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TH E OLD REC TORY GAR DE NS AT DOY NTON


TH E OLD RECTORY GAR DENS AT DOY NTON The story of how we grew a garden, a family and an international business, all in one go!

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

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The Old Rectory Gardens at Doynton Published in 2013 by Impress Impress Editorial Department [156] 95 Wilton Road London, sw1 v 1 b z Copyright—2013. All rights reserved. The Imperial Tobacco cards (dated 1910 onwards) used within this publication are an artistic work for the purposes of the Copyright Act. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in a retrieval system, in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, hired out, resold, or otherwise circulated without the author’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published, and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Copyright restrictions in favour of the author apply. © 2013 The moral rights of the author have been asserted. isbn

978 0 9575405 1 4

Photography by Eddy Pearce with additional photography from Tessa Traeger's picture library. Project Management Kevin Bourgault Designed and Typeset by Prof. Phil Cleaver and Emma Fisher of et al design consultants Printed by Connekt Colour

For Maria 


contents a n i n t r o du c t i o n to doy n ton

Doynton—a Potted History

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Our First Garden . . . . . . Finding Doynton . . . . . . Starting Life in Doynton . . . . Our First Project—The Cottage . . Life at the Start of the Garden Project

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Deciding to Tackle the Garden . . . . Front Garden Project . . . . . . . The Courtyard Project . . . . . . The Croquet Lawn . . . . . . . The Walled Garden . . . . . . . The Swimming Pool . . . . . . . The Canal . . . . . . . . . . The Rose Walk and Boxed Seating Area . . The Astrological Garden . . . . . . The Garden Beyond—Into the Farmer’s Fields Life in the Great Outdoors . . . . . The Greenhouse and Vegetable Garden . . How on Earth did that Happen? . . . .

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l i f e b e f or e doy n ton

c r e at i n g o u r dr e a m g a r de n

t h e p eo p l e who ma de i t

Iain Steve Sue John

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Garden Statues . . . Other Statues in the Garden Garden Flower Profile . Acknowledgements . .

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th e ga r de n i n de ta i l


an introduction to doynton


d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

DOY N TON — A POT T E D H I S TORY When people think of English countryside, I imagine they think of rolling hills and valleys of green fields and meadows, dotted with trees and splashes of wild, colourful flowers. The wildlife teeming and vibrant, bringing to life Beatrix Potter. Small lanes winding through the fields into villages where you hear the thwack of leather on willow, followed by the deep cries of men on the cricket field. A stone church in the centre of a town, steeped in history and character. Loud chatter in the gardens of an inti­mate and friendly pub, people who know each other and their community. In short, Doynton is all of that and more. It is a small town of about 350 people that has a long history and a great number of fascinating, funny and moving stories of village life. The village can be traced back as far as its entry in the Domesday Book of 1086, when it was already a well established dwelling of 34 households under the stewardship of Robert of Doynton—King William’s Man. The shape of the village has remained essentially the same since. The Domesday Book records the area as having a corn mill and a tuck mill, for making wool garments, and you can still see the remains of medieval fishponds just beyond the church graveyard. Their size and scale suggest this might have been a key industry, as they point to a more intensive fishing operation then your average medieval village. From then until quite recently, the predominant industry seems to have been farming, but the majority of the working population If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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The iris has been described as the ‘Flower of Chivalry’ and few flowers are so rich in historical associations as the romantic Fleur-de-lis.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

are now employed in either Bristol or Bath. In such trends, Doynton reflects some of the big social events and changes in British life. For example, the decline in the British wool industry after the medieval period can be seen in the fact there is no record of the tuck mill after the 17th century. The Old Rectory can also be traced back nearly three centuries, from which point on it seems to have played a prominent role in village life. Built in the early 18th century, the first recorded occupant was Thomas Coker, appointed by George II, who loved Doynton and the rectory so much that, despite his retirement in 1785, he continued to live there until his death in 1799. Since then, it has had its fair share of colourful characters. One brilliantly named rector—a Lewis Balfour Clutterbuck—moved in as a wealthy man in 1847. He spent a vast sum he inherited from his father on improving the church, including lengthening and widening the nave and installing another aisle along the north side of the building. Public service cost him not just the inheritance, but also his job when a court in Bath declared him bankrupt on 18th May 1872. No good deed goes unpunished! Tragedy struck in the Rectory during the time of Rector Mervyn Canby, who installed the first electric light during his four year spell from 1936 and 1940. He was a man who apparently liked to cause a stir and to be a little contentious, yet the village rallied around when his daughter suddenly passed away. Elizabeth Canby was only seventeen and getting ready to go to school when she stepped into the bath

and suffered a cerebral haemorrhage. The gates at the church are named in memory of her. Of course, we have many more stories and richness of detail for more recent history. I’ve been fascinated to talk to many of the people who’ve lived in Doynton longest and to hear their stories of the village during the Second World War. The Rectory became an evacuee centre, run by Lady Islington with the help of the Anglo-American war relief charity Pro Patria. At the time, Lady Islington was the tenant at Dyrham Park and split the evacuee centre between there and Doynton. Most of the children came from London and had few visitors, mostly because air raids eradicated that possibility for much of the time between 1940–1942, with dogfights not an infrequent event in the air across the hills around the village. I always thought that being an evacuee must have been an incredibly traumatic experience. Yet interviews with the children suggest that they look back on it fondly—a time of village fetes, learning the maypole in the walled garden and trips to Mr Scribbens, the local shop owner, who would slowly weigh and measure the right amount of sweets for each child. Sadly and movingly, it was actually the return home that proved truly traumatic for many of the children. I suppose it makes sense—they were leaving a safe retreat for smaller city homes in blitzed neighbourhoods and families that were struggling to get back on their feet. Some of those wartime evacuees visited us just a couple of years ago for their first return to the gardens since arriving as confused and homesick children. From the stories and

Scabious bloom from July to September and can grow upto three feet. Colours range from white through pinks, mauves and reds. They are popularly known as the Pin-Cushion.

The Sweet Pea blooms from June to October and can grow up to six feet. They are useful for cutting, garden decoration or for hiding ugly buildings or fences.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry memories they shared over tea, the Rectory and its gardens meant a great deal to them. A photo of them—as they were—featured in the local press, paying tribute to an important episode in the history of the village and the Rectory. One of the stories that I absolutely love about wartime in Doynton, showing the humour and lighter moments during the war, is that of men and their jealousies! At the time, the only ways to meet members of the opposite sex were at the pub or at the regular events and dances at the village hall, which was built just before the war in 1936. However, the men who had remained in Doynton had their jealousy piqued when American servicemen would roll into town in their jeeps to drink at the Cross Arms and flirt with the girls in the village. On those nights the local lads wouldn’t be allowed in. It wasn’t long before they were fed up with that scenario, so one night they drained the petrol from the tank and then filled it up (I assume not totally) with ‘other fluids’. Shockingly, the Americans couldn’t get the truck started when they came back out of the pub. But it is a village that contains great warmth for other people—in the little friendly jokes they play on each other, such as the friends who set up a pram on the doorstep of a couple returning from honeymoon with a sign saying ‘no pressure!’. That warmth of welcome and spirit is something that we’ve felt from the village since we first moved here. For us, Doynton is true English village life. A simple way to destroy coarse weeds is to dip a wooden skewer in weed-killer and pierce the centre of the weed. Care must be taken not to let the solution fall onto the grass.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry


d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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life before doynton


d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

OU R F I R S T GAR DE N Our first house together in Ruislip was a big mistake. We got excited by how ‘grown-up’ the detached 4-bedrooms and large garden were. The problem was that we were living a style of commuting into Holborn every day; with long hours and then drinks or dinner in the evening. Even when we came home early, we found Ruislip closed already. There was nothing to do and we didn’t even get to meet most of our neighbours, save for one. Ernest Sprunt was a delightful, old fashioned but warm-hearted gentleman who lived next to us. I think he was in his late eighties when we first met him over the garden fence. Friendly and chatty, his garden was the most beautiful example of how gardens should look: perfect green grass and lovely fragrant borders. He was so proud of them and nearly every weekend, when he heard us outside, he would lean on the garden fence and offer us gentle advice. Sadly, though we valued what he told us, we were so incredibly exhausted most weekends, we just didn’t manage to put in the effort that was required. The big garden, which had attracted us to the place, proved to be too big to manage. Over most summers, our grass went from deep green to a bald dry desert. Poor Ernest—he looked perplexed rather than disappointed. It didn’t stop the parties though; we used to invite everyone from work for drinks and cricket. Here is where the garden excelled, but all our photos were blighted by our bald garden, highly visible around the strewn colourful bodies. If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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These charming little hardy perennials are hybrids obtained from the primrose and the cowslip. There is a wonderful range of colours from lavender and pink to crimson and chocolate.

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o u r f i rs t g a r d e n

o u r f i rs t g a r d e n

Despite the fond memories, we decided that moving to Chiswick was the right decision. We were leading a city life, working with a big company where our jobs felt safe and long term. Choosing a house with a lovely garden the width of a semi-detached and about 40’ in depth, we took out a scarily large mortgage. The garden backed onto an old railway track, which was now covered by fairly extensive allotments. We modelled and built the garden ourselves—well actually that might be giving us a tad too much credit: Clive’s father Sydney, a retired builder and stronger than both of us put together, did the lion’s share. We lugged barrow loads of topsoil that had been dumped in the road to the garden down the side passage; we mixed cement; we carried bags of sand wherever they were needed. Our muscles ached for what seemed like months. Out of the mayhem came the realisation of our own vision of a beautiful garden; two levels with a deep raised herbaceous bank, shrubs, wisteria and climbing roses clambering over pergolas and, of course, lots of pastel irregular paving. It was the era of crazy paving and we had inherited the view from our parents (this being the age before decking became all the rage!) that it was the right thing to do for a stylish seating area next to the house. We were very happy there for many years and quite a few more parties. We’d thought of getting an allotment like our neighbours but never quite managed it. Unfortunately we only ever experienced the downside of living next to the

allotments. Apparently our house and the side passage were perfectly positioned for burglars to make a quick exit—straight past the bins and over the back fence to the allotments. It was the quickest escape route in Bedford Park. Over the years we lived there, we had several incidents of helicopters and police teams with loudspeakers tracking a shady figure hiding in our shrubs or legging it over the fence. It’s become part of the folklore of living in that house. Eventually, we built a large door across the escape route to block it after our sweet, widowed Hungarian neighbour got burgled. Only one year into our new life and the big mortgage, my sister asked me if my marriage was okay. I was completely taken aback—I had no idea what she was talking about. She pointed out that Clive didn’t really seem very happy. So I sat him down and asked him how he was feeling. Clive owned up to feeling oppressed and unhappy in the company where we had met and where we had both been so happy for a long time. It was a real shock to me, especially as I hadn’t really noticed or perhaps wanted to notice that it was affecting him so much. In a long and difficult conversation, out poured his frustrations at working for a company where he was managed by a lawyer who didn’t have the same passion for the business and what we did. Every day was a battle and each year the profits made were taken to offset the small margins they made on other government fixed price contracts. There was no capital for investment or innovation. It was an endless trap.

The Sunbeam Poppy is a modern strain of a perennial variety resembling the Iceland Poppy and has rapidly become popular for bedding and borders.

Salpiglossis bloom from July to August and can grow upto three feet. A native of Chile these funnel like flowers give a wide range of brilliant colours including purple combined with gold.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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o u r f i rs t g a r d e n

o u r f i rs t g a r d e n

After weeks of agonising and some ineffectual discussions on change within the company, he quit. Naively, at the time I thought: no problem, he will have some time off, find his new path and, in the meantime, I will continue working and pay the mortgage. Wrong. They accepted Clive’s resignation, then they called me in and fired me. I was shocked and pretty outraged. But there was nothing we could do. They told us they felt that, if he left, he would ultimately compete and so my position as his wife was ‘ultimately untenable’. Those were their exact words ... indelibly etched into my memory. At that time, nothing could have been further from our minds than the idea of a place in the country to take time away from work. Time away from what work? It was a daunting and scary concept! We were both out of a job with no plan, no money and a big, fat mortgage. That’s when we thought hard about what we could do—discussed if we should build our own business together. We wrote the plan on our kitchen table and set up a mini office in the smallest room of the house, which ultimately became the children’s nursery. There was something reassuring and womb-like about it: the best place to build our nascent company. We hunted around for the people we knew who might be interested in investing in our idea and business plan. Luckily, we knew someone who we had worked with before, who had ‘made it’ and he responded generously to our proposition. He took a minority equity position in our new business ‘dunnhumby’. And so it began.

In the beginning, we didn’t pay ourselves a salary—we didn’t spend any money at all. We invested everything in the business and in the team we slowly started to build. We worked all hours and over weekends. Luckily, the house and garden were easy to look after. That crazy paving hosted many evening business planning sessions, chats or drinks. Eventually, two years into dunnhumby, we started a family. It meant there was a lot of pressure to build something stable and lasting—a family was going to bring a whole new level of responsibility! The good news was that after five years, the company was growing and we had turned in profits, albeit modest, each year. We’d stopped worrying about the day-to-day but we were still re-investing most of the income for cash flow, new recruits and technology. I guess every new business goes through that phase where you constantly ask the big question of ‘dare we believe that the growth will continue and be sustainable?’. We were working so hard we didn’t dare stop to check very often. But by 1993, dunnhumby had been successful enough for us to sell some equity to an international media company who shared with us a great vision for the company. These were the years when everyone was excited by the arrival of the Internet—we’d even created a cyber café in our office in Ealing so that our employees could go ‘on line’ for an hour on one of only two PC’s each lunchtime. It was the beginning of the brand new dotcom era—full of opportunity. We were really excited. We made some money and our angel

Zinnia, a half-hardy annual bloom from July to October and can grow upto one foot. They are a native of Mexico suitable for display in beds they come in yellow, rose, purple and scarlet.

Dahlia are a tuberous rooted perennial, they bloom from August to October and can grow upto three feet. The flowers are small and excellent for garden decoration or cut bloom.

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o u r f i rs t g a r d e n

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

investor sold some of his shares. Everyone was happy. It was a big turn around from those first days after we left the company where we’d met. But it was that cash that funded our lifestyle for the next ten years. It was the moment when Clive and I spent a lot of time reflecting on and discussing what was really important to us. Like most people, having children meant that London and its tiny gardens felt somewhat cramped. We craved a large garden: fields, flowers and the great outdoors. Both of us had memories of growing up roaming the countryside. As kids, we’d spent hours exploring, making camps and generally hanging out with friends from early morning until the end of the day. Always moaning and groaning when we were called in for tea. And we wanted the same for our children. And so, we decided to use that money to fund our dream— a ‘place in the country’. Like many others, we yearned for the open countryside to watch our children running around and breathing fresh air.

Chrysanthemums originally came from China in the Eighteenth century. The garden varieties will grow in almost any kind of soil and flowers can appear from late summer to early November.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

F I N DI N G DOYN TON We set off to find a new dream home. Forever practical—and with our business training to the fore— we drew a two hour drive time around Chiswick to assess where the best location was. Because work was so incredibly demanding and busy, we enlisted the help of Simon Eckert, our good friend who had recently helped us to locate our new offices. He sorted, sifted and found us six potential houses. It was great fun visiting them and imagining our little family in these new and—let’s face it— amazing properties. It was an adventure and I was enjoying the feeling of imminent escape to the country! After seeing a few that weren’t quite right, I finally arrived in the small village of Doynton with Simon. I instantly fell in love with the house, garden and village. It was perfect. Unfortunately, I made a big mistake. I went home to Clive and told him that I had found it—I was certain. That’s never the right thing to do to an intelligent, assertive man. He dug his heels in and the first time he visited with me, he found a number of things he didn’t like, not least that it didn’t have the swimming pool we had both insisted was essential. I was back pedalling like mad! I’ve never been good at giving others space to consider and decide what they think. I get too excited and jump in with both feet. Clive is always more thoughtful and considered. He sees all the angles and likes to argue them through— mostly in his own head. After all, this is a man who will change what he has already selected from a menu if I pick If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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When the professional gardener thrusts his spade in the ground he holds it upright: when lifting the soil he places the left hand low down on the handle thus reliving strain on the back.

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f i n d i n g d oy n t o n the same. He likes to be original and experience a different, perhaps better, flavour. So we visited a few more of the houses I had so far seen alone to re-assess the ‘best in class’. One of them had it all. It was perfectly finished, in pristine condition, with a swimming pool and a small but pretty garden—certainly bigger than anything we had in London. And another was an 18th Century lodge in Westonbirt with beams, outbuildings and a huge glasshouse dining room in the middle of a pretty garden surrounded by a newly planted wood. But the first house was a bit chintzy, with a lot of gold taps and decorative swans, while the second house was very close to a main road so, even in that very large garden, there was always the sound of traffic. Slowly, we returned to The Old Rectory at Doynton. And Clive discovered the hidden jewels—the outbuildings, the walled garden, the old and fragrant roses and the fact that it was in the heart of a real working village. The village hall on one side, complete with a Women’s Institute, and a large cricket ground with a pavilion on the other. It also still had a church and pub, although it had lost its school and village shop. The sellers were a family with young children like ours and they fitted the image of what we expected from a lovely country house: treating us to fresh coffee, the aroma filling the kitchen, and a home baked cake from the AGA that came with a resident dog snoozing alongside. I particularly remember a lovely painting of their children in the garden’s tree house—it captured the perfect idyll of country life. The fragrent Heliotropium is a free-flowering evergreen shrub used for summer bedding. It is not hardy and needs the protection of the greenhouse for the winter.

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f i n d i n g d oy n t o n

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

We decided to make an offer. After a few immensely tough ye­ ars of building a business and driving some hard deals with clients and suppliers, you would have thought we’d have been well placed to get a great deal. What happened to all this commercial nous and worldly-wise approach? Well, in truth, the heart takes over, or so it did with us. We had both fallen in love with everything about Doynton and so, instead of driving a hard bargain, we only modestly dropped our offer (just as far as we dared to not lose out). Having found our escape to the country and having invested all the time we could away from our business, we knew we had to close and move on. There was simply no more time available. Simon, we could see, was not impressed. Here was a man used to starting low and negotiating upwards only where necessary, eking out the very best deal. But, as ever, he understood our position and got behind it, despite his better judgment. The lucky sellers got a good offer and quickly accepted. We—the even luckier buyers—got our dream. Everyone was happy! I think we always knew that owning a house in the country was never about investment. Doynton would not so much be a ‘folly’ but certainly our indulgence. Over the years, we have spent a lot on the house and the gardens but we made that choice openly and consciously. It was a decision that liberated us. We found so much joy in creating something without worrying if it was wise or not or about the discipline of Profit and Loss accounts. It was wonderful. The Sweet Sultan in its modern giant flowering form is a useful annual growing to about eighteen inches in height. The flowers are often three inches across.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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S TA RT I N G L I F E I N DOY N TON Of course, we never realised how much money a garden could swallow. All of our work, all of our investment in DIY or building works came ‘just in time’. Or put another way, we only started a new project or part of the garden when we had the money for it. Until a project was possible, we just enjoyed what was there and what we had. The kids arrived three years apart. Like us, they looked forward to the trips down to Gloucestershire on a Friday night. Sometimes, we would pack a picnic for them to graze on and to disguise the long hours stuck in traffic, especially on sunny summer evenings chasing the sunset to the west. At other times, we travelled later at night when everyone had already escaped or driven home. We could then whizz down in the dark with the kids snuggled in duvets and lift them into their beds so they woke up in the morning to the excitement of breakfast and a big open garden to play in. At no time in our fourteen years in the house did we think that the house and gardens were anything other than perfect. As I look back at the photos of the children growing up, I am amazed by the differences. The lawns were huge but so uneven. None of that mattered if you were playing football or French cricket. The grass was springy and full of moss, which was perfect if you were barefoot, playing croquet and enjoying a glass of Pimm’s. Some of the garden walls were falling down but they were covered with beautiful roses that smelt delicious. It was a new world for us and we enjoyed every minute of our escape. A completely If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

These tall stately perennials with their handsome deeply cut leaves grow to a height of six feet or more and give us many beautiful blues in the borders.

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s ta rt i n g l i f e i n d oy n t o n different world to the glass towers and concrete office blocks where I was spending a lot of time during business hours! My favourite time of the day is always dusk, around six or seven in the evening when everything seems to soften; the colours and the sounds change and the garden transforms into a more enchanting world. It feels as if something magical is just awakening. Walking around at this time with a cup of piping hot tea or a glass of crisp white wine was the thing I looked forward to most when we arrived from London. The worries and stresses just fell away. We could explore the garden and discover the flowers that had appeared since our last visit. When we first moved in, we inherited a lovely gardener called Jenny who came two or three days a week. She knew everything that was planted or recovering in the garden and, despite its proportions, she made it a pleasure to visit just as it was. Jenny left a few years later when her grandchildren started to appear. By then, we had begun to dig up parts of the garden and although we were trying to save the more beautiful plants and shrubs, it really must have been dispiriting for her. Nevertheless, when she decided to leave, the reasons she gave sounded happily family-orientated. We would miss her for quite a few years. It took us a while to get used to the silence in the country. We had really wanted to avoid the constant cacophony of traffic: cars, backing lorries or police sirens. But when we got silence, we couldn’t sleep. For a while, it freaked us out and we lay awake listening to it. It was even worse The Sweet Pea is perhaps the most widely grown of all garden flowers. Beautiful in form, with lovely colours and an exquisite sweetness.

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s ta rt i n g l i f e i n d oy n t o n when we closed the shutters on the windows and the silence was complete. It was the kind of feeling you get when there is a heavy snowfall and everything has a padded quality. Of course we are used to that feeling of quiet now and absolutely crave that wonderful sense of calm and tranquillity. Okay—you do get the milk trailers arriving at the local farm around five or six in the morning sometimes. And the neighbour’s confused cockerel can’t work out the difference between morning and afternoon but, overall, it doesn’t seem to affect my ability to drift back to sleep. For years I have managed to be early-to-sleep and late-to-rise when I am in our country cocoon—not quite what is expected—but certainly very healing after long hours and busy weeks.

The Allwoodii is a successful modern hybrid combining the exquisite form and perfume of the old-fashioned Garden Pink with the perpetual flowering qualities of the modern carnation.

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OU R F I R S T PROJ E C T — TH E COT TAG E Our first project at Doynton was to make the cottage ready for our housekeeper, Maria, who was intending to live there and look after the house. Maria had been with us through the early years of the children and we all loved her. She couldn’t drive and so was a bit trapped in the village (there’s only one bus a day to Bristol), but it didn’t seem to worry her. Everything she needed was there. She even took to growing fruit and veg as soon as she arrived. A great cook, she used to make the kids salmon en croute in the shape of fish for when we arrived down on Friday nights. While the cottage was being renovated, Maria lived at the top of the house. Like us, she was thrilled when the cottage was finally ready and she could move in. It was a tiny one up and one down home—compact but picture perfect. Maria quickly made friends in the village and helped to establish our relationship with some of the long-standing members of the community. She made cakes and jams and joined the team at the WI—although never officially. Even then, Maria didn’t like following the rules. But then tragedy struck and Maria was diagnosed with cancer. It was two years of tears, treatment and visits to and from Bristol Oncology. As Maria couldn’t drive, we took her when we could and sometimes she relied on the ambulance. We all tried to stay positive but eventually it was made clear that all that could be done had been done and now it was just a matter of time. I remember the honesty of The delightful little pansy has longed been associated with tender thoughts. Love-in-Idleness, and Jump-up-and-Kiss-me are names which show the affectionate regard in which pansies were held.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry


o u r f i rs t p ro j e c t — t h e c o t tag e

o u r f i rs t p ro j e c t — t h e c o t tag e

the doctor when she told us. Maria was Catholic and so she prayed. We weren’t Catholic but we prayed too. The kids were still young and we protected them from the certainty of the ending for as long as we could. Maria was from Chile but when we asked if she wanted to go home, she said ‘no, I am home’ and that was that. She struggled, rallied and survived in that little cottage for months. The villagers came and supported her through all the hardships during that time and while we were in London. They were practical and caring—doing the washing and bringing food—I’d never seen community like that before. We came to realise that the church and its parishioners really did give life and succour to the village. Her sister came two days before she died. When it finally came, her passing broke our hearts. She was a very special lady. To this day, whenever we see a robin in the garden, we think of Maria. She loved birds and especially brave, little robins. Maria never complained and never asked ‘why me?’. She coped with all of it. We couldn’t face finding someone to take Maria’s role after she died, but we had a big problem. The house and gardens needed someone to tend them. We thought that we would look for a man who would spend time out of doors fixing things rather than the loving, nurturing role Maria had taken. And so we found Steve. Steve was a carpenter, a local born and bred, who was to the point and practical. He was shy but clearly very able. We found him through a friend who was working with a

neighbour up on a nearby farm. Over the following few years, we discovered that Steve could turn his hand to most things. He was practical and talented; a hard, conscientious worker. We had fallen on our feet. We were a bit worried about Steve moving into the cottage and feeling the ghost of Maria—but it was only us who felt her presence and it was everywhere—even for many years afterwards. Steve happily made his new home his own.

The Viola or Tufted Pansy is a comparatively modern hybrid produced from the Pansy. The flowers are often smaller than pansies but there is a wide range of beautiful colours.

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L I F E AT T HE STAR T O F TH E GARDEN P ROJ EC T And so it began. That was in 2001 —twelve years after we started the business. Tesco had just taken a stake in the business after five years of working together. They bought out our original investors—the media business and the last of our angel investor’s stake. The timing was perfect because we had created an exciting new business plan that would involve taking their amazing customer data and sharing it with their suppliers—in an anonymised form of course. It was this strategy and agreement that ultimately transformed our business and enabled it to become a global enterprise. It came on the back of an almost catastrophic play. The media company who had originally invested in us had tried to float us with a website developer it owned to create a new ‘dotcom services business’ for an eye watering valuation. The bank was on board—it bought the projected business plan. Either that or it didn’t care. Everyone was floating or wondering how to float. They were mad times when profits didn’t seem to really matter. Clive and I were just really confused. None of it made sense. And we couldn’t see how it would all work longer term. Luckily, we rejected the offer and, more importantly, the idea of exchanging our shares for those in the new group entity. Just as well really, as the whole array of dotcom businesses crashed a few months later, worldwide. We and our new corporate buddies would have been pretty worthless with a Introduced from the continent over three hundred years ago the Canterbury Bell is one of the oldest of our Campanulas. The first flowers must be removed when faded.

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l i f e at t h e s ta rt o f t h e g a r d e n p ro j e c t business plan we could never have met. By contrast, the deal with Tesco felt genuine and grounded in sensible plans and numbers. We’d actually already achieved the goals and numbers originally agreed with Tesco and so we could have ‘cashed in’ and retired. But we were drawn to the excitement and possibilities of the future we had invented. And so our long relationship with Tesco deepened and we signed up to another five years with an agreed exit calculated and signed off. Maybe the way we had approached our business, with five-year investment and projection plans, encouraged us to think about our investment in Doynton in the same way— at least it seems that way looking back on it. Both Clive and I are originally Midlanders. He was born and raised in Leicestershire and I was born in Buxton, Derbyshire. We were both inclined to safe strategies and keeping money in the bank for a rainy day—just like our parents did. As soon as we could, we stopped borrowing anything. We only spent what we could afford at home and at work. At this stage, the kids would have been seven and ten years old. They loved the house and the gardens—where they used to dig up old bottles from the muddy furrows and collect apples that they would sell to friends. They learned to cycle and we took them horse riding to a great horsewoman in Upton Cheyney who kept rescue ponies. I used to laugh a lot when they went riding because they looked like giant spiders in their jodhpurs with their skinny legs and big black velvet heads. These half hardy perennials were introduced about one hundred years ago from South America. Although chiefly grown in the greenhouse they are also very useful for summer bedding.

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l i f e at t h e s ta rt o f t h e g a r d e n p ro j e c t And when it was really cold and wet—quite often—my daughter and I would make a dolls house together. We bought the kit and most of the furniture (one piece at a time) from a shop in Bath before painting and tiling it, as well as adding lighting and carpets (with some of Clive’s very timely help), and were truly sad when it was finished. We did the same with plans for a railway track and 3-dimensional papier-mache landscape. Unfortunately, by the time we had created the scenery, we had finished decorating all of our empty rooms and there was nowhere else to keep it. So, it got put back in the attic where it is still stored today. It’s a time filled with wonderful, odd and warm memories of getting used to country life. We’d bought a very old Land Rover for Steve and it came into its own one time in a field up at the stables. A lady had parked in the field and got stuck in all the mud. I was able to tow her out of the field (backwards) and I felt ridiculously proud and prepared for the country—for once in my life. We loved our new village of Doynton and were moved by the generosity of the villagers in embracing us despite our transient lifestyle. We quickly learned that people all around us knew so much about the trees and planting. If one of our trees was diseased, someone would gently point it out at the WI market on Saturday morning. Off we would go to the tree surgeon to ask for advice. We’d make piles of leaves or wood cuttings whilst clearing the hedges or trimming the shrubs and someone would urge that we didn’t leave A favourite old English flower, the Scabious is now largely grown for decorative purposes; the flowers have long wiry stems and last a long time when cut.

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l i f e at t h e s ta rt o f t h e g a r d e n p ro j e c t it too long or start a fire without checking that animals hadn’t made a nest in there. I didn’t realise how many things I just never noticed or even thought about. When we moved into The Old Rectory, we loved the green open spaces. The kids loved just kicking a ball around or French cricket. They didn’t care that the lawns fell away at a steep angle or that the walls were crumbling. The flowerbeds were battered by the end of summer with badly aimed shots and tumbles from the trampoline. It was fun and no one cared. But little by little, we started to tune our eye. We’d started to really notice other people’s gardens. Doynton House was particularly impressive and on open garden days we would discover the secrets of the greenhouses and raised beds. We kept thinking about the joy of home grown vegetables and fruits that we had sampled from time to time at the WI market. And when Sweet William or Sweet Peas turned up in a careless bunch for sale it was such a gorgeous surprise. I was used to the imported bunches of London flowers that, after a while, all took on the same rather manufactured look. Or even the specimen Arum Lilies that framed my water feature in London—definitely not for picking! I started to collect beautiful old vases and jugs that married with my image of tumbling, home grown, garden flowers. We’d been focusing on getting the house right, but now that we were comfortable these thoughts proved both inspiration and temptation. The question was—where and how to start? The answer came with a stroke of luck in London. The beautiful Pyrethrum is a valuable border perennial with both single and double flowers, and a wonderful range of colour. The flowers are much used for table decoration.

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creating ou r dream garden


d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

DEC I DIN G T O TAC K L E TH E GARDEN We had moved house in London around the same time as buying Doynton, literally moving 50 yards down the road to a quieter street that wasn’t a cut through. The house was a difficult shape and so too was the garden, which was very small but wound three-quarters of the way around the house. We needed to find someone who could be clever and imaginative with the design. Having appointed what must have been the worst interior designer in London, his only saving grace, having squeezed out a budget from us and bought a whole heap of furniture that didn’t fit (he had managed to screw up the measurements of every room), was recommending a garden designer he knew of. Iain MacDonald was, by contrast to the interior designer, both brilliant and caring. It didn’t take long for us to realise he saw options and designs that others hadn’t conceived. Thankfully, by this stage we’d left behind the era of crazy paving and hadn’t even adopted the new, very popular passion for decking—neither of which would have endeared us to Iain. Instead, he transported us to a completely new era of garden layout and architectural beauty. Only years later did we work out that Iain had started his landscaping business in the same year we started ours—1989. Iain created a beautiful London garden for us which years later, after no changes apart from the growth of trees and shrubs over time, won the West London front garden award. The design showcased Iain’s brilliant understanding If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

The Pink Precose variety of Chrysanthemum are a hardy perennial which blooms from August to frost. They make an excellent border plant for garden decoration.

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d e c i d i n g t o tac k l e t h e g a r d e n

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

of space and structure, combined with such a keen creative mind. We were delighted, although I felt a bit of a fraud— still not knowing most of the names of the planting stock. After Iain was finished with our little garden in London, we introduced him to Doynton, knowing that if he took it on with us, we could create the garden we dreamed of. He loved it from the beginning and soon set about planning how to manage the transformation of a garden of such surprising scale. In fortuitous synchronicity with our ‘projectbased’ business planning, he designed an inspired set of garden ‘rooms’ to be created one after another.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

F RO N T G A R DE N PROJ EC T The front of the house was beautiful and the image that ‘sold me’ in the first place: a classic Georgian Rectory with beautiful windows and a sumptuous climbing red rose setting off the wonderful golden, soft Bath stone. At some points in its history, the house hadn’t been in the best condition, but by the time we saw the house, it had already been partially restored. The same could not be said of the gardens. With our newly adjusted eyes and, let’s face it, newly awakened expectations, we started to think about ‘improvements’. The layout of the front garden was a story of wasted potential. The house and drive were the perfect example— when we drove up to the house we never actually saw it because the drive carried you straight through to the rear courtyard. And the house stuck out like a sore thumb; as if on a raised hump, not framed by its surroundings. What trees existed in the driveway were poorly placed or dying yew trees. It was dark and deeply unflattering. So creating the first impression of the house became our first project. We began by creating something I had always hankered after: a fully circular driveway that allowed you to arrive at the front steps with a graceful sweep! To frame the elegant driveway, we designed a ‘natural’ embankment that would provide a stage for the steps leading to the front door. The original steps had been quite narrow and mean, so we found some wonderful old French flagstones to replace them. To complement the broader If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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The General is a really good red rose, suitable for exhibition or garden decoration. The flowers are well formed with perfect centres, and a strong damask perfume.

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f ro n t g a r d e n p ro j e c t stairs, we built low stone walls at the edge of the driveway. It was the ultimate in recycling—the wall’s white limestone came from areas of the garden we’d levelled. We also learnt that we love to have a focal point to everything we build—which had to be of the right scale and era. It’s become a common feature across all our projects. In the front garden, the central sun dial took a while to find, but when we did, we immediately fell in love with its simple beauty and elegance. So that was the sweeping central base we’d laid for the first impression of the house, but as it stood on a slightly raised platform, the house and driveway needed to be framed to fit into the landscape in a subtle way. The long stem hornbeams took a couple of years to establish, but once they filled out, the blanket of green created a beautiful tapered screen. For detail, we also planted five huge laurel hedges that have gradually been trimmed into cones. One of them is a little lopsided because of the wind and frost, but adds a lovely dash of character. To add final touches of colour and personality, there are endless box hedges and iron edges, hundreds of snowdrops and daffodils. The former add wonderful architectural strength to the space and the latter add such a burst of colour and sweet fragrance that, even after the toughest of weeks, arriving through the gates in spring lifts our hearts. Going beyond the driveway is something that has been around for hundreds of years: a huge holm oak that dominates all around it. We trimmed some of the lower branches La Reine Elizabeth is a fine free flowering and vigerous variety of rose, which will be much more in demand when it is more generally known.

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f ro n t g a r d e n p ro j e c t but it is the same shape and form as when we arrived. It creates a kind of majesty to all the other elements we introduced. It even shelters the small Wendy House we saved from when the children were tiny—it still has the little chairs, bed and tea set that entertained them for hours and hours. To the left hand side of the house, where it adjoins the village cricket green and playing fields, is an area that was crying out for some kind of feature—even a sculpture. We had been told about an amazing sculptress called Emily Young and we went to see her in her huge and impressive stone cutting studio under the railway arches in West London. Her sculptures use stone that is millions of years old and her carving leaves some of it rough and unhewn and some of it perfectly smooth and classical. We fell in love with one of her large-scale angels. The profile is of a human head with the most devastatingly elegant Roman nose. It exudes peace and authority. For me, it is our Doynton Angel that looks over and guards us. Finally, we decided that the gardens needed to be lit at night. This is the time when they can look at their most magical. The impact is soft and delicate but just perfect. Sometimes, I feel a real excitement when we have been out to visit friends in the village for drinks or supper and we return late in the evening, through the front gate, up the driveway with the house and gardens alight and looking so inviting and enchanting. The design had managed what we’d always wanted: everything looked like it had been there for centuries. It is important that Rose trees be planted at the correct depth: they are not too likely to flourish if set too deeply or too near the surface.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

f ro n t g a r d e n p ro j e c t But that brushes over how much work it was to get right! We had to move masses of earth around to create the shape and the layers that would then frame the borders and the long steps up to the front door. It looked horrendous during the building, especially when all the dead and dark wood was removed: empty and brown. Nor did we always do everything in the right order. Poor Steve was the main victim. We moved the compost bins that he built so many times. On one occasion, they were located in the front garden but, after two other moves, they found their way to the furthest reaches of the estate, which is where they can be found today. I don’t know how many times he turfed and re-turfed that front garden but after severe flooding two years ago—the water pours off the sides of Tog Hill—we decided to dig more drainage pipes and tanks. I know that was a huge amount of work and pretty frustrating. And of course, we had to put in irrigation for the summer months when it wasn’t pouring with rain. When I look back to the photos of those early years, working on the front garden, I am amazed to see the ‘before’ photos with the children so young and small enjoying their ride on one of the diggers. Who needed other entertainment when they had mud, holes and big boys’ toys? But despite all the arduous work, when it was finished we stood back and admired what we saw: the front garden was everything we’d wanted. A glorious first impression of the house in a balanced and natural setting.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

It is often necessary to divide the rootstock into several pieces in order to increase the plant. The rough and ready way of doing this is to chop the rootstock into pieces with the spade.

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T H E C O U R T YAR D PROJ EC T It must be a general truth that when you vastly improve one element, other parts suffer in the comparison. Several of the villagers were kind enough to compliment the new front view of the house. But sadly, and true to form, we now looked through the gate on the side of the driveway towards the courtyard with a critical eye. Few areas of the property were in greater need of an upgrade than the courtyard. In fact, ‘courtyard’ is a deceptive term to describe what it was when we took it on. It was really quite a poorly maintained car park with a very bad fall-off to one side, a very tatty broken greenhouse and a rather hideous clothes line (one of the propeller types!). Despite the state it was in, the courtyard was one of the main thoroughfares. Almost everyone comes into and leaves the house through the back door—how it’s done in the country—as it leads into the kitchen and is the direct route to the gardens, swimming pool and guest house. Yet not only was the rest of the courtyard a bit of a mess, but the back door and the steps leading up to it were a terrible disappointment to anyone arriving—it was all a bit squeezed and stingy—a very disappointing entrance! And so began our next project. The vision for this pivotal area was to stabilise the space and make it look like an authentic rural courtyard should— calm and welcoming. We started by digging to create a level plane. I’ve long been interested in what’s beneath the surface of people— If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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Plant Hyacinth bulbs in October or November in a compost made up of three parts fiberous loam, one part leaf mould, one part decayed manure and half a part course sand.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry


d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

t h e c o u rt ya r d p ro j e c t what makes them tick and how their histories shape them. I never thought I would get such a literal example. As tonnes of earth were taken away, they revealed a large number of old bottles, wartime memorabilia and, most surprisingly of all, a huge Georgian water tank. Not only did the discoveries tell us more about the Rectory’s history, but they also solved a more modern problem. The water tank was almost overflowing, which finally explained why when rainfall was high, we got much more ground water than expected! This is also a great example of how projects can completely change with a shift in circumstances. It was a great tank for holding rainwater for the garden, but how could we manage this when rainfall was worryingly high? Which was, let’s face it, not hugely unusual in this part of England. So we dug yet more drainage pipes and tanks—fixing ones that had broken and those which were not defunct. It was an absolute mess and we found endless manhole covers. It was the real nuts and bolts of garden landscaping— not my idea of fun but absolutely essential. Clive loved it—working out which things were connected to where and if they were important. I used to find him hanging upside down looking at the tank and pipework, before pulling himself out, standing up with dirty hands and a big grin on his face. He loves problem solving in and out of work—and the riddle of the complex pipe system was no different. Once the foundations were complete and the surface was level, most of the work for the courtyard was easy. A cen-

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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Just below the leaves the stem is cut half-way and slit upwards for about half an inch. A pot is cut in two, and the drainage hole enlarged to take the stem.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry


t h e c o u rt ya r d p ro j e c t

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

tral oval separated the house from the outhouses and a car parking area, in the middle of which we planted a huge Mulberry tree— what would be the first of many. We wanted something old, gnarled and quintessentially English. It looked a bit shocked for the first couple of years because it had been pollarded, but it now looks as if it’s been there for centuries. Around this oval and leading up to the back door, we replaced the stairs with old flagstones. The size and space of the new design changed the feel and comfort of the entrance completely. Scale was something I was beginning to understand and visualise—getting that right seemed to be the most difficult and exacting skill to achieving a well balanced space. The essential detailed touches were where Steve and Paul, the ironmonger, came into their own. Steve lovingly crafted the gates, doors and door frames that are set all around the courtyard. He would select the oak and then carefully bend, carve and stretch it to just the right shape. He spent hours in the garage workshop enjoying the smell of the oak—though perhaps not the chill of the winter through which he had to work. Paul created some wonderful rails to frame the steps and we found two huge copper cheese vats for planting between the thyme and lavender borders. We also commissioned frames for numerous fruit espaliers and, although they were something I’d never really thought about having, I realised that they were perfect for the look and feel of the courtyard and couldn’t believe it when the trees fruited after their very To mark out a circular flower bed, a stick is placed in the centre of the site and a string is looped around it and tied to a peg. The circle is marked by moving the peg round.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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t h e c o u rt ya r d p ro j e c t first year. We planted a magnolia and placed a copy of a beautiful original Georgian bench, which we liked so much that we put another onto the front lawn. In the corner of the courtyard, to create a line of sight and some privacy from the Village Hall garden, we planted some more stilted hornbeams and of course the mandatory box hedge! My father Frank, who passed away a few years ago, loved me to tell him how many box hedges we ordered. I always stuck to 3,000, which he recounted with a grin: ‘Really, 3,000 box hedges—wow, how amazing!’. For me, the finishing touches once again created a perfect focal point. We chose an old stone water trough and pump spout to give that lovely sound of running water. Above it we installed a handsome, huge scale lantern light that again looks as if it has lived there for centuries. At night, we often see a barn owl visit the courtyard and fly through to the back of the swimming pool near all the old, big trees that edge the estate. The whoosh and silence of the flight is eerie and gripping. Sometimes, we hear the sound of slow rustling and find a hedgehog in one of the old bushes. It’s my first real introduction to wildlife in the garden (save for the obligatory foxes in London gardens). When the courtyard was just about finished, in came all the white lias gravel—tonnes and tonnes of it. When we first drove in to the crunch of that perfectly sand-toned gravel, it was a proud moment. The skills of Iain, Steve and Paul were so beautifully matched in transforming this eyesore into such an inviting reception and space—it was complete Sweet Alyssum is a hardy annual which can grow upto three inches. They are a native of Europe and make a compact solid mass of white flowers radiating in a circle from the centre of the plant.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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t h e c o u rt ya r d p ro j e c t teamwork and totally harmonious. It was one of the most important things I’ve learnt in business: find the people with the right skills for the task at hand. The cherry on top for me came at Christmas in 2011, when my son Max spent a week working with Iain and Paul and made me a modern version of a (very large) old iron boot scraper. I am so proud of it, especially as it’s the most handsome boot scraper I’ve ever seen.

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T H E C ROQ U E T L AWN So now we had completed the front and one side of the house—the one most visible when you arrived at the house. But the other side had always been our favourite through summer. The lawn was soft and springy. I loved the feel of it under bare feet. It was cool and the stripes that Steve created with the lawn mower were beautiful—it made me feel we’d found our perfect piece of England. We call it ‘The Croquet Lawn’; a grand title that is, to say the least, rather aspirational—it didn’t always end up as parochial a picture as the title suggests! Often, we would invite our friends to a lazy afternoon tea, watching the bees humming around the buddleas and enjoying the children playing in Wisteria Cottage (the Wendy House) in its original location, before it was moved to the front garden. We could also see (but mostly just hear) the village cricket team next door. There would be a wonderful thwack of willow every so often followed by a robust roar from the players. It felt as if we were in the heart of country life—at one with nature and ‘Britishness’. But, of course, we would eventually be drawn by the lure of gin and tonics in the afternoon sunshine, frequently commandeering the tiny furniture from the children to balance trays of cocktails and nibbles. Feet up, chairs at a forty-degree angle and sunglasses on, strains of the Kinks or JJ Cale floating across the sun-drenched garden from the speakers hanging out of the back window. Sooner or later, emboldened by the booze, someone would If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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Using a half-moon edging iron, cut around the worn patch, then slice under the turf with a spade. The turf can now be removed and replaced in the reverse positon, the worn edge inside.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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t h e c ro q u e t l aw n suggest a game of croquet. Little did our innocent guests know where this might lead! It always sounded like a brilliant idea and after so much lethargy and passive enjoyment, we would excitedly leap at the challenge with the very best of intentions. For a while, we would laugh and politely offer each other guidance or encouragement. We even indulged the odd re-take. But as the tension built and some people (mainly Clive) set up a particularly devilish blow or counter attack, our faces would begin to take on a more determined and peevish look. We are a competitive lot and while we are without any noticeable sporty talents or athletic skills, it never stops us from wanting to win. Sometimes I feel very grateful we learnt to work together as it channels all that fighting spirit. But the grumpy discord at the end of a perfect but slightly inebriated day was somewhat inevitable once someone mentioned croquet. The croquet mallets were often dumped in the corner of the garden at the end of the match with slightly bad grace and only put away after sufficient time had passed to quieten our fighting spirit. We don’t play croquet today (the mallets have been ‘accidentally lost’) but it still remains the croquet lawn—a term often delivered to our visitors and guests with a somewhat wry smile. The lawn has truly been the source of some of our most treasured memories at Doynton. There is a large magnolia that climbs up to the highest windows in this part of the garden and the general effect was handsome. But after seeing the impact of shaped borders and framing box hedges, The flowers of the Nigellas better known perhaps as Love-in-a-Mist, are usually a pretty blue, but white and other colours are sometimes grown.

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we began to see that it could be improved. And so began the easiest and gentlest transformation of the gardens. We brought in four more magnificent pollarded mulberries to act as the frame to the garden. The enormous digger that manoeuvred them into their new homes had been around so long it had become part of our lives! The kids used to love clambering all over the digger—tiny against the scale of the machine and the mulberries they were transporting. And whilst they look shocked and traumatised for a season, we soon forgot that they had not always been there, comfortably ensconced in the balanced, manicured setting. At the entrance from the front, we removed the rather sad and misaligned steps and introduced three more generous, aged and centralised flagstones. These were framed with a continuation of the hornbeams giving a sense of partition between the ‘garden rooms’. The shaping of the lawn using metal edges and box hedge created an elegance and containment I could never have imagined. The pretty reproduction Georgian bench seats were placed on either side and framed by an iron arch through which crept a rambling rose. On the far side, two pathways were built using beautiful old French cobblestones—big, chunky ones. The paths looked curved and romantic between the generous planting of iris, gladioli and delphiniums. It was at this time Clive and Iain realised that opening a gate into the wall at the far side of the croquet lawn would create a view along an axis that ran down to the furthest extreme of the 15 acres. In-arching is a form of grafting in which the scion is not removed from the parent plant. It is often practised in the case of Grape-vines and Camellias.

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If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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t h e c ro q u e t l aw n We were all so excited when planning permission was granted. The idea of the garden opening up as a series of rooms but always visible as a long axis was transformational. As Clive and Iain planned how this could work, so emerged the idea of obelisks: a focal point at each end of the acreage visible only along the axis. One would be smaller than the other but otherwise identical, the view of which would be framed by the doors of all the garden rooms along the axis. But they would come a little later in the garden’s development. At the same time, Iain was adding a second dimension— a way of creating additional views across the garden. He introduced the idea of an oval window at the landing stage of the French cobbled path. You are invited to stop, pause and turn to look into the heart of the garden—over the canal which was still to be built. And overhead, a gazebo of fine iron work was built by Paul to support rambling white roses. Again, years later, we would add an old King’s head we bought in a London auction to provide a focus and authority to this area. It could be glimpsed through the window, but would be imposing as you walked along the path and add history and drama to the experience of the garden. Running alongside all of this was a never-ending project to rebuild the crumbling walls surrounding the garden. We kept trying to minimise the work and reduce the budget, but every time we opened up another garden room, we realised the walls were dangerously unstable and bent out of shape. The hardest part was trying to do this whilst protecting the When staking a hardy garden plant the shoots of which are very slender, the best method is to set three stakes round it, and to enclose all the shoots within strands of tar-twine.

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t h e c ro q u e t l aw n beautiful old English Roses that covered many of the walls. Sadly, some of them didn’t survive, despite our best efforts. Throughout, Steve and Darren were busy laying the cobble, digging more drainage (and uncovering endless broken old ones) and putting in irrigation pipes and lighting. I would look on in horror and some despair when the garden turf had been removed (but saved as I wanted to keep that beautiful mossy turf/springy mass) and huge pits had been dug as pipes were laid, broken, moved and re-laid. I remember the times Steve would take us through the plan and progress only to realise that he would need ‘to dig another hole’. Our visits almost came to signal his plaintiff cry of ‘So, you want me to dig another hole?’. Such is the role of the unsung hero! And then we would return a few weeks later—our memory of how we left it dulled by the intensity of work and travel—to see the garden re-emerge almost like a butterfly from a chrysalis. Forgotten was the network of channels and systems underground that made it work. Or at least it was for me. Hours later I would find Clive having another look and poking around in beds or under manhole covers looking at and admiring the pipework. The Croquet Lawn has always had beautiful flowers and a wonderful, ivy covered window to the inner courtyard terrace. We have photos of both children crouched in there like a miniature Puck in a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Which is very appropriate, as the lawn has hosted several Shakespeare productions over the years. Nearly all flowering plants and vegetables can be grown by sowing seeds. Spring and early summer are the chief sowing times. Success depends largely on the correct preparation.

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t h e c ro q u e t l aw n Every two years we had about 150 visitors join us in the garden to watch these everlasting plays. The idea was that everyone would bring a picnic and then enjoy the five-player abridged versions of The Merchant of Venice or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The weather has occasionally been disappointing, but the afternoons are always such a joy that it never manages to dampen spirits. We share a beer with the players at the end of the packing up routine—the perfect end to perfect summer nights.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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T H E WA L LE D G AR DE N A great part of the history and grandeur of the Old Rectory resides in the walled garden. The crumbling walls speak of a garden used through the years by the families of the Rectory, the village and even refugees—children who stayed at the Rectory during the war. After the initial projects in the parts of the garden that wrapped the front of the House, we turned our minds to the most challenging and significant project of all: restoring the walled garden to all of its glory and making the most of its potential. Our vision for this part of the garden was to create four rooms: t h e sw i m m i ng pool the canal t h e r o s e wa l k a n d b o x s e a t i n g a r e a t h e a s t rol o g i c a l g a r de n

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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the SW I M M I NG POOL When we decided to buy The Old Rectory, we both believed that a swimming pool was essential (the word came to be rather overused during our search!). As I say it now, it feels like an echo of our way of working—setting out a target and accepting no element of failure. As time passed, we discovered the beauty of the house and gardens and worried less and less about the ‘essential’ swimming pool. It was, however, always one of our ambitions and, when we were fortunate enough to have the money to build our own, we embraced this new project with glee. I suppose an outdoor pool would have been more elegant and more in keeping with the house, village and countryside, but anyone who knows Doynton knows that it falls within a frost hollow and it is both cold and wet for more than its fair share of days. It’s a combination that also makes for vast quantities of mud: Watery Lane is not named accidentally. So an outdoor pool smacked rather loudly of an enormous damp squib that would be rarely used—especially by a bunch of soft Londoners. We knew that getting planning permission would be very difficult (when is it ever easy?). We live in an area of ‘outstanding natural beauty’, much of which is classified as ‘Green Belt’. Furthermore, the house is a Grade II listed building. The architecture could not conflict with the house (so not too close) and not encroach on the landscape (so not too far). We applied for an area next to, but outside, the garden wall where an old greenhouse had previously been If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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These delicate little flowers were cultivated in gardens in the days of Elizabeth, although many large autumn-flowering and double varieties have been produced since those days.

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built—which was refused. So we applied for a plot inside the walled garden. That would ensure that no vista or neighbour would be affected. Finally…approved. We used the same architects who had helped us throughout—with the house and the outbuilding conversions. John Scott lives around the corner from us in Bedford Gardens, West London—supposedly, London’s last garden suburb. He specialises in churches and rectories and so this project was just up his street: he wanted to design something modern, efficient but which would disappear appropriately into the setting. k e e p i n g i n w i t h o u r n e i g h b o u r s Because we weren’t allowed to take down any part of the garden wall, we were facing huge extra costs for transporting machinery in and earth out during the project. Clive eventually figured out that the cricket ground could give us valuable access to our site—saving us time and money. In return for this favour, we asked if we could help them. Naturally, as a local club, they could think of many ways. But we settled on helping them to build an extension for all their machinery, mowers and rollers in a custom-built garage. This would secure and protect tools that had hitherto gone ‘walkabout’. It was a happy and fair exchange. The key element of John’s design was a sedum roof that sat just underneath the walled garden—touching on two sides and using a small, derelict stone barn as a rustic changing room. The turf of the sedum roof meant the swimming pool

sank gracefully and subtly into its surroundings. The hardest part of the design was that we needed to dig down over five metres in order to keep the height within the accepted ruling. The garden walls, being old and crumbling, needed to be ‘underpinned’ and simultaneously restored in multiple locations. We were nervous that there wouldn’t be any builders who would accept the challenge and also that the cost would be astronomic. The builders we chose were a big firm but local to the area and they coped brilliantly, even though there were many unforeseen challenges and scares along the way. It must have been awful to see the heavy machinery arriving on the first few days—thankfully we missed it. But poor Steve watched—he saw it all. Up came all the beautiful green turf and behind it was left an ugly brown hole that got deeper and deeper. There were months of digging, stone, water, rain and mud. It felt as if it would never end. The diggers were huge. The drills and wall braces for the foundations were manoeuvred in by enormous cranes. We held our breath. The noise was horrendous and yet we were hardly there. We knew that there would be bedrock, but it was shallower than we had hoped. We had to send for stronger drills—there were even more clouds of dust and screeching noises. There were new machines to sort the white lias stone that was being mined. It was beautiful but it had to be moved until the rebuilding started. Soon there was a white mountain made of this Gloucestershire stone—it literally shone in the moonlight.

From ancient times the stately Lily has been regarded as an emblem of purity and used in religious ceremonial. It is not difficult to grow but a little care must be taken in planting.

The romantically-named little spring flowers often lasting into June are great favourites in the border where they prefer a slightly shaded position.

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t h e sw i m m i n g p o o l

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And after the digging, we tho­u­ ght we were ready for the building to begin. We came to gaze at this huge cavern and wondered if it would ever be transformed into our vision of tranquil water and shimmering light? It felt as if it would not happen. And then came the rains. Relentless. I felt so sorry for the guys in hard hats, slipping and negotiating some impossibly tricky terrain. Then there was a spell of uninterrupted rain—what we eventually called ‘deluge day’ (although it lasted several days)! The hole, huge as it was, was filling with water. It looked like a nightmare version of our dream swimming pool. We just stared in disbelief. The pumps were brought out and after hours and hours the water emptied. We lost a few weeks and the contingency in our budget. But slowly John’s designs came to life in front of our eyes—from the dig to the foundations to the beginnings of the curved sedum roof. Each element was hoisted into place despite the elements. It was a relief when finally the roof was on and the work inside could begin. We wanted the structure to show all the stone walls so that the stainless steel tank was a stark contrast to the old surroundings. We were surprised by just how much room all the kit required, taking into account tank areas, wet and dry rooms for all the equipment and essential circulation zones. We built the edge of the pool right up to the window that overlooks the house and canal so that when you’re swimming, you can see it all. It was sad in a way that we couldn’t just throw the doors open in summer, but apparently Repotting is a detail of importance in the cultivation of plants grown in flower pots. Seedlings raised in a box are first potted in two and a half inch pots.

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If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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t h e sw i m m i n g p o o l the balance of temperature and humidity is a fine one. In truth, the winters and summers have been so poor recently that we haven’t worried too much about being outside. Luckily, the well and subterranean heating pipes mean that we have constant hot air and water without running up the fuel bill. The changing room was built in the old workman’s cottage that was adjacent and all but collapsed. It now makes a great wet room with changing stalls. Actually— our guests are always a bit relieved to see we aren’t entirely al fresco. The roof design was inspired by sailing yachts—a longtime passion of Clive’s. Clive and John Scott totally agreed on the idea of a curved roof with wooden rafts and steel ‘rigging’. All the fittings ended up following this style and the overall effect is definitely nautical. We tempered the modern style of the room not only with the fine stone walls, full of character and wonderful fossils, but also with a bleached rustic bench table at the end. We indulged in another of Emily Young’s statues—this time a very handsome warrior who stands in the corner drawing your eye to his strong, aquiline profile. Paul made us four enormous lanterns and we added very tall church candles. The lighting is based on spots both over and under the pool. All down the side of the room there is a glass window to the heavens and you can see the large Ash trees against the sky. It’s just a beautiful feeling when swimming at night, with music in the background and the flickering light of these candles. The Orangeman variety of Geum blooms from June to October and can grow upto two feet. It is a useful border plant, being very floriferous.

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If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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the C A N A L We had thought about a whole series of connections between the pool and an outdoor canal. We even considered a flow of water that appeared to flow from one to the other—including a dramatic sink hole with a big circular stone. But, when we had all become overly excited and imaginative about what we could create, Clive brought us back to reality with a review of the budget. It was never going to be. Iain was passionate about the idea of a canal creating another powerful axis from the house to the pool. It would have been easy to make the canal a traditional rill or stone edging. But he wanted it to look more modern and more sculptural. Creating a crystal clear canal with an infinity edge is not easy. However, that hadn’t stopped us before and wouldn’t stop us now. Once again, we were engrossed in building tanks and pumps and then hiding them all underground. Once again, the hole when dug was huge. The sides to the garden area had still not been completed and I must admit to being perplexed and rather pessimistic about the final layout. Clive and I would walk back from our morning swim aghast at the size of the hole. It was surely too big and out of proportion with the context of the surrounding garden. At this stage, we put our faith in Iain and, in any case, we were massively distracted by work and endless trips abroad. The children were also full on at school with exams and University applications and so we took the easy path. We waited and watched. And amazingly, when the pool liner was If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

The fragrant Stock was known in Medieval times as the Gillyflower, a name which it shared with the Carnations and Wallflowers. Seeds should be sown in March in heat.

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the canal

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

eventually dropped into place and the stones were clad to the sides, it suddenly appeared perfectly proportioned. We were overjoyed. When the canal was finally built, the moment of truth arrived as it was filled with water. It took a long time but when it was complete it looked stunning. Even though it was about 5’ deep, it looked much shallower. The trick to the eye still keeps guests wondering if they can step or dive in. And passing pelicans have spent hours by the side of the canal in the hope that they can grab a fish. Luckily, it is deep enough to keep them safe. Steve couldn’t resist trying out the new canal with a couple of baby goldfish. We weren’t sure if they would survive in such a huge tract of water but over the years, they have thrived, grown and spawned many new goldfish. Iain was somewhat disappointed. He felt that black carp were far more elegant and appropriate. We have many beautiful carp today but they happily mix in with the few commoner goldfish and the mix seems to be just right. One time when we arrived at Doynton in the dusk, we were amused to see Steve’s radio controlled powerboat on the side of the canal. He’d obviously been having some fun trying it out—luckily, no fish at the time.

The best time to lift and relay turf is in September or October when the ground is moist. The work may, however be done throughout the winter in mild weather.

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If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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T H E RO S E WA L K AN D B OXED S E AT I N G AR E AS An important part of creating gar­ den ‘rooms’ was how they connected to each other, especially the ‘room’ that sat between the croquet lawn, the astrological garden and canal. We made walkways the main feature of this room; they lengthened the garden and were enhanced by rose-covered archways and subtle lighting from above and below. All the arches were built by Paul. When first installed, they looked majestic—towering above us. As time went on and they were covered by greenery and roses, they transformed to be perfectly scaled for the garden. You walk through each passageway and suddenly discover a new vista, perspective or statue. The inspiration for the statues came from a book I read— The Savage Garden. It’s a murder mystery set around a beautiful Italian garden just after the Second World War. A young man studying architecture comes to study it as part of his thesis at the recommendation of his University professor. Of course, there is a love story but the garden’s design is central, with the original architect revealing its history and secrets to the student’s newly educated eye. Not only is the mystery quite good, the gardens are described lusciously and with all sorts of historical references and allegories. It is captivating . . . Naturally, our art is more modern and the gardens much smaller but the inspiration was nonetheless energising! And, just in case you are wondering, the house and garden have witnessed no murders to our knowledge. If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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The Hugh Dickson is a grand rose for any purpose. The flowers are large, freely produced and perfection in shape. In habit of growth it is very vigorous.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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t h e ro s e wa l k a n d b ox e d s e at i n g a r e a s However, it isn’t all in the style of the classical novel. Part of the garden we kept was the apple tree with the tree house Steve had rebuilt. It was one of the first jobs he tackled when he took on the role. The tree house was evocative of all that made our home and garden important—it was about childhood and having fun. It was a little fantasy and escape. We loved it and we didn’t want to lose it. Thank goodness, Iain agreed. He thought that, whatever we did, the tree house would stay and become part of the gardens. Today it has a beautiful, new spiral staircase, and underneath, as a part of the extensive surrounding box hedges, two unique modern stainless steel wave benches. Iain designed these for us almost as a piece of sculpture—we wanted something that would shine out of the dark box hedging and contrast with the traditional setting. More importantly, we wanted to be able to sit and look at the garden and canal in the shade of the hornbeams.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

The Lady Hillingdon rose is a result of a cross between Papa Gontier and Mme. Hoste and is one of the best yellow decorative roses, being practically thornless and a most vigorous grower.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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T H E AS T ROLOGIC AL GAR DE N One of the main rose walks leads to the side of the swimming pool. This side entrance looks more like a grotto than door. As you swim, you can see the night sky or the sunlight through the trees adjacent to the cricket pavilion. In this quiet, hidden terrace, we placed an old water mill stone. It provides the perfect level surface for Clive’s telescope and so was rather grandly named the ‘Astrological Garden’. The telescope lives in the dry pump room next to the pool and is fetched out on those wonderful starlit nights when Clive announces ‘there is something exciting in the sky tonight!’. He gets it all set up and then we trek out one by one to view and gasp in amazement . . . well, at least for three minutes. After that, we politely suggest he takes a photo and, as if our role is vindicated, we then scurry back to the warmth of the house leaving him to find the next wonder in the skies! Since creating this garden and place for stargazing, Clive has discovered that the long walkway is perfectly aligned to a sunset on the winter solstice. During the summer months, this area is also a fantastic sunbathing terrace. We can jump out of the pool and dry off in the sun on the semi-permanent loungers. At least, it is wonderful if there is any sun—we could count the number of times we’ve been able to sun outside the pool on one hand. The rest of the time, we are wrapped in a blanket as the sun frustratingly dips behind endless clouds. It is, however, a beautiful and calming spot—whether you’re sunbathing or staring into space. If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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The Lady Alice Stanley blooms are large and full, produced freely and continuously throughout the season on erect beautifully foliaged stems. An excellent bedding or exhibition rose.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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t h e a s t ro l o g i c a l g a r d e n The Walled Garden is one of my great joys. Near the house, we also created a peaceful and protected dining area with a beautiful blue granite dining table. Overhead, for when those rare summer days occur, Paul created a delicate lattice of ironwork woven with white roses and wisteria—a truly beautiful concoction. The only element we frequently miss is enough days of sunshine. Ah, but when the sun shines, looking out over the canal to the pool, there is nowhere more perfect.

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TH E GAR DE N B E YON D — IN T O T H E FAR M E R ’S F I E L DS The stones for all our building works were sourced from the many holes and drainage ditches we dug. Every time we drilled down, up came the beautiful white lias stone. We had so much that we never had to send out for more, which saved a huge amount of money. In fact, many of our friends and neighbours came to ask if we had stone to spare. Using stone from our site also meant that all the building work matched perfectly—it was the ultimate in re-cycling. When we finally started to turn our attention to the field at the far end of the garden that we had bought from the local farmer, we decided to extend the eye line to a handsome obelisk—again built of the local white lias. Steve and Darren designed and built this (guided by Iain); their skill and impact was just incredible. The stones were scaled from the bottom to the top in order to keep the proportions elegant. It took a long time but it was worth it. And inside they placed a memory box. When I heard about it, I was a bit sad we hadn’t thought of it and so decided to put ours into the smaller one yet to be built at the front of the house. Leading up to the obelisk, we planted a line of hornbeams. At one stage, we thought that we would uplight them but realised that the field would look like an airport landing strip if we weren’t careful. Sometimes, less is more, right? In the furthest corner of the estate, near the big obelisk, is a field with a wonderful picnic tree. From here, you have If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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Also known as Indian Pink this charming member of the Dianthus family came from central Asia. A large flowered variety is known as the Japan Pink.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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t h e g a r d e n b e yo n d — i n t o t h e fa r m e r ’ s f i e l d s probably the best view of all. You can see the entire valley and right up to the ridge at Toghill. It is absolutely stunning on a clear day. I decided, in one of my crazier moments, to buy a shepherd’s hut. I thought it would make the most brilliant escape and ‘camp’ for my grown up teenage kids. When it came, it looked wonderful. It had a tiny sofa bed and small wood burning stove. Steve created a hard standing and we placed an old Indian Firepit and cooking platter nearby. It is just sensational on bonfire night, or when we have big barbecues where a huge warm charcoal fire is the main focus. We can take all the picnic things out on the quad bike and make camp—it’s like being in the middle of the country without having to drive anywhere. Yes, I hear you say, a townie’s idea of camping in the woods—quite wild enough for me!!! Sometimes, I imagine in my later years that I will sit up here and learn to listen to the birds whilst writing . . . who knows. I would like to think that excitement is still ahead of me.

The fragrent Violets have become great favourites in the garden and some of the cultivated varieties (notably the princess of Wales), are almost as large as Pansies.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

L ife in the great ou tdoors When the children were still very young, one of the most exciting adventures was ‘deer hunting’. Clive and Rowena would plan an early morning walk over dinner the previous night, hoping to find the local fallow deer wandering the nearby fields in the morning mists. Max excitedly listened wide-eyed to the plan but I knew he would never get out of bed that early—just like his lazy mum! So Clive and Rowena (father and daughter) would be up and out at the break of dawn to hunt for deer as we slept on. Coming back with rosy cheeks and damp hair, they would tell stories of bluebells, wild garlic and lucky glimpses of their ‘quarry’. Of course they weren’t hunting or even taking photos—just discovering and watching. Max and I always felt a little left out when they returned and would vow to be at the next one but then the warmth of the duvet in the morning was always too tempting for us. It was their story and their moment of magic in our rural idyll.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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A quick method of rooting cuttings is to enlarge a drainage hole in a flower pot and place the cuttings in the inverted pot. Set the pot on fibre in a propogating frame and moisten frequently.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

T H E G R E E N HO U S E AN D VEGE TAB L E GA R D E N At one point in our planning for the house and gardens, we considered building a tennis court just outside the walled garden. Instead, a greenhouse and vegetable garden now reside there. I am so glad we made that decision because, although it sounded wonderful to have a tennis court, none of us are particularly good tennis players. I think it would have been aspirational or a white elephant if I’m being blunt. Also, knowing the competitive hackles raised by mere games of croquet, I couldn’t imagine what would happen if our family took on tennis! By contrast, the vegetable garden has been a joy—both to potter around in and to feast from. It’s cared for by our head gardener, Sue, who manages the entire gardens with the help of Gemma and big, strong Dan. There is really nothing more enjoyable than eating baby leaves from your own garden and tasting every delicious, crisp flavour. When the time came to decide what to plant, it was really difficult. We could only work on what we liked eating as we had little idea how hard it would be to grow. Also, we built the vegetable garden before we had planning permission for the greenhouse so that when it was eventually granted, we had to re-work and redesign that section. It was worth it though. When it rains in Doynton, the water comes pouring off the fields from Toghill—it’s like a river runs through it. Our beautiful beds, fruit cages and rows of flowers ready for cutting were just trammelled by the floods. If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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Introduced from Mexico in 1822 this half hardy annual can grow upto nine inches. It makes literally a floss-like ball of bloom, useful for edging flower beds, or as a pot plant.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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t h e g r e e n h o u s e a n d v e g e ta b l e g a r d e n At those times, the greenhouse is a happy retreat. In the old days, everyone crowded into Steve’s workshop to drink tea and warm up. Now, Sue and Gemma have their own happy domain. They can pot and plant to their heart’s content... and we get to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Not surprisingly, the vegetable garden was not just a practical design. In order to create a sense of history and some height, we lifted in (at some expense and not a little disruption) four more mulberry trees. These trees had been brutally pollarded, looking like angry fists brandished at the sky, and we all held our breath to see if they would survive. Amazingly, they did. And today, once again, they look as if they have belonged there for many years. The vegetable and flower garden is often the highlight of our visits. We love discovering what has been recently planted or is ready to pick. It all seems to come at once which is a little disorientating—a life of plenty or famine. Our neighbours have come to enjoy boxes of goodies we can’t consume—especially if we take them to London. I’ll never forget giving out fruit in the office once when a colleague, taking a first juicy bite, innocently said ‘That’s a lovely pear you have there Edwina!’. The room roared with laughter as he went a bright shade of red. I was most surprised by the success of artichokes that grew abundantly from the first year. I adore artichokes in vinaigrette—especially chargrilled. But there were lots of other vegetables including broccoli and radishes, beans that were The brilliant orange of the lovely Siberian Wallflower has made it a great favourite in the rock garden. It will also do as a bedding plant in the sunny parts of the border.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry


t h e g r e e n h o u s e a n d v e g e ta b l e g a r d e n sensational and beetroots that were too plentiful. So we have to learn how to tackle chutneys next. The trouble is that the WI next door is so good at jam, marmalade and chutneys, I am not sure ours will ever make the grade. I do enjoy a challenge though… We now have several rows of fruit cages for blackberries and redcurrants, strawberries and raspberries. And pride-of-place amongst the less delicate fruits are the rhubarb plants that Clive took from his father’s garden when he died. Rhubarb was synonymous with great baking and the Humby’s in Leicester. We think of Sydney, Clive’s father, and the love of his garden every time we eat it. Along the walls are more fruit trees with delicious apples and pears. I am dreaming of a beautiful peach tree, which we hope will be the focus in the greenhouse this year.

Carefully remove a strip of bark round the stem a few inches below the lowest leaves (A). The wound should then be bound round with moss and kept moist, roots will then be produced (B).

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry


d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

HOW O N E AR T H DI D T H AT HAPPE N ? Now that the building work is over, we can enjoy the gardens and all the work that went into the construction and planting. It’s been a huge team effort—and it continues to need a team to maintain it. During one particularly difficult negotiation in France, I was called ‘Le Bulldozer’. I don’t think it was meant cruelly but, when we laughed together about it afterwards, it was agreed that I go after what I want with energy, commitment and enthusiasm. But, I hope too, with respect and an open mind. Negotiations and building a business has been fun but, however much we’ve enjoyed that journey, there comes a time to leave or sell. We did that back in 2011. And now we’re in a new part of our lives. But unlike the business, we won’t be selling our home in Doynton. My father died three years ago—we all talked as a family and agreed that we should scatter his ashes at Doynton, then he could stay with us hopefully through to the next generations. The Old Rectory and its gardens are now a part of us, part of our new DNA. It has the ability to uplift, restore and soothe us like no other place. In Doynton, the bulldozers have gone and it’s time to walk, reflect, enjoy—a quieter and more reflective time for me. I still love a little action and planning—a garden Open Day, the next summer party, or even joining in the Harvest Supper, Village Hall Quiz or Christmas Eve candle procession. Life is to be lived! If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

A distinct and beautiful variety which satisfies the most exacting demands for a good yellow rose. It is delightfully sweet scented and vigorous in habit of growth.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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the people who made it


d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

IAIN Edwina and Clive had referred to it in passing for quite some time and, having always found the area hugely romantic as a child, one could not help but look forward to seeing it with growing anticipation. Arriving at Doynton, I remember the breathtaking countryside as I approached the village; the excited anticipation of seeing the house for the first time. It sat unexpectedly and rather awkwardly on its plot, you could only glimpse the beautiful low-key eighteenth century detail every now and then, through a mass of bad and ill kempt planting. t h e o l d r e c t o ry

The initial brief from Edwina was to take a look at the front drive and garden and make it work better, with the caveat that Clive and Edwina might not do anything for a couple of years as funds were limited. Not knowing Clive and Edwina that well at the time, I can remember the tension of deciding how radical to be—how far would they be prepared to go? As it turned out, there was no option but to totally clear the front, including a hideous Leylandii hedge, and liberate the majestic Holm Oak to form the first focus as you turned in through the gate. I remember an overwhelming desire to not overcook the new scheme—to moderate the new situation we set this beautiful old lady in, but at the same time one could grand it up a little with added period detail; the George IV sundial, t h e f ron t g a r de n

To obtain the largest possible yield from potatoes, set up the tubers on end in shallow boxes in early spring and put them in a light, frost-proof place.

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iain a lucky find along the way, old step treads, etc etc to give the whole thing a time worn feel. I overwhelmingly knew I wanted to plant the Hornbeam wings to the left and right sides to frame the front elevation of the house; these would also create a feeling of theatre. A few years later the Emily Young sculpture was added, positioned within an apse of Hornbeam, providing a focal link between the front garden and the croquet lawn. It was the first contemporary piece to be added to the garden and was an exciting, and I think defining, moment. A hint of where things would go over the coming years. I remember Edwina showing me a scheme she’d had drawn up for the Kitchen courtyard by another designer and not liking it. That awkward moment when you’re asked for your view and you know you have to give it. The key to this area for me was to create something that felt it belonged and had always been there, not a chichi designed courtyard space. Therefore, the component parts needed to be correct: period light fixtures and very simple, erring towards utilitarian type, planting, with a little prettiness thrown in to keep Edwina happy and onside! These were the days before I knew them well enough, and probably wasn’t confident enough, to say no. The Courtyard suffered from a lack of a decent focal centre, it needed something of scale without being too attention-seeking, hence the introduction of the White Mulberry tree. This was all

t h e k i t c h e n c ou r t y a r d

In planting small seedlings, care must be taken not to expose the roots to the air for long: otherwise they soon perish. They should be planted ten inches apart to allow a hoe between them.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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iain

iain

very exciting and the tree was duly imported from Pistoia and ceremoniously lowered into position by Big Tony and his crane. The garden benches were copied from an original Edwardian design, painted in a nice muddy colour, and the whole ended up looking very pleasing. I still enjoy it as a space today. The old greenhouse next to the garages lingered on for another season and the Kitchen courtyard space didn’t really arrive until this had been razed to the ground and the area replanted with the stilted Holm oaks, under planted with rosemary, yew and box.

Later, we added the four black Mulberry pollards to define the four corners of the lawn and the area began to have some architectural quality. Edwina had always loved the old mixed turf that was squashy as you walked over it. The lawn, ridiculously unlevel with poor draining for a croquet lawn, was to be re-laid. In fact, what Edwina had in mind was to lift the existing turf, level the area and relay it to retain the old lawn feel; a good decision and today the croquet lawn has a charming longestablished feel it wouldn’t have had if we had simply returfed. A second Chinese Chippendale bench was added to mirror the original and all started to look rather elegant. For now though the exciting new door and portal openings would have wait, planning permissions had not yet been forthcoming.

t h e c r o q u e t l aw n This was an interesting area as it took probably five years to come together as a space. Initially it was a pleasant lawn with shrubbery surrounding, agreeable enough, but boring, no drama whatsoever. I secretly harboured visions of breaking through into the walled garden, with dramatic vistas to new garden spaces and perhaps an oval portal framing a view. This inspired by visits to Hestercombe and other Lutyens gardens. These ideas were dismissed by me as overly ambitious, a pipe dream. A couple of seasons later (I can’t remember when), Edwina ruminated about sprucing up the old Croquet lawn and borders surrounding. Typically, due to budget restrictions, this was done in the wrong order, the borders were spruced up, the lawn left as it was, a Chinese Chippendale bench was introduced; all very nice and charming, but I was still harbouring my desire to break through the walls and be bolder. Time passed. East Lothian Stock bloom between July and August after the Ten-weeks variety have lost their freshness. Colours can include white, pink, mauve, purple and scarlet.

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t h e wa l l e d g a r d e n Clive and Edwina chatted through their thoughts as to how nice a pool would be, but that it would have to wait as funds would not allow. All went quiet for a while and then one day John Scott mentioned he was working up a scheme for a pool to attempt to get it through planning and a garden plan would be needed. I can remember thinking this was the opportunity to really be bold and get the whole working visually. I tabled sketches with Clive and Edwina and they were met with the normal enthusiasm. John Scott I think felt the scheme was a little overmuch but was too polite to say so. It was at this time that I finally realised Edwina had little or no ability to visualise a deThe handsome Zinnias make a splendid display in the border in late summer and autumn. They can grow upto two feet and need rich soil and a warm sunny situation.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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iain

iain

sign drawn on paper in situ. Clive on the other hand was there before you had even opened your mouth! Mentally assessing the construction issues and problems in a way I still to this day have not experienced with any other client. The benefit of being a builder’s son! The planning was long and dra­ wn out and any suggestion of a formal garden had to be expunged from existence to get the plans approved. For the moment, the walled garden was shown on paper as a charming rolling grass-filled space, with the new pool building sitting within. Not what I had in mind at all. The planning officer obsessed that as little should change as possible, even the new gateway opening seemed inordinately contentious. As the plans for the pool interior revealed themselves it was clear this was not going to be a standard, drab pool interior with repetitive rows of mosaic Mediterranean tiles marching around the rim. It was to be sleek and sexy, shimmering with stainless steel. I, uninvited, decided we had to be far more ambitious with the focal, central canal; this was to be minimalist, with svelte detail and mirror-still water, flowing seductively over its edges. It was to feel more like a sculptural installation—with crystal clear water and lit beautifully at night. There was to be no York stone copings boringly placed around its edges. Typically Clive and Edwina bought into the concept with their normal enthusiasm, this tested only once when we calculated the price to build it. After a brief sanity check the green button was pressed. The canal interior was to be

lined with local rubblestone and it was a great delight whilst digging the canal’s hole to discover that we could use the site stone being dug up. One of the most exciting moments was to see the canal filled and the shambling rear elevation of The Rectory reflected in the mirror still water for the first time, a really exciting moment. The walled garden was to be made up of a number of architectural spaces, each linked with geometric pathways and the viewer’s eye controlled at every point. It was to be a contemporary space with simple, strong, architectural planting, no fussy detailing. The rose walk would provide the only really essentially-English mixed border planting within and was to sit separately as a contained space separated by the planting of a yew hedge, an unexpected surprise when you stumbled upon it. The new gate and doorways entering the walled garden provided a wonderful opportunity to design an estate-style wrought iron gate that would repeat around the garden and was deliberately delicate and low key. There was to be no statement ironwork here, drawing too much attention to itself. The wooden gates would be of English oak and handmade by Steve to give that estate-made carpentry feel. Slowly focal sculptures were sourced, with Clive and Edwina becoming bolder with each new purchase and developing a taste for the original and striking. Today these work better and better as the architectural planting surrounding them matures and frames them perfectly. This integration of the visual and the structural is the key to the entire garden.

The pretty Collarette Dahlia was first produced in Lyons about one hundred years after the introduction of the Dahlia into Europe in 1789.

Climbing roses of the free-growing type are best pruned in March; those on walls early in the month, and those on arches at the end. All old shoots and dead wood should be cut away.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

iain t h e k i t c h e n g a r d e n Over the years this had always been referred to as the Kitchen Garden; yet, after the pool hall building works were completed, we were left with a muddy building contractor’s car park, a banal rectangular space bounded on two sides by old stone walls. I felt the highest priority was to instil it with a sense of aged establishment and some intimacy hence four giant Mulberries were shipped from a Croatian silk farm. As soon as they were craned into place they ticked the box. The rest simply fell into place with a geometry of steel edged beds for fruit, veg and cutting flowers. The coxes’ apple tunnel and fruit cage further enclosed the space. Finally, as the icing on the cake, the old lean-to greenhouse was replaced. Initially this felt a little too smart and was toned down with an 18th century stone dipping trough and lead Georgian sink for washing vegetables picked in the garden.

The longest vista through the garden remained unpunctuated at either end. With the enormous stone heap left from the building works it was decided to erect a pair of obelisks from the rubblestone, beautifully coursed and with a hand tooled finish. Both were crowned with a cut stone point. These took much longer than anticipated and became a labour of love for Darren who persevered through all weathers to complete them.

the obelisks

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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Standard trees must be supported during the first few years after planting or they will be damaged in windy weather. Place a stake near the tree stem and tie the tree to it.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

S T E VE When I first started work in Doynton, there was peace and quiet for one year and then—bang. Edwina and Clive hit me hard. The first project we started on was the front garden and that set the tone for the next eight years: lots of big machines, lots of hard work and a lot to learn. Everything was big— from the machines to the endless gravel that we had shipped in. All the way through, over ten years, the projects have been hard, but good: the end of each day was very rewarding as we could see what was happening, even if we’d spent it struggling through mud. We knew that as one project finished, another would be starting, so there was always a sense of progress. That was even the case though each project would take a long time—months and months of hard labour. But during each project, I learnt a lot about every part of it from every member of the team: about trees and plants, stonemasonry and pipework. It was a really good team—and I met my best mate Darren through it, which was great. The machines would come in during a project and rip everything up—digging trenches to lay everything from pipes to wiring. We found a huge old Victorian tank underneath the Land Rover in the courtyard and it had to be dug up three times before we sorted the drainage and irrigation. The trenching was the hardest part of all the projects; I didn’t look forward to trenching by hand with a pick-axe, which took a long time. I’d done plenty of that before we got in the big machines, which I came to appreciate. The main Weeping standard rose trees are pruned in March or early April by first cutting out all dead and weakly shoots and then cutting the main branches back to within about six inches of the base.

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steve

steve

trench coming down the driveway had to be done over and over. The third time we had to put the drainage pipes in to stop flooding in the cottage: a two meter deep trench— mud everywhere, mud in the cottage, mud in your wellies. You’d take off your wellies and mud and sand would come pouring out (I’ve gone through five pairs of wellies since I started here). Not far off from bringing a tear to my eye to be honest. But every time that we dug, something beautiful came out of it. Always that sense of getting something done. There was a brief rest after most of the gardens were done and then we finally got approval for the swimming pool. One thought popped into my head: ‘Oh my god. Here we go again!’. Thankfully, it was contracted out to a big company. In fact, building the swimming pool was a three year project. I had nothing much to do with the build, just managing the team on the estate, explaining to the neighbours what was going on and coping with just a few hiccups here and there. One dimension that was new to me during that project was health and safety, which I hadn’t really considered before we had the big companies come in. The implications of a large-scale building site hit hard when a big machine slipped off the board and into the ditch. So that was a challenge. And now I know that the more people that arrive on site, the more you need to worry really. I realised how big a project it was just by looking at the amount of stone and soil being shipped out. Clive knew

the exact amounts of soil in and out—Clive likes his cubic tonnes. We probably had nearly seven hundred tonnes of white lias stone that came out of the swimming pool and the canal. A little belatedly, we recognised it was valuable so we learnt to manage the spare supplies a bit better (quite a lot disappeared!). Luckily, we have a lot left, which we want to keep for the last of the garden walls. We’ve already used a lot to build most new things for the garden, including the walls and obelisks. Stonemaking is one of the things I’ve learnt during the years of building the garden. The Old Rectory has beautiful old walls that separate the ‘rooms’ that Iain has created. They’re one part lime powder to three parts sand mortar. We have to add one part black rock, which is for stability but because it also makes it look more authentic. I learnt the mix, although we had the builders come in to do a lot of walls. I could do them now—in fact, I built one or two— including one next to the courtyard. I didn’t know how to do it at the start, but learnt from the builders and then I just cracked on with it. Now the building is done, I can do all that type of maintenance myself. But it wasn’t all just about learning, hard work and mud. We also had a lot of laughs with the team. Darren and I worked brilliantly together. What I didn’t know, he did and what he didn’t know, I did. One of the best things we did was build the Obelisk— which was very rewarding and satisfying. The top obelisk took four months, through the winter and snow. We went

The Pentstemon is a graceful border plant with bell-shaped flowers on tall stems. They are generally a cherry scarlet colour with a white throat.

Verbena are a half-hardy perennial of great charm, particularly adapted for bedding and (when potted up) for indoor decoration.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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steve out there to shape every stone in the freezing cold. Some were so brittle they would break in your hand. We’d have to get off the scaffolding, run back to the house to get warm it was so cold. It was just what we did—we got on with it. Another good time we had was when we were bringing the soil in—tonnes of soil—for the canal. Forty tonnes were delivered at a time. Darren and I were left to get the levels right in the canal garden. We had a dumper each and we had an amazing time. We used to race each other, couldn’t stop laughing, tipping the front of the bucket out, getting back to the pile, jumping on the machine and filling each other’s dumpers up. We just couldn’t stop laughing—‘til it hurt. I was really sad when Darren left after 3 years but I suppose it was a long time to have a team working on the build and Clive and Edwina wanted to pull back the budget at that time. I enjoy the carpentry a lot, because it’s my trade; it’s what I’ve been brought up doing. The smell of the oak as it stretches and weathers and then when I plane it is just great. Edwina and Clive allow me to work it by hand. I could have asked them to get a planer, but they’re happy for me to do it by hand which takes more time, but is really rewarding. As well as all the different bits for the garden, I’ve also worked on the frames in the house, which have all been handmade. There’s just one left in the far corner which still needs to be done! Moving to a phase of maintenance of the garden is both a relief and a disappointment. It’s the end of a journey and, The way to ventilate a frame in spring is to use a stepped piece of wood. Let the frame rest on the first step in early morning and on the last step about noon. Close ventilation by evening.

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steve although there is still development, there are no more big projects. It will be nice to have time and to make and carve things with my hands again. It’s difficult to say which part of the garden is my favourite because I’ve felt I’ve been a big part of all of it. The canal garden is good on a summer’s evening, with a beer, watching the birds, swifts and swallows, come down having their dip, having their daily wash at 5pm. The lighting in the garden is beautiful. It was an absolute nightmare to put in: more trenches to lay wiring and more problems. But it’s magical to flick that switch in the evening. It’s absolutely beautiful. You could sit in any section of the garden and admire what’s going on. That’s where my reward has come from, when the hornbeams are clipped and the boxes are done.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

The chief sowing time is in March and April. If seeds are sown at intervals of a week or ten days at a time a succession of peas will be obtained in July and August.

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SUE I started at Doynton in July 2011. I’d been the head gardener at another nearby country house. It was a designed garden like this one but very different. I remember coming to meet Edwina and Clive and walking around the garden and being overwhelmed by the apparent simplicity of it because of the way it hangs together and the flow of it. The major characteristic of this garden for me is the structural element. In other words, the large trees, geometry and the scale seem to sit very comfortably with both the house and the landscape. That’s very important to me—you can visit gardens that look like they’ve been dropped from outer space and bear no relation to the context of the landscape in which they sit. The different garden ‘rooms’ are also quite varied. You walk out through the croquet lawn and your eyes are drawn along the entire path to the two connecting obelisks. It’s beautifully linked and works very well together. The fruit and rose arches are going to be lovely when they finally reach full cover. We struggle with the roses sometimes, but it could well be to do with the water that often saturates the soil. Drainage from the fields above and behind is a real challenge and we have to divert it from this important part of the garden. I love the concept of having the fruit draped over the arches. Even without the bloom of the fruit trees, the arches still present a structure, so your eye is always guided in the right way. We have no sweeter flowers in these islands than the Lilies of the Valley growing in our woods. Known also as May Lilies and Ladders to Heaven.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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sue

sue

I spend a lot of my time in the market garden—with the vegetables, fruits and flowers. I spent my first year getting to know the full garden and, although it was very cold and damp, the lack of the greenhouse didn’t seem too debilitating. I understand that the planning permission for the greenhouse and cold frames was the last part of planning and building for the estate. But it was worth waiting for! Having the greenhouse now is a joy and will continue to be a joy. It’s amazing how much you can produce in just a short time. In the last year, we’ve had to focus on feeding the soil and repairing the flood damage: it gets absolutely saturated over winter and autumn. I’m hoping the garden will really benefit from the new drainage ditches we’ve dug and really develop over the next couple of years to be not only a productive vegetable garden, but also one with an abundance of flowers and wildlife. As part of that, I really want to grow a peach tree in the greenhouse. It will have to be containerised, with the tree fanning against the wall. I have grown peaches outside before; they are absolutely delicious and small scale. In the greenhouse, I hope they will be much bigger, but crammed with the same flavour! The garden soil is generally very poor—not surprising with the water that runs through it and which washes all the nutrients away. It will be a long organic process, feeding and rebuilding the nutrients. But gardens are not built overnight. They evolve slowly over time so you have to work

with what you’ve got: matching the soil to the conditions and to what you’re growing. Then you have things that just happen—such as box hedge blighting. This year it had spread quite widely and so we were very religious about spraying, it’s crucial here because we have such a lot of box. We have to find a way of containing the disease. Spraying it is not enough—it’s also about hygiene. We have to get rid of the leaves that fall and clean the base of the hedges as the spores are carried on the leaves that build up on the paths and underneath the hedges. So, if you’re not careful, when the rain falls the infection jumps back up and you have the problem all over again. It takes a lot of effort over a sustained period—you really have to focus on eradication and clearing up meticulously. I often say to people that gardening is really like housework. There are good bits but some of it is very repetitive and mundane, like cleaning, where you just end up in the same place, tidying up the same things. But you do get a real sense of achievement and excitement when things begin to grow; when seeds transform into flowers or vegetables. The winters are hard and long, especially in the frost hollow that is Doynton. You feel like the garden is coming out of hiding, with everything in need of some sun. That’s why Spring is so inspirational as things start to emerge. The garden is very beautiful but it also has to work—it is designed to deliver produce throughout the growing season. And ordering the growth periods can be a bit tricky; depend-

Fireglow Eschscholtzia is one of the most vivid varieties of recent years, its name aptly describing the colour. It blooms from July to September.

The Iceland Poppy is a hardy perennial which grows upto one foot. Colours can include exceptionally pure salmon, orange, flame pink and cream. They are useful for cutting.

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sue ing on everything from the weather to the people you are growing for and what they like to eat. Planning normally takes place at Christmas, with seed catalogues and working out how to use the garden to best advantage. We have to make sure that we make the most of those hibernating months. My favourite time of day is dusk. I love the beauty of the canal garden in the summer. The many shades of green foliage are an absolute joy to behold. And I can spend a moment watching the swallows and swifts dipping and diving across the water, catching flies. It is captivating. All in all, the garden brings me great satisfaction—because of its variety and innate beauty. It is also really nice to work with people who clearly love the place and who appreciate the skill and work that goes into keeping it healthy and visually right. They also take great pleasure and make lots of appreciative noises around the produce—whether I pick it or they do!

A semi-circular trench two to three feet wide is dug half-way round the tree (A). Carefully lift fiberous roots when digging and protect from light and air, cutting through any tap-roots.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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J ohn When Clive and Edwina bought Doynton, I’d been working on their house in Chiswick. They called me up one day and asked if I knew anyone who could work in Gloucestershire on that particular type of building. The answer was simple: ‘Yes I do—we could do it!’ The house itself was very similar to the house I was brought up in—I empathised deeply with its history and the condition it was in, having clearly felt the impact of the 1970s! Our first project was to convert the stable into a little dwelling unit for Maria. We then moved onto the house itself, which was a great joy. Working with Lobby Crean, the interior designer, it was lovely to bring it to its potential and character; not just the grand main rooms but also the humbler spaces like the attics. These rooms at the top of the house, the former servants’ quarters, had such a wonderful and evocative character. As ever, it was great to work with Clive and Edwina who would really immerse themselves, or allow us to immerse ourselves(!), in the detail of the choices —all the way through to door furniture and fittings. Already the importance of the garden had been foremost in our thoughts as we converted the back of the house specifically so that it addressed the garden in a much better way. The idea of the pool building had been mooted when I first went to Doynton and once the stable and house were complete we came back to it—the ‘essential swimming pool’! Right at the very beginning of thinking about the swimming pool, we had a not particularly encouraging discussion ‘Stopping’, or pinching off the ends of the growing shoots is an important detail in the cultivation of sweet peas. If development does not occur naturally the seedling must be stopped.

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jo h n

jo h n

with the planners about building outside the walled garden, so we soon decided to look at bringing it inside the walled garden. In a way it was more contentious because it had greater effect on the listed historic walls, but it was also less contentious because it didn’t affect the world outside the garden. We felt very strongly right from the outset that if we brought the swimming pool into the garden, it had to truly be part of the garden rather than another house within the walls. That’s where the germ of the idea to have the pool hiding behind the wall came from. The concept was slightly influenced by aircraft hangars from the Second World War, which were covered in grass to hide the aircraft within. I wanted it to be that if you gazed out from the house you would just see garden walls; so the front of the swimming pool building should blend into those. Yet the building behind it, with a sedum roof, from the outside, felt like part of the soft garden landscaping rather than a building. This also allowed us to create the sense of surprise as you pushed through the anonymous door in the garden wall and then found yourself in another world inside. This magical discovery, similar in concept to Iain’s garden rooms, was the idea the design is predicated on. Inside, we were inspired by Clive’s early comment about his love of boats and their aesthetic to create the nautical rigging and fittings of the roof structure. Developed together with the structural engineer, this tricky piece of design and construction was a joy—especially as I share

Clive’s liking of beautiful boats. This design concept provides great contrast to the visual of the garden design, while being consistent in its use of structure. It wasn’t an easy building or design to describe, so I built a model of it. That was really key for Clive and Edwina to fully understand what we were trying to do and us having the confidence to build it. The planning then went remarkably smoothly; we got the planning permissions without great problems considering all the heritage issues raised by working with and around listed buildings. It was nice that that did happen, as it vindicated the design approach we’d taken. Yet these planning and conservation issues go beyond the design to the construction phase itself. The construction logistics were pretty challenging. To access the site and get the machinery in, we had to make a hole in the garden wall, with a ramp on both sides. We had to prop up a large historic wall and dig a massive hole next to it. There were all sorts of little challenges that brought about many lengthy discussions with the conservation officer. During construction the great team of competent contractors, and in particular the site manager Andy Nicholls, came into their own. It’s easy from the outside to underestimate the importance of having the right team in place to bring the designs to life. One of the things that we thought was going to be difficult was to source the stone for the walls—a local stone called White Lias, which is rarely quarried commercially

Known in the North as the Scotch Marigold the Calendulas both single and double are very popular for bedding and borders. Colours range from intense orange to pale yellow.

Eschscholtzias can produce a wonderful display of colour in the garden when grown in a suitably light soil in a sunny position. The range of brilliant colours is extensive.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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jo h n

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

now. That was until we started digging the hole…underneath the top soil we unearthed a large supply of the stone. So the walls of the swimming pool building were then built out of the stone that came from the hole we had dug. It was rewarding because there was a very real sustainability issue, but there was also a beautiful symbiosis with the concept that the building should feel part of the garden; now it really was. Working with Iain, the garden design and the canal outside followed on from that. At the earliest design stage, the spatial design of Iain’s garden, other than a pool outside, hadn’t really been developed to any degree. Early sketches show the building without the garden context, but after that they conceptually grew together. I’m really very happy with the swimming pool: I think Iain’s design for the garden is fantastic to start with and I also feel the trick of camouflage does come off. The sense of drama going through that anonymous door in the garden wall is great and I enjoy it every time. And more importantly my client does too! (….which is always a relief). I’ve been doing this job since 1982 and the architect-client relationship is always an interesting one. Some people like you implementing their ideas. Some people respond to your ideas. In a way, working with Clive and Edwina was the ideal balance of the two. They had ideas themselves but they were prepared to respect our judgement. I think the quality of the outcome represents that wonderful balance. The Bristol Fairy variety of Gypsophila is a hardy perennial which can grow upto three feet, three times as large as the old variety. They are excellent for cut bloom.

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If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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the garden in detail


d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

garden stat ues We fell in love with Emily’s work when we visited her studio under the railway arches in South London. Her work, always out of stone, was huge and sensational. We were drawn to her beautiful angel, part smooth and part rough hewn stone and of course with that beautiful Roman profile. We knew that he would look amazing and keep watch over our garden in Doynton forever. We later returned to find another sculpture and out of the many we could have chosen and loved with a passion, we picked one of a sandstone coloured marble warrior. He became the sentry to our new garden swimming pool.

t h e doy n t o n a n g e l

a b ou t e m i ly yo u ng Emily Young FRBS is an internationally renowned stone carver, creating large and complex pieces carved by hand. She shows the natural beauty, constructed in its physical history, of each piece of stone. This approach allows us all to participate in a profound way with the planet we all share. Allied with traditional carving skills, she creates a rare and poetic presence, both contemporary and ancient. Emily Young was born in London and spent her youth there and in Rome and Wiltshire. As a young woman, in the late sixties and early 70’s, she travelled widely, living in the USA, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, France and Italy, and visiting Africa, South America and the Middle East. t i m e s : ‘Emily Young is remarkable in that she now stands quite alone in her field, not just as the preeminent stone-carver of her generation, but as virtually the only sculptor of her kind at all, a true carver working with figurative imagery, of any real and sustained distinction.’

f i n a nc i a l

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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g a r d e n s tat u e s

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

m i c h a e l s p e l l e r : t h e g a r d e n s e n t i n e l s We liked Michael Speller when we saw him at a London Art Fair. His style was rather like the elongated Giacometti figures we had recently seen in the press—but clearly without the same price tag. We felt that their willowy human shapes and the strong vertical lines would work well in our very horizontal and architectural garden. We at last had people in our garden rooms.

Michael is a wonderful sculptor, who works in both cold-cast and foundry bronze. Coldcast bronze is made from bronze suspended in resin, and strengthened with fibre-glass. In most cases the ‘patination’ (colour and finish) is the same as that of foundry bronze. Cold-cast bronze is suitable for both inside and outdoor locations. Foundry bronze is hot poured bronze using traditional methods. It is very strong and is recommended for more delicate works. There is a wider range of ‘patination’ and the choices of finish can be more subtle. Foundry bronze will last not only for a lifetime, but for generations to come.

abou t m i c ha e l s pe l le r

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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other stat u es in the garden t h e m a r b l e moon We love a party and one of the things that we wanted was a garden that looked magical at night— like the Savage Garden story I read a few years ago. We decided on an amazing piece of Carrera marble, sourced in Italy, and it was cut for us by an expert marble cutter. Then Paul, our blacksmith, made the iron circle to hold and frame it at the perfect height. The marble is sliced so thinly that the light behind emanates when it’s dark. We absolutely love the impact—it’s like a floating moon that you suddenly see through the covered walkways at night.

There are two King’s Heads in the garden, which I discovered and fell in love with. One was bought from the flea market in Bath one Saturday when we first moved into the area. It now sits above the door into the vegetable garden. Another much larger piece was bought from an auction sale at Jamb. That now has a pedestal and is positioned to view through the round garden window.

t h e k i n g ’ s h e a ds

We commissioned this sculpture by a young sculpturer called William Davies. He was a stonemason for several years. Its scale and proportions are most engaging and we feel that her position at the end of the canal is just perfect—as she creates the most beautiful and captivating reflection in the crystal clear water.

t h e la rg e la dy i n r e p o s e

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

GAR DEN F LOW E R PROF ILE & c ro q u e t law n The first thing you notice as you enter the garden is the sense of order and calm. The imposing bulk of eight huge conical Portuguese laurels anchor the house and garden into the surrounding landscape. Each massive cone grows from within a plinth of tightly clipped box, giving an interesting contrast of leaf size. Symmetry, precision and the absence of colour makes this a masculine and formal setting, entirely in keeping with the timeless and solid feel of The Old Rectory. This is further enhanced by the phalanx of pleached Hornbeams (Carpinus betulus) that fan out on either side of the front door and edge the circular gravel drive. They draw your eye up towards the roses trained across the front of the house. Away from the drive, an enormous old Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) casts shade over an area planted with ferns, whilst the Sarcococca, which line the pathway to the Croquet Lawn Garden, give off a delicious scent in winter. All areas of the garden at Doynton are unified by the use of clipped box hedging, sometimes as part of structural and formal planting, but often to great effect as an edging to beds of abundant, billowing planting. This is the case at the top of the steps that lead up to the Croquet lawn at the side of the house. These steps open out onto a lush green lawn, which on closer inspection is full of moss and beautifully soft and springy underfoot. The space is elegantly shaped to allow areas for two seats, where you can enjoy the scents from the box edged borders and views across to f ron t g a r d e n

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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Earwigs are one of the worst pests of the flower-garden. They may be easily trapped in a bit of dry moss placed in a small flower-pot inverted on a stake.

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g a r d e n f l ow e r p ro f i l e the hills in the distance. Four Mulberry trees with gnarled trunks fill the four corners and a magnificent Magnolia grandiflora with shiny green leaves, each backed with soft brown furry indumentum, grows against the pale grey stone wall of the house. It makes an interesting contrast to the stone, is totally in keeping with the house and must look particularly beautiful when the Wisteria, which has crept behind it, is in flower. The borders are filled with a restrained palette of white, mauve, purple and green, with the acid chartreuse of Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) as a skirt beneath the taller plants. Hydrangeas play a key role in these gardens; H. ‘Anabelle’ with large greenish white inflorescences; H. paniculata with their ice cream cones of white flowers; H. quercifolia with its large oak-shaped leaves providing fantastic autumn foliage colour. This is not just a garden for summer—the spent hydrangea flowers last into the spring with their bleached parchment, papery flower heads. Floaty Verbena bonariensis, with small clusters of purple flowers on wiry stems up to 120cm tall, weaves amongst the perennials planted here—a magnet for bees and butterflies and a delicate, airy filler. There are evergreen Choisya and Euphorbia, alongside Cistus with their delicate papery flowers that last for only one day, but are in such huge numbers that the bush is always colourful. Purple-leaved Heuchera, Potentilla, silver-leaved Lychnis and roses grow in drifts through the borders, with large clumps of purple Geraniums providing a carpet of long lasting colour.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

When staking Peas do not fix the large feathery stakes obliquely, as is often done; it is much better to set them upright, with smaller stakes filling the spaces between.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

g a r d e n f l ow e r p ro f i l e The feeling is of ordered rest­ raint. This may seem a contradictory phrase to use in a garden with over 3,000 box plants, but nothing is overdone. There is a clever use of limited colours and of contrasts, both of flowers and foliage, such as between the silver-leaved Convolvulus cneorum and the purple Heuchera and Ajuga and also between the small-leaved box and the large-leaved H. quercifolia. Combinations that soothe the eye and are very restful; that give the feeling that there are no jarring images and that everything is in just the right place. Two trees stand as sentinels either side of a narrow intricate gate, which gives a glimpse through into a shady courtyard seating area, with wisteria trained overhead. Alongside is a small window set into the wall with an iron grille—the bars entwined with ivy, which seems almost monastic and very mysterious! Secret and inviting exploration. There is a choice of paths to take, each ending in a beautiful metal gate. One runs alongside the stone wall which is draped with Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus), Roses and borders full of Foxgloves (Digitalis) and Lychnis, with Valerian (Centranthus) growing out from the base of the wall. The other path leads, via a shady border planted with Ferns, Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’ with its fine-fingered leaves, Portuguese laurel (Prunus lusitanica), Japanese Anemones (Anemone x hybrida) for late season colour and interest, and ground cover Euphorbia, through the gate into the Walled Garden and onto a gravelled walk between wide grass-verged borders of roses and perennials. In the side-

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

Numerous plants can be propogated by cuttings. Most cuttings should be inserted at once: those of zonal geranium cacti and succulent plants should first be exposed to the air for a few hours.

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d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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g a r d e n f l ow e r p ro f i l e

d oy n t o n — a p o t t e d h i s t o ry

wall on your way through the gate is an oval window with an intricate metal grille reminiscent of a spider’s web, allowing a tantalising glimpse of the garden beyond. wa l l e d g a r d e n & ro s e wa l k Once through the gate from the croquet lawn, the path has wide grass-verged borders of roses and herbaceous perennials and nine simple metal arches overhead. Each arch is planted with a pair of matching roses to create an airy tunnel of scent and colour. There are healthy Blush Noisette, Rosemarie Viaud, Rambling Rector, Paul’s Himalayan Musk and Kew Rambler, repeated at intervals down the path. The borders, perhaps three metres deep, are planted with herbaceous perennials. The ever present Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) links this area with the rest of the garden, as do the numerous Hydrangea sp, grown against a backdrop of Black Elder (Sambucus nigra) and a low yew hedge. Also present, and repeated at length along the border, are Paeonia Duchesse de Nuremberg, clumps of Acanthus spinosus, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer,’ Penstemons, Echinacea ‘Crazy White’, Tradescantia ‘Purple Dome’, huge swathes of nodding Verbena bonariensis and purple Lobelia. Rising up at intervals along the borders on both sides of the path are trios of simple hazel obelisks supporting Old English roses. Mme Hardy (damask), Cardinal de Richelieu, Mme Isaac Periere (bourbon), Gertrude Jekyll, Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’, Comtesse de Murinais (moss), Felicite Parmentier (alba), and Jacques Cartier (portland rose). The path ends at anThe Narcissus family is now a large one, and the name Daffodil is generally used only for the trumpet variety. Plant bulbs in October when the beds are clear of summer flowers.

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If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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g a r d e n f l ow e r p ro f i l e other gate and wooden door into the Kitchen Garden. The Walled Garden can also be approached through a gate from the side and Stable Garden. This is dominated by a large, venerable looking Mulberry tree (Morus alba) standing in the centre of a small oval lawn and surrounded by low hedges of lavender and rosemary. The walls have Clematis, Roses and espaliered fruit trees. The pear Buono Luisa fruits well. This is a spring garden with clumps of Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), white Hellebores, Primula, Cyclamen coum and Geraniums carpeting the soil beneath the trees. Two huge wash coppers, beautifully weathered to verdigris, are symmetrically placed and planted with domes of clipped box. This echoing of plants throughout gives a true feeling of cohesion to the gardens and helps the flow through each of the separate areas. Once through the gate into the Walled Garden, you find yourself in an area of light and space with the sound of gently moving water. It is an ordered layout with predominantly straight lines and a clever use of height and level changes, with layers of walls and box hedges. One of the highest White Lias stone walls has box ‘buttresses’ at its base. Wide Cotswold stone paths lead you around the space. The sunny south facing wall has a massed display of Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ in front, with their billowing heads of large white snowball flowers, and Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) frothing at their base. The centre of the garden comprises a large rectangle of grass with the formal reflective pool at its centre. The box

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

The Pansy is a hardy perennial which can grow upto six inches. Winter flowering pansies as their name suggests are a new strain of Pansies which bloom during the winter.

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hedge, which runs down two sides of this lawn, has a slight curve and rising up from within it are impressive Hornbeams (Carpinus betulus). There are forty of these placed with precision and care and pleached to leave a clear trunk of two metres below the neatly trimmed head. Beautiful in winter and spring with their retained coat of crispy brown leaves, they are even more stunning in summer when the new leaves appear. Hornbeam leaves emerge apple green and pleated, each one like a small fan. En masse, as they are at Doynton, the effect is incredible. And at night, with their shadows cast across the grass by the lights placed at their feet, or in the summer sun, they are truly magical! Wide, shallow steps lead up through more layered planting of box hedges and low stone walls to the Rose Walk. Nothing detracts from the simplicity and elegance. On either side of the path one can turn off into a sitting area with a box ‘table’ in its centre and, on one side, a beautifully proportioned apple tree supports a wooden treehouse, complete with spiral staircase—a perfect vantage point from which to view the garden. The gravel path eventually leads round to the sunken pool house with its green roof. This is covered with sedums and mosses and other small plants, creating a tapestry of greens and browns that blend into the landscape. Hydrangea petiolaris, with its peeling russet bark, shows up in stark contrast against the pale wall and its papery flower heads add interest and movement, both in summer flower, and dried in winter. Although the large white Candytuft is the most popular there are many beautiful shades of crimson, rose and purple in other varieties.

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If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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g a r d e n f l ow e r p ro f i l e A large gap in the wall leads into a more intimate area with a quatrefoil lawn and, of course, box edged beds! Two massive Portuguese Laurel cones guard the corners and echo the Laurels at the front of the house. The signature Alchemilla mollis fill the beds along with Cyclamen sp, Roses, Nepeta, Japanese Anemones and Tree Peonies. Against the warm, sheltered house wall are two cordoned Conference Pear trees, each with four vertical arms trained with such precision that they almost look unreal, but having seen them dripping with fruit I know that they are.

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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Acknowledgements

If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

Our gardens at Doynton have taken over 12 years to create and recording this journey alongside our family growing up and Clive and I building a global business has been a sometimes confusing, very demanding but, mostly very happy experience. We forgot so many disciplines learned at work but instead lost ourselves in the joy of creativity and perhaps a little extravagance. In recording this journey, several people have helped me; by adding their anecdotes, expertise or general encouragement. I would like to thank them most sincerely for this faith and commitment. Firstly—all those people who played such important roles in the design, creation and development of the garden: Iain MacDonald—for his creativity, style and conviction in designing our dream garden. John Scott—our architect, for his erudite yet no nonsense practicality across all the design & build, including the ‘essential’ swimming pool. Steve Ridler—for his strength, skill and honest hard work and for his patience and goodwill in 12 years of hard graft (and a few celebratory beers). Darren Perkins—who spent 3 years working alongside Steve and who left an everlasting legacy in the very foundations. Dan Bawn—who is one of the strongest and most hardworking gardeners we’ve known, sometimes liable to trip over a fork or over-swing an axe! Sue Wakelin—our head gardener with her expert eye, making sure that the garden is laid out to last, to bear fruit and other delights and survive the frosty and wet winters (Watery Lane is not named by accident). Gemma Welton—who brings passion, skill and a ready smile to all of her work alongside Sue. Paul Smith—our blacksmith, a real artisan who created the most elegant ironmongery that underpins every part of the garden. A big thank you to the stonemasons, craftsmen and the rest of the team at both Ken Biggs Contractors and Pentlock who turned John Scott’s designs into reality with care and

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ac k n ow l e d g e m e n t s professionalism. Electrician Neil Trimby for all his work making the garden as magical at night as it is in the day. A special thank you to Andy Nicholls of Biggs who helped hugely with the ‘during construction’ photos. Secondly are the people who helped me put this book together. We got there—and I couldn't have done it without you and your talents. Eddy Pearce—photographer who has a strong architectural eye and who was a pleasure to work alongside, through many seasons and planned ‘photoshoots’. Dennis Marcus —who has been the one who not only encouraged and guided me throughout but who made me believe I had a story worth sharing. My friend, Carole Brown—your plant expertise and discerning eye helped to explain the layout and planting scheme, where I could not! Rod Humby—who guided me with publishing and printing expertise. Geordie Watson and Barbara Kent (and her late husband, Richard) —for their kind support in researching and sharing the history of the village and the Old Rectory. What an adventure it’s been so far—I hope you very much enjoy reading about it. Thank you. Edwina

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If the garden seat is placed on the lawn, not only will the grass become worn where the feet rest, but in the evening, when the grass becomes saturated with dew, it is unwise to sit there for long.

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The Old Rectory At Doynton