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As featured on ITVs Britains, Best Garden with Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh

Unlike many gardens that were made years ago say by the Victorians, this garden was made from scratch some 10 years ago. Most visitors to the garden find this hard to believe as the garden is quite voluptuous and the plants huge! A little like Land Of The Giants, even for me at 6 feet six!!! The garden is some two acres in size fully landscaped(see plan) exotic garden. I was lucky to get to know Douglas Farmiloe who owned Henstead Hall. My cottage would have been part of the estate at one time. In fact the house next door was the old head gardeners cottage. Anyway Mr Farmiloe was from a very wealthy family of inherited money and moved up from London in 1959 or so.

At one stage the family owned some 1,600 acres in the area at one time. The house, old Victorian walled garden and land fell into disrepair over time as the money ran out. As I got to know him over the years I asked if I could buy some extra land to extend the garden. I joked that I would pop over with a few cans of beer and come back with another half an acre! I managed to buy four extra chunks of land over the years and the garden would go marching on! He would promptly go to Las Vegas with the proceeds, a good effort considering he was in his 90s at the time!!

This was good and bad, because the garden had been designed each time as a fait a complet, so when a further half acre of nettle infested land was added there would be a lot of backscratching wondering how this extension was to be added to a finished part of garden. A recent and probable last piece of and had the garden going into part of the 12 acre wood that the garden backs onto and almost up to the untouched for 80 years old Victorian walled garden. The latter is a great backdrop as one stands in the old wood toward the back of my garden amongst some old Oak, Holly and Yew trees some being hundreds of years old.