Walled Cottage Garden, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, UK
The creation of a stunning walled cottage garden for a large country house
A stunning walled cottage garden. Set within beautiful countryside, the clients of this country house want to turn an unused and unproductive part of their garden into a secret walled garden. An existing wall, presumably dating back to the 1800s has 2 sides missing, so the first step is to locate reclaimed bricks for an additional wall, while the remaining side is planted with a mixed native hedge. The clients want to attract wildlife into the garden and after discussions it is decided to leave one of the sides as a natural ‘wall’, so that hedgehogs, foxes and rabbits could access the garden, as well as birds and pollinators. In order to achieve a look so that the garden seemed to always be there, pathways have been kept simple with grass. Large borders fill the rest of the space. One of the walls has a wooden gate, while another a simple archway, which leads onto another part of the garden. The clients are keen to create a cottage garden with reclaimed materials and reclaimed furniture. Climbers, such as honeysuckle, clematis and rose are used to soften some of the walls and to provide nesting spots for birds. Planting is loose, colourful and primarily picks up on colours found in the wall. Seating in the garden is important, so seats are positioned on brick paviours, with views across the garden – the seats becoming focal points within the space, drawing you into the planting. Inside the walled garden the only noises you can hear are birds, bees and the wildlife. Using a hedge for one of the ‘walls’ means that air flow is still maintained. In places the mortar was loose, so rather than re-pointing plants and moss are planted to create the lived-in feel that the client is after.