The Trowels and Tribulations of Taking on an Historic Garden by Maggie Tran

Bramdean House is a mainly Georgian house nestled on chalk down in a valley near Petersfield. There is a 1-acre kitchen garden divided into sub plots, an arboretum including some North American trees, ornamental and walled gardens and some wild areas. Now owned by the Wakefield family the property also has very big hedges, a large and impressive white wisteria and a beech tree believed to be 300 years old.

As head gardener Maggie has a couple of permanent staff and a few volunteers including students from Sparsholt College. She is striving to maintain the whole garden and to accentuate certain features such as the very old group of four mirror beds to maintain colour and have plants of interest throughout the year. These mirror beds required a complete overhaul and saw many of the old plants replaced.

The kitchen garden was totally replanned and is now a no dig area. There are espalier fruit trees which are very productive, an unusual bean arch, test beds and over 40 varieties of sweet peas as well as any vegetables that will grow on chalk.

In addition to all the outdoor work there is a glasshouse containing over 120 different cultivars of Nerines as well as a large collection of pelargoniums.

The garden is open to the public only via the National Gardens Scheme and in February the display of many cultivars of snowdrops is very impressive.