xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' Karen Wagner garden & design: Pettifers and Barnsley House

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Pettifers and Barnsley House

We were lucky enough today to go and visit a private garden that we had arranged sometime ago.  Just a smallish garden in a little stone country village out the back of nowhere.
Mind you, it does have its own full time gardener...(gardeners are paid a pittace here it seems)  and its probably about 2 1/2 X the size of a normal suburban block in Hobart or anywhere in Australia really.  So not exactly a normal size garden.  But a size that is interesting and manageable and 'real'.  Its very much an individuals garden and well loved and thought about.  There were lovely plantings and little surprises that made it special and it was used and enjoyed as a garden. 
It was very pleasant to go to a garden that is lived in and on a relatively realistic scale.
It has appeared in Gardens Illustrated and other magazines a few times and the pictures all look lovely and it lived up to that expectation delightfully.
The gardener, Polly, took us under her wing and took us around the garden and answered lots of questions for us.  We have been accumulating gardening and plant species questions, so it was lovely to talk to someone in the know who could answer everything for us.

We were truly delighted and could see easily how we could go home and accomplish this with ease.

On our way yesterday we also stopped into Barnsley House, the ex home of the late well known gardener and garden writer, Rosemary Verey.  I had read Rosemary Verey books when I first started designer gardens, mainly because the pictures of planting plans were so lovely rendered in watercolours and also gave very clear names and ideas.
Rosemary Verey died in 2001, and the house became a country house hotel in 2003 and recently changed hands again.  The gardens have been kept more or less as she planned them and I remember much of the concepts and ideas from reading her books.
It is a delightful old pile of a house made of local stone and the gardens are superb.  To come here to stay in a lovely country upmarket English hotel would be lovely.  They also offer lots of classes and weekend events to do with the garden, so it is nice to see her spirit being preserved.
I spoke briefly with one of the gardeners and he tolde me that while the garden continues to evolve, the essence of how it was put together is kept as it is timeless and works beautifully.
She was ahead of her time and has managed to design and execute some complicated plantings and have them survive as a classic timeless and ongoing garden.   She was also in great demand to assist others with their gardens and we saw an example of one of her gardens she did for Prince Charles at Highgrove.


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