19. Oxfordshire – Thursday 24 September

Rofford Manor Tour 19

Rofford Manor Tour 19

The Grange, Chalgrove
Mr and Mrs Peter Farren

Vicky and Peter Farren bought the Grange for its ten-acre garden, which had been so neglected that, apart from the structure of trees and the lake, they had to rise to the challenge and start from scratch. An arboretum surrounds a rectangular pond, once used for swimming. Behind the house, curved borders are sheltered by yew hedges beyond which lies an orchard of venerable apples and a vegetable garden with raised beds. The garden runs down to a stream and on to the willow-fringed lake, crossed by elegant wooden, wisteria-clad bridges onto a densely planted island. On the far bank, borders filled with Miscanthus and late summer-flowering perennials lead past paddocks, fenced with cleft chestnut, to the wild flower meadow and new woodland walk.

Rofford Manor, Little Milton
Mr and Mrs Jeremy Mogford

Jeremy and Hilary Mogford started at Rofford with a blank canvas and began to lay out the garden to their own design, only later calling on Michael Balston to advise on the detailed planting. Far from resting on their laurels, this beautifully maintained garden is constantly evolving.  The entrance court sets the pace, with pleached limes growing from elegantly clipped box drums. Throughout the garden the planting is carefully considered; profusion in the borders, simplicity and restraint in planting and colour in the smaller garden rooms around the house. The long vista, across the croquet lawn, which leads the eye into the countryside beyond the ha-ha, is balanced by the immaculate walled kitchen garden. On the far side of three ha-has lie two lakes, a nut walk and a woodland walk.

Wormsley, Stokenchurch
Mr Mark Getty

The two-acre walled garden at Wormsley was built in 1740 in the most sheltered spot in this cold windswept valley high in the Chilterns. The estate fell into a state of disrepair until it was bought by Sir Paul Getty in 1985. Penelope Hobhouse was commissioned to rebuild and redesign the walled garden. Following her brief, the garden was divided into four quadrants separated by brick and knapped flint paths and buttressed yew hedges. Two quadrants are for entertaining, a green theatre in one and a croquet lawn in another.  The third is the kitchen garden proper, growing fruit and vegetables and backed by an array of glasshouses. Charlotte Tremlin, the Head Gardener, aims to keep this quadrant looking as much like a potager as possible. The fourth quarter is a flower garden with a mix of shrubs and perennials, which not only have to be in perfect form for the opera season in mid-summer, but to continue to perform through into the autumn.