History of the garden
The current garden at Bere Mill started in the late autumn of 1993 when some 70 leylandii Cyprus which had been planted as wind breaks for the fish farm were cut down. The lime avenue leading to the Mill was planted in Spring 94. The following year the line of alders along the stream below the house was planted along with two hedges (the beech hedge along the lane and the mixed hedge around the orchard). The Hampshire wall made of crushed chalk and lime render that surrounds the orchard was also extensively repaired at this time.
The two beds on each side of the drive were planted in 1996, that on the river side being a Mediterranean bed and on the stream side a mixed herbaceous border. These beds were replanted as a gravel garden over the winters of 2005 and 2006.
The orchard was replanted in the winter of 1996 with 30 apple, pear and plum ‘old’ varieties, together with fruit trees on the orchard wall – peaches, nectarines and cherries. The vegetable beds were added in the late 90’s and benefit from fine tilth and a long background of vegetable growing on this site. A soft fruit cage has been added more recently.
The bog garden was created in the late 90’s. While most of the plants die back in winter and do not emerge till late April, these beds have a tall jungle like appearance in the late summer.
Extensive bulb planting has taken place every year. The lawn is planted with bulbs and is treated as a meadow. It is mowed late summer. Beds on either side of the river and stream have been planted with Iris Ensata, the ‘Japanese iris’, while the garden stream each side of the bridge is planted with Iris ‘Gerald Darby’, a European/Japanese hybrid. A Japanese wood of black and red pines and prunus has been planted to the east of the garden.
The area above the mill pond has been cleared and planted as a wisteria garden, using a range of Chinese and Japanese varieties. ‘New wood’ has been planted to the west of these tanks: there is a central avenue of Taxodium surrounded by a variety of European species which thrive in the boggy peat of the site. A sculpture by David Nash has been installed.
Recently glasshouses and propagation units have been added in a ‘garden yard’ behind the stables.
The sculpture in front of the house is by Terry New, while the tea house and the bridge over the stream were built by Australian sculptors Paul Jamieson and Rohan Ward. The river sculpture is by David Muir.