Every garden is unique but this one can truly
claim to be something different.

A common reaction of visitors is "You must be mad" and we accept that not many people would want to cultivate a couple of acres of forty five degree slope facing north west. Even less so when told that in about 1972 when we started constructing the garden the land was completely wild and well endowed with the remnants of a scrap yard, nettles, brambles and fallen trees.

drone pic

Because of the aspect, the site is very exposed and hence cold, windy and lacking direct sunlight. Furthermore, the soil is light with the sandstone base never far away and quickly suffers from drought. Not by any means an ideal situation, but there were the positive aspects of a fine view across the valley, the natural interest of a slope and easily worked, free draining, neutral soil. If we had known anything about gardening and what we were letting ourselves in for we probably would never have started.
Ignorance is a wonderful thing.

We have gone for variety, a surprise around each corner and a touch of eccentricity. Gardens and gardeners can take themselves too seriously and we have included a few light hearted features simply for fun. Within the constraints of the steep slope, the garden has been laid out to provide as many different styles and features as possible, from the formality of paved terraces to a woodland path. It is not divided into "rooms" and neither is it "open plan" but there are attempts to subtly hide one area from the next. Many of the features have resulted from the influence of great gardens we have visited and trips we have made. Why shouldn't a smaller garden have a laburnum walk like Bodnant, a folly or two and scaled down versions of a parterre and long walk as seen in gardens of the past? If you don’t find the flasher you have not been everywhere.

Complementary to the variety of features we have sought variety in the material grown. We have planted over 500 different varieties of shrub and trees and there are many hundreds of wild and cultivated herbaceous plants. We also grow about 15 types of fruit and nuts and there is a partially walled vegetable garden and two glasshouses on the top level. Clearly, there is no real specialisation in one particular genuus but there are more than 50 different roses and a significant collection of ivies (for which the site is very favourable) now numbers about 100 varieties.

It is the many different features and styles, together with the unusual aspect, which makes this a distinctive and truly unique garden. Unlike many in the modern trend, it is also labour intensive. To save you asking, we do not employ a gardener and at the last count there were over 700 steps.

Italian terrace

The garden is open for the National Gardens Scheme. The dates and times can be found in the NGS Garden Visitor's Handbook (the"Yellow Book") or by visiting the NGS website.

As well as the set days, we are open by appointment  from mid April to the end of July for groups and individuals. 
Please feel free to telephone 01939 261 121 or email brownhill@eleventowns.co.uk to agree a date and time.

See more in the picture tour
cameraSee plan of the garden


cost of gardening
The Cost of Gardening
A book by Roger Brown
Illustrations by Johannah Brobeck

Butterflies are important in the garden, see the ultimate guide at https://diygarden.co.uk/wildlife/ultimate-guide-to-butterflies/

Ivy Zanzibar