Last Sunday, June 5, Matty and Richard Holmes opened their beautiful garden in Udimore. Matty and Richard are experienced gardeners and have a long, successful record of gardening on their own plot and of being assistant county organisers for the National Garden Scheme. Their garden, at Beauchamps, gives an initial impression of floating colours, mainly whites and purples with splashes of vivid blue, pink or orange. Examining the meandering borders more carefully it’s possible to identify tableaux of plant combinations such as tall, white lupins, individual deep purple irises, cneorum, fronted by white orlaya. This very satisfying visual display is pleasing in close up, but perhaps even more impressive from a distance.
While enjoying tea and delicious lemon cake (provided by the friends of St. Mary’s church, Udimore), from the terrace it is possible to see the slope of the garden, and the way the beds have been built into the contours. At the bottom of the slope is a low wall, beautifully covered in moss and erigeron (Mexican daisy), and retaining beds of roses, nigella, aquilegia and topiaried box.
In this garden it is important to look up as well as focusing on the ground. At the roadside there is a lovely copper beech and some mature, shapely evergreens. There is also a cool wooded area. Perhaps the star is the Wedding Cake Tree (cornus controversa variegata) to which the eye is drawn as one walks across the garden. Near to this tree Matty had a wide range of plants for sale. Many of these are fairly unusual and result from skilled plantswomanship (and patience). She seems to be able to take a cutting from anything! Near to the entrance of Beauchamps is an immaculate vegetable garden. Supports for emerging plants are already in place, giving a pleasing sense of order and symmetry. There are clumps of flowers around the edge, useful for cutting.
The National Garden Scheme, under which Beauchamps opens, made more than £2.6 million last year for a variety of charities. The gardens are carefully selected and mostly provide wonderful teas. It is very hard work preparing for an influx of eagle-eyed visitors, although people are very positive in their judgements. Beauchamps does stand close examination and Matty and Richard should be congratulated on its enduring appeal.
Photos: Linda Harland