In an English coun­try gar­den

The Daily Telegraph - Gardening - - Front Page -

How Ben Pen­treath and Char­lie McCormick re­stored their old par­son­age gar­den in Dorset into a beau­ti­ful – and boun­ti­ful – English clas­sic. By Sarah Raven

On our ar­rival there are scones for break­fast – made by New Zealan­der Char­lie. And for lunch, just-picked salad with broad bean tips, poached salmon and herby home-made may­on­naise, served in a room­ful of Lil­ium re­gale in vases. Why is it that the non-English do clas­sic English so much bet­ter than we do?

The ar­chi­tec­tural and in­te­rior de­signer Ben Pen­treath, 44, moved into the Old Par­son­age eight years ago. It’s a lime-ren­dered 1820 house in a vil­lage in West Dorset, two miles from the coast and to the east of Brid­port. Over three or four years, Pen­treath re­stored the house and gar­den, but with the bal­loon­ing suc­cess of his busi­ness, he was over­whelmed by the split Lon­don/ Dorset life and the gar­den suf­fered.

Two years ago, he met his nowhus­band, Char­lie McCormick, who rapidly took over. Ben says, “When I was very first in­tro­duced to Char­lie, I sus­pected that some­thing might work be­tween us – I’d never known any­one else be­fore whose idea of a happy Sun­day was a day of gar­den vis­it­ing and junk shop­ping.”

Char­lie was brought up on a farm in New Zealand. His grand­fa­ther was a pas­sion­ate veg gar­dener and his granny keen on cut flow­ers and ar­rang­ing. He spent time in their gar­den all through his child­hood and in his teens started show­ing flow­ers and veg at lo­cal hor­ti­cul­tural shows in Can­ter­bury, New Zealand.

McCormick – now 26 – has car­ried on grow­ing and gardening ever since, mov­ing to Eng­land six years ago. He works as a florist, mainly do­ing large flower in­stal­la­tions for events.

As with all the best florists, one of the char­ac­ter­is­tics of McCormick’s

Blooming: Ben Pen­treath and Char­lie McCormick in their Dorset gar­den

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