Of all the old rectories and vicarages in the Cotswolds, the one with the garden by Dan Pearson is the standout. There is still scope for proper tea on the lawn, but Pearson has achieved a more relaxed formality by mixing new structures of local stone with soft-hued plants that perform over a long season.
Photography by Nicola Browne and Dan Pearson Studio.
Above: The old rectory's one-acre garden is near the heart of the village. The honey-colored house is anchored to the garden through its hardscaping and formal design elements including platforms of boxwood.
Dan Pearson works on private and public spaces around the world, notably a forest in Japan which aims to be sustainable for the next 1,000 years. He has also been chosen to design the plantings for a new garden bridge spanning the River Thames in London.
Above: Panels of wildflower meadow divide up the lawn, requiring skilled maintenance by the two gardeners who work here part-time. As a designer, Pearson's relationship with clients involves some hand-holding, and the process of establishing a meadow can be particularly nerve-wracking for all parties. A perennial meadow takes at least a couple of years to settle in and for a suitable mowing regime to be established. Included here: Ox-eye daisy and pale purple Greater Knapweed.
Above: "I use a small planting palette," says Dan Pearson, referring to the different sections of the garden. "It's pared right down so you get part of the picture." This part, surrounding the main lawn, includes the mauve seed heads of Calamagrostis x acutifolia 'Karl Foerster' and violet shades of Veronicastrum virginicum 'Lavendelturm.' In the foreground: fuzzy gray and purple Lambs Ears (Stachys byzantina) with magenta Lychnis coronaria. Plantings of hot colors are in walled areas of the garden.
Above: Dry stone walls use material that is both new and reclaimed from the local quarry. Surrounding a simple canal flanked by sawn stone paving, the walls are broken up with narrow slits for glimpses of the garden beyond. Hardscaping construction was carried out by the building stars of the Chelsea Flower Show, Swatton Landscape.
Above: The property is bordered on one side by the River Windrush. Water features three times in this garden: as a reflecting pool (Above), a low-key swimming pool on the lawn, and the canal.
Above: Dan Pearson describes his approach as "relaxed and naturalistic." Here, alpine strawberries spread around stepping stones, accompanied by white astrantia and clouds of umbels.
Above: Roses round the door of the old rectory, with elements of formality in the slightly shaggy boxwoods.
For more modern English gardens, see:
- Big pastels, in Must-Have Flower: All About Veronicastrum.
- Required Reading: Contemporary Designers' Own Gardens.
- 9 Garden Ideas to Steal from England's Tom Stuart-Smith.
For more from this corner of the world, see Industrial Lighting from the Edge of the Cotswolds on Remodelista.