Colourful Spring mill garden
Sarah Fraser, owner of The Mill House in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, has filled her country garden (above and below) with a riot of colour. She uses tulips as her paint and her garden as a canvas, experimenting with the different shades, and has painstakingly planted over 2,000 bulbs by hand.
Sarah and her husband Ian have cultivated their secluded gardens, an acre of flat land behind the mill skirted by a millstream. Enclosed by walls and a tall leylandii hedge, the west-facing plot is dominated by an ancient holly that Ian, a retired engineer, has painstakingly topiarised into a gigantic bowler hat.
From the house, steps lead down from a stone terrace decorated with pots, to a broad lawn edged in borders that are overflowing with colour-themed spring bulbs, shrubs and emerging perennials. A summerhouse, parterre and potager are tucked away in corners.
A Kent garden full of colour
Retired physiotherapist Sue, and her husband Peter de Wit, had never lived in one place for long enough to fully appreciate their gardens. In 2010, they put down roots in the beautiful Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, with an acre of plot on which to create the garden of their dreams.
The couple have turned this beautiful setting into a space for relaxing and outdoor entertaining. There are two large, flat lawns and plenty of colourful beds, with planting choices influenced by Sue’s childhood in Australia and Peter’s Dutch heritage. The boundary hedge was removed to open up the panoramic view of the South Downs.
Enchanting bluebell woodland garden
When Barbarah Jeremiah and Kay Linnel took on Brick Kiln cottage, set within a bluebell wood in rural Hampshire the gardens had not been touched for 40 years and, were derelict, overgrown and in serious need of fencing and clearing. Nettles had taken hold and brambles towered around fallen trees that needed removing.
It was important for the friends to work with the environment – especially the bluebells. These were the feature that convinced them to keep the cottage to themselves, rather than selling it. Barbara has cultivated the bluebells herself, moving and planting them around the woodland, to create this wonderful, natural garden. An area has been set aside as a wild garden, where self-seeding plants are given free rein, and there is also a lovely seating area in the more formal pebble garden, enclosed in clipped buxus spheres. A raised fruit bed and vegetable plot offer a variety of produce, and a cottage garden billows with bee-attracting flowers and herbs.
Relaxed garden with vintage touches
Landscape architect Marian Boswall’s own garden in the Kent countryside reflects her philosophy of working with the setting, and respecting the ecology of the land. When Marian and her husband Rupert bought the property they could see the garden had wonderful potential and they wanted it to reflect the informality and comfort of the house.
The garden has views across the Low Wield Special Landscape but a large and mature hedge along the western border protects it from the strong south westerly winds.
The garden is more structured near the house and becomes looser as it melds into the woodland areas. A hidden garden lies behind a high hedge, with a small opening leading to a large lawn with borders. The chosen plants on the south facing edge, long grasses and perennials, attract wildlife, which buzzes and forages around the garden.
Bright garden with a view
It is apparent from the moment you enter this picturesque garden that its owner Meryl Walters has a background in interior design. A skilled use of colour is immediately evident: spring bulbs enhance the fresh greens with pockets of orchestrated combinations of hues, as garden areas unfold to the captivating views beyond.
The initial priority was to plant hundreds of trees, mostly native, including oak, beech, ash, alders, poplars and cherries, for reasons of privacy and to muffle the sound of the nearby road. Without a set plan, although with constant support from her husband, Peter, Meryl has slowly shaped the garden creating shapely lawn areas, colourful flower beds and pleasant seating areas.
Country home with a sympathetic extension
In 2012 Lieset Kimink and husband, Andre, bought a 400-year-old farmhouse in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is reasonable to assume that the gardens surrounding the home and views beyond are impressive.
To complement the farmhouse, there is a theme of simplicity, with vast stretches of lush lawn, bordered by tall hedges and the occasional mature tree. Short stone walls throughout the garden break up the lawns and bordering beds and hedges. It is the perfect garden in which Lieset, Andre and their two young children can appreciate the wonderful Warwickshire countryside.
From a rural barn to a family home
Dry stone walls are a major feature in the gardens of Montreal Barn, home of Mark Henrique and his wife Felicity. The walls tie in the garden with the rustic appeal of their home, and blend the space into the overall landscape of the Gloucestershire countryside. A variety of trees, box hedging and shrubbery ornament the borders, while seven stone gargoyles keep guard over the garden from their perch atop one of the walls.
Grade II-listed Georgian house
Childhood memories of wonderful summers spent outdoors, in the heart of the beautiful rolling Chiltern countryside, prompted Amy Matthews to leave London behind for a lovely Grade II-listed Georgian home in Oxfordshire.
With just under an acre of land to the rear of the property, the gardens sweep down from the house, which is perched on a small hill. The previous owners had designed the garden with relaxed English country style planting, punctuated with the formality of boxed hedges and the repetition of trees. Descending in tiers, clever linear planting and iron fencing break up the sloping garden into defined rooms and create a beautiful view from the house, out into the surrounding landscape.
Restoring a Georgian ancestral home
A 10 bedroom Grade II-listed property in Cambridgeshire is impressive, even before you consider its several acre setting and private island. The gardens of this vast estate are relaxed and simple, with open lawns and ancient trees complementing the grand mansion. An old Chinese bridge spans a stream that runs through the grounds.
There are plenty of benches along the garden paths, giving its owners the Vane Percy’s plenty of places to sit and survey the wonderful slice of the Cambridgeshire countryside that they can call their own.