11. Berkshire – Tuesday 30 June

Woolton House Tour 11


Folly Farm, Sulhamstead
The house and garden at Folly Farm were one of the most successful and charming designs of Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. An existing farmhouse, with origins as a 17th century cottage, was incorporated into the house built for H H Cochrane in 1906. This was extended for Mr and Mrs Zachary Merton in 1912. The garden was laid out around the 1912 house, with a canal garden running away from the 1906 ‘Dutch’ addition, a formal parterre garden in front of the new wing and an axis leading to the large walled kitchen garden.  The final surprise was the yew-enclosed, sunken rose garden. When the present family bought Folly Farm they embarked on a major restoration of the house and garden. Instead of recreating Miss Jekyll’s planting plans, Dan Pearson was commissioned to design an entirely new garden within the bones of the old. The result is an utterly contemporary garden, of which Miss Jekyll would most surely approve.

Woolton House, Woolton Hill
Mrs Charles Brown

Woolton House has been added to, and modified, by succeeding generations, until the Edwardians turned it into a practical, country house. Charles and Rosamond Brown completed the process with a stupendous glass extension. In the garden, they started with a completely clean slate and sought the advice of the French designer Pascal Cribier, whose work includes the Tuileries garden in Paris.  Cribier designed the magnificent contemporary potager in the walled garden. The rose garden, surrounding a cleverly enlarged formal pool, is a collaboration between the Browns and Cribier.  Aralias by the pool give height and structure and Rosa chinensis ‘Sanguinea’, a hard-to-find sibling of ‘Mutabilis’, droops over the edge of the pool. A spectacular oak stands on an expansive lawn beside the house. In the woodland Andy Goldsworthy has created a large mound in a clearing.  This is a garden of great style, maintained with great care and gardened with enthusiasm and panache.

There is a maximum of twelve places on this tour.