With lowering laurels and scowling yews like leafy guardians at the gates of purgatory, it was not exactly a welcoming approach to the house. So, initially, there was a lot of felling and dragging and burning – including, sadly, a large beech but, as is often the case, even this had hidden benefits as suddenly another (much better) tree became much more visible. Swings and roundabouts.

After the cull we still needed strong evergreen structure which we got that by planting lots of topiary balls (in yew and box) amongst which prettier and livelier plants disport themselves.

In particular there is a pretty phenomenal display of tulips which makes for an eventful spring when the garden is often open for local charities etc.

Over the years we have also jazzed up the terrace, planted trees, planted apricots and peaches round a swimming pool and currently we are rejigging a bog garden. I love my job…

Most of these photographs were taken by Marianne Majerus and appeared in House and Garden a few years ago.