The Woodland Garden


Ornamental Gardens

Descriptive Summary:

This is a compact South - West facing, steeply sloped area between the Kitchen Garden and the Meadow, and separated from the main Farmhouse Garden by the Water Garden. It is reached from a gravel path bridge from the Farmhouse Garden via a rather soggy upper lawn, and the wardens have a private timber walkway through it towards the Orchard and Kitchen Gardens too.

The Garden is boundaried by a dry stone wall, and the Red Hedge, a selection of mainly native hedgerow plants, roses and fuchsia selected for their strident colour. Along the wall there are a few well-established hazel coppices from before Grizedale occupied the site, and some attractive self-sown silver birches, grasses and heathers have colonised a few spots.

This garden has proved one of the most difficult on the site: not only does it have ongoing drainage problems and an appeal to browsing deer, we have struggled to resolve the design and planting of it. Initially, a serene scheme of trees and grass inspired by what was naturally there was planned, with grass paths and no terracing despite the steep slopes. However, we soon realised the area was too small to be dotted with diverse shrubs and trees, and that maintaining the steep grass pathways was impractical. On the plus side, there is some good soil here, and the whole area catches the evening light beautifully. 

In summer 2007 we simplified the large beds and decided to create a bold 'infinity lawn' on the highest part of the garden, below which a wide, curved bed would sweep round the contours of the hillside before melting away. This border is  planted predominantly with grasses and winter heathers to compliment the native plants of the garden and to provide winter interest, and to offset the luxuriance of the Water Garden below it. Sadly the lawn has proven to be impractically wet, so we are considering another revision.

In 2015 the sculpture Anchorhold was installed with a timber access walkway in this area, amidst the maturing trees. Akin to a bird hide, it has a doorway and compact seating for a few visitors at a time who can look westwards to the Orchard and beyond from inside.

A selection of plants:

Carex hispida (Hispid sedge)

Erica carnea 'Myretoun Ruby' (Winter-flowering heather)

Viburnum opulus (Guelder rose)

Amalenchier canadensis (Shadblow serviceberry)

Rosa 'Geranium' (Wild rose hybrid)

Deschampsia cespitosa (Tufted hair grass)

Molinia caerulea (Purple moor grass)

Tellima grandiflora oderata grp (Fringe cups)

Hellebore foetidus (Stinking hellebore)

Acer saccharinum (Silver Maple)

Luzula sylvatica (Wood Rush)


Karen Guthrie, Adam Sutherland, James Herd

About the designers/maker/s:

Karen Guthrie and Adam Sutherland have lived and gardened on site since 2001. James Herd and James Howson constructed the dry stone wall terracing in summer 2007 with assistance from George Watson.




This area was rough fell side until 2004, with gorse, heathers, grasses and hazel. A slow ground clearance programme using organic methods over the next few years included carpeting almost all of the area to kill off grass, and growing potatoes there in summer 2005.

Raison d'etre:

Closest to the private wardens’ end of Lawson Park, we wanted to construct a secluded, serene garden, which would be at its best outside of summer, when other areas of the garden demand more attention and maintenance. Colour is minimal, and the existing birches, tussocks of grass and heather are used as an inspiration for the sculptural planting.

Adaptions / renovations

Warden’s private lower pathway / boardwalk constructed summer 2008 of local larch

'Anchorhold' by Sutherland Hussey Architects was added in 2015 with access decking & paths. Several volunteers have helped repaint the Anchorhold to its present deep red.

  • From the Bog Garden to the Woodland Garden
  • 'Anchor Hold' by Sutherland Hussey Architects
  • Tomas under the willow
  • Spring
  • Rosa moyesii 'Geranium' in the Red Hedge
  • Primula secundiflora
  • The site being cleared, 2005