A Kent contemporary garden, created specifically to grow nectar-rich plants and set in a beautiful position overlooking Oare Creek near Faversham, has been shortlisted in a competition to find the Nation’s Favourite Garden.
Pheasant Barn owners Paul and Su Vaight were taken by complete surprise when a letter arrived in the post saying that they had been shortlisted – one of only 28 gardens across all of England and Wales.
They have been opening their garden for the National Garden Scheme for 10 years now, with visitors coming from across Europe and even as far as Uruguay!
Pheasant Barn has a series of gardens and spaces around a handsome barn conversion, a project started 20 years ago. The gardens have been created specifically to grow nectar-rich plants and to provide a haven for wildlife.
The courtyard garden, formerly the barn farmyard, has been designed by the Vaights to reflect the farmland around them. Long diagonal beds were cut out of the compacted ground and filled with lines of muscari, catmint, germander and late flowering lavender surrounded by a rosemary hedge. These lines of planting have raised oak boardwalks crossing them, a further nod to the nearby creek moorings.
The courtyard itself is now edged with apple trees and old hop poles that are used for climbers, and there is a wonderful pebble-filled pond that creates different levels for the various birds to enjoy. Beautiful modern sculptures and the use of Corten steel bring a contemporary feel to the space. Close by is a vegetable garden with raised beds inhabited by lizards, while grass snakes and slow worms enjoy the large compost areas, created from the yearly meadow cuttings.
Beyond the courtyard is a floriferous two-acre meadow which has been a long-term project on this fertile site as wildflowers prefer poorer soil. Here, paths meander down to the creek ditch and a to magical grass labyrinth. Su and Paul have also created an area of four late season perennial beds within the meadow, inspired by visiting Piet Oudolf’s gardens in the Netherlands a couple of years ago.
Wonderful modern sculptures collected over the years are also placed throughout the garden spaces. The garden is open in June and July when the meadow flowers are at their very best.
The public are now being asked to vote for their favourite gardens across the nation in order to find regional winners as well as one overall winner.
The winners of this competition – one for each region, one public garden and one overall champion – will be revealed in the autumn.
To support Pheasant Barn click here to register your vote https://www.theenglishgarden.co.uk/ngs/vote/?garden=pbarn