A Family's Garden Restoration Project
In 1996, Kay & Patrick purchased Church Gardens, the only remains of the formal gardens belonging to Harefield Place. Kay enjoyed gardening in her spare time working as a musicians and Patrick, an architect, had grown up on a small farm and enjoyed working outdoors. They had fallen in love with the property when they visited the previous year, despite it being in a serious state of disrepair & dereliction. The house had not been lived in for almost 30 years and therefore had no water or electricity. For the first two & a half years, Kay and Patrick put all of their energy, time and funds into creating a home for their growing family and they moved in with their three daughters in 1998.
Work started on the gardens in the early 2000's, the gardens were impenetrable due to perennial weeds, ivy covered the walls and huge piles of hardcore & rubbish were discovered in the undergrowth, so Kay and Patrick focused on clearing the gardens back to a blank canvas and started to design the layout for the Kitchen Garden. They built a polytunnel, 56 vegetable beds and compost yard and Kay started to grow vegetables to feed the family.
All of the C17th derelict walls surrounding the Kitchen Garden and Orchard required extensive, specialist restoration before any decorative gardening could take place. Due to financial and time constraints, this expensive work took place gradually over the years whilst Kay and Patrick continued working on projects at Church Gardens and bringing up their family.
The Kitchen Garden walls were completed in 2014 which meant Kay could finally start to plan her herbaceous borders.
After a serious accident at Church Gardens, where Patrick fell off a roof and suffered multiple breaks in his leg, Kay and Patrick seriously started to consider what they wanted to do with Church Gardens going forward.
In 2018, Patrick applied to open the garden to the public for the first time for the National Garden Scheme. The whole family worked together the prepare the garden for it's first ever public opening, building ponds, installing a fountain and building & planting new alpine beds and a herb garden. Over 450 people visited the garden that day and this marked the start of a new journey for the family, to complete the restoration and share the garden with the public.