Mangrove Hall project, near Luton

Turning the land surrounding a large countryside farmhouse into a diverse, multi-faceted garden of trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials.

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Kind of Project: A blank canvas – land surrounding a large countryside farmhouse.

Design Brief: To create a diverse, multi-faceted garden of trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials.

My Solution: A garden with interlinked, subtle elements that bring the house into the garden and create a smooth transition from garden into the surrounding countryside.

Hornbeam Arches Pedestrian Form

Arches of ornamental and productive trees create subtle transitions between different garden sections, including a rambling rose walk underplanted with Narcissus ‘Tete de Tete’ and Crocosmia masoniorum.

The summer air is filled with the fragrance of a multitude of intermingling but subtly-trained rambling roses. These have varying flowering periods, and are followed by beautiful hips to extend the period of interest. Meanwhile, the intermingling rambling roses are structured to created a sculptural affect in the winter sun.


The garden is now surrounded by a new wall with green oak posts. These have brass rings threaded with hemp rope that allow climbers to create a backdrop to the mixed borders. Paths meander through the garden to create semi-gladed areas for summer play.

An area beyond the main garden was transformed into an orchard of apples, plums, greengages and damsons, segregated by Malus ‘Golden Hornet’. This gave a further ‘wow factor’ as a backdrop from the main garden.

A large pond was designed for this area, together with soft fruit trees, vine walks and carefully-placed seating. All these elements were designed to create a lung of life, with a habitat conducive for pollinating insects and vibrant biodiversity.

However, the pond and surrounding work was put on hold because of likely visits by small grandchildren.


This site achieved 2nd in Horticulture Week magazine’s Professional Gardener of the Year Competition 2008.


mangrove project

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