The garden of the Edwardian house Norney Wood in Surrey, has recently been revamped and was opened last weekend through the National Garden Scheme.
The Formal Water Garden
The lay-out of the garden has a strong structure of paths and steps linking the different areas of the garden together, and there’s a pleasing balance of paving, planted borders and lawn, though the planting is very recent and needs to time to mature to really fulfill it’s role.
The original garden was strongly influenced by Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), who lived at Munstead Wood in nearby Godalming. Miss Jekylls’ love of traditional crafts, attention to detail and use of local materials is evident through-out the garden.
Gertrude Jekyll is perhaps best known as a plantswomen, particularly for her colour combinations, but her planting is always contained in a strong structure of paths, walls and buildings. Her planting plans are well integrated into the design, not added as an ornamental afterthought. The * pleached lime trees forming an allee down one side of the lawn are a good example of this.
Pleached lime trees
The choice of plants is quite traditional, masses of lavenders contained in neat box hedging, lots of *herbaceous perennials. The roses are from David Austin and include Winchester Cathedral, The Generous Gardener, which has a most intoxicating scent and was aptly named for the National Garden Scheme, Eglantyne and of course Gertrude Jekyll.
My garden shares the same type of sandy, well-drained soil and is just down the road from Munstead Wood, so I’d love to visit the garden again in a couple of years to see how the plants, particularly the roses, have developed.
As well as being a lovely way to spend a summer afternooon, visiting a garden can also be a great opportunity to pick up some tips that you could use in your own garden.
- Notice what plant shapes looked good together and how they were used to create the right composition.
- How close together were they planted?
- What did the hard landscape (paving, walls, paths etc) look like?
- You may notice that just a few different types of materials were used and if it’s been done well they will be relevant to the area, i.e. chalk and flint in areas with alkaline soil and sand-stone in garden with sandy well-drained soil.
- Take photos and have a good look at them later, it’s surprising how much detail can be missed when there’s so much else to grab your attention.
Can you recommend any gardens to visit this summer?
*pleached trees: these look like hedges on stilts, the trunk is clear for about 1-2 metres, allowing glimpses through, and the branches are held on a frame and pruned into a hedge rather than forming a wide canopy.
*herbaceous perennials: these type of plants usually die back in winter, but emerge again the following year.
all images: Jill Anderson