Everything you imagine a country garden to be is perfectly encapsulated in this restful rural idyll belonging to Samantha Greetham, which she shares with her family, dogs and chickens. We discover more…
(LEFT) SECLUDED CORNERS GIVE THE ILLUSION OF SPACE; (RIGHT) THE GARDEN ROOM CRAFTED FROM LOCAL, RECLAIMED MATERIALS. IMAGES: DAN DUCHARS
Statuesque trees, scrambling flowers, secluded spaces for daydreaming and seemingly endless views, this blissful country garden in Devon simply has it all. In this extract from Gardens for the Soul by Sara Bird and Dan Duchars, we delve deeper into the thoughtful design and sustainable style of Samantha Greetham’s utopian plot…
Thanks to a combination of clever design and patience, Samantha has created a truly joyful garden. What was originally purchased for its solitary and still location has been reimagined to become a sensual place in which to lose oneself.
The garden has been divided into smaller courtyards and corners. Hazel hurdles, picket fencing, hedging and shrubs all have been used to create quiet quarters, with a bank at the rear of the house supplying interest on different levels. Each area has been further partitioned with raised beds, borders and trellises, and there are trails and tracks throughout. This technique tricks the eye into thinking that the plot is much larger than it really is while carving the garden into distinct areas.
Seeds are sown, tender plants are lovingly looked after and the gardening year is planned to perfection.
One of these zones is the working garden, which houses Samantha’s greenhouse – a hive of activity, it is her favourite place in the garden and definitely the hub where she spends most of her time. Made of oak by her talented local builder, the structure has a homely quality and features many potting-up and growing-on collections and wares. Seeds are sown, tender plants are lovingly looked after and the gardening year is planned to perfection.
(LEFT) SAMANTHA’S GREENHOUSE – HER FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE GARDEN; (RIGHT) A DECKED AREA MAKES THE MOST OF THE VIEWS. IMAGES: DAN DUCHARS
When the weather turns, it serves as a handy covered space and is often visited by Samantha’s chickens, a charming variety of breeds. Right outside the greenhouse, raised beds and fruit trees bring pollinators and productive winged insects into the back garden.
The flowers nod elegantly to each other in the breeze, as if chatting in agreement of ongoing concerns.
Echoing the make-up and materials of the cottage, a divine thatched summer house was added and in front of this, a sensational scented lavender and rose garden prevails. Samantha’s favourite varieties for picking include the rose ‘Tranquillity’ and the pompom shaped flower heads of Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’. The flowers nod elegantly to each other in the breeze, as if chatting in agreement of ongoing concerns.
Immediately off from the rear of the cottage is the garden room, made from locally sourced oak, reclaimed scaffold boards and beautiful old pantiles from a barn in a nearby village. Wisteria scrambles over the rooftop and jasmine climbs up the lean-to structure, which nestles down in an earth bank. From the kitchen entrance, the cottage looks as though it is slowly being swallowed up by the garden.
(LEFT) THE SHADED DECKING AREA FOR DINING AND LOUNGING; (RIGHT) WISTERIA AND JASMINE CLIMB THE STRUCTURE OF THE GARDEN ROOM. IMAGES: DAN DUCHARS
A decked area leads to the exterior dining and living space. Edged with reclaimed scaffolding boards, this part of the garden is raised to make the best of the views. Samantha is passionate about using locally sourced and recycled materials; all the bricks used to create paths around the plot were rescued from nearby.
Heavily scented, evocative and enchanting, Samantha’s garden has a unique character and is filled with memories. One can easily find a quiet spot to sit and be. This place offers solace and gently restores with its charm and soul.
Gardens for the Soul by Sara Bird and Dan Duchars of the CONTENTed Nest (Ryland Peters & Small, £25). Photography by Dan Duchars © Ryland Peters & Small
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