A Secret Garden

Homes and Interiors Scotland

Issue 37, October 2004

Beneath a small arch in an old stone wall is a door… the kind of door that an adventurous child might hope to stumble upon. This door opens into a garden which evokes delightful flights of fancy in even the most grown-up of visitors.

‘A magical spot for everyone.’

Originally a slope rising 10 metres from front to back, Carolyn had the vision to transform this overgrown and virtually featureless space into distinct three tier sections.

The first level is directly outside the house and as it does not receive much sun and can often get muddy, Carolyn provided the solution by using a cobbled path. This is a nod towards the cobbles in the street outside the house which also ensures the garden ties in with its’ surrounding environment. A wigwam feature made from woven willow is set within this level where children can play.

Level two is the adult comfort zone and focal point of the garden. The dining table and chairs are set upon a cobbled circle ring. Seats fashioned from church pews are positioned beneath Wisteria-clad willow arbours.  This level is full of plants, colour and texture which fill the space with the delicate fragrance of lavenders, roses and honeysuckle.

The upper level ‘evokes memories of family seaside holidays’. A boat converted into a sandpit is complemented with an appealing hammock and a collection of shiny pebbles. Under an arch in the wall is set the door which leads through to an area of private parkland, which ‘inspires comparison with the entrance to the magical world of the famous novel The Secret Garden.’

But beneath the ‘stately exuberance’ of this garden, A ‘Herculean effort’ was required to create it. Thirty skips were needed and 250 tons of bedrock removed. Hands-on project manager, Chris Aitken and Carolyn were there throughout the project helping to ensure this mammoth task went smoothly.

‘But now the garden’s architecture speaks for itself’… This is urban gardening at its most gracious and magical.’