I’m the Assistant Gardener at the National Trust’s Chastleton House in Oxfordshire and I have an RHS Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture (awarded with Commendation).
With a degree in sculpture and several years of experience producing creative projects for the Royal Shakespeare Company, I’m excited to bring my skills together to create gardens.
I’m on Instagram – please use this link to see my account: https://www.instagram.com/keatsgardens/
The design invites you to take a walk through the joyful experience of a wedding day. You arrive at the formal, groomed, contained part of the garden, lining up to take your seat in the rows of pews. After the ceremony you arrive in a freer, more relaxed area where you can circulate and mingle. The character of the planting and shapes of the spaces reflect this.
The design brings the relaxed elegance and comfort of an Italian piazza to the woodland setting of Chesham Bois. It offers a blend of urban minimalism, colourful opulence and variety, counterpointed by the earthy tones and naturalistic rhythms of woodland. Planting throughout frames the view and creates seclusion. Lines running through the design picked out in steel lead the eye towards the wider view of the woods. From the elevated Dining Terrace there is a commanding view of the woods beyond the focalpoint of the garden: a large fire pit on the sunny west-facing terrace. The lines follow the fall of the site and give an indication of the hill’s natural contours, allowing the garden to mimic the way woods gradually seed along strata of land.
This garden gives the family a series of setting for adventures, and will feel as though the Chilterns AONB continues into the garden, so the hills, valleys and wildlife become part of their space.
The river feature running through the centre offers a place for wildlife to bathe, drink and forage. It will reflect the planting behind and will give a cool, calm foreground to the view. The series of stone walls follow the lines of the hills, to create a meandering valley through the middle of the garden. The walls work in series, giving perspective, and partitioning spaces for different uses.
A bridge leads over the water feature to a wide circular lawn, with the large oak tree in the centre. A perfect play area.
The plot is 2.25 acres in size. The top of the site is flat and sunny, contrasting with the atmospheric valley walk from the house down to the river. The back garden faces north towards an expansive view, with the wooded valley of the River Avon at the lowest boundary.
This garden is intended to feel like an Unnatural Nature Reserve: a naturally beautiful, wild space that has been shaped and honed for use as a garden.
The top part of the garden offers a welcoming and inviting series of spaces, with the main path leading straight to the dramatic views over the valley.
The River Retreat offers a self-contained, peaceful and beautiful environment beside the river, away from the main house.