Garden landscaping business- Blanchland, Northumberland

PUBLISHED: 14:04 12 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:09 20 February 2013

Path at the rear of the house flanked by flower beds and arch leading to the gateway

Path at the rear of the house flanked by flower beds and arch leading to the gateway

Rock stars, film producers and TV personalities are all clients of an interior designer turned landscape gardener in beautiful Blanchland

Showing a natural artistic flair from flower arranging and interior design, a tapestry of form and colour greets the visitor to Daphne Scott-Harden's garden in the picturesque village of Blanchland, situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the North Pennines.

Although the day I visited the weather could have been kinder, the garden still had the wow factor and was a sheer delight. The driveway leads up to the house, which was let at one time as a shooting lodge, and over the years has been extended and altered.

Daphne and her husband, Anthony, moved here in 1995 from North Yorkshire, and began planting up the garden a year later. However, sadly Anthony died suddenly in 2001 and it was then Daphne decided to embark on her garden landscaping business.

'It spurred me on to branch out do something different, though in some ways it was a natural progression to move outside - and a healthier option following on from my skills of teaching flower arranging and doing interior design. My mother loved her garden and her enthusiasm has rubbed off on me. It is just great fun and so rewarding,' she told me.

She has built her business purely by word of mouth and has created gardens for castles to cottages, both in this country, Europe and further afield in Pennsylvania, USA.

Her clients include rock stars, film producers and TV personalities, and she once supplied a Formula 1 car and pit stop crew with topiary - no task is too small or too large.

Shortly after she started her business she joined forces with Denise Herdman also from Blanchland. They came together initially when Daphne was looking for mature trees. Denise was nursery manager of Northern Forestry Products and over the 30 years she had worked for them, had built up a vast knowledge of trees.

Daphne's own garden, which stands at 1,000 feet above sea level and has all weathers to cope with, is an eclectic mix, from the formal to the fairly wild where nature is allowed to flourish. Trees and hedges which help shelter the plot which in total covers about five acres.

Stone steps leading to the front door are flanked with white spirea, which cascades like a waterfall. To one side of the house roses are trained on the wall and round the windows, whilst the row of catmint tumbles onto the lawn edge. Adjacent to the conservatory a peony border, with lovely blowsy flowers, is a picture and scent wafts up from the small herb garden. Again roses trained on the wall form a colourful backdrop.

When Daphne showed me round she immediately lead me by the topiary stags, which peer out through the ox eye daisies and grasses, through a pathway of stone slabs. We brushed past yellow mimulus, which towered amongst candelabra primulas, climbing a few steps and coming to a willow seat with a thyme cushion. Here you get a view of the spring-fed lake with a wooden bridge leading to the island. Water iris and gunnera surround the lake and rising up to the horizon is an urn, surrounded by natural planting, which Daphne has dedicated to her late husband.

She explains the bog garden is strimmed down and then raked up in winter allowing nature to rise out of the 'ashes' in spring.

This year a profusion of wild orchids have appeared, much to her delight. A mix of maturing trees take you back to the driveway. Crossing over the tennis court, which is shielded from view with large voluminous shrubs and roses, we arrive back at the more formal area. Roses are planted with a dark beech hedge behind, allowing the soft white and pink to shine. Wherever you are scent wafts in the air filling your senses.

Wild foxgloves are allowed to self seed and rise up throughout, even showing up in the cream and blue border. A Cornus Kousa Variegata (wedding cake tree) stands proud amongst shrubs, which layer down to the lawn where hostas and alchemilla mollis tumble to the grass. Daphne uses nematodes which have successfully helped to control the slugs.

Herbaceous borders are crammed full of plants with the emphasis on colour and structure. Another of Daphne's talents is sculpture and her creation, Anthony's dog, stands watch over the house and garden.

Whatever the weather has thrown at the garden it still looks stunning and it transports you into another world.

She has one full time gardener, Martin Stewart, who has been with her for about two years, but she can always be found working in her own haven or on one of her client's projects. She has built her business up by word of mouth and her natural talent certainly shows in her own space.

Daphne opens her garden for various events throughout the year including the National Garden Scheme, which this year attracted nearly 200 visitors in one day. Telephone 01434 675005 or mobile 07860420308, or email

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