Restoring a Hampshire Garden – Chapter 1

‘The Beginning’

I mentioned in a recent post that my youngest daughter and her husband have recently moved and inherited once loved garden now sadly neglected and over run with brambles and ivy. They have been very kind to allow me to help them restore the garden and let me take photos and blog about our progress. This is the first chapter.

This photo is taken from the end of quite a substantial sized patio area. Don’t be fooled into thinking, this is not a large garden. Behind the trellis running across the middle of the garden, which is thick with ivy and brambles…

…is this!

Happy days!

Absolutely fabulous! It is going to take a lot of clearing and full of weeds, which will take a great deal of time and hard work, like the rest of the garden this part has clearly left to do it’s own thing for several years. The plan is to clear most of it, take down the hedge which cuts the garden in two and make the actual garden area larger. The wonderful old wooden greenhouse is cedar, and the big bonus is it has electricity. Once fully repaired, with a new roof, it is going to make a splendid blot hole at the end of the garden, complete with a kettle and perhaps (note this daughter and SiL) a small fridge for the occasional G&T at the end of the day. In front of the shed there are several concrete bunkers that have been used for compost.

To the left of the garden as you look from the patio is a garage set back from the house down a narrow drive along the side of the house. We are not sure why it was built so far down, but understand the previous owners stored a boat here.

Have you seen the dog kennel?

Amongst the house documents my daughter and SiL came across is an A3 landscape garden design dated 2002. We can see where some of the design was implemented, although by no means all of it. The plan has, however, given us an idea of the planting scheme and it will be interesting as summer approaches what plants are growing.

The trellis along the garage wall was covered with rampant honeysuckle, and roses. The garden design shows ‘Albertine’ rambling roses. The honeysuckle is growing into the roof of the garage, I managed to cut back quite a lot, but you can see from the photo there is more to do. The keen eyed of you will see the stump of what was a Wisteria so that needs to come out. We are trying not to remove the trellis as it is secured firmly, and probably built in situ. However, with so much growing behind it this may be a job that has to be done. The coloured hanging pots are from my garden.

This side of the garden needs a lot of work, and you can see the wood edging has broken. As the beds are higher than the lawn they will need replacing. The previous owners loved their raised beds! Again the beds are full of brambles, nettles and wretched ivy, so there is a lot of clearance work to be done. There is a very high laurel hedge behind which runs the length of the garden, and they are getting ‘a man’ in to bring the height down, all the leaves are badly nibbled too so it needs some tlc.

It took many walks with the wheelbarrow and garden sacks to the skip at the front of the house. Once I get going I could go on for hours clearing etc., it becomes a mission. Everywhere I looked I saw something else to do. A cup of tea and a sit down called late afternoon and then it began to rain, so we had to give up for the day. I will be back and am really looking forward to sharing the transformation with you.

My move update:

I’ve still not moved, we had a fall at the last hurdle when last Friday 4pm, on the expected day of exchange, the other side’s solicitors emailed with a spanner in the works, which could delay things by another 3 weeks. I am speechless and don’t want to say anything further at the moment.

A Little Known Treasure – The Bishop’s Palace Garden, Chichester

Whilst The Bishop’s Palace Gardens, Wells, is well known, not many people know about the one in Chichester.   It is tucked away off South Street, behind the cathedral, surrounded by the City Walls.   I have included a couple of short videos in this post, if you have the time please don’t give them a miss, they will give you much more of a flavour of this treasure.

Like Wells, there is a raised grassy walk around the ramparts which gives a very different perspective to the garden you would see from ground level.  Although looked after by Chichester District Council, this garden certainly does not fall into the ‘Parks and Gardens’ category. 

There are two entrances, the one I prefer when introducing friends to the garden is via a door in the wall just behind the Bishop’s Palace.   Here, you find a tranquil, sheltered, formal walled garden.  

Above is a short video I took on Monday.  The birds were loudly chirping away and it makes you feel life is really beautiful, even if you are not religious, gardens such as this have a spiritual air about them.

I was really taken aback and somewhat envious to see the Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ in full bloom, especially when mine is just beginning to make an appearance this year and no where near to flowering.

The foxgloves were stunning – I adore the speckled inside of their flowers. 


Just beyond the Courtyard garden is the Wild Garden and here we found a magnificent iris display.

Just before the Wild Garden, on your left you pass a well kept allotment.  It is not included within the garden, but I assume it provides food for the the Clergy.

When you leave the Walled Garden, before you there is a much larger garden with parallel herbaceous beds planted with warm colours towards the east becoming cooler towards the west. 

The above plant is Phlomis Tuberosa ‘Amazone’ (Jerusalem Sage).  My friend, who is a gardener, was impressed to see this plant in a park garden – in fact he was totally impressed with the garden, full stop.  


This is another short video of the herbaceous garden, with the pergola and climbing roses,  Clematis and honeysuckle.   It was amazing to see how many of the roses were in bloom.

The garden is full of fabulous iris, and this dark burgundy, almost brown, variety really stood out. 

Just a few more of the flowers that were out in the middle of May.

As you make your way up the slope to the ramparts by the other entrance from Avenue de Chartres, there is the alpine garden.

We saw the above notice as we left the garden and extended a heart felt thanks to the volunteers who clearly work very hard and give a lot of love to the Bishop’s Palace Garden.

When I was looking for a bit more information before writing this post I discovered on the Chichester Cathedral website events page, there is going to be a Vintage Afternoon Tea with a jazz band to be held in the gardens from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday 17th July, tickets are £18.95 a head – I guess I might well be booking tickets!