|HCC Site ID:||1778||Parish:||Bentley|
|Designations:||Stables & Barn LB II||Area:|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:|| Private Residence,
Location and Site
Bury Court Farm lies above Bentley, to the north of the A31 Alton-Farnham road. The site is windy but have good views over the surrounding countryside.
Originally a farmyard, John Coke and Marina Christopher began work in 1996 to establish a garden and nursery, ‘Green Farm Plants’. The site consisted of various farm buildings, barns and hop kilns.
The area that is now the back garden was a concrete yard conta ining an aluminium and asbestos grain store. John Coke and Marina Christopher began by removing the store and getting rid of the six feet of concrete, enough to provide the base of half a mile of farm track, laying drains and building a wall from local stone clunch to enclose the whole. A gap was left in the wall next to the house to make the most of the views out towards Alice Holt forest. Within this space a wild bed was created that blended in with the pasture beyond.
An entrance into the garden was formed in the opposite corner and an iron circular frame that mirrored the nearby hop kilns was built, creating diagonal access across the garden. This entrance is no longer used because of further building work, but the structure remains and is covered in Pirus solicifolus.
The garden was designed in conjunction with Piet Oudolf. the Dutch garden designer and nurseryman, who created great circular, clipped bays of box and yew, included two formal stone ponds and planted the beds that surround the central grassed area with a mixture of herbaceous plants and grasses. Paths throughout the garden have been created from imported Belgium granite sets.
A gravel bed in front of the barn is planted with santolina, salvias and lavender.
Over the years some changes have been made to the original planting. Species known to behave in a particular way in Holland were found to grow too large in England, the growing season being several weeks longer here. In September 2006 a new bed of echinacea was seen to be flourishing despite the fact that there had been no rain or watering since May.
In 2002 a new garden was created by Christopher Bradley-Hole on the other side of the house consisting of 22 planted squares edged with rusted metal and set within other squares on slightly varying levels. Known for his minimalist approach, the idea was to construct a rigid structure over which the plants would spill.
Tight paths of fine gravel run between the beds and in the centre of the garden is a square pond with a square open-framed eating pavilion.
The planting of the squares is done with a limited palette using about 80 different species. (the back garden has between 6-700 species). In August and September the garden is dominated by tall grasses, but earlier in the year the balance is different with more flowering plants, predominantly red. The flowering plants are cut back as necessary when they die back, and the grasses are cut down in February.
A rather dream like quality is created by the height of the plants, tightness of the paths and the movement of the grasses. Bury Court is a popular wedding venue.
Two small gardens created from an old farmyard, one 1997, designed by John Coke and Marina Christopher in co-operation with Piet Oudolf in continental,naturalistic style, with grasses and perennials. A second, 2002, by Christopher Bradley-Hole, minimalist with grasses, water and gravel paths.
Information: March 2008
Visits and personal communication