Greenfields is a 1.5 acre, plant person’s gem of a garden set in the village of Brockweir, on the Gloucestershire side of the beautiful Wye Valley. Greenfields has many mature trees and numerous unusual plants and shrubs, all carefully planted to create discrete gardens within a garden. Greenfields is the passion and work of ‘head gardener’ Jackie Healy who has combined a long interest in the propagation of plants alongside a strong interest in the form and colour and scents of plants to complete a sculptural living composition. The garden is designed with “all season interest” in mind with different areas being a joy to experience throughout the year.
The different garden areas include:-
This area sits in front of the house, facing due south. It is contained within a framework of yew (still in its early days) and overwinters with framework of clipped Ilex aquifolium Argentea marginata and Taxus baccata fastigiata (Irish Yew), and Malus Butterball. Prominent in the spring are Magnolia stellata, Magnolia stellata Water Lily, a profusion of tulips, and early Iris siberica Sparkling Rose followed by Iris chrysographes Black Knight. This is followed in early summer with roses Tuscany and Sceptre Isle mixed with Penstemons, Geum Red Wing, Geraniums and Euphorbia with Thalictrum towering over. Then into late summer with the wonderful Sanguisorbia, grass Panicum virgatum rubrum mingling with Persicaria and the array of colour from Dahlias and Eupatorium purpureum is always a favourite of the bees. Agapanthus thrive near the house giving a wonderful display at the end of the Lavender hedges stunning scent and colour.
New to the garden in 2014. The Terrace Garden is formed within a circle with a cross of hard landscaping with one end enclosed with a semi circle of hazel hurdle around the Rowan tree. A special place to sit and enjoy the late afternoon sun over the garden. Each quadrant of the Terrace features a shrub of interest and rambling roses Madam Alfred Carrière, Mortimer Sackler, Félicité-Perpétue and Madam Grégoire Staechelin underpinned with herbaceous perennials.
The Hideaway is where Jackie heads to in the early hours of dawn to enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee and contemplate the day ahead. It is a wonderful spot, sitting under the pergola covered in Akebia on one half and a grape vine on the other half. Early summer mornings with the sun shining on your face has a calming restorative affect. The area in front is newly planted with a framework of cordon trained pears, Wisteria Floribundas Multijuga and a rambling rose Francis E Lester. There will no doubt be a fight for support from the two climbers but it will be fun to watch. The gravel area is newly planted with a mixture of Tulip Queen of the night, Alliums and grasses Miscanthus sinensis Flamingo, Panicum virgatum Shenandoah and Hakonechloa macra Aureola.
Greenfields has a spring fed stream running through it on one side and a winterbourne on the other. The stream is a wonderful planting area and given it had nothing planted around it 4 years ago, it is now an abundant garden in its own right. Along the sunny area there are many hydrangeas and Magnolia’s and a wonderful Eucryphia x nymansensis Nymansay, complimented with multiple iris and the unusual Impatiens tinctoria. All enhanced by natural primulas in early spring followed by candelabra primulas throughout the summer. A line of Pleached Hornbeam gives some definition to the area and separates it from the orchard behind.
The stream flows underground and appears again in the lower end of the garden where it is fondly known as the ‘jungle garden’, mainly because here Jackie has planted some very large leaved -jungle like- plants for a different impact. Among this planting there are some rarer plants such as Schefflera Taiwaniana and Peltoboykinia and the giant Arum zantedeschia aethiopica White Giant with a Paulownia kawakamii which is pollarded each year to maintain the huge leaves.
This area of the garden is largely untouched and although for most of the year appears to be a mown paddock - in spring it provides the most beautiful display of spring flowers, its just stunning and Jackie says that she would not dream of altering it.
This garden, as suggested by its name, is next to the house, and is used for 'al fresco' dining. In this area, Jackie wanted to create an intimate space so has planted a surrounding yew hedge to enclose this garden. The planting is mixed for all year interest with some back-bone plants such as Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy and Cornus controversa Variegata on one side and a pollarded Eucalyptus with a bank of Rose Kew Gardens and Rose Raubritter on the opposite side to give impact. A low box hedge is used to contain the planting around the patio.
New for 2015, a rabbit/badger free vegetable garden with raised beds. Jackie claims to be a novice with vegetables but does enjoy being able to walk out of the back door and pick dinner.
We are following the 'no dig' method and gave the raised beds a thick dressing of compost, chippings, and well rotted horse manure. So far the results have been very encouraging.
Here the retaining wall was in situ when the Healys' bought the house in 2008 but the planting has been altered over the years and the upper terrace is newly planted with an orange/yellow/white theme - or at least that is the idea! As it is seen from the rear windows of the house, Jackie wanted to plant with bold colours to catch the eye.
The Zen Garden was developed in 2016 to replace what was an uninteresting area of lawn. As can be seen above, the design style is one of minimalist planting and creates a quiet area for peaceful reflection and thought. The focal plant (still in its early days) is Chimonobambusa Tumidissinoda Bamboo which is contained within a strong root barrier so as to ensure tall, compact growth.
Other plants include: Philadelphus Belle Etoile and Hydrangea angustipetala f. macrosepala.
At the rear of the property, the garden has the stream along the west boundary, and is quite shady sitting under the canopy of some very old trees. A perfect spot for rhodos and camelias. Out of season, the Rhododendron Walk, provides a calm colour theme, but boy does it come into its own through April and May, when 'calm' it is not! Prior to that explosion of colour, in spring the garden is covered in naturalised snow drops, then wood anemone and then bluebells so really needed little input from Jackie to improve on what nature is doing anyway. However, Jackie just could not resist from planting some specimen trees: Stewartia sinensis, Styrax japonicus fargesii, and Halesia monticola to provide that extra bit of interest.