Garden History

Charingworth Court, part Tudor (1650) and part Georgian (early 1800s) is a house that has seen much redesigning and rebuilding and several names over the centuries.  There are many mature trees around the garden but most of the planting and landscaping has been done by the present owners since 1996.  The plans have evolved over time but much of the present garden was in our minds at the start.  The walled garden is next to the Tudor end of the house.  It needed 10 lorry loads of topsoil but once laid out with raised beds and paths it has developed into a mixture of productive vegetable garden with lavender borders, and climbing rose and clematis pillars.

We grow potatoes, runner and french beans, courgettes and summer and winter squashes, tomatoes, sweetcorn, lettuce, outdoor cucumbers, parsley and chives.  In a good year we have pears and raspberries, black and red currants and blackberries.

On the other side of the house, we have a traditional lawn (laid as a football field for our 3 boys) and mixed borders with perennials, shrubs and trees.  On the west boundary, we have a mixed native hedge planted at the top of a slope which gives the garden real privacy. Immediately outside the front of the house we have a large, Japanese inspired pond with bridge and beach, full of irises and water lilies and teeming with wildlife especially newts.  The pond comes close to the house and was designed so that when the sun shines, the water reflections ripple on the ceilings inside the house.  We also have a bog garden, resplendent in spring with candelabra primulas and a small Japanese garden with tea house, cherry trees, bamboo and bridge. On foot, the house is approached up a shaded woodland path with snowdrops, daffodils and thousands of primroses.

We are almost completely organic, spraying only the paths when necessary and we maintain the garden ourselves which explains any weeds that you may see!  We make large amounts of compost in various parts of the garden.  There are areas at the end of the garden left wild and long grass  and nettles in places for the wildlife.  We love hearing the owls at night and knowing that whilst we sleep, the garden no longer belongs to humans but to the many animals that inhabit it. We know that from all the footprints on and around the pond during the winters when we have had very heavy snow.

The garden gives us huge pleasure and helps keep us fit and healthy – without doubt it is one of my greatest pleasures in life and I feel priviledged to look after it.


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