April 2015 Update
A year after its hard cutting back to reduce its size and improve its shape, The Garden House parterre is growing back well as can be seen in the updated photographs Rowena has kindly sent through.
Also the family of ducks are back nesting in the box so they clearly approve of the remodelled shape of the parterre!
Update September 2014
As promised Rowena has sent some pictures of how the parterre is doing following its hard cut back in early April.
On a near perfect spring day we arrived at The Garden House, home of new EBTS member Rowena Ray. This ‘hands on’ session had been suggested by Charlotte Molesworth who has helped Rowena with the topiary over the past few years, topping the yews with birds to add a little drama to the garden. The aim was to work on the parterre giving it a triangular form rather than the enlarged rectangular shape it had become. This allows more light onto the plants, stops snow sitting on top during the winter and produces some beautiful angles where the hedges join together.
The parterre was originally designed and planted by the Marchioness of Salisbury and her sister Lady Roderick Pratt in October 1990. 712 box plants were used to make the shape including 8 larger ones for the edging pyramids and one even larger one for the centre of the design. The box parterre was then surrounded on one side by a yew hedge with 4 separate free standing yews at each corner. Lady Roderick Pratt lived at The Garden House only for a short time sadly dying in 1993 and Lord Roderick Pratt passed away in 1997. In October that year Rowena and her family were able to buy the house and create a wonderful family home.
NOTE: Cutting this hard and at this time of year is unusual and Charlotte says ‘that as a general rule it is NOT advisable to cut into the brown wood of Buxus as it will be slow to green up and some branches may die’. Before proceeding with the work on Rowena’s parterre they had discussed it at length and decided to take this somewhat drastic approach in order to improve the overgrown look. There was a healthy amount of growth at the bottom of the plants and in time this would fill any gaps. Charlotte estimates it will take around 3 years to look a green parterre again after feeding and clipping annually.
Rowena has agreed to send EBTS UK regular photographs of the progress and we look forward to seeing the parterre in its rejuvenated form over the coming months and years.
After a delightful lunch the group went on to another local EBTS members house and garden. The grounds runs along a valley that has a stream running through it making it a great place for a calming stroll to the tree house or rest by the very cleverly constructed ruin.
And to round the day off there was tea, sandwiches and a wonderful selection of cakes.