Work in progress

Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Dig In -

Tom­maso and Paul de­scribe their coun­try gar­den as a work in progress. “It is im­por­tant to think about your gar­den as a whole from very early on – how you will use it and where you want to go with it. Hav­ing a plan helps you avoid mak­ing big mis­takes,” says Tom­maso. “But once you have that in place, it doesn’t mat­ter how long you take to com­plete it. And don’t feel too mar­ried to your draw­ings. Be pre­pared to adapt. Things grow in sunny places that in time be­come shady. Plants grow too large for the space avail­able. You must al­ways be pre­pared to re­con­sider. Some trees and shrubs are im­por­tant for struc­ture, but these ma­ture slowly. You also need more ephemeral plants to get a gar­den started. These in­clude things such as erysi­mum, which of­fer quick re­wards but don’t last for too long. You en­joy them for a cou­ple of years, then say good­bye.”

red brick, which was also used to cre­ate a step up from the lane out­side. The gap through which cars used to trun­dle up the drive was filled with yew hedg­ing, and a gate, set at right an­gles to one side, cre­ates an off­set en­trance that con­ceals the house.

Within these green walls, the gar­den is pos­i­tively bu­colic. “Please don’t call it a cottage gar­den,” says Tom­maso. “I think of it as re­laxed.” This is ap­par­ent the minute you set foot on the bas­ket-weave brick and gravel front path, edged on the right by a sea of laven­der and on the left by a cheer­ful jum­ble of al­chemilla, roses, hardy gera­ni­ums and fra­grant ‘Jane Phillips’ iris. Fen­nel, va­le­rian and al­chemilla have seeded into the gravel with gay aban­don.

The bell pull is hid­den be­hind a sway­ing clump of Ver­bena bonar­ien­sis and the rich ter­ra­cotta walls are gar­landed in vin­tage-pink ‘Al­ber­tine’ roses. Cen­tran­thus, cat­mint and Knau­tia mace­donica foam in frothy pro­fu­sion around the house, an­chored by three vast balls of clipped box, which im­pose just the right de­gree of or­der on the chaos. The over­all im­pres­sion is of warmth, wel­come and joy­ful pret­ti­ness. There is a small pro­duc­tive gar­den out­side the kitchen, but it proved dif­fi­cult to grow veg­eta­bles prop­erly when the pair could only make in­fre­quent vis­its, so the tim­ber-edged beds now con­tain herbs, f low­ers for cut­ting, and a few toma­toes, rasp­ber­ries and alpine straw­ber­ries.

The rear of the gar­den is de­fined by a sim­ple green hedge that fol­lows a ser­pen­tine path around a lawn that’s more clover than grass, stud­ded with young ap­ple and wal­nut trees. In the mid­dle a weath­ered bench veiled in tall grass sits in the shade of a large sycamore. “This is not a beau­ti­ful tree, but it has an age and a pres­ence that this gar­den needs just now,” says Tom­maso. It is an un­ex­pected com­pro­mise from the lead­ing de­sign prac­tice of del Buono Gaz­er­witz, but this whole gar­den is com­pletely un­ex­pected too. USE­FUL IN­FOR­MA­TION Find out more about Tom­maso and Paul’s work at del­buono-gaz­er­

The cool, calm rear gar­den re­lies for its im­pact on a sin­u­ous line of hedg­ing, which runs up the slope away from the house to a wild­flower meadow that blends with the wood­land be­yond.

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