Markenfield Hall is encircled by its surrounding moat – but it is also encircled by its increasingly enchanting garden, safely tucked between the house and the protective waters. Created and tended to by the Hall’s Gardener Giles Gilbey (who we share with nearby Norton Conyers), under his and Lady Deirdre’s careful attention the borders have come to be recognised as an important part of the Hall’s restoration programme; and in 2020 feature in Country Life magazine.
History of the Gardens
Until the 1960s, Markenfield Hall acted as a farmhouse for the the Hall’s succession of tenant farmers; and by the time of the 1980s restoration, the gardens within the moat housed a number of large bushes and conifers and a tangle of overgrown plants. During the 1980s Lady Grantley (as she then was) planned and oversaw the replanting of the north and east borders, and the creation of the orchard on the far side of the moat. The gardens to the front of the house remained in the farm tenancy, along with the area outside the farmhouse.
In 2014, the Gatehouse Gardens were surrendered from the farm tenancy for a period of ten years, shortly followed by the Gatehouse Gardens, allowing Lady Deirdre and Giles to devise and implement a new planting scheme to provide a worthy backdrop to this magnificent home.
The new planting means that the borders “now flow seamlessly around the house. Self-seeders are encouraged, not least the extraordinary army of single and double opium poppies that were scattered as seeds a few years ago and now provide a thread of brilliant pinks and mauves that link everything together.” [Country Life – July 2020]
Tours of the garden can be arranged for interested groups, combined with a tour of the Hall, and further details can be found HERE.