Work at Home Farm began in 1987 and became a 14 year project fundamental to Dan’s education in the practice of sustainable, naturalistic planting.
The 3-acre site had a very strong sense of place, surrounded by medieval ridge and furrow fields and ancient woodland. Behind the house the land was shaded by a mixed wood, and the space was planted to feel moody and overgrown. It was connected to the surrounding woodland through the use of decorative varieties of British natives – elder, beech, sorbus, sedge, guelder rose, ferns, roses, geranium and brambles.
A wind garden of grasses and hardy perennials on the site of an exposed front paddock linked the front of the house to the barn buildings. A soft, informal planting, enclosed by a formal L-shaped lime walk, contained drifts of grasses to connect to the meadowland beyond, whiel clipped yew forms provided weight and gravity and referred to the mounded forms of single trees on the horizon.
The Barn Garden was enclosed by the stone walls of the original milking yard and baked by the midday sun. The heat and light were amplified by the planting with hot colours and mobile grasses to catch the light and wind. A yew hedge concealed this dramatic ornamental planting from the wild countryside beyond and was clipped into a sinuous wave to echo the distant hills. /A circuit around the boundary connected you to the surrounding landscape and led to a new pond, with a jetty for contemplation and wildlife watching.
The circuit continued through a new wood planted entirely with native species including field maple, beech, hazel, oak, holly, and hawthorn, underplanted for year-round interest with a succession of snowdrops, primroses, ferns, bluebells, honeysuckle, species roses and cow parsley.
Photos: Nicola Browne and Andrew Lawson
Client: Frances Mossman 3 acres