I visited Pasture Farm, near Moreton-in-Marsh in the early evening. It is not a good time for photography, the light plays tricks and deepening shadows are difficult to avoid.
However it was lovely to see this fun garden which has been created and has evolved around a working farm over the past thirty years. Divided into a number of informal little areas, imaginative topiary pops up throughout the garden; these having not been bought ready-made but have been lovingly clipped into shape over time and often from a chance seedling.
Hare we are! Sitting up magnificently either side of the front door with the wisteria climbing the wall behind.
The hen appears to be looking in at the window,
and there at the bottom of the garden in the making is an elephant with a swinging step.
Spirals and all sorts of shapes appear randomly in the borders, maybe an onion?
Birds are not all made from topiary, these crested metallic guys are keen to head for the pond. Being a working farm there is plenty of noise from our real feathered friends; chickens, bantams and ducks wander about freely.
In the garden is a derelict cottage. It reminds me of a centre piece in a Chelsea Show garden, but less fussy and unpretentious it provides structure for climbing roses and honeysuckle.
Whilst inside there is a gravelled mediterranean herb garden,
and the next door room is just the perfect place to dine.
Hedges are clipped tall and formally
or low, characterfully and smoothly,
and even lower, neatly and finely.
Box even skirts round the feet of the pretty apple trees.
There is a relaxed feel to the garden and pheasant eye narcissi are still in flower, growing in the long grass.
Areas are divided not only by hedges but also old walls; the gateway frames the view of the large copper pot filled with water and placed by the willow-leaved pear pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’.
Some plants grow big and architectural such as rheum palmatum ‘Atrosanguineum’.
Whilst others such as the maianthemum racemosum (formerly, confusingly, called smilacena racemosa) have a delicate scent.
A sumptuous mix of tulips give a jolly display.
and this Ceanothus looks attractive in the evening light against the crumbling Cotswold stone on the corner of the house.
A montana clematis climbs and tumbles on to the yew hedge
which has a window through which you can look and view the orchard beyond.
Jane is pleased with her new glasshouse where there is a massive industry of plant propagation. These will supply the plant stall at the Open Days which last year generated over £3,000.
In the farmyard are the steps up to the room where my niece lives and writes. She admits she is no gardener, but she certainly has the enviable skill of a writer and it is from here that great pieces of work for publication on eventing, hunting and all things equine are quietly created.
Vine and clematis eagerly compete to climb up the steps.
Across the other side of the yard angelica, euphorbia and rosemary provide a splash of green by a rusty old tank.
The barn has been converted into a modern living space and Jane is enclosing the area with hornbeam and cleverly softening the hard concrete with a variety of planting.
Beyond is a small meadow packed with wild flowers that will look a picture when the garden is open on Sunday and Monday of the Bank Holiday weekend. Just out of sight is a working vegetable garden.
This is an informal country garden, which has unfolded over the years. It epitomises to me an NGS garden; privately owned, a family home and lovingly cared for by the owners themselves. A plethora of home-grown plants will be for sale and home-made teas will be served. With a choice of two days it is surely one that should not be missed. The LLoyds will nobly be opening Pasture Farm on Sunday 28th and Monday 29th May from 11am – 6pm.