The gardens have been influenced by our dogs over the years who all had their own favourite places to run, rest or play. Also we’ve taken elements from the 100 acre wood to recreate in a different order our own 1.00 acre wood.
BOOFIE’S TRAIL came about when from the Sleepy Hollow we were doing some quite steep steps to the entrance nearby the secret garden. Boofie found another route during the days that passed that was much more of a meander through the undergrowth. In the light of day cutting through the thick brambles and bracken revealed a much more pleasant trail – especially as she was quite frail at that time. Now with all the planting alongside there’s the Judas tree, Snake Bark maple, Red Oak, Purple-Leafed Plum, Turkish Hazel, Gleditsia, and a few acer specimens in pots at the top of the tree top trail.
SOPHIE’S TRAIL at the other side of the garden was ambitious. Sophie being the upstart, with boundless energy so the trail was made for her – a highly trained dobermann – had a traumatic start but would lose herself in training and great at agility a real joy, and the eyes and ears for frail Boofie. With Jungle like planting and steep winding paths – starting in Sophie’s trail at the bottom gate and winding up alongside the west perimeter fence coming out at the entrance to the topiary garden, it is like nothing else in the garden.
The SLEEPY HOLLOW starts at the middle pedestrian gate round the Cork Oak tree with sandy pit maze in the middle that can’t quite make up its mind what it is.
A secret PIT TRAIL by the giant Pieris with steep foliage either side of the walkway then looks down steeply alongside the 150yr old topiary beach tree to the land art below.
Carrying on the Pit Trail it passes the oriental bamboo that’s is so prevalent in an area that has no rhyme or reason to appear in such a spot but compliments the wild with the formal just around the corner. Like many design flaws or happy accidents the bamboo in the yet to be drawn up RAGTAG and BOBTAIL run. It will be named thus – being our first dogs to join us at Pooh House they frequently took great glee at rushing from what was the front lawn down the slope to the middle gate to greet passers by and in so doing created a huge cavern which we could only fill at the time we thought with spare bamboo as simply filling the hole with earth would just exacerbate the situation.
Completing the pit trail you come out at the SECRET GARDEN. A wonderful odesy of acers, variegated laurels and taxus with views across the treetops. Strobus pine, liquidambar, red oak and acer griseum all feature and star come autumn with their change of colour and bark form.
Proceeding back along the middle TOPIARY garden there are a number of surprises including a snake (that was once a Heron) and a peacock. The once scraggy Boulevard now cut in to an unusual pom pom tree which can be viewed up below from the pit trail or at the ground level with views to the Downs in the background. Sitting alongside some fun topiary (hearts clubs spade and diamond hedges) with some prize cloud trees and the giant acer at the top terrace that seems to rule the whole garden with its grace and form as queen of the garden.
You either elect to go right of the garage to the very unusual NOAHS ARK a complex structure in a semi circle originally designed to hold the bank back but again has become a happy accident as a nursery bed to plant out in the rest of the garden and during August seems to rule the garden with its presence.
From there the steps (formally swimming pool steps and stones from the local quarry – another fun story, ask Mary) up to the ACER GARDEN which after 25 years has become a haven for a wide collection of maples with dappled sunlight from the surrounding silver birches.
The impacts of an ever changing climate are firmly at the top of our agenda here at PH&G. From rainwater harvesting to recycling, our use and reuse of pots, to how we overcame our friendly, yet somewhat disruputive moles.