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The last of the gardens Kel and I had been asked to review was at the Cotswolds Bungalow, at the end of the little lane off the Triangle, near Edge House. This had been bought only about two years ago by Kay and Phil Richardson, having sold Gorselands, now owned by Alix and Shaun Richardson and which we are also reviewing in this month’s edition. At the time Kay and Phil bought their new home, the gardens, front and back, had more or less reverted to meadow, because the previous owner had been elderly, living alone and unable to do much more than get the grass mown occasionally. Phil has lavished much care and attention on the gardens since moving in and the transformation is remarkable.
The front garden is quite large, as it blocks off a corner of the lane, mostly set to lawn, but with a pleasing shrub bed to soften the transition from the garage and drive to the house. However, the real revelation is behind, as one gazes across a long, roughly rectangular lawn bordering Jason Herbert’s sheep fields behind a high evergreen hedge on the left-hand side of the house and the footpath at the end from Edge Green to the stile. The view from the raised and paved terrace by the house is spectacular, across trees and fields towards the Painswick Beacon beyond. It was also a pleasure to see Kay and Phil’s large African Hut near the house, translated from Gorselands (where many of us have enjoyed convivial late suppers on summer evenings), surrounded by a fine collection of mature shrubs, carefully selected for shape, size, texture and colour.
Indeed, for a new garden, really only two years old, there are almost no flowers, but selections of mature shrubs, evidently brought in semi-grown, mostly along a large trellis dividing the lawn into two halves, with a broad walk-through in the middle. I particularly admired a large blue Juniperus Horizontalis, several aucubas, a variegated holly, several tall, bronze cotinus and a fine Himalayan Honeysuckle (Leycestria Formosa). Dotted here and there were a number of well-weathered, large earthenware posts, some staddle stones and specimen trees for contrast, including a newly-planted pink willow (Salix Flamingo). A recent addition was a double line of silver birches running from the trellis to the bottom fence, with a bonfire area at the end, artfully concealed by a tall thicket of cut beech stems. Another recent addition on the right of the house was a row of shrub roses planted by Phil behind a small paved area with a black metal double swing and screen, in memory of Kay’s late father John, who loved roses – a thoughtful touch and somewhere for Kay to read. This was the final selection in Edge Gardens 2020 and almost brand new, but thoughtfully laid out, open, fresh, pleasing on the eye and already coming on well. It has been a rare privilege for Kel and me to have had the opportunity to visit all seven gardens, talk to their owners and marvel at the variety of types and styles, plantings and views. Our grateful thanks to them all.
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