Old Park Barn, Stoke Goldington
Mr and Mrs James Chua
Twenty-one years ago, James and Emily Chua acquired an empty three-acre field and set about creating an elegant and very personal garden. Immediately behind the house a rectangular lawn is backed dramatically by a stone amphitheatre. Above this, gently formal, abundantly-planted, perennial borders, designed to provide year-long interest, are arranged with an avenue of hornbeam forming a central axis. This leads past an enclosed vegetable garden, an open flower meadow with bee orchids and a nearby pond and on into the informal woodland garden. Here the scale becomes more expansive and relaxed. Walks, cleverly-edged with recycled branches between sinuous planting of deciduous trees, underplanted with woodland perennials and bulbs, lead to a hawthorn circle.
The Old Rectory, Quinton
Mr and Mrs Alan Kennedy
The three-acre garden at the Old Rectory was designed by Anoushka Feiler and completed in 2015. Starting with a blank canvas, the garden is divided into separate sections. In front of the house, the drive is now decorated by sculptural shapes of cloud-pruned Parrotia persica, hornbeam, and domes of yew softened by swathes of Hakonechloa. Behind the house, the old lawn has been excavated to create a sunken terrace, with shade provided by roof-form trained plane trees. An avenue of pleached hornbeam, separating the terrace from a planting of Osmanthus fragrans and Rosa ‘Winchester Cathedral’, leads to an eye-catching glass garden room. Stone-edged rills run between blocks of late summer-flowering perennials and grasses. Elsewhere an old pond has been transformed into a natural swimming pond, a woodland garden gives onto the wild flower meadow and orchard.
The Menagerie, Horton
Monsieur Hugues Decobert
The Menagerie at Horton was designed by Thomas Wright for Lord Halifax as an eye-catcher and zoo for the now demolished Horton Hall. It is a one-storey building with corner pavilions and a raised central block in the style of William Kent and is a very grand country house in miniature. In 1972, the architectural historian Gervase Jackson Stops bought the house, restored it and created the contemporary formal four-and-a-half acre garden. From an open lawn directly behind the house, a central avenue of limes strikes out across the garden. On either side, a pair of radiating hornbeam-hedged vistas lead to circular pools and then onto two pavilions, one classical and one gothick. An immaculate walled garden, designed by Jinny Blom lies discretely to one side of the house. Gervase Jackson Stops died in 1995, but The Menagerie, an intriguing 20th century interpretation of 18th century design, is in very good hands and beautifully maintained. Over recent years the gardens have undergone restoration and a Stumpery and Exotic Garden have been added.