The Wild and Secret Garden

Just one snatched glance at the garden from an upstairs window persuaded Ian and Maggie to buy their house. Since moving in nearly three decades ago, Ian has wrangled shrubs, introduced new plants and finds it a joy to spend time in.

Ian says: The garden is split into two parts. The first section nearest the house has a patio and lawn, with a wide irregular shaped flower/shrub bed on the right. On the left we have a bamboo/holly “wall” which fortunately our neighbour’s roses tumble over. At the end is a secret area which is quite dark and has some benches to have a think on.

We don’t have a single favourite plant or tree with the possible exception of the magnificent Weeping Beech tree, technically in next door’s garden but half in ours. It’s really how it all works together that makes the garden so special to us. We haven’t changed the basic layout of the garden but have introduced quite a lot of new shrubs and trees over the years.

I look after the garden with occasional design ideas from my wife and a biannual visit from the tree surgeon. My gardening technique is benign neglect, though having said that I do referee and resolve some disputes between warring shrubs. We do introduce new plants from time to time to see if they could live happily in our garden. Often they can’t but sometimes we have fortuitous successes. There are also some much loved plants that blew in on the wind.

We bought this house because we fell in love with the garden after a single glimpse from an upstairs window. Not that it was in a good state then. We can’t say that it is immaculate or particularly well ordered now. However the garden has a living, vibrant energy.

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