Garden of the Year 2010: Large Gardens

JUDGE Graham Porter praised winner Margaret Beever's garden for its exemplary use of colour, foliage and flower.

Margaret Beever

Holmfirth - Overall winner

JUDGE Graham Porter praised winner Margaret Beevers garden for its exemplary use of colour, foliage and flower.

"Its a perfect balance in which Margaret uses intelligent combinations of form and colour against diffuse background planting.

"Margaret uses texture well too mixing fine and coarse foliage with a subtlety which is also seen in her use of both hot and cool colours."

This garden treasure, tucked away down a leafy lane on the hills above Holmfirth is a real haven for Margaret and her husband Philip. Both are rooted in the valley community. Margaret spent her working life first in a local mill before moving on to cook school meals for almost 30 years.

This former Wooldale Junior School cook can rustle up a delights in the garden too backed by the woodworking skills of Philip who is a retired joiner.

His immaculately built and maintained garden structures are perfectly in tune with the skills demonstrated by Margaret in the garden and both their talents are in harmony with the stone-built riverside house where they have lived for more than 40 years.

Garden of year winner Margaret Beever and her garden at Dover Cottages Holmfirth

Freezing temperatures may have temporarily floored much loved palm trees, mementoes of holidays 30 years ago in Torquay, but green-fingered Margaret has managed to coax new life from the soggy remains and new shoots are offering hope for their return.

"Like everyone else, we have had the worst weather that we have seen in years," said Margaret. "Ive never shovelled as much snow," says Philip.

"Yes we lost some things such as penstemons which are not particularly hardy," said Margaret. "But it does open up opportunities to plant new things."

As for gardening in general? Margaret has this to say: Its a great solace to me to come out here and in summer, it can be 10.30pm when I go indoors and I still feel disappointed at having to leave it."

2nd

Marc Broadbent and Darren Sturgeon

Fixby

IT IS hard to imagine that the garden created by Marc Broadbent and Daniel Sturgeon is little more than a year old.

"We started in about March of last year when the garden just had eight big fir trees in and little else," said Marc.

"The plot is about 120 metres long with a drop of about 10.5 metres from the top near the house to the wood at the bottom.

"The garden is what attracted us to the house. It has so much potential."

For Marc, 37, and Darren, 30, this garden is a horticultural first on a grand scale.

"We havent done anything like this before. My mum and dad are great gardeners, but all this has come out of books really.

"I look things up on the internet or read up on things if I want to know what goes where.

Sturgeon

Marc is a computer programmer and Darren is a bank manager. Both love to get away from their desks and work in the garden.

"Weve tried to create different areas in the garden with a water feature running from top to bottom to draw everything together.

"Weve also installed coloured spotlights which run on a computer sequence lighting different areas in primary colours for bursts of about five seconds.

"It is all run on about 25 different circuits and the effect is very subtle changing the mood and atmosphere particularly when the weather is not good.

"The electronics are the easy bit, its the planting thats difficult," said Marc.

That said, the two have reused material on site from those felled firs to build paths, stepping stones and log piles to encourage wildlife to linger.

The planting is restrained with ferns, astilbes and hostas clear favourites. The softness of pinks, whites and mauves helps reflect light in this woodland setting while bog primulas, rushes and reeds lends a natural maturity to the newly created water feature which is pumped on three different levels.

3rd

Mr and Mrs B M Heath

Almondbury

WHEN Bruce and Maureen Heath spotted their present home nine years ago, it was the garden rather than the house that they fell in love with.

"We spotted the house when we were out walking our dog," said Mrs Heath.

"The garden was big and had huge potential and thats what we wanted."

Heath

Together they have worked hard to realise that potential. Mr Heath, an accountant, seems to be the expert when it comes to building the garden structures and is very much at home in the vegetable garden.

"I won my first prize for growing vegetables with white turnips when I was six," he said. And yes, he still grows them today. "We still enter Leeds show and always enter things for the Huddersfield show. Its usually vegetables for me and handicrafts for my wife.

Mr Heath says they are not quite self-sufficient when it comes to vegetables but they cant be far off with soft fruit and nuts also to be harvested. "We crop something every month of the year."

Their technical expertise in managing a garden is outstanding as is the attention to detail in the way plants are maintained.

Wallflowers, forget-me-nots and foxgloves are already being grown on ready for next season, the cherry tree has been pruned to perfection and with a crop of potatoes already delivered, salad leaf has already gone in to follow.

There are chickens which are handy for pest control and a well stocked flower garden which is a plantsmans dream.

 
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