Blagdon Hall, Seaton Burn
The Viscount Ridley
Blagdon Hall has been the home of the Ridleys since 1700. The house dates mostly from the 1750s with additions by James Wyatt in the 1780s and was restored by Robert Lutyens following a fire in 1944. In the 1930s Sir Edwin Lutyens remodelled the garden for his daughter Ursula, who married the third Lord Ridley. Lutyens paved the terrace to the south of the house, which has recently been replanted, and created the canal (the “sky mirror”) that runs for 550 feet to the south of the house into the post–industrial landscape that has been reclaimed and reshaped in the last few years under the guiding hand of Matt Ridley. Lutyens also laid out the walk west towards the walled garden. To the north of the house is the quarry garden where Matt’s father began his collection of trees and where, on the rock face, he commissioned a portrait of his grandfather, Ned Lutyens
Newbiggin House, Blanchland
Mrs Daphne Scott-Harden
Daphne Scott-Harden moved to Newbiggin House some 25 years ago and began to plant the garden around the house. Having previously worked as an interior designer, she was inspired to turn to garden design and built, by word of mouth, a flourishing international practice. The five-acre garden stands, challengingly, at 1,000ft and is planted to peak in August. The enclosed spaces behind the house are planted with late-summer flowering perennials and roses, particularly the dark pink David Austin rose ‘Flower Carpet’. Moving around the house, the garden expands, the perennials are replaced by shrubs and trees and the open moorland comes into view. The lawns slope down into a bog garden planted with Gunnera, Primulas and Filipendula, above the pond a Rosa spinosissima walk turns back towards the house and the final flourish of a parterre of clipped yew hedges and David Austin roses immediately outside the house.
David Young Esq
The two-acre garden at Lambshield is, astonishingly, only eight years old. David Young has created a garden perfectly balanced between strong structure (all sculpture, walls, buildings and fencing are created by local craftsmen) and good, largely herbaceous planting. The front of the house is softened by clouds of Euphorbia wulfenii and a gap in the hedge leads through to a formal rectangular pool bordered with clipped yew cushions. The main borders surrounding a lawn, with four large yew cones at each corner, are designed to look their best from mid-summer. These are filled with Achillea, Helenium, Alstroemerias and Eupatorium as well as Dahlias and purple-leaved Cannas. Between the house and the steep slope that falls away to the river below, alarmingly called the Devil’s Water, lies an earlier-flowering garden, anchored by randomly planted yew pyramids.