Jemima was commissioned to undertake the further development and planting of this manor house garden, which had a layout partly designed and implemented by John Brookes MBE.
Early on in the project, Jemima advised on the removal of two large chestnut trees that overshadowed the front of the house and the resulting old brick and flint wall with raised bed behind now has a beautiful planting scheme that provides colour and interest throughout the year. This was of the utmost importance as it is viewed from the kitchen at all times of the day. The aspect is south facing and the soil is chalky and very free draining, so the planting includes Mediterranean style plants, such as Euphorbias, Stipa, Salvia, Erysimum, Verbena and Anthemis, with yew cones, Choisya and evergreen Viburnum forming a permanent framework. Cream painted obelisks add to the structural elements of the design and Erigeron, Dianthus and Iberis soften the front of the border.
The north facing border at the front of the house has a simple scheme of shrubs, climbers, perennials and bulbs with predominantly white flowers to brighten up this shady section of the garden. Again, this border was required to provide structure and interest throughout the year as it borders the forecourt and entrance to the property. Planting includes climbing hydrangeas, Chaenomeles, mop head hydrangeas, variegated dogwood, Japanese Anemone, ferns, grasses and foxgloves, with Choisya, topiary box balls, standard holly and box cones forming the evergreen permanent structure.
There were some lovely old yew hedges within the garden and it was decided that further delineation of other areas with the use of more yew hedging would improve the design by focusing views. The area before the forecourt is now sectioned off from the rest of the garden and a curved brick and flint path leads through an avenue of cherry trees. Spring flowering bulbs planted randomly within the meadow grass add to the spring interest.
The main lawn has been levelled to provide an area for football and croquet, and a further yew hedge with openings allows glimpses of the wildflower meadow beyond. Mown grass banks or low retaining walls have been constructed to absorb the changes in level across the site. Stone steps allow easy access throughout every section of the garden and add interest to the scheme. A teak tree seat has been placed at the base of a mature Tulip tree – a lovely place to sit and reflect, while taking in views of the house, croquet lawn and the wildflower meadow.
An ornamental rectangular pool and fountain with a backdrop of yew hedging provides a striking focal point from the north terrace, softened with lavender hedging along each side. This terrace leads down to a box edged parterre planted with scented, repeat flowering roses and perennials in a pink, purple, white and blue colour scheme. Zinc obelisks provide structure at the centre of each of the four beds, planted with white flowered clematis.
Box-headed Hornbeams form a wide avenue which leads the eye towards a stone statue at the far end, surrounded by a semi-circle of yew hedging.
The sunken garden contains a pattern of low box hedging within a gravel surface, with a striking silvered metal ball water feature at the centre. Around the outside, simple planting of roses, perennials, grasses and bulbs in a purple, white and acid green colour scheme soften the formal layout and provide added interest throughout the year.
A lighting designer was sourced by Jemima to come up with a scheme to bring the garden to life at night. This has been expertly achieved with stunning results.
The brief also included a design for an orchard, an ornamental vegetable and cut flower garden within the existing walled garden, but these have not been implemented as the latest ideas revolve around a swimming pool and surrounding Mediterranean garden. The project is still ongoing!