Monthly Archives: October 2018

Church Gardens, Harefield


My sister was treated to a private visit for two to these lovely gardens, and I was lucky enough to accompany her.

Kay, the co-owner with her architect husband Patrick, opened the garden this August for the NGS for the first time and received 450 visitors!  They have now added a number of ‘private visits’ to their calendar and this was the first.

The NGS entry gives a really good summary, so I’ve copied it in here:

Harefield’s own ‘secret garden’. 17th Century Renaissance walled gardens on the outskirts of Harefield Village, next to the beautiful medieval church of St Mary’s and Anzac war cemetery. The gardens are the only remaining part of the Harefield Place estate and incl a traditional kitchen garden and orchard. The gardens are presently undergoing extensive restoration having fallen into neglect and disrepair since the demolition of the original manor house in 1813. The kitchen garden has been run as an organic vegetable garden for 12 years with 56 raised beds in a beautiful geometric pattern. Since 2015, two 60m herbaceous borders and one double 20m herbaceous border have been created. Most recently a herb garden of more unusual herbs has been added. The orchard is an incredibly rare Renaissance ‘pleasure’ garden, with the remains of a terrace and unique arcaded wall, which was replanted as a cobnut nuttery over 100 years ago.

I was a little concerned, bearing in mind the time of year (and the rather sad state of my own garden) there might not be much to see, but there was beyond plenty!  I believe, even in the winter, there would still be considerable interest because of the very strong structure.

This is an aerial photo Kay gave me as part of my ‘private visit pack’ and clearly shows the layout of the main walled garden.  IMG_5080

The top right quadrant (with the pallets) will house a new metal framed fruit cage and the area to the right of that, heading off the picture, will eventually have a large lean to greenhouse against the wall at the right hand end of the garden.

The garden has walls on three sides (in the picture above they are the top, bottom and right hand end, representing (very roughly) the west, north and easterly boundaries.

The beautiful wall below is on the eastern boundary, facing west. IMG_4534

I just adored the grass – Pennisetum ‘Red Head’.IMG_4535

The polytunnel, next to this wall, was still full of tomatoes, chillisIMG_4526

and an interesting take on greenhouse shading – a wonderful tangle of climbers:IMG_4528

And, in addition to work to be done,IMG_4530

there was a fabulous display of work successfully completed!IMG_4529

Outside to the two small herbaceous borders, together with their four matching pampas grasses.IMG_4524

Here I admired the elegant Acidanthera murielaeIMG_4537

and the rather more jazzy Gaillardia ‘Burgundy’IMG_4538

On to the 56 Veg Beds and they were a carnival of yellows and oranges due to the companion planting of Calendula (top picture) Borage and Nasturtiums.  Kay gardens organically and is a follower of permaculture and so companion planting is important for pest control, pollination (and it looks gorgeous!)IMG_4551IMG_4548


And of course, when I’d worried about there not being enough to see, I hadn’t envisaged such a magnificent pumpkin patch, clearly at its peak just before Hallowe’en.IMG_4557

Beyond the walled garden there is yet more interest.

Firstly, the extraordinary ‘Organ Pipe Bed’.  The pipes really are organ pipes from the church next door.  The bed is northerly and so planted with hostas and shade tolerant shrubs.IMG_5067

And further from the house still is this ‘arcaded wall’ which appears to be unique in England.  See description the below.IMG_4561


To finish I’ve got two questions – 1. how does Kay find time to work, tend the existing garden, continue with the restoration and read all these books?IMG_4564

And 2. does she ever sit down?


With thanks to Kay and Patrick for sharing their beautiful garden (and fascinating project) and to Elizabeth for treating us to such a lovely day.

In a vase on Monday – Pro tem posy


Whilst the garden (and my job!) continue to go to hell in a hand basket, there are still pockets of beauty to be found – particularly on such a stunning October day.

I’m temporarily enjoying this little posy, picked to take to lunch at my neighbours, as it captures some of the remaining highlights:

Pink flower carpet roses and Prince Edward sweet peasIMG_5041

Zinnias (Queen Red Lime and Benary Giant Lime)IMG_5043

and Salvias (sorry not sure which one)IMG_5044

Why don’t you pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what others have been picking on this glorious day?

In a vase on Monday – Sanguine set up!


Sorry for the absence – we’ve been away for 10 days, and the way it’s fallen with work I was last on the island on 23rd September!

The garden is in many areas looking rather ‘over’.  Sadly, the majority of the dahlias have finished and many of the annuals too, but there are still roses and Salvias and, extraordinarily, lots of new growth from self sown Cerinthe seedlings.

There is plenty of bright pink about, particularly from the flower carpet roses, but somehow that didn’t feel right for this time of year.  I was looking for something rather more autumnal, and struck on this fabulous dark burgundy.

We visited a number of wineries on our holiday in Spain, including those in the Rioja region, so perhaps that deep Rioja colour was still on my mind!

The main flower is the Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’.  It’s a gorgeous flower but certainly very prickly, so not that friendly for cutting.IMG_4337

The Dahlia here – mostly hanging out at the edges – is D. La Recoleta (this is photo from a previous vase as I forgot to take its photo!)IMG_1088

To this I added a single collapsed stem of Gladiolus Black StarIMG_4340

and then filled around with lovely new grey/green Cerinthe growth.IMG_4342

It’s lovely to be back creating a Monday vase and I’m looking forward to heading over to Cathy’s blog to see what everyone else has chosen for their vase this week.