Some gardens are spectacular for two months and dreary for the rest of the year. I couldn’t abide that. Others are good in summer but desolate in winter. Not a good idea. When I began to design the garden at Yewbarrow House I was determined to avoid these traps. To my mind a garden should look good all year round. Moreover, in winter time the garden should look good when viewed from the house as the chances are that when the weather is cold you are going to be looking at the garden from the warmth inside.
With these principles in mind I’ve tried to ensure that each of the windows which look out onto the garden has a good year-round aspect. The fern garden was designed to be viewed from the room which we call the “quiet room”, which is where I do all my work and where I read, and where no TV or music or kids are allowed. Most ferns die down in winter, but Tree Ferns (Dicksonia Antarctica) retain their fronds, which is why I’ve given pride of place to the tree ferns. They are under a canopy of trees, as they would be in their native New Zealand, except that here the canopy is of Yew rather than Eucalyptus. The canopy gives adequate protection from frost so they don’t need wrapping and can look good right through the winter, however cold or snowy it gets.