14. Dorset – Wednesday 5 September

Farrs - Tour 14


Farrs, Beaminster
Mr and Mrs John Makepeace

John and Jennie Makepeace moved to Farrs in 2001 from nearby Parnham and set about a complete restoration of the 1730s house, and the design and replanting of the gardens. The house was finished in a year, but the garden was only completed in 2008. The first section wraps around the house in a simple, but effective combination of lawns and ancient yew hedges which have acquired that organic undulating shape that only antiquity can bestow. Beyond the yew lies a wonderful contrast and exactly the sort of garden one would expect from one of our leading contemporary furniture designers. A slender tapering wooden bridge arches across a pond set in a sea of grasses towards a stone and knapped-flint pavilion. Beyond, and again in contrast, lies Jennie’s garden and studio. It is a delicious mixture of cutting and kitchen garden, with beds crammed with fruit and vegetables jostling with annuals and perennials.

Harvard Farm - Tour 14

Harvard Farm

Harvard Farm, Halstock
Mr and Mrs Tim Hobson

Harvard Farm is a garden that reveals itself slowly. The house sits on a windswept hill protected from the east by mature shrubs and trees, mostly grown from seed. The main lawn and garden are on the west side, sheltered by walls and the remaining barns. It has been a labour of love, which becomes apparent as Dilly Hobson talks about the conditions they encountered when they bought the property; derelict farm buildings, yards of concrete and a punishing wind. It is difficult now to imagine that there has not always been a garden here and one in which first-rate planting is mixed to perfection with the structure of old barns and the cloud-clipped evergreen shrubs which are the contribution of her son Jake Hobson, whose company, Niwaki, supply wonderful clippers, secateurs and ladders.

The Old Parsonage
Ben Pentreath Esq and Charlie McCormick Esq

The Old Parsonage - Tour 14

The Old Parsonage

The Regency Old Parsonage stands above the mainly 1850s church looking across a lovely Dorset valley. The garden was originally laid out by Ben Pentreath some nine years ago, but has acquired a new lease of life since Charlie McCormick took it over. New double borders, backed by yew hedges, which have already achieved a remarkable maturity, stretch away from the french windows of the drawing room and below this is the tour de force of the Dahlia walk that runs for almost the whole length of the garden and looks its spectacular best as late summer merges into autumn. An ancient beech stands above the parson’s path to the church and beyond this is Charlie’s passion, the vegetable and cutting garden. A smart row of white painted cloches span the borders between rows of competition sweet peas, more experimental dahlias and vegetables for the house.