Out came the lavender (most of it was dying, anyway) and 80 percent of the boxwood, as it was suffering from the blight virus that has become endemic in England—the hedging that remains is now doing well with a little care and attention. In the interest of sustainability, however, an early decision was made to keep the paths and terraces laid down by the previous designer; Blom has added limestone paving and gravel paths around the pool to replace the lawns. Here she has planted a glorious explosion of sun-loving perennials and annuals in shades of blue, pink, and purple, as well as nature-friendly shrubs and trees to give year-round interest, such as crab apples, Cercis c. ‘Forest Pansy,’ lilac, and Elaeagnus ‘Quicksilver.’
Unlike many owners who employ a designer, the family actively participates in the ongoing maintenance and development of the garden; Shah even went to a weekly course at horticultural college for a year after leaving his high-flying job in finance. “Not that I have become an expert,” he admits, “but it gave me a bit more confidence to take on a project. The more you embrace what you are going to be undertaking, the more you get out of it and the more it reflects your circumstance.”
Amin has developed an interest in aromatherapy, growing the likes of calendula and comfrey, and has become a great forager in order to make tinctures, syrups, teas, and cordials. “We wanted the native hedgerows and woodland area to embrace this,” says Shah. “Another big passion for us and our daughters, who are four and seven now, is the vegetable area. They are in there every other day in summer picking stuff.”
There are also beehives for honey, and the orchard provides apples for juicing. “The family is heading toward self-sufficiency, which is very civilized,” says Blom, who continues to advise. “I adore working for them; it has been a brilliantly happy collaboration.” From out of a somewhat sterile scene a garden has grown that is fruitful in every way.
This story appear’s in AD’s May 2023 issue. To see this garden designed by Jinny Blom in print, subscribe to AD.