CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hertfordshire Life today CLICK HERE

Gardening: Inspired by the wild

PUBLISHED: 12:23 21 July 2015 | UPDATED: 12:23 21 July 2015

The garden has many layers of planting

The garden has many layers of planting

Archant

In the North Herts village of Breachwood Green, a pretty 17th-century cottage has a very unusual collection of plants, landscaping and containers inspired by wilder parts of the UK and our gardening heritage. Philippa Pearson visits

Vintage garden tools on displayVintage garden tools on display

‘Most gardens have a lawn,’ says Melvin Gore as we enter the rear garden of the charming 17th century cottage in Breachwood Green where he lives with wife Maureen, ‘But after a while we didn’t want that, we wanted something that would show off the plants.’ 
Their planting space is little more than a quarter of an acre including the front garden, but it delivers a surprise for the amount and different types of plants and the landscaping. The couple, who were both born in the village, moved to the cottage some 40 years ago. ‘We were living in a nearby village but knew this cottage quite well,’ explains Gore, ‘and as soon as it came up for sale, we bought it and moved back.’ The cottage, however, was practically derelict and hadn’t been lived in for four years. There was a great deal of work to do inside, so the garden took a back seat for a while. The ‘garden’ wasn’t actually a place for plants, though: ‘It was full of sheds,’ Gore recalls. ‘Every inch was taken up by sheds and there were no plants anywhere.’

Once the house was habitable, he set about removing the structures and making a garden. At first, there was an area of lawn as the couple had young children and then a small pond was added. As the couple became more interested in gardening, browsing nurseries and visiting horticultural shows, they soon started to add more plants and borders to the space.

Another hobby is walking, particularly in Scotland and the Peak District and this is where the inspiration for their present garden came. ‘The landscape of the Peaks and Scotland with its rocks and water was something we wanted to bring to our garden,’ Gore explains. More than five tonnes of Westmorland stone was brought in to create a stunning landscape and backdrop for the planting. Some areas are planted up as alpine beds or miniature rock gardens while others shape the contours of the garden, giving height as well as depth. The original small pond was enlarged, now stocked with plenty of fish, and a ravine, complete with bridge, was added to emulate the rocky hilly terrain of the couple’s much-loved rambling territory. A further smaller pond and stream were also added. Bases of some of the sheds that once covered the garden have been creatively recycled into raised scree beds which make for unexpected planting delights as you wander around the garden exploring its many hidden aspects. Some of the original brick paths remain, and the outside privy is now the potting shed.

The greenhouse is full of plants and seedlings in various stages of growth and there’s a fine collection of pelargoniums. Maureen collects these pretty geraniums, which offer interesting leaf shape and markings, often fragrant foliage and delicate flowers, and displays them in areas of the garden as well as in the conservatory. Dahlias, stored in one of the remaining sheds over the winter, get started off in spring in the greenhouse and create a stunning display in the front garden, particularly the deep red Bishop of Llandaff with its dark foliage and luminous flowers. The front garden is typically that of a traditional cottage garden with masses of different plants enjoying the sunny aspect and creates a wow factor as you pass by on foot or car.

Dicentra spectabilis, Bleeding Heart, in the garden during late springDicentra spectabilis, Bleeding Heart, in the garden during late spring

Intermingled in both the front and back gardens are interesting and carefully-placed agriculture and gardening items from years gone by. It turns out that both the Gores have enjoyed collecting not only plants for the past 40 years, but also vintage garden tools and machinery.

A large shed houses an extensive range of these and walls are lined with rows upon rows of secateurs, trowels and other garden tools, large and small. One of Gore’s favourites is a double hedging machine which was used in its heyday by two gardeners to cut neat hedges on grand estates.

The collection is fascinating - you can trace the development of how some tools have changed over the centuries. The use of larger items such as stone sinks turned into alpine toughs or rain hoppers used as wall containers in the garden is a fun and quirky touch.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hertfordshire visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hertfordshire staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hertfordshire account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

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