Julie explains that, thanks to the move, the “majestic world of herbaceous perennials’ opened up to them, alongside drought and raising three young children. “I spent a lot of time driving kids to sport, rather than in the garden, so we tost some plants.” But Julie and Craig learnt from the experience and now the garden plays host to a “mini botanic garden” featuring a wide diversity of plants.
With a stonewalling course under his belt and a knack for building things, Craig built all the dry-stone walls using local sandstone. He also constructed
Clockwise from top left Woven hurdles form a screen and arched opening, delineating some of the garden ‘rooms'; the area around the French provincial-style house has been divided into sections using dry-stone walls and clipped Buxus hedges, adding interest with different levels; the dry-stone walls are softened with pots and informal plantings; the use of curved pathways and round beds adds depth to the garden; Cyprus hedges form a dark green backdrop for mass plantings of brightly coloured perennials, making this a lovely place to sit and reflect on the beauty of the garden. Previous page, from left A brass bell surrounded by echinacea, and bright yellow rudbeckia provides an interesting focal point; a weathered timber seat is positioned near a sundial in this corner of the garden. woven ‘hurdles’, which are popular in the UK. Craig uses two UK willow substitutes for these screens -Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra) and white willow iSalix alba). The walls and hurdles create ‘rooms’ within the garden and, with the dense curtain of pencil pines Uuniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’), make an attractive textured backdrop for the plants.
Craig and Julie have done all the work themselves. ‘Sometimes it can be overwhelming,” Craig says, “but it’s immensely satisfying.” They are organised with their watering regime and keep a chart that shows each section of the garden – the rockery, conifer, shrub, topiary, French parterre and rose gardens, to name a few – to ensure nothing is overlooked. Buxus hedges are watered via drip systems, however it is necessary to hand-water most areas due to the differing water needs of individual species. Julie counts this as a chance to check in with ail the plants in the garden.