22 January 1999

AWATERPROSPECT

As the first snowdrops make their welcome appearance and plans for this years summer

gardens are made, we feature two gardens with a fresh lease of life. Michael Edwards

writes of the garden at Cotton Abbots Farm and Jeremy Hunt charts progress at Leagram Hall

THE house at Cotton Abbots Farm, Waverton, Chester, the home of Edward and Barbara Whalley, was built by the well-known Cheshire architect John Douglas in 1872, the man responsible for Chesters splendid Victorian architecture.

Although the red brick house looks wonderful, the Whalleys felt that the garden was too plain. It needed a lift.

From the tidy beds around the house, the garden progressively becomes less formal and eventually merges with the natural habitats of woodland and hedgerow.

But the Whalleys felt the farm should have a larger garden and with the help of gardener Clifford Johns they brought in a Hymac and created a new one based around a pond. As Edward explained: "We filled in the ditches on the sides of the drive and excavated a large hole. We were so pleased with the result that we extended the water in a curve the following year and eventually spanned it with a wooden bridge.

The semi circle of water gave the impression of a moat and to further that illusion the banks on two sides were faced with sandstone which gave it an aged appearance and now the whole garden extends for around three acres.