Our plans began in 1991 with the clearing and planting of the cottage style garden at the back of the house, choosing hostas, ferns and foxgloves for the shadiest places, while up above early and late flowering clematis mingle with rambling roses. The long pergola is swathed in pink and white roses, a golden hop and clematis, fronted by delphiniums, poppies and peonies.
About My Garden..A garden for All Seasons
(see Open Days 2014 and the various months for more descriptions and photos)
Starting in the winter 1994-5 we began a French style garden with formal box parterres at the top backed by a French court scene in yew, rose arbours in the centre, and lower borders planted with anemones, tulips and alliums followed by an avenue of white regale lilies. The whole vista is framed by clipped hornbeam hedges. Box blight over the last two years has forced us to adapt the plan with the removal of the central lines of box but the replacement lavender hedges are excellent. Meanwhile the removal of some of the hornbeam has opened up the vista and given a new lease of life to the rose and clematis arbours.

We arranged a series of eight arches to be parallel to the wisteria walk; laden with wisterias, laburnum, Robinia hispida, early and late flowering clematis and roses underplanted with masses of alliums, Dutch iris, poppies and later Japanese anemones. The May picture is vibrant, June is delightful with the white roses and end July through to October is delightful with the late clematis and white anemones.
In 1998 we planted a white-stemmed birch avenue choosing Betula 'Grayswood Ghost' with ornamental grass parterre beneath, leading to an ellipse of more birches under planted with daffodils, echinops and echinacea; all backed by purple beech. Beyond lies a wonderful wild flower meadow with suggestions of a Mad Hatter's Tea Party!
We inherited an old fishpond with what seemd like hundreds of giant, dark leylandii. We kept the fishpond, drained it, painted it and created a zigzag pergola to surround it now festooned with many early and late flowering clematis, wisterias, roses, ceanothus and vine. The empty fishpond itself has been transformed into a display area for seasonal containers with vibrant tulips in spring giving way to colourful exotics and architectural succulents in summer. It becomes a kalaediscope of colour as summer merges into autumn.

The courtyard garden by the kitchen door has been made into a container garden and continues to flourish with a variety of troughs, pots and baskets. I like the longterm planting schemes as well as the seasonal. But for this summer we will have a new theme based on plants available to the nuns who ran the hospitium. We know they had established a garden here by1264. It will be interesting to show what they might have used for medicinal and food purposes.
Summer containers in the old fish pond
In 2006 we felled 21 conifers and two sycamores to the south of the front lawn which opened up the possibility of an amazing new garden to the south of the house. A new circular drive is now in place with a sweeping  garden of ornamental grasses, bamboos, and a limited number of perennials including choice plants from Piet Oudolf's latest range of echinaceas. The  autumn and winter tints of the grasses  blend beautifully with the old stone walls. They form dramatic waves emerging out of the slope, rather like the famous Hokusai painting called The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Their is a strong sense of drama with intense inner void.The Rothko garden with two hedged rooms planted to display coloured artworks of foliage using dark red berberis, prunus and beech is maturing well particuarly on the east side. As the hedging plants mature and intertwine they have created powerful panels/murals of varying dark shades, intense, full of minute detail. The aim is to create a quiet, contemplative environment. The western room has never made quite the impact but this year we have sown a seed mix from Pictorial Meadows in the central area and await the flowery growth with great anticipation. I went to see examples of their work at The Olympic Park last autumn and was extremely impressed.

The Hepworth garden is based on her geometric drawing of Green Caves 1947 which we have translated into a garden of ornamental grasses and herbaceous plants, widely spaced so that it has produced a wonderful veiled effect. The feeling of the sea is felt in the dolphin surfing the grasses, the noise of the wind and various artifacts. Monet inspired borders using tall, medium and short grasses with pink and white echinaceas underplanted with blue geraniums. Both summer and winter pictures are a joy; the backlight is fantastic.

1n 2007, we planted a snaking winter garden so that we can enjoy the shiny red stems of the dogwoods besides their cousins with their brilliant salmony orangey red, green and purple stems. They are all underplanted with winter flowering aconites and snowdrops. This area already forms an exciting bridge between the winter grasses and white stemmed birches on the one side and the steely eucalyptus on the other. It makes an exciting garden to watch as it developes and matures. The Mid winter is often a forgotten time in the garden, yet it can be so wonderful at this time of year.

The Edible Flower Garden co-exists right round the garden but a dedicated border is given over to edible flowers with displays of various lavender, roses, day lilies, fennel, thyme, marigolds, hysssop, dianthus, sage, majoram etc. It is a source of larger for cakes, suppers, lunches, drinks, ice creams etc.

Latest changes have been immediately in front of the house and around the solardome. A new peony border has been planted besdies the drive. Meanwhile the courtyard garden is having a change, planted with a selection of mediaeval plants which the nuns might have used 750 years ago.

The Manor House Garden exhibits many 'living' planting plans from my books ' including 'Create a Cottage Garden', 'Bulbs For all Seasons', 'Edible Flowers' and 'Container Gardening' brimming with practical guidance and ideas for both borders and containers.  A wealth of bulbs, herbs, cottage garden perennials, old fashioned roses, early and late clematis including many viticellas are on display in their season. We have a map of over 100 late flowering clematis. Come and enjoy them for yourself!















RECENT CHANGES in the garden here at STEVINGTON
This last winter/spring 2007/8, we have planted four major new gardens!!!




























1. MONET GARDEN We have now planted broad expanses of ornamental grasses in front of, in between and besides the Rothko Rooms using large drifts of miscanthus, calamagrostis and pennisetums and a few small spots of colour to echo Monet's Waterlily paintings where golden reflections are highlighted with pink water lily flowers. Except there is no water and the pink flowers are echinaceas with blue geraniums for water and various solidago, bidens, verbena for the yellows, creams, and purples! For me his golden willow leaves are golden grasses! His art is a total inspiration; I just look at his pictures and feel part of the scene, immersed and moved by his work with light.
As sunlight sweeps across this new garden in the early evening, I hope to capture a small fraction of his magic.

2. MONDRIAN LANDSCAPE The new garden also encompasses the ground in front of the Mondrian Wall which is also be transformed incorporating ideas from his early paintings including the 'red tree'. Athough.here at Stevington it is an autumn interpretation with a red fruiting crab apple as part of the foreground to the wall ie a tree to look past. I have also designed a Boogie Woogie lighting pattern in paving right in front of the wall. The landscaping details are complete with coloured stones bound in resin and LED lighting. Call it a Boogie Woogie Dance Floor!!! The planting in this new garden is growing well, with the path caressed by billowing golden Stipa tenuissima. Only the miscanthus are taking longer to establish but they look good for making continued and substantial growth next year. for this years crop of photos see below; night time is amazing!.
As a result of these new major schemes, the Rothko Rooms and the area around the gingko and eucalyptus trees have become a far more integral part of the garden.






















3. EDIIBLE FLOWER BORDER Another new garden has been added planted only with Edible Flowers; ie an Edible Flower Border to echo my love of growing and eating flowers...no air miles here! Roses, pink, white and blue lavenders, dahlias, thyme, sage, marigolds, marsh mallow, hyssop, cornflowers, borage, fennel, evening primroses, day lilies etc etc. Yummy! Hence the interest of Gardener's World and Sarah Raven's recent visit. My book called Edible Flowers has been reprinted this summer and continues to attract major interest.

4. OLIVE WALK Yet another new garden has been planted by the tennis court with an avenue of Olives underplanted with rosemary, lavender and just a few other sun loving plants.....all very minimalistic. A foray to Malvern Show has resulted in several old zinc containers, silver grey ot reflect the colour of the olive leaves. Should they be filled with grasses or succulents or even sunflowers? Or maybe a mixture ...come and see!

2006/7 witnessed a significant addition to the ornamental grass borders with two more bands of very tall Miscanthus Goliath and Prof. Richard Hanson, planted to create a much more dramatic effect in summer and winter.  Elsewhere in the Rothko Rooms, see pictures below, a new panel has been added representing Green on Maroon as seen in his 1961 painting now at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Lastly, we created new herbaceous borders flanking the gazebo, shaped the neighbouring hedge into a gently ripple leading on from the Hokusai Waves, and opened up the view of the French Garden from the Gazebo by cutting the hornbeam hedge much lower. The French Garden-Gazebo axis has therefore become much stronger.
RECENT CHANGES in the garden here at STEVINGTON
This last winter/spring 2007/8, we have planted four major new gardens!!!




























1. MONET GARDEN We have now planted broad expanses of ornamental grasses in front of, in between and besides the Rothko Rooms using large drifts of miscanthus, calamagrostis and pennisetums and a few small spots of colour to echo Monet's Waterlily paintings where golden reflections are highlighted with pink water lily flowers. Except there is no water and the pink flowers are echinaceas with blue geraniums for water and various solidago, bidens, verbena for the yellows, creams, and purples! For me his golden willow leaves are golden grasses! His art is a total inspiration; I just look at his pictures and feel part of the scene, immersed and moved by his work with light.
As sunlight sweeps across this new garden in the early evening, I hope to capture a small fraction of his magic.

2. MONDRIAN LANDSCAPE The new garden also encompasses the ground in front of the Mondrian Wall which is also be transformed incorporating ideas from his early paintings including the 'red tree'. Athough.here at Stevington it is an autumn interpretation with a red fruiting crab apple as part of the foreground to the wall ie a tree to look past. I have also designed a Boogie Woogie lighting pattern in paving right in front of the wall. The landscaping details are complete with coloured stones bound in resin and LED lighting. Call it a Boogie Woogie Dance Floor!!! The planting in this new garden is growing well, with the path caressed by billowing golden Stipa tenuissima. Only the miscanthus are taking longer to establish but they look good for making continued and substantial growth next year. for this years crop of photos see below; night time is amazing!.
As a result of these new major schemes, the Rothko Rooms and the area around the gingko and eucalyptus trees have become a far more integral part of the garden.






















3. EDIIBLE FLOWER BORDER Another new garden has been added planted only with Edible Flowers; ie an Edible Flower Border to echo my love of growing and eating flowers...no air miles here! Roses, pink, white and blue lavenders, dahlias, thyme, sage, marigolds, marsh mallow, hyssop, cornflowers, borage, fennel, evening primroses, day lilies etc etc. Yummy! Hence the interest of Gardener's World and Sarah Raven's recent visit. My book called Edible Flowers has been reprinted this summer and continues to attract major interest.

4. OLIVE WALK Yet another new garden has been planted by the tennis court with an avenue of Olives underplanted with rosemary, lavender and just a few other sun loving plants.....all very minimalistic. A foray to Malvern Show has resulted in several old zinc containers, silver grey ot reflect the colour of the olive leaves. Should they be filled with grasses or succulents or even sunflowers? Or maybe a mixture ...come and see!

2006/7 witnessed a significant addition to the ornamental grass borders with two more bands of very tall Miscanthus Goliath and Prof. Richard Hanson, planted to create a much more dramatic effect in summer and winter.  Elsewhere in the Rothko Rooms, see pictures below, a new panel has been added representing Green on Maroon as seen in his 1961 painting now at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Lastly, we created new herbaceous borders flanking the gazebo, shaped the neighbouring hedge into a gently ripple leading on from the Hokusai Waves, and opened up the view of the French Garden from the Gazebo by cutting the hornbeam hedge much lower. The French Garden-Gazebo axis has therefore become much stronger.
Wild flower meadow with MHTea Party
Rothko Murals as hedge art
Pictorial Meadow in the second Rothko Room
Laburnum and wisteria arches with alliums
My latest book 'Container Gardening' was published by Crowood in September 2011

For articles on this garden look out for
'Country Homes and Interiors' Feb. 2010
'Homes and Garden', May 2010
'Summer Flower Arranger' 2011
'The Guardian' August 2011
'House and Garden' December 2012
We are also included in  'Dream Gardens of England', published by Merrell in March

BBC's Gardener's World presented by Sarah Raven, showed a special session spent here in our Edible Flower borders, talking about various ways of using these wonderful tasty and colourful garden jewels! Then the filming took us into the kitchen preparing ice bowls, a rose petal cake and various other goodies. Broadcast on October 10th 2008.