When I first found the farm, which was completely by accident one glorious Sunday afternoon in June 2014, I did something I never ever do. Unable to see the property from the road something compelled me to go up the long, winding drive to see what it was for sale at the top of the hill, I had a strong feeling the place was empty otherwise I would never have intruded, particularly on a Sunday.
When I got to the top and could see the house, I will admit I it wasn’t love at first sight! The house, more a country property than the tradition farmhouse I was really looking for, large and imposing with a sandstone front, I almost turned around and drove away but, something stopped me driving off, that little voice in my head said “Well, you’re here now, have a look around”. It was the most bizarre thing and I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was clear the place was empty and had been for some time, so I parked at the front of the house and headed straight for the garden through a small cast iron gate at the side of the house. As I walked through that little gate and looked round at this beautiful, large walled garden I was completely in ore, in love and I felt like I’d come home.
Completely overgrown, full of weeds, nettles, brambles and the grass knee high, the large greenhouse I could hardly get to through nettles was falling down and there were small rotting compost heaps all over.
The long path at the top of the garden lead off to the 12 feet high wall which I thought was strange, so I followed it to the end. Pulling back long overgrown elder bushes, brambles and nettles I found an old rotting door I could hardly open as the hinges had seized, managing to open it just enough to squeeze through I entered another beautiful large garden complete with falling down potting shed, overgrown fruit cages and an orchard. The nettles were as tall as me, but I fought my way through this amazing labyrinth of gardens.
As I walked through the orchard I noticed another small gate that lead in to yet another large garden complete with old stone shed.
Before I even reached the beautiful old traditional farm steading and despite the fact I wasn’t struck on the house, it was way too big for what we needed and not the traditional farmhouse I really wanted, I had absolutely fallen in love with the gardens and knew I wanted to buy this amazing place. I went back again the same day and the following day with my family so excited to show them this magical place, two days after finding the farm I put my offer in expecting to haggle, the offer was accepted straight away. The rest as they say is history!
There are four large gardens –
front garden – This is the only garden you will see when you come to the house unless you go exploring the hidden gardens. With a heart shaped centre lawn, flower beds with ancient roses, lily’s, hydrangeas, a small holly tree, magnolia, honeysuckle, peony rhododendrons, various flowering annuals and perennials and a stunning huge copper beech tree. The front garden is the lowest maintenance garden with just weeds to keep on top of and the lawns to cut the upkeep is pretty simple.
walled garden – The most beautiful place to sit and relax anytime of year, a real sun trap. There are an abundance of flowers and trees including two very old apple trees, a very old pear tree which has mistletoe attached to it, a plum tree and a crab apple tree. The large lawns are split in to four, each have a separate seating area. I’ve made many improvements to this garden with the addition of two patios, one with a barbeque, wood oven, pergola and large dining area and the other is a base for a summer house.
The greenhouse I restored and converted into the greenroom – a cosy seating area complete with bar! All made with recycled wood, pallets etc from around the farm. We have a small wildlife pond that’s home to frogs, toads and newts and an abundance of flower beds filled with an array of beautiful, colourful, scented roses, lavender, honeysuckle, peony and many other annuals and perennials.
The garden beyond the walled garden is now split in to four large sections, I extended this whole area when I had to replace the dilapidated fence and it’s been completely landscaped It was in such a bad state, the ground hadn’t had any care for about 10 years so to get things in order I went the whole hog and started a fresh.
the bottom section is home to two smaller copper beech trees, nothing much grows in this area as it’s shaded by the trees so I had a base put in for a showman’s wagon, at the moment I have a restored antique dray sitting there for display.
Above that is the fruit and veg section. I had to reluctantly take the old fruit cage down even though it was still solid it had become so overgrown with nettles and weeds and was so difficult to maintain nothing would grow. I’ve replaced it with raised veg beds and introduced fruit borders along the wall that get maximum sun for most of the day. Up to now I haven’t grown much or had chance to be ambitious with my produce growing but this year (2020) I have some grand plans!
Next to the fruit and veg is what I call the flower garden. This is the area you enter through the secret door from the walled garden, it has the most lovely views across the valley towards the village, it’s so peaceful and beautiful I really wanted to create another place to sit and relax amongst flowers. There is the potting shed in this area which has now been restored.
At the very top of the huge garden area is the orchard. Unfortunately, two years after moving in the original trees died, they weren’t very health when I moved in and over the next couple of years got worse. That was the year before I had the whole area landscaped so this whole area was cleared of the dead trees the soil was turned and tested and new fruit trees were planted. I added a base for another showman’s wagon and installed a spruce hot tub, fire pit and seating area.
The wildflower garden became a bit of a dumping ground whilst work on the other gardens was going on, although it was cleared with the rest of the ground and dry stone walls were repaired, this year I will clear the last of the stone etc and let it grow wild and beautiful again.
My gardens are very special and important to me, they are a sanctuary for everyone to enjoy. I don’t consider the work I put in to them as work, spending time planting, looking after beds and creating beautiful spaces is therapeutic, they are after all the biggest personal reason I’m here.
I open my gardens on selected dates through the summer months, I often have homegrown plants and unusual garden ornaments for sale, if you would like to visit please contact me for details.