The Tropic Of Henstead

Left – Chetser Marsh who owns the Carribean Home From Home and Andy Brogan the owner of Tropic Of Henstead enjoying the mature jungle atmosphere in Suffolk. Andy is a hands on gardener and we developed many of the ideas for the garden together. He also got involved with the construction and continues with the planting development and maintenance. The garden has also become a bit of a production line with Andy producing his own plants from cuttings and suckers in the garden.
Right – this replica Lutyens bench fits perfectly against the ancient Yew hedge which is probably as old as the cottage; about 400 years, and sits comfortably framed between Trachycarpus fortunei palms.

Top left – a view from the back of the garden before Andy bought another plot of land that almost doubled the length of the garden. The new plot can be seen in the next set of photos below.
Top right – the lawn used to stretch almost right across the garden with the ‘traditional’ narrow strips of ‘flower bed’ down each side. One of the most urgent changes we made was to get rid of those beds and widen the planting areas making a dynamic and curvaceous shaped lawn in the centre of the garden.
Below left – the curves start as soon as you walk onto the lawn controlling the direction of your entry and views.
Below Right – the curving lawn gives rise to flowing bed shapes which in turn set off the architectural shapes of the plants.

Top left – this is the veiw from the Thai Pavilion which is situated on a circular path that spans the whole of this new area. You can see the circular curving stepping stone path in the distance.
Top right –  The centre of the star pattern in the paving is the centre point for this whole layout including the Thai Pavilion, Tree Fern Valley and the central crossing path which leads through the bamboo grove.
Below left – the same view from the pavilion in 2008, two years after the top right photo. The bamboo grove of green Phyllostachys Vivax and its golden yellow variety ‘Aureocaulis’ has filled out substantially. The Gunnera manicata is beginning to grow really huge leaves and a red ‘Abyssinain Banana’ – Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ has been planted out for the summer.
Below right – Andy has gradually installed lighting in the years since we finished the construction and he has picked out this pair of Trachycarpus fortunei really well. This photo is now on the cover of a book called Inspirational Gardens by Pamela Westland.