For some reason the previous owner had allowed all manner of stuff to be tipped around the place which meant that we had to do a lot of sorting and sieving before we could start. We also felled about one hundred and fifty two mature leylandii which had been planted to disguise the asbestos dog kennels.

Not a promising beginning but we are persevering. Like the phoenix from the ashes various gardens have appeared from amongst the rubble. There are matching formal ponds surrounded by yew hedges along the main front of the house. The dog kennels have metamorphosed into a walled garden based on a series of spirals and centred around a rather handsome Alitex greenhouse. There is a big prairie garden (huge beds intersected by grass paths), an orchard and a baking hot pool garden. As in all the best gardens this has been a collaboration: it is lovely to have a keen and involved client – even when they take it upon themselves to buy plants without permission!

Further away from the house we have bulldozed all that rubble into banks and mounds sown with wildflowers and surrounded by lots of new trees. The house will, eventually, be sitting in a wood. Which, no matter which way you look at it, is a pretty nice place to sit.