Rebecca Smith - Garden design & consultancy

March is flying by...

Somehow the month of March has gone past with a whirl of activity and now, blink, it will soon be over. The clocks go foreward tomorrow morning and we will have earlier starts to our mornings. 

I had planned to take this past week off from the office. Both children are home. There were no deadlines to meet in the office. And yet, the week was filled with lovely garden related events...

Sunday was week was dedicated to working in my own garden here at Wyck Farmhouse. Fruit trees had been received from Otter Farm and needed to be planted in the orchard. The very first thing that we did when we moved here to Wyck Farmhouse three years ago was to plant the orchard.  Some things have not lasted and needed to be replaced. And then I hear about fruit trees which I think I *need* to have here in the garden. One such tree was Apple 'Court of Wick' for the very intelligent reason that I live in a hamlet called Wyck. In any event, it was sold out and I now have an Ashmeads Kernel instead, plus a medlar and an almond. 


The soil here at Wyck Farmhouse is a dream. The field in which our garden is taking shape was for many years, centuries indeed, farmed. The current house was built in 1784 but there are traces of the earlier, older farmhouse in the foundations and some of the walls so there was a good 200 years plus of agriculture here before I arrived on the scene. Digging in the field is a delight. The soil is dark brown and smells good. 

Almond Robijn

Ashmeads Kernel

Sunday was a perfect gardening day - warm in the sun but not too hot - Enzo delighted in rolling in the freshly cut grass with his rawhide. I am keeping my eye on the yew hedge which we planted around the orchard 14 months ago. Wyck is a very windy location and the yew hedging plants went into shock when they were planted out and left to their own devices. I think in hindsight a hornbeam or beech hedge may have been a better choice but as the whole plot is surrounded by a very tall beech hedge, I wanted something different to divide the space up with and yew seemed a good choice for a good solid green backdrop. The jury is still out but I will see how it does over the coming months. Hopefully the coming warmer weather will spur it into growth this year.  


If you garden with dogs, you will realise that both dogs and trees need watering. 

sweet peas

I also sowed my sweet peas on Sunday - finally! They are a bit late but then again so is this garden so I suspect they will be just fine. As we do not have a greenhouse, they are in the Flower Room. This room is unheated and south facing so the seed trays will stay here for a while. The 'Just Jenny' sweet peas were purchased at Chelsea Flower Show last year and the surplus plants will go to Uppark for head gardener Andy to plant out. You can follow Andy on instagram to see more of what is happening in the garden at Uppark. 

buxus hedge

Wednesday afternoon was spent planting out a buxus hedge along the drive. The plants came from Griffin Nurseries and were in the ground the very same day. Days like this are enormously rewarding but I admit that I am getting a wee bit old to spend hours upon hours digging out and planting. 

The planting was broken up thought with a lovely lunch at Gaze Burvill, the creators of beautiful garden furniture, whose offices are enticingly close to my own office in Hampshire. A group of garden designers, journalists, horticulturalists and potential clients were treated to a tour of the new workshop by Simon Burvill. The skill which goes in to creating these oak pieces is enormous and watching the craftsmen at work is incredibly interesting. 


The French oak stored in the workshop. The off cuts and sawdust are used to fire the boiler. And also used to create wonderful pieces like the saw horses used in the workshop.

oak sawhorses

Gaze Burvill offer a refurbishment service for their pieces. Shown below is Simon Burvill with a coffee table during the restoration and refurbishment process. The pieces are cleaned and after being cleaned, they are then treated to ensure that they remain water-resistant.

Simon Burvill

apprentice chair

 The  apprentices create these smaller sized chairs as part of their training. They are a delight to feel. The oak is smooth and the frame is light. They are incredibly tactile pieces of wood. This is my apprentice chair at home. 

apprentice chair

 The week are sandwiched with a visit to Wisley on both Monday and Friday. Monday was with non-gardening friends and Friday was to go to the Spring Show. Both days were gorgeous any sunny. The magnolias on Battleston Hill are amazing. I think of Magnolia Stellata as a small garden plant, suitable for a container or in a border. Here there is a tree of such enormous stature, I would love to know when it was planted.

Magnolia stellata

I also went to the Spring Fair on Friday at Wisley but more on that in the next post. 

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