Gardening: Nyewood House

Roses and pretty planting combinations are all set off with superb views to the Downs at the charming gardens of Nyewood House, writes Leigh Clapp

When Sue and Chris Wright moved to Nyewood House in Rogate one of the attractions of the property was an established garden with glimpses to outstanding views over the South Downs. “Impressive, as it had been open under the National Gardens Scheme for a number of years under the previous owner who was a fanatical gardener. However we found it a bit too full and busy, with beds and trellises blocking the stunning view, which must be one of the best views in Sussex, and which we felt was the main feature of the place. “Also our predecessor had had a lot of help in the garden and we wanted to cut down the work to more manageable proportions,” explains Sue. A period of changing and refining the garden followed in stages, from clearing the unwanted things, through replanting and reshaping beds, to making their own additions. “The principal inspiration came from Capability Brown. It seemed to me that it ought to be his kind of landscape, where everything leads the eye to the view. “The flower beds needed to be secondary, a colour enhancement to the corner of the eye. Everything needed to be opened up. “There is an old ha-ha dividing the lawn from the home meadow, which meant by clearing the view from the house, the vista to the Downs is now completely uninterrupted, giving the impression that the lawn itself runs directly on into parkland, down to the river and fish ponds, and across the beautiful Wealden countryside to the South Downs. It then stretches for many miles with the only building in view being a cow byre, tucked into the woodland on the far hill. To my husband and I, no flower bed could possibly equal it or justify impinging on it,” comments Sue.Once you tear your eyes from those glorious views there are delightful planting combinations to enjoy. Colour-themed borders in soft blues and pinks in one area, warmer creams and apricot tones in another, a natural style pond with strategically placed bench to take in the views, a kitchen garden and a gravel square used for boules surrounded by pleached hornbeam, are all beautifully realised. Heavy clay soil, which floods in winter and turns into rock in summer, needing constant applications of compost, is one of the challenges to meet. “Because of the clay we get some amazing peonies and wonderful roses. I love the heavily scented ones; perhaps my favourite is Gertrude Jekyll. The garden was planted with mainly damask, old fashioned and floribunda roses and we have added a few hybrid teas for cutting,” adds Sue.The garden is open briefly each June for the National Gardens Scheme, when you can take delicious home-made teas on the terrace overlooking the view. “We feel so lucky and privileged to be able to wake up in this magical place each morning, and find huge delight in being able to share the pleasure of it with others during the summer,” says Sue.Opening timesNyewood House, Nyewood, near Rogate, GU31 5JLSat 4, Sun 5 June (2-6)Adm �3, chd freeVisits also welcome by appointment April to July groups 12+The National Gardens SchemeSee website for details

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