Mount St John, Felixkirk – Mr and Mrs Chris Blundell
The house at Mount St John stands on the edge of the Hambleton Hills, close to Sutton Bank, with a seemingly endless view across the Vale of York. Tom Stuart-Smith was given the difficult task of creating a garden on the sloping ground below the house, always competing with that view. This he has achieved so spectacularly that one becomes utterly engrossed by the garden. Stone terraces level off the ground into a series of borders filled with perennials, anchored in place by large box spheres and beech clipped into tumps. Great billowing masses of Salvia, Phlomis, Digitalis, Knautia, Eryngium and Echinacea swirl round these fixed points leading the eye back over the garden. To one side of the house a valley was originally filled with monastic stew ponds which have been restored and linked by cascades. The margins of the pools and the sides of the valley continue to be replanted. Elsewhere, in this garden of impeccably high standards, are an immaculate vegetable garden, cutting garden and glasshouses.
Havoc Hall, Oswaldkirk – Mr and Mrs David Lis
David and Maggie Lis moved to Havoc Hall in 2008 and immediately set about the garden, which, at that point, was three and a half acres of paddock and half an acre of lawn. The transformation in seven years is truly remarkable, particularly as, with the heavy clay soil, it has not all been plain sailing; yew hedges have become waterlogged and died, the harsh winter of 2010/11 killed much of the new planting. Today the garden is flourishing. A sturdy oak pergola leads from the terrace down to a knot garden with surrounding white borders. Steps lead down to a large lawn, with borders filled with pinks and reds interspersed with Pyrus salicifolia and on to a smaller lawn enclosed surrounded by hot-coloured borders. The main lawn has topiaried hornbeams, a surrounding hornbeam hedge and views across a wild-flower meadow and small lake towards the Howardian Hills in the distance.