Guernsey Garden

I've been remiss in not writing about the first garden that I helped design for someone other than myself and that's my aunt's garden in Guernsey. She had an offer from a neighbour to take a little off the side of her garden in return for more space at the back. In the photo the side is the wall straight ahead, and to the left the arch of roses leads to the additional rear space.

I had been to her quaint stone cottage, a step back in time on an ancient village lane, a couple of times before but the job of redesigning the space was done remotely while I was home in London. It was actually a tricky thing as the back area was sloped and the entire space was asymmetrical. Measurements were exchanged over the phone and my pencil sketch faxed over.

The solution I came up with was to put the main part into a circular quadrant which you entered from the side of the house and the back part was stepped into a higher level with a somewhat secret seating area. Tucked round the hedge on the right side is the kitchen door, where you get the full effect of the view - circular raised bed and a glimpse of what is beyond the rose arch.

Apart from a few suggestions that were more architectural like planting Ceanothus on the side wall the planting scheme was decided on by my aunt and another gardener friend with a general guideline that it should be 'cottagey'. Sadly I've never seen the finished result in person having moved to the US shortly after, but a couple of years ago she sent me some photos of the now fully mature garden and I have to say it looks pretty good. I did envision something a little taller in the raised bed at the entrance so it would be more of a surprise when you stepped into the space, but I can also see how a clearer view might also be more inviting.

Coincidentally the other garden I've been commissioned to design, the one in Mamaroneck is similarly a raised bed cottage type stone wall design. Although these cottage gardens feel like a hazy memory here in the sunny tropics, thanks to facebook, every time my cousin visits Guernsey and posts photos I'm right back there - like this one on the left of tulips in spring. 

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