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reap­pear­ance of such na­tive wild­flow­ers as or­chids, but, at the mo­ment, there is only one main path arc­ing through the fairly nar­row band of wood­land and he and Mr Hutchin­son are al­ready plot­ting ways in which the route could be made more com­plex, with small open glades as ‘rest­ing points’ from which to view the shapes and colours all around, as well as of­fer­ing views down to the more for­mal gar­dens be­low. The gar­dens at Fonthill House, Fonthill Bishop, Wilt­shire, usu­ally open for char­ity a few times each sea­son (www.fonthill.co.uk). Marie-louise Agius is a direc­tor of the land­scapedesign firm Bal­ston Agius (www. bal­ston­ag­ius.co.uk) and of Exbury Gar­dens. To find out more about Wil­liam Pye, visit www.williampye. com; con­tact Ta­nia Comp­ton on ta­nia@tani­a­comp­ton.co.uk ● Area Ten acres of gar­dens within a 9,000-acre es­tate

● Soil The gar­den pos­sesses a for­tu­nate com­bi­na­tion of green sand on the hill, ideal for the rhodo­den­drons and mag­no­lias, and clay at the bot­tom, ideal for the roses

● Al­ti­tude

From 400ft to 479ft

● Cli­mate chal­lenges The North Wood’s con­sid­er­able slope al­lows frosts there to roll away, but dam­ag­ing frosts do some­times ‘stick’ in the flat lower gar­den. Even though the re­tain­ing bas­tion walls pro­vide at least some pro­tec­tion, strong winds can be a prob­lem, par­tic­u­larly in the North Wood, now that the plant­ing there has been thinned

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