Gorselands

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For this month’s edition, Kel Portman and I continued the review of the gardens originally intended to be featured in the Edge Open Gardens exhibition, due to be held in June and which had to be cancelled owing to COVID-19 restrictions.   The next garden visited was at Gorselands, owned by Alix and Shaun Richardson, located up the small unnamed lane off Back Edge Lane, in the part of the village still referred to colloquially as The Camp, because this had once been an old army camp set up during World War II (which we have written about in previous editions).   In common with Viv and Roger Barrett’s garden, therefore, as mentioned in last month’s edition, there are still substantial concrete foundations in place just under the surface.  However, although sheltered by mature trees and tall hedges, the garden itself is pleasantly open, with a fine large lawn occupying about half the garden, with a comfortable, covered timber and shingled, open-fronted hut at one end.  

  Alix and Shaun only moved to Gorselands a few years ago, having bought the house from Kay and Phil Richardson, whose new garden is also featured later in these pages.  The garden had been quite undulating, but Alix and Shaun have had it levelled, having had 300 tons of earth removed.  They have also had a number of stone-clad flower beds, paths and seating areas installed in a continuous sweep stretching into the rest of the garden behind the house, with other flower beds occupying the space in the centre.  Alix and Shaun told me they were aiming to create a more formal effect, reminiscent of an Italian garden and, to my mind, they have succeeded.  Although the garden is still relatively new, the overall effect is colourful, open, harmonious and welcoming, without feeling either regimented or artificial.

  Alix, who has been the main influence in the garden’s development, favours lilac and white, with shades of pink, offset by lots of box plants, including several Italianate spiral box columns, miniature palms and various other green shrubs.   I also noticed some superb white Annabelle hydrangeas, which are Alix’s favourites, lots of purple alliums and some gorgeous peonies.  The Richardsons also cultivate some fruit and vegetables around their outside breakfast area, where they grow strawberries, thyme, rosemary and chives, handy for picking from the kitchen. 

  So this garden is very different in style and feel to the others we have seen so far, but then each had their own particular characteristics.  The new garden at Gorselands in the course of being created by Alix and Shaun is, in its own way, calming, easy on the eye and interesting; elegant and colourful in fine summer weather, as it had been when we visited, but also, I expect, a contrast of attractive autumn and winter tones, and a joy when spring bulbs break through. 

  I should mention before closing that most of the photographs shown had actually been taken by Shaun, who is himself a good photographer, to maintain social distancing.  However, Kel took the photo of Alix and Shaun together with their favourite gardening tools, as he has done at all the gardens we have been covering.  

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