Although the walls are old, our garden is young. All of the planting has been created since 2008.
The garden that we enjoy now is, we feel, divided into three parts.
First there are the immediate spaces around our house. The house garden and Terrace, the pleached lime avenue, the Hall garden and ‘Regent St’, along with the rose border and North border (opposite rose border, not on this plan).
Then there is the walled garden, and finally the (wooded) area around the outside of the walled garden.
These are shown on the map below. This is a very basic plan which we used when we opened the garden for the National Garden Scheme in May 2016
This area covers approx. 3.5 acres. Where the number 19 is, that wall faces due south.
The history of The house is that it was the Laundry (and Dairy – they made butter there) to the Hall next door. the house garden is the old drying ground, and we think was once cobbled. The house dates back to approximately 1770, and the Walled garden dates to a similar time.
We applied for planning permission to refurbish the House in 2008, and started work on the garden at around the same time. Most people would probably sort the house out first, but we couldn’t wait to start on the garden!
So in 2008, Regent st, number 6 on the plan, (so called some time ago because of the curve, like it’s London namesake) was tackled first.
This is how it looked in 2016
At the same time we started looking at the House Garden (2 on plan). This was split into two at the time, to cater for two tenants in what became our house. This was a poor design, and we levelled the site with a JCB and started again. The ‘bones’ went in. paths and oval lawns (Tom likes his ovals and circles!) and a beech hedge that hugs the edge of the lawns.
House garden (2 on plan) oct 2010
We decided to split the levels and introduce a terrace next to the house. We had some beautiful old flagstones that we had bought two years previously, and to make these go further, used some brick setts to edge the area.
Making the Terrace (3 on plan)sept 2011:
house garden summer 2016:
We are so pleased with the result. A great little area, with structure and good plant interest helped by the box parterre, and roses against the house.
The Pleached lime avenue was planted in 2008. 3ft deep trenches were dug for the trees to be planted in. These are about 10 ft apart. They were filled with topsoil and manure. metal posts were positioned in the trenches,5 ft apart, and lime whips (11ft, and not much thicker than your thumb) planted and tied to the posts. Holes were drilled in the posts at 1ft intervals to provide a guide for wires. These wires were threaded through the holes and tensioned.The next job was to prune out unwanted branches, and tie the branches that we did want to the wires. Over the years these have been continuously pruned and tied to the wires so that eventually they meet branches from the neighbouring tree. They are then wound round each other to produce a platted or pleached line of trees.
This is how they looked at the point of planting:
This how they looked in August 2016
Not only do they look great, but they provide good screening. Our next project here is to reduce the harshness of the gravel hard-standing. We still plan to have grass here within the next two years. It should soften the look immensely.
The dragon (4 on plan) arrived in July 2011. We went to the Tatton show the previous year and noticed some striking deer and stag sculptures in stainless steel. The sculptor was Ben Broadbent. Ben lives within 40 mins of us, and within six months, and a couple of pub lunches, we had established a friendship and the germ of an idea for a sculpture.
Tom was keen on a dragon theme, and after some early 3D mock-ups (maquettes) had been approved, we soon had a full sized sculpture! Ben created a dragon with a nod to the welsh dragon of old (pointed tip on tail), which is only going to look better as the copper he is made from changes in colour.
From maquette, to now:
The North border (not numbered, but opposite the Rose borders , numbered 8) was created in 2010. There was no border there at all then, so we had to edge it and fill it with soil before planting could begin. Here is a picture in 2012, showing garrya eliptica, bergenia along the edge. An Acer ‘Eddisbury’ in the centre of the picture (Golden in colour) and a robinia in the near end.
A more recent photograph shows the acer doing well, and other plants all happy there.. including a Phormium, which has since doubled in size and looks great. We have now removed the Robinia, as it was suffering and had lost more than half of its foliage. You can just spot some golden privet (Ligustrum) which has bushed out enormously and looks well suited to the space. Over the wall you can see the ornamental pear from the house garden. Here we are in 2017: