Darling buds of May - Hampshire

Leigh Clapp visits a plant lover's garden, 6 Breamore Close in Eastleigh, and falls under its spell

A light drizzle of rain at my visit to Dawn and Richard Trenchard’s pretty garden at 6 Breamore Close in Eastleigh did nothing to dampen the spirits; in fact it accentuated the harmonious colours and added the sparkle of rain drops on foliage in this peaceful oasis. Laid out in planting themes, the different areas make the most of the third-of-an-acre space, inviting exploration as the garden unfolds to the visitor. “The wandering paths present a different scene round every corner and there are fun surprises to find too,” comments Dawn. A highlight in May is the magnificent wisteria, with three-to-four foot long flower clusters, spanning a pergola and acting as a backdrop and canopy to a seating area. Seats are dotted strategically through the garden to soak up the atmosphere and admire the small vignettes. “Since we retired we love to eat out on the patio and occasionally we also do get to sit in the garden or summerhouse and read and enjoy all the hard work,” smiles Dawn. Over 60 clematis, a particular favourite genus, scramble over supports or entwine through roses to add to the romantic ambience.

Potty for potsTucked into corners are pot groupings, including a collection of hostas with their varied foliage, as well as a small courtyard, raised vegetable patch and a sprinkling of statuary to discover. “We didn’t want the entire garden to be seen at once and wanted something interesting around every corner, hence the mirrors and different ways and levels into each section to give a different perspective of that area. The spring, summer, autumn and winter stone figures, given as birthday and anniversary presents, in the four beds on the upper lawn also add interest to these beds, especially the spring lady who stands under the wisteria and looks lovely when the wisteria hangs down over her,” says Dawn.

Touch of finesseThe garden was started in 1978 and has seen an evolution from family garden with football pitch to a plantsman’s tapestry of colour and form. A broad palette of shrubs and perennials showcases Dawn and Richard’s passion for plants. “I am the colourist and plantaholic with Rick the builder, labourer; the practical one. Once the garden had stopped being a ‘sport’s arena’ we were then able to start our real gardening again and it was about this time that we became members of the Hampshire Hardy Plant Society and got inspired by the monthly talks and garden visits. We then searched out some of the specialist nurseries and plants that were suggested and started building up the beds again with the hardy perennials. By this time some of the shrubs that had withstood the ball batterings had outgrown their space and purpose and so were removed, leaving us space for these new plants. As time has gone by some of the beds have also increased in size to take yet more plants,” explains Dawn.Dawn and Richard have been opening the garden through the National Gardens Scheme since 2001 as they feel that it is lovely to be able to let other people share the garden. “We have had a number of people come back a second time and say that they took a certain idea back to their own garden and what a difference it made. Last year we started a visitors’ book and some of the comments are so rewarding. It is also lovely to be able to hand over that cheque for a nice little sum to go towards such worthy charities,” adds Dawn.

Pay a visit6 Breamore Close, EastleighSundays and Mondays May 2, 3, 30, 31, from 1pm – 5.30pm.  Admission: �2.50, children free.Delicious homemade teas and warm hospitality.Visitors also welcome by appointment.Tel: 02380 611230   Email: dawndavina@tiscali.co.ukThe National Gardens Scheme www.ngs.org.uk

Dawn’s top tips• To keep the wisteria looking at its best it has to be pruned twice a year, once in July/August whereby the long spindly branches are cut back by half or if very long to about 15” and then in January cut these branches back to 2 leaf buds. Place a table and chair near the wisteria in bloom, make yourself a cup of tea and just sit and take in the perfume.• To keep slugs and snails away from hostas we spray with a garlic wash every 10 days and after rain. For potted hostas we spray the sides and rims of the pots with WD40 as they don’t like to crawl over the grease.• Clematis are a favourite as you can have one in flower for every month of the year. When planting dig a deep hole, put plenty of well-rotted manure at the bottom and plant it at least 4” below where the plant was in the pot. They are hungry feeders so each spring we pile up round the roots with well-rotted manure.

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