Tom Stuart-Smith is one of the best of the current crop of garden designers working in the UK at this time. We have had the privilege of visiting two very different gardens designed by him, one a private garden in Herefordshire and the Italian Garden at Trentham, a Staffordshire garden open to the public.
In his own words “Making a garden for yourself is very different from doing it for someone else. So much of the pleasure is to do with the coaxing and tending, the daily observance of small details and the accumulation of change over the years.”
We visited this wonderful garden in Herefordshire after spotting it in the Yellow Book of the National Garden Scheme. We were firstly tempted to visit as this county has some excellent, interesting gardens and many well-known gardener writers and garden designers have made gardens within its boundaries. But seeing the name Tom Stuart-Smith in the “blurb” made it a must.
It is a garden that is so well designed and planted. It makes you want to wander along its paths, to look around each corner and to study individual plants grown in blocks or plant combinations.
The following photos show the subtle planting combinations and the inviting paths through the garden.
An amusing diversion on our wanderings was this family of shining metal birds striding alongside a border.
What a place to sit, swing and rest while anticipating the pathway into the sea of grasses.
Later in the year we visited Trentham Gardens where Tom Stuart-Smith has redesigned the Italian Gardens, sensitively placing his modern perennial plantings amongst the old structure. So this is the other side of the coin, designing for a large public space.
These borders look equally good in the middle of the winter. But the water is then a bit cold for dabbling ones feet in, even for “The Undergardener” seen in the photo above appreciating the pool and fountain, with the author in the dapper hat and Vicky our Sister-in-Law on the right.