Culti-Vate Explores #002 Tom Stuart-Smith The Barn Garden

by Culti-Vate

Tom Stuart-Smith, The Barn Garden in Hertfordshire.

Tom Stuart-Smith is a designer I have admired since his 2006 Chelsea show garden so I couldn’t miss the chance to visit his private garden in Hertfordshire. His garden, The Barn Garden, was open on June 16th for a few hours in the afternoon offering a rare view into this garden. Realising that there must be hundreds of people who also admire and appreciate his design, we arrived there as early as we could and it paid off! I managed to capture some great shots before the throngs of people arrived, and managed to have a brief chat to the man himself.

Below are some shots of the courtyard garden, with the large corten steel tanks (that were present in his show garden at Chelsea in 2006) that are now  positioned beautifully amongst  lush planting of grasses, Euphorbias and blocks and blocks of Astrantia ‘ruby wedding’, one of my absolute favourites.

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Incredible maroon bearded Irises mingled with the Asrantia and Euphorbias. grouped 01IMG_8761 copy

The view from the west garden through to the yew beds and borders to the lawn and meadow beyond. The west garden borders were crammed with large Geraniums, Nepeta, Sedums, Eupatoriums, Euphorbias and Veronicastrum, to name just a few!
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The lawn and pathway past the South-east bed. I loved the rectangular lawns or ‘green rooms’ that are sheltered by Hornbeam hedging. IMG_8777 copy IMG_8779 copy

The North-east bed with towering Eremurus robustus ‘Foxtail lily’ adding delicate but structural height to the bed.

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The pathway through the Roses garden. There isn’t a single rose in the rose garden, instead it is packed full of vibrant Euphorbias, more Astrantia, pompoms of Allium christophii and various grasses. IMG_8838 copy

The view past the North-east & South-east bed up to the Hornbeam Circle. grouped 03IMG_8854 copy

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One of the pathways through the meadow leading to the Prairie. grouped 04IMG_8907 copy

The Prairie, with its vast scale will be a very impressive sight later in the year. I was still lovely to see the masses of green foliage just starting to bud and bloom, but I wish I could see it in its full glory later in the year. grouped 05

I absolutely loved the shed that faced on to the veg beds and glass house. It looked elegant against the backdrop of prairie foliage. Even the simple glass cloches added to the beauty of the garden. I would love to get my hands of some of those!

Overall the garden was completely worth the trip to Hertfordshire and definitely lived up to the hype, even on a drizzly grey day it looked stunning. It was a pleasure to meet Tom and explore his garden, I know it is a very personal thing to open up your home and garden to the prying public, as my parents did it for years when I was younger, so thank you to Tom & his wife Sue for allowing the hundreds of people to surround his home and make comments on his hard work! Not that there could be a bad word said as every aspect of the garden was a delight!

Lets hope he does it again next year!

The Barn Garden was open in conjunction with the ngs, there are hundreds of gardens open across the country, have a look for some near you.

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