room with A view

The parterre gar­den at Fairholme has been recon­cep­tu­alised with a lush plant­ing of or­na­men­tal grasses and bulbs in­spired by The sur­round­ing views


As is true of most gar­dener’s gar­dens, there is a con­stant evo­lu­tion. Not only along­side the sway of the sea­sons, but also of plant pal­ette that ebbs and swells with plant yearn­ings or a crazed de­sire to turn an area on its head and start afresh. It’s in a gar­dener’s DNA and at Fairholme gar­den, the green gene runs deep. Home to plant spe­cial­ists and nurs­ery own­ers Dun­can and Liz Hen­der­son, it is their daugh­ter, gar­den de­signer Mary Mau­rel, who laid the bones of the gar­den – and the newly con­cep­tu­alised parterre that hov­ers above the el­gin Val­ley.

‘From the be­gin­ning we de­cided that the ar­eas clos­est to the house needed to be for­mal in lay­out,’ says Mary. And so the trans­for­ma­tion from in­her­ited ne­glected gar­den to a land­scape of in­ter­con­nected gar­den rooms be­gan – each a can­vas for Dun­can and Liz’s

‘I love the tex­tures and the move­ment of the grasses. Up close it is far from per­fect, but I love the nat­u­ral feel­ing’

ac­claimed col­lec­tion of grasses, peren­ni­als and hedg­ing plants grown in the Fairholme nurs­ery.

The tri­an­gu­lated space to the east of the house proved the most chal­leng­ing. To de­tract from be­ing drawn to the point of the tri­an­gle, Mary con­fig­ured the space in such a way that fooled the eye. an axis was drawn from the front door of the house into the cen­tre of the space where a sun­dial was po­si­tioned as be­spoke fo­cal point. ‘In any gar­den I de­sign, struc­ture is key,’ says Mary, who es­tab­lished it here with brick-edged gravel path­ways and a planted parterre of low Myr­tus com­mu­nis hedges. Ini­tially, he­liotrope was massed within the spa­ces but was soon re­placed by soft, pink­flow­er­ing Gaura lind­heimeri. ‘Whilst the gaura looked great in sum­mer, we found it a bit over­bear­ing in full flower and then des­per­ately bare in the win­ter.’ as such, they agreed to re­view the plant­ing.

‘I knew it should be kept sim­ple, and I wanted it to be more in­ter­est­ing than a mass plant­ing, yet still have im­pact’

says Mary, who cred­its the in­spi­ra­tion for the new plant­ing pal­ette to her as­sis­tant, ed­uard smidt. ‘ed­uard sug­gested we look be­yond the gar­den at the view for clues. he was so right.’ The view is ex­pan­sive blue skies, white or­chards in blos­som, the earthy tones of newly ploughed fields and densely planted wind breaks.

and so this area of the gar­den took on a new spin. grasses were used for the base layer and bulbs were se­lected for year-round in­ter­est, pick­ing up on the translu­cent colours from the sur­round­ing views. The re­sult is a won­der­ful ten­sion be­tween the for­mal­ity of the hedges and the ethe­real qual­ity of the bulbs and grasses that gen­tly sway over the el­gin Val­ley.

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