Spurred on by the loss of bound­ary trees to a new de­vel­op­ment, Fran Wake­field built a walled de­sign from scratch, in­spired by the one that had stood here in the 13th cen­tury

Homes & Gardens - - CONTENTS - Words caro­line beck Pho­to­graphs clive boursnell

Built from scratch, this clas­sic de­sign now matches its rich her­itage.

The cir­cum­stances that pro­pel us into creat­ing a gar­den are many and var­ied, but one of the stranger ones has to be a plan­ning bat­tle. Fran Wake­field has lived in a small vil­lage in Berk­shire for more than 30 years and de­scribed her­self as a fair-weather gar­dener un­til a de­vel­oper came along, around 2006, de­mol­ished the an­cient build­ing that stood next door to her home and put up a se­ries of lux­ury apart­ments in its place. “I don’t re­ally like whinge­ing about it now, but at the time it was aw­ful. All the bound­ary trees were pulled down, a huge aca­cia in my gar­den col­lapsed due to the build­ing up­heaval, and sud­denly I went from hav­ing a pri­vate gar­den to one that was com­pletely over­looked.”

Most peo­ple would have put their house on the mar­ket at this point, but Fran de­cided to snatch vic­tory from the jaws of de­feat and com­pletely re­design her out­door space. Re­search into the ori­gins of the land had shown that in the 13th cen­tury, there had in fact been a house with a walled gar­den on this site. In­spired, Fran per­suaded the builders to save all the bricks from the de­mo­li­tion of the me­dieval barn next door and to use them to build her a bound­ary wall, which ranges be­tween six and 12 feet in height, a job which “they did ab­so­lutely beau­ti­fully, com­plete with but­tresses”.

The sense of en­clo­sure that Fran gained from this so­lu­tion re­minded her of the vis­its she had made as a child into the tran­quil walled gar­den that lay within the grounds of her school. “I went back to find the old gar­den and, al­though the school had gone, the gar­den was still there, rather overgrown but still recog­nis­able, and I re­alised how im­por­tant it had been to me.”

Fran wanted to re­flect the essence of that gar­den within her own, to cre­ate a clois­tered space for her­self, and be­gan by plant­ing 800 box shrubs to form the back­bone of a parterre which was in­ter­planted with laven­der, roses and fo­liage plants, such as hostas and

Al­chemilla mol­lis. Oc­ca­sion­ally, bor­row­ing a tech­nique she has ob­served in the paint­ings of land­scape artist JMW Turner, who of­ten used a per­ti­nent dash of colour to catch the eye, she too has used a splash of red among the blue, pur­ple and sil­ver to en­liven things.

Other el­e­ments have been se­lected with equal thought. “Ev­ery­thing is ei­ther re­cy­cled or a piece of sal­vage. This has helped make the gar­den feel as if it has been here for so much longer than it re­ally has.”

Dur­ing the sum­mer months, the gar­den is

Ori­en­ta­tion A south-fac­ing walled gar­den of about one third of an acre in a small vil­lage in the Pang val­ley, Berk­shire.

Soil type Free-drain­ing, chalky soil which has been con­sid­er­ably im­proved over the years.

Spe­cial fea­tures The gar­den has been de­signed and planted with the for­mal­ity and plant­ing of a me­dieval monas­tic gar­den.

ABOVE Look­ing across the box parterre from the house, with the fra­grant creamy-white dou­ble rose, ‘Al­béric Bar­bier’ un­der­planted with blue salvia.

RIGHT Fran brought these white aga­pan­thus from a lo­cal nurs­ery­man who had in turn sourced them from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. They do well in pots as they thrive in the con­fined space.

ABOVE A bird bath that Fran found in a recla­ma­tion yard is the fo­cal point of this part of the gar­den. It has a small lip on which bees rest and drink from the water.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.