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Cleave Hill

Penny Pritchard has designed a garden with winter in mind, 'I've included a lot of year round structure and contrasting textures like solid box balls against the twiggy bare stems of acers.'


GAP Photos/Carole Drake - Design: Penny Pritchard

Feature No:   3872 

Qty of Images:    66 


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Around a thatched farmhouse on a hillside near Axminster in east Devon is a garden that exemplifies one of Penny Pritchard's strongly held views on garden design: 'Winter is a hugely important season so I've included a lot of year round structure and contrasting textures like solid box balls against the twiggy bare stems of acers.' Cleave Hill is home to Penny and husband Andy, and after designing her own plot so brilliantly Penny now designs gardens for other people as part of her brother's landscaping business. Andy, a stone mason by profession, restored walls, repaired the dilapidated outbuildings, built retaining walls where ground had been excavated around the new extension at the back of the house, and laid paving to create a sheltered, sunken courtyard that Penny planted with a mix of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees. At its centre is Robinia pseudoacacia 'Twisty Baby', 'a nice winter tree with pretty contorted twigs', that rises from a carpet of creeping thymes. Around the edge of the courtyard the deep, glossy purple leaves of Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb' rub shoulders with the bold glaucous, serrated foliage of borderline hardy shrub Melianthus major, enjoying an extended life in its protected spot. Rosa Pink Flower Carpet = 'Noatraum' also benefits from shelter here, continuing to produce its dainty flowers until the hardest frosts. In spite of its country setting the garden features light touches of formality like the box spheres edging the path that leads into the garden, interspersed by deep crimson heucheras and Liriope muscari, a grassy herbaceous perennial producing spikes of mauve blue flowers in autumn that last well into winter. 'The repeated box domes create a nice rhythm along the path', says Penny. 'The fact that the garden has more structure than a traditional cottage garden really pays dividends in winter.' Beyond the lawn carpeting the cobbles of the former farmyard a pair of standard hollies mark the entrance to the original small farmhouse garden, hung at Christmas with glittery decorations.



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