours at other times.
44 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
garden for a year
before we started
making changes. It
seemed common
sense to get to know
it first, and that really
helped us decide what
we wanted where.
l Most topiary needs
to be pruned carefully
to keep it sharp, but
I think that some
shapes, like our box
balls in the topiary
border, are better
left to become more
organic and cloud-like.
l Underplanting trees
with lavender looks
lovely but as the trees
grow, they steal the
light. We replaced
ours with squares of
grass that are left long
when the lawn around
them is cut.
l People say that for
wildflowers to thrive
you first need to make
the soil poorer, but
we just left it as it was
when we created our
meadow and it seems
to have worked. We
do now manage it a
little ? we?ve added
yellow rattle plugs, for
example, to keep the
grasses from taking
over and I pull out
thugs like chickweed
whenever I see them.
l Quinces are happy
in large pots but
need to be pruned
regularly to prevent
them becoming top
heavy, and they need
frequent watering.
REDWOOD
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ON TOP OF
THE WORLD
Spectacular views of the Weald of Kent are matched by the sumptuous,
time-honed planting in Elizabeth and Andrew Cairns? well-established garden
WORDS HELEN YEMM PHOTOGRAPHS MARIANNE MAJERUS
KNOWLE HILL
FAR M
Penstemon ?Geoff
Hamilton?, eryngium
and roses complement
the sculpture Hydra
by David Harber.
JUNE 2018 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 49
I�
T IS BOTH HUMBLING AND DEEPLY IMPRESSIVE,
in these days of big-budget, quick-fix
gardening, to visit a garden that has been
created and tended with great intensity,
skill and passion by the same owners ?
Elizabeth and Andrew Cairns ? over 35 years and
is still moving forwards. The garden that surrounds
Knowle Hill Farm has a feeling of calm solidity,
its now thoroughly mature ?bones? enhanced by
thoughtful elegant planting, lovingly honed over time
by Elizabeth with the aid of long-serving, part-time
gardening help. The garden is of a style that might
perhaps be called ?grand English cottage garden?,
and while making it clear that big decisions about it
are very much taken jointly with husband Andrew,
Elizabeth acknowledges that she is the creative half
of the partnership. There is a springtime snowdrop
National Garden Scheme opening, but the garden
is impressive all year round ? and is of course at its
most florally spectacular in high summer.
Old farmhouses such as this tend not to have
formal approaches and entrances, and Knowle Hill
Farm is no exception. However, while the house
is accessed by a narrow lane
that is both rough and steep
(and this, barely 50 miles from
London) and entered via what
was clearly the former farmyard,
a high degree of sophistication
has been achieved even here
through the use of pale gravel
Above Elizabeth and
Andrew Cairns.
Right The terrace is
enclosed by a froth of
Orlaya grandiflora, with
Clematis ?Warszawska
Nike? and ?Old Blush
China? and ?Gertrude
Jekyll? roses for colour.
50 THE ENGLISH GARDEN JUNE 2018
and elegant linear plantings. Against a dark
backdrop of hedging, there are just a few species,
including roses, lavender, sedums and heuchera that,
to Elizabeth?s modest satisfaction, look good at all
times of year. On arrival, however, most visitors have
no inkling as to the property?s extraordinary natural
assets: accessed through a relatively small gap in
a tall hedge and via a sheltered paved sitting area is a
stunningly ?framed? view and a wide spacious garden
that wraps around the house. It is graced by lovely
topiary and deep, shrubby herbaceous borders
with clematis, roses and lots more lavender.
At the garden?s heart is the substantial
15th-century farmhouse, set high on a southerly
facing slope of the North Downs, with a seemingly
endless view of the miles of flat agricultural land
that form the Weald of Kent. The garden soil here
is highly alkaline (pH 7 to 7.5), light and very freedraining over ragstone bedrock. Moisture retention,
even after years of regular soil improvement with
locally sourced farm manure, is a constant concern,
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The English Garden, journal
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