What to do with a garden surrounded by a moat, a walled garden, in effect, without a wall? Answer, thanks to designer George Carter, is to ignore the moat, treat it like a haha. When we arrived in 1993, we were given a blank slate - an iceberg rose and plenty of mature trees.
George planned the ‘platform’ (about an acre inside the moat) with hornbeam hedges, pleached limes, yew hedges and an approach designed to give a better sense of arrival. In 28 years, nearly everything is full-height and mature. With a local nursery’s help we created four beds on the platform, copied from those 1960s men’s ties in horizontal blocks of colour. Both evergreen and deciduous, it’s always colourful.
Beyond the moat, we have a large, walled vegetable garden, also planted by colour by our head gardener, Kate Elliott. A red bed, a green bed, a rusty bed and a blueish one - copied from Chateau de Bosmelet in Normandy. We also have a bog garden, filled with ferns and garlic and moisture loving plants which winds its way along an old ditch, now a running stream.