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This property is a mid C19 farmhouse, derelict since the 1970s, surrounded by arable fields ; the site - one and a half acres - completely exposed to prevailing winds; the soil heavy alkaline clay. My brief: to provide shelter, enclosure and privacy but at the same time to fit the design into the surrounding rural landscape, and to integrate the house and garden. The style is traditionally English, with old roses, lavender, box and yew. The clients wanted lots of colour, fragrance and flowers for cutting.
The design began with a new native hedge around the whole site perimeter. On three sides of the house there is a series of square or rectangular spaces, each with distinct characters, divided by hedges and connected by paths in strong formal layout. On the fourth side, in contrast, there is a large open lawn with specimen trees.
Features include: entrance courtyard; box and lavender parterre; 'about thyme garden'; rose garden; arbour; terrace; herbaceous and mixed borders; yew and hornbeam hedges; spring and early summer bulbs; woodland shelter belt; natural pond; secret children's Wendy houses; Mediterranean border; orchard; many small trees; climbing plants; seasonal and colour themed plantings; 30 cubic metre compost facility.
The garden is high maintenance, but much use is made of annual mulches, produced on site from horse muck and garden waste.
This garden has been featured in Period House magazine (April 2001); the Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust Newsletter (October 2007); Country Homes and Interiors (July 2008); and The Cambridge Evening News (June 7 th 2008). Since 2006 it has occasionally been opened to the public under the auspices of the National Gardens Scheme and for local charities.
2007 photographs © Marianne Majerus
A mature garden in ten years
The property in 1997: ruin and desolation
2007: a flourishing garden