Our July visit took us to West Stoke, West Sussex on a muggy, sometimes overcast day at the start of a heatwave. The weather, however, didn’t detract from the stunning garden at 4 Hillside Cottages – there was an audible gasp of delight from the group as we entered the garden.
The garden has been owned by Heather and Chris Lock since 1996. They have worked very hard to turn a narrow straight piece of land into a sumptuous garden, full of interest.
The garden has a profusion of roses, clematis, fuchsias and dahlias. Heather said she always grows Group 3 clematis, they are ‘fool proof’ when it comes to pruning as they flower on growth made during the season.
The planting scheme has clearly been thought through, with deep reds, purples and pinks together and oranges of different shades in another.
Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’ grows at the front and an interesting unusual shrub behind called Eupatorium which has clusters of tiny flowers in late summer to early autumn. This shrub is a perennial which is cut down to the ground at the end of the season and amazing grows back to a height of 1.5-2.5 metres!!
The garden is landscaped with curved beds with an arch and steps to make you feel it is much bigger than it is. At the end of the garden, hidden behind a fence, there is even a small, healthy vegetable patch.
Just as we were leaving, I noticed a couple of containers planted with clematis, fuchsias and busy lizzies using a design I first heard of on Gardeners World as pillar, filler, spiller planting. This little rhyme is also known as thriller, pillar, spiller and helps creates professional looking container planting.
Thriller: bold focal point using tall plants such as grasses, cannas, and cosmos. Filler: mid-sized, begonias, geraniums, gazanias. Spiller: plants that cascade and tumble like bacopa, ivy, nasturtiums.
4 Hillside Cottages has an NGS open day in July and opens By Arrangement from Jun 2022 to Aug 2022 for groups. All the money taken goes to the local hospice.