Visit Cleeves garden in Haslemere

Glimpses to the house from the flower garden

Glimpses to the house from the flower garden - Credit: Archant

Enjoy the tranquil garden at Cleeves in Haslemere, which has been developed with designs and advice from the world-renowned garden designer, John Brookes

Having moved into Cleeves, a picturesque listed Edwardian house in two acres of grounds in Haslemere, in 1981, Peter and Sue Morgan have altered every part of the garden over the past 30 years.

“My garden bible is Room Outside, written by John Brookes in the 1960s,” says Peter. “It has a simple thesis – work out what you want a garden for and then design it accordingly.”

It seemed natural, therefore, that this would be the designer the couple brought in to advise on their garden and design the main landscape features.

“When he first saw our garden, John Brookes remarked that it had absolutely no structure at all,” says Peter.” I instigated each of John’s projects. I did not accept everything he proposed but he controlled the projects we used, which were most of them.”

Each area of the garden was tackled to create garden rooms to use and enjoy through the seasons.

“In the front garden, John gave us the choice of an ornamental garden or a natural Surrey garden; we chose the latter and so the planting has Scots pine, silver birch, three juniper groups and Ukon cherry trees,” says Peter.

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Hidden surprises

Today, the mature canopy is underplanted with hydrangeas, foxgloves and splashes of vibrant orange lilies in summer.

The main garden stretches out behind the house with a gravelled terrace complete with a canopied seating area and a wide expanse of lawn on two levels edged by densely planted borders. Then you discover hidden surprises as you wander further.

After passing an imposing pergola by the swimming pool, draped with clusters of the dainty white flowers of Rosa Rambling Rector, a tree house offers a panorama of the garden.

“We saw a feature about tree houses in the Financial Times weekend supplement,” says Peter. “It included a photograph across a garden from a tree house, which we thought might be quite like the view we would have from where our tree house has now been built.”

Beyond, there are more formal garden rooms on the site of what was a disused tennis court, with grids of flowers in one and a potager within a framework of box hedges.

In the flower garden, four oxidised obelisks punctuate each island bed of billowing sweet peas, roses and geraniums, with a central urn that is a focal point to the design.

Entering through the dividing yew hedge, the parterre beds of vegetables and fruit, bountiful with crops and scatterings of flowers, radiate around a striking sundial on a brick pedestal.

While the structural layout of the garden is complete, the plants continue to mature and the palette regularly added to or improved. Peter tends to be responsible for shrubs and flowers while Sue’s focus is the vegetables and fruit for the kitchen.

“Sue and I like to walk around the garden from March to October, enjoying the seasonal colours,” says Peter. “On warm evenings, we take a bottle of wine into the garden and sit and listen to the birds, which seem to fill the trees. After 30 years of development, we now have most of what we want from a garden. Much of the development is relatively recent, so, more than anything else, the garden just needs time.”

Cleeves is open through the National Gardens Scheme in June and also by appointment for groups of 20+ from May to September. Visitors can take time in the garden, wander the areas at their leisure and contemplate the tranquillity from the benches placed to admire the vistas, before taking tea in the attractive conservatory.

Cleeves, Haslemere GU27 1DT opens on Saturday June 15 and Sunday June 16, 11am to 5pm daily. Entry is £4 with children free. More information at

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