Rhap­sody in blue and mauve

An an­cient Cotswolds farm and its associated build­ings are at the heart of a new gar­den, care­fully cre­ated over the past two decades to sit qui­etly in the sur­round­ing land­scape, finds Ge­orge Plumptre

Country Life Every Week - - Interview - Pho­to­graphs by Mar­i­anne Ma­jerus

Roel Farm­house, Guit­ing Power, Glouces­ter­shire

Gar­den-mak­ing with a light touch is usu­ally more chal­leng­ing than whole­sale change. Sweep­ing ev­ery­thing away and start­ing from scratch may be trau­matic, but you give your­self a blank can­vas, whereas adapt­ing a site to re­tain its best fea­tures while get­ting rid of the worst is an al­to­gether trick­ier propo­si­tion.

at roel Farm­house, tucked into a slight fold of the Cotswolds’ west es­carp­ment but still ex­posed to the area’s stark win­ter weather, the fam­ily was quite clear that they wanted to re­tain the sense of a farm that gave the place its deeply em­bed­ded air of es­tab­lish­ment, at the same time as re­mov­ing the ugly ad­di­tions that are an in­evitable side ef­fect of mod­ern farm­ing, such as mod­ern grain dry­ers. They wanted to make a gar­den that would el­e­vate the sur­round­ings of the Cotswold stone house with­out los­ing its sim­plic­ity and the sense of be­ing rooted in the land­scape.

and what a land­scape! in this part of the world, it can be re­lent­lessly bleak and aus­tere on a cold win­ter’s day, al­though un­de­ni­ably idyl­lic in the warmer months. it also of­fers a thrilling glimpse of un­spoilt eng­land. The view from the main south gar­den out to the sweep­ing bank of farm­land is like a rav­il­ious paint­ing, the flow­ing lines of the un­du­lat­ing land dot­ted with scat­tered trees and sheep.

re­tain­ing the house’s umbilical link with this at the same time as set­ting it in a new gar­den would not be easy, but, less than two decades since the fam­ily ac­quired the prop­erty, and with in­put from the gar­den de­signer graham Lloyd-brunt in re­cent years, it has been achieved with gen­tle aplomb.

The first step was to plant hun­dreds of trees to form shel­ter belts along the farm’s west bound­ary and give the de­gree of pro­tec­tion that a de­vel­op­ing gar­den would need. ini­tially, most of the present gar­den site was part of the farm, there were the re­mains of cow sheds in the main south gar­den and pas­ture swept up to the house and its as­sorted barns. now, just the old stone farm build­ings

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