From Fields to Floribunda

At our November meeting we welcomed Alison Green.  Alison, who is a garden designer, took us on a journey of how she created her beautiful garden in North Enfield.  Her talk was interspersed by some very useful gardening and landscaping tips. I particularly liked her idea of planting pots within pots for a quick and easy turnaround each season …

Theobalds Farmhouse is a Grade 2 listed building with two acres of land.  When Alison moved there in 1999 the garden was mainly grass with an old drainage pond and a strip of ancient dense woodland.  Since then Alison has created gardens within a garden in the Arts and Crafts style and has included several large borders with different plant styles and themes.  Much of the garden was laid out by simply painting outlines on the ground and then cutting out the turf.  Yew hedges were planted to define areas.  On boundaries, fences were erected first, with yews planted in front with the fences removed when the hedges had grown.  In places arches have been cut in the hedges to provide vistas of the borrowed landscape.  Colour is central to the design and each garden room and border has its own specific colour theme.  Alison suggested threading a key plant through the borders for each season, giving examples of white alliums and later in the season hemerocallis for emphasis and definition.

In front of the house is a gold award winning knot garden that reflects the house’s 17th century origins.  The two celtic knots on either side of the front path provide a mirror image made up of a continuous line of curved box.  As well as the knot garden, Alison has designed a gravel garden, an ornamental garden, a courtyard garden, and a fountain garden.  But perhaps the most striking design is to be found in the spiral   garden.  Here the design is based on the principles of the golden section.  A spiral turf covered earth work based on the mathematical ratio of harmony and balance.  The resulting grassy spiral mound is surrounded by a stunning curve of silver birch trees, enhanced in the spring by underplanting of white narcissus.

In addition to the garden rooms Alison has created large, wide borders with differing colour schemes.  A blue border with hints of white and lemon; a mauve border; an  exotic border with hot oranges, purples, reds, maroons and the mahogany coloured bark of Prunus serrula – the impact enhanced by splashes of blue flowers. There is a spring walk with a double avenue of fruit trees and spring bulbs and a woodland walk planted with specimen trees including tulip tree, foxglove tree, whitebeam and copper beeches.  The trees are underplanted with woodland flowers – Cyclamen coum, hellebores, snowdrops and English bluebells.  

There is a wildlife pond and stream created from the old drainage ditch, a swim pond, a pebble mosaic garden, greenhouses, bee hives, areas for growing fruits and vegetables and a tea room.  This is a garden with everything!  But best of all it is a haven for wildlife, organically managed so that the balance of nature is maintained.  The audience were captivated, as evidenced by the many questions following Alison’s talk. How we long to visit this garden – maybe we will next year.

A small selection of photos from Alison’s presentation

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 17th December when we will be enjoying our Christmas Party – to which visitors are very welcome.   Our new season of speakers begins on Tuesday 21st January when some members of the BGA will be speaking about their own gardens in Biddenham.  At this meeting members will receive their new programme cards for 2020.  If you would like to come to this meeting as a non member we begin at 7.30 pm in the Village hall – you will be made very welcome.   Linda Truscott

New members and visitors are always welcome. 
For more information contact:     Linda Truscott on 01234 270747

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