CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hertfordshire Life today CLICK HERE

A garden for all seasons

PUBLISHED: 01:16 14 June 2011 | UPDATED: 19:33 20 February 2013

An array of vibrant pots add colour near the house

An array of vibrant pots add colour near the house

A windy exposed garden at Standon has been lovingly created into a mixture of formal and informal areas. Philippa Pearson enjoys a tour around Bromley Hall garden...

When we first moved here nearly 50 years ago, says Edwina Robarts, there was nothing in the garden except the borders near the drive.
Situated on a high point in Hertfordshire, the four and a half acre garden at Bromley Hall was mostly open fields and paddocks; putting in some shelter from the continuous wind was essential. Edwina and husband Julian planted yew and beech hedges as 12-15inch plants, now established as mature hedges, and built walls and planted trees to protect the garden.

The kitchen garden is very much Julians domain and he grows all the vegetables from seed and also looks after the fruit trees

New planting schemes developed and Edwina has chosen plants that can cope with the light, sandy, gravelly and fast draining soil.

The soil is good for Mediterranean style plants but vegetables and other produce dont cope so well in the kitchen garden. We eventually put a watering system in for the vegetables which uses water from our own well.
The kitchen garden is very much Julians domain and he grows all the vegetables from seed and also looks after the fruit trees and soft fruit.

He has very skilfully pruned the apple trees in the orchard to a lovely open goblet shape, good for letting air circulate which helps with natural pest and disease control.

Edwinas great aunt was Heather Muir who created the celebrated Kiftsgate garden in the Cotswolds and Edwina has inherited her green fingers. She has chosen plants and border schemes that are a delight to the eyes and senses, mixing traditional and contemporary planting schemes.

Plants for year-round interest and wide grass pathways with viewpoints feature throughout the garden and there are lots of places to sit and enjoy the vistas and planting. In the woodland area trees with good autumn colour include the red oak, Quercus robur, lots of maples Acer platanoides Cleveland which has an attractive dome shape and Acer platanoides Crimson King whose burgundy foliage turns crimson in autumn and a good selection of Ash, Fraxinus which also has glorious colour later in the year. Theres also a grove of 25 silver birch trees given to the couple by Julians mother to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

A part enclosed walled garden area near the house shelters a range of colourful bulbs, shrubs, roses and perennials and just near this is what Edwina calls her Yellow Border.

I seemed to have lots of yellow plants spread throughout the garden, says Edwina, and I decided they would work better all together in one border, so I moved them here.

This was several years before Hot Borders became a trendy garden feature. The old tennis court is now a petanque area and Edwina has created a modern contemporary garden surrounding this with raised sleeper beds and tall lollipop shaped Ligustrum lucidum. A Kiftsgate rose, a nod to Edwinas great aunt, rambles through an old apple tree nearby.
The sweeping gravel entrance drive has a mixed border planted for year-long interest. Clipped box balls add evergreen structure whilst Cordateria richardii, grown from cuttings taken from a relatives home in Scotland, provides elegant plumes throughout winter. Tulips give colour in spring, followed by roses, geranium, allium and Stachys byzantina. Autumn colour is provided by dahlias, salvia and Michaelmas daisies.

Edwina and Julian have been opening their garden to visitors for over 30 years, the last ten for the National Gardens Scheme of which Edwina was the County Organiser for Hertfordshire and she is now on the Council of Trustees for the East Anglia area.

Walking around the garden, there are lots of plants that have been given to Edwina and Julian or planted by friends and family. Its like meeting old friends every time I come out in the garden, says Edwina, admiring mature trees and shrubs grown from seed and once young plants, all donated over the years. This charming garden is well worth a visit to enjoy the wealth of ideas and inspiration.

RHS Silver-Gilt medal winner Philippa Pearson is a garden designer and professional horticulturalist, awarded Peoples Choice Award for Best Show Garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2010. Visit or contact her on 01767 651253


More from Homes & Gardens

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Listed for its architectural and historical importance, this mansion is for sale through Strutt and Parker

Read more
November 2018
Monday, October 8, 2018

A 16th century farmhouse gave a father and daughter the chance to both fulfil childhood dreams

Read more
October 2018
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Nine bedroom Georgian country house for sale

Read more
September 2018
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Ten years in the making, this remarkable home in the former orchard of St Albans Cathedral is as bespoke as a property can be. It had Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud reeling

Read more
September 2018
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

How to tackle one of the most invasive plant species in the UK has resulted in innovative solutions, writes Charlotte Hussey of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Read more
August 2018

Owned by the same family for generations on the historic Moor Place estate at Much Hadham, Yew Tree House and its current remarkable owner are full of stories

Read more
August 2018
Monday, July 30, 2018

Buy a raffle ticket and you could be the owner of your own manor house

Read more
August 2018

In an idyllic little world of its own, inspirational eco-home Thrift Cottage in Burnham Green shows that living with nature can come, well, naturally

Read more
July 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search