Rebecca Smith - Garden design & consultancy

Autumn Bliss

The days are undeniably shorter and this morning was positively cold when I took The Boy to Bentley Station at 6:30. Low mist hung over the fields and the sheep were silently moving through the fields. The recent weeks have been filled with thoughts on finishing the building project here as we wind down to (nearly) the end of the long list of things which needed and didn't really need to be done.

New plumbing. Check.

New bathrooms. Check.

New boilers. Check.

Refit and painting of old existing wood kitchen units. Check.

Purchase of AGA. Check.

Purchase and installation of two new log burners. Check.

New windows. Check.

New front door and door frame. Check.

Before - dark front door

This was the door when we moved in, the house had a more Arts and Crafts feel despite being Georgian. 

Front door frame delivery from Yorkshire

This is the surround to the front door being offloaded from the delivery lorry. It took four men, two pots of coffee and an apple and raisin cake to get it properly sited.

Pedro 'testing' new door frame

Pedro is shown here in his favourite spot inside the porch. The change from the old oak frame to this new smart painted frame has transformed the house. 

New French Doors from billiard room to the rose garden. Check.

West side with old windows

This was actually where the front door of the house used to be - the clue is in the brickwork below the render - where the bricks are is where the door was originally. Local stone was used for the base elsewhere.

Scaffolding Up

Scaffolding up and new windows in. The change is dramatic!

Cutting through the render

Cutting through the render.

Render and brickwork removed

Render and brickwork is slowly and carefully removed.

Once brickwork removed, doorframe fitted

Mr Smith here is looking rather vertically challenged but the ground level slopes away from the house and the ceilings are rather tall. Once the steps are in, this will 'work' visually. 

From the inside

This morning the interior panelling was simply cut away where the door is. Voila! Fabulous door to the rose garden. 

Oh... and the extension. Check.

Corridor in extension

Has it been worth it? Undeniably.

We bought a lovely unlisted Georgian farmhouse which had been renovated in the early '90's by a developer. I still have yet to tackle some of the 90's planting (think lots of red leaves and irises) but be patient with me. More on the garden in a minute... The interior was very '1990's Country House Hotel' - the panelled hall which has a rather lovely black and white tiled floor had (wait for it...) RED carpet flowing up the stairs, Red and BROWN heavily patterned wall paper and red and brown paisley patterned curtains. Whoah. It was a headache. We took the precaution of simply painting everything a pale off-white (Dimity by Farrow & Ball) whilst we thought. And now? The walls are still painted in Dimity because I like it. 

The list has been a long one. A really long one. And now, nearly three years since we moved into Wyck Farmhouse, we are nearly there. I am thrilled with the results. 

As for the garden? Well, that is happening more slowly. Organically.

Apple AMerican Mother

The orchard we planted has now been in for 2 years. The trees chosen with as much thought to names as to taste - American Mother (a winner by the way) because of me - Royal Gala because it is Miranda's favourite - Granny Smith for my mother-in-law. You see. The yew hedge surrounding the orchard has been in for nearly a year. I am keeping an eye on the hedge, it has struggled with being planted in the wet weather and being dried out in the summer. The plans for the glasshouse are still just plans for the moment. 

Orchard and hedge

But this garden speaks to me. We will take it slowly. The long grass which flanks the Path to Infinity (the gate into the surrounding fields) will stay but I want to plant lots and lots of hydrangeas at the beginning, to take in the curve of the drive and help screen the garden from the road. The Mound needs tidying and rethinking. It is a bit sloppy, not a crisp enough shape.

Path to Infinity

The Path to Infinity shown in spring - we need a David Hicks-esque movable eyecatcher for the top of the path!

I take inspiration from the fields surrounding us. We are surrounded by agricultural Hampshire: potatoes, broad beans, wheat and barley. Arable farming lies just beyond the boundary fence. The planting will reflect that - grasses in sweeps - scattered clumps of trees for there were no trees in the garden when we moved in.

Some dogwoods to remind me of being in New Jersey in May.

Nearer to the house it will become more manicured. The rose garden is now accessible from the new doors from the house. The beds within need widening and an good edging - I think a mowing strip of paving slabs. They also need a rethink, there is too much June planting and not enough September planting. They are a bit dull at the moment.

For now, I can take pleasure in knowing it will all get done. Eventually.

Glorious dawn 22.9.14

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