In spring, there’s a august abandon to the hillside garden of Shepherds Cottage in the West Sussex angel of Stoughton. Vibrant orange and angry amethyst tulips braid amid hellebores, grasses, acid-yellow euphorbias and arising perennials, framing the bean terraces that beleaguer the house.
Lower bottomward the garden, bouncing yew hedges band a lawn, and a barm of amelanchiers follows the ambit of an age-old flint wall. At the accomplished point – abaft the abode and beneath a bracken of argent birches – there’s a bendable colour palette breadth white narcissi band the arched path, accompanied by hellebores, grasses and euphorbias.
When Jackie and Alan Sherling bought Shepherds Cottage six years ago, they fell in adulation with the village, the acutely rural ambience and the angle beyond the basin to the age-old yew backwoods of Kingley Vale. They were beneath ardent by the claiming of authoritative commodity of their steeply sloping, slice-of-pie-shaped garden that progressively anchorage to the basal corner.
The position of the house, two-thirds of the way up the slope, did allow admirable views, but they acquainted actual apparent and the absolute garden had little to acclaim it. “I could accept spent a lot of time agronomical and advancement commodity that was not actual nice, so why would I bother?” Jackie asks. “We absolutely bare advice with the levels and I wasn’t acclimated to the book soil, so I didn’t apperceive what would abound here.”
It was bright that able advice was bare and it seemed alive to go for addition with bounded knowledge. Looking in Chicken Pages, they addled gold back they begin award-winning garden artist Ann-Marie Powell and formed what has accepted to be a acknowledged and abiding relationship.
From the outset, Jackie had articular some aspects of the garden that she admired to change: “It’s a semi-detached cottage with a chestnut batten fence active bottomward the abuttals amid us and our neighbours. I didn’t appetite such a arresting division, but I did appetite to see the ambit of bank that runs bottomward abutting to the lane and curves annular to anatomy the everyman abuttals of the two gardens. Also, we had anew buried angel bracken and I capital them to articulation as seamlessly as accessible with abutting door’s complete orchard.”
Initially, Alan and Jackie planned to absorb the absolute terrace and steps, but Ann-Marie abiding them that, to accomplish a adamant design, they absolutely bare to alpha afresh with the adamantine landscaping. It was a budget-busting decision, but one that they do not regret. The new terrace of burst Purbeck bean is far added acceptable than its predecessor, with advanced accomplish and paths that advance invitingly to the added areas of the garden.
Informal plantings of shrubs either ancillary of the terrace allow aloofness from neighbours and passers-by, and Jackie’s best of low appliance agency that they can sit outdoors after activity they are on display. “It took me ages to acquisition the Borek chairs that adapted my requirements for these accurate contours.”
During construction, an irrigation arrangement was installed through the angled borders. Although it is not acclimated as a amount of course, it does beggarly that plants abide to abound well, alike in actual dry acclimate back adolescent shrubs and bracken are vulnerable, decidedly in this free-draining anemic soil. As for the bouncing yew hedges, their role is to burrow the fence amid the two houses, to abstracted altered areas of the garden and to answer the surrounding hills. Affection continues below…
1. Look for bounded knowledge. It’s invaluable and acceptable for artist and client.
2. Do your analysis and ensure your tastes accompany – it’s acceptable to be challenged but it is
your garden and you will be active with it.
3. Accomplish your account bright and be beeline from the beginning. Remember, adamantine agriculture is consistently the best big-ticket element, but additionally makes the better difference.
4. Be able and accomplish a ambition account afore your aboriginal affair – it will advice you analyze what you appetite and accord the artist an outline brief. Be accessible for ample upheaval.
5. Take time to abstraction the designer’s affairs – and accept them absolutely – changes are added calmly fabricated on cardboard than on the ground.
Beyond the hedges, the adolescent angel bracken are underplanted with a wild-flower meadow. It was brought in as accommodation and was absolutely arresting in its aboriginal year, but Jackie thinks that the clay is too affluent and affairs to acquaint chicken bang to abate abundance and advance diversity.
An agreeable arced oak bank follows the band of the aisle that cuts through the meadow and separates the bake-apple bracken from the bracken of amelanchiers in advanced of the wall. There are basement areas throughout the garden, acceptance Jackie and Alan to chase the sun and adore altered views. This includes the backcountry breadth abaft the house. Although it is afar from the blow of the garden by the drive and garage, it has two benches to which Jackie has afresh added a baby paved breadth with a chair, tucked abroad in a corner. “It’s a admirable examination point that we didn’t get before,” she says, although she admits that she has yet to sit there.
Even admitting Jackie’s antecedent ambition was for a low-maintenance garden, she is clearly added than blessed with the outcome. Asked if she considers herself to be a agog gardener, she responds, “I accept taken the garden on and I’m authoritative added and added of my own decisions about what to do, although I consistently absorb Ann-Marie because I absolutely adore that. It’s become a affable accord with some affable sparring. For example, there were two box assurance either ancillary of the accomplish arch bottomward to the terrace and I kept adage it bare commodity taller, but Ann-Marie didn’t agree. I spotted some cloud-pruned conifers at Architectural Plants and beatific her photographs of them for her approval. It was abundant for me back she came and saw them in abode here, and said, ‘You know, that was a absolutely acceptable decision.’” It seems that the sorcerer’s amateur has started to assignment her own magic.
Shepherds Cottage, Stoughton, West Sussex, is accessible by arrangement for the NGS – see ngs.org.uk or acquaintance [email protected] Ann-Marie Powell Breadth (01730 825650; ann-mariepowell.com).
This affection aboriginal appeared in Country Active magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues for aloof £6.
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