Earlstone Manor, Burghclere
Mr and Mrs Bruce Ginsberg
This is a truly remarkable garden created by a passionate grower of box. The house, once owned by William of Wykeham in the 14th century, was a recusant manor and is believed by archaeologists to be the oldest house in Hampshire. It was extended in the 17th and 18th centuries and the house matches perfectly the formal and topiaried style of the garden, where box is clipped into patterns and forms parterres, knots and mazes, softened by great billowing mounds of rosemary and lavender. All is framed by tall hornbeam hedges cut into arches and curved into theatrical apses. Two mounts give wonderful bird’s eye views of the garden. In delightful contrast, a Georgian-style chinoiserie garden is a recent addition and echoes the wooden Chinese bridge across the lake.
Kirby House, Inkpen
Mrs Richard Astor
Kirby House is often described as a ‘stately home in miniature’. The original house was built in 1733 and then over doubled in size by Admiral Franklin in 1761 to house four large tapestries that he had captured from a French ship. Its setting on the northern edge of the South Berkshire Downs with views of Combe Gibbet is enchanting and the garden a delight. Areas of the garden were designed by Harold Peto for his brother Basil who lived at Kirby from 1906-1912. A terrace, with a simple box parterre gives onto the main lawn with views to the downs beyond. There is a lake, lily pond garden, reflecting pool, herbaceous, shrub and rose border divided by yew buttresses and a walled garden. The garden is enhanced by contemporary sculpture including two works by William Pye.
Hazelby House, East Woodhay
Mr and Mrs Patrick Hungerford
Patrick Hungerford took on the garden owned and designed by Martin Lane Fox and has, over the years, developed it with huge panache. The rose garden has been opened up to be better seen from the house. Roses, under-planted with Nepeta, Geraniums, and Alchemilla, are anchored with box and standard Ligustrum superbum. A yew arch leads to a long rose-covered pergola which ends with a snail-shaped mound which gives views over the wild-flower meadow and, through a curtain of woodland, to the downs beyond. Shrub borders have been replaced by lawn to open the view to the lakes and the woodland garden, in the latter a seam of acid soil encourages Rhododendrons and Hydrangeas to thrive among clumps of Gunnera and Rheum. A spectacular greenhouse, filled with tender treasures, presides over an immaculate kitchen garden.