Wykham Lane, Broughton, Banbury, Oxfordshire. OX15 5DS
Telephone: 07791 747371
Review by Bella D'Arcy
This garden was designed by Tom Stuart Smith, who had carte blanche with a large piece of land to make a garden from scratch. I had long wanted to see it, having seen picture sin many magazines over a few years. In this garden he uses prairies planting across many square metres, and a modernist take on the parterre.
The prairie planting is glorious; I felt that I wanted to uproot the lot and plant it around a hospice it was so comforting and tactile. I wanted to get amongst the plants - not so easy on a scooter or wheelchair as the paths are narrow and you are likely to get stuck - so don't try or you will damage the plants. A pity as the only way to see the stepping stones over the rectangular pool is on foot. I could manage this but many of you won't be able to.
The parterre is based on the shapes of the cell structure of the trees in other words, the box hedging follows an organic pattern. Inside the patterns, in July, were the largest antirrhinums I have ever seen - thousands of them. In Spring we were told , these were replaced by 5000 bulbs. Not a garden for a small budget.... This is a garden akin to the formal gardens of the 16th century in terms of budget, staffing and plants. In fact, the layout is similar to the terraced gardens of Italy. The gardeners here were friendly and informative about the plants and the scheme. There is a tea house which is accessible at the bottom of a lawn. The garden is open only on specific days of the year so you must check on the website for these days. There is a plant sales area where you can buy some of the plants you have admired.