Formality with style - Gardening with Leigh Clapp

PUBLISHED: 08:35 26 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:46 20 February 2013

Parsonage Farm is north west of Kirdford and roughly equidistant from Petworth and Billingshurst. 
Satnav: RH14 0NH

Parsonage Farm is north west of Kirdford and roughly equidistant from Petworth and Billingshurst. Satnav: RH14 0NH

A visit to Parsonage Farm in Kirdford is sure to inspire for sizzling late season colour set against a deep green foil of formal hedging, says Leigh Clapp

GARDENS dont need to lose interest after their summer abundance. By selecting wonderful perennials and grasses the impact can continue right through autumn and even into winter with seedheads and skeletal forms.

Brazen colour in a section of the garden that will mellow to autumnal hues is a highlight of many late season gardens.

Colour is used to great effect in the developing gardens of Parsonage Farm in Kirdford that open through the National Gardens Scheme on Sunday September 5.

Keen gardeners Victoria and David Thomas arrived at Parsonage Farm in the winter of 1992 and since then have transformed a neglected site into a series of areas.

Gradually ideas emerged with an emphasis on formality because the house was on classical lines and the only existing gardens were rectangular.

At the back and sides we have a formal layout with a central axis linking house, buildings, swimming pool and tennis court, says David. Another theme we wanted was fruit; we love fruit and dont believe its good looks are fully appreciated.

Kirdford is a traditional fruit growing area so it seemed to fit.

To give some guidance, David and Victoria called in renowned designer Anthony du Gard Pasley to unite the concept of both an ornamental and productive garden.

He gave coherence and historical perspective to our ideas with the formal areas leading to walks around attractive fields and woods, adds David.

The formally laid out gardens include a restrained green parterre of large blocks of clipped buxus with fountains, a pleached lime allee, walled borders, a topiary walk and vegetable and fruit gardens.

In September a highlight is the striking colours in the borders when the mix of orange, gold, red and bronze toned herbaceous perennials come to the fore.

Opening times

Parsonage Farm, Kirdford, Sunday 5th September (2-6)

Admission 4, children free

The National Gardens Scheme

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