National Garden Scheme

PUBLISHED: 18:18 13 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:11 20 February 2013

National Garden Scheme

National Garden Scheme

It's been backbreaking, heartbreaking work, say Carol and Stuart Buxton but they have created a glorious garden at Marehay Farm. This month, it opens under the National Gardens Scheme

Far from the madding crowd

Its been backbreaking, heartbreaking work, say Carol and Stuart Buxton but they have created a glorious garden at Marehay Farm. This month, it opens under the National Gardens Scheme

Name of garden: Marehay Farm.

Address: Gatten, Ratlinghope, Pontesbury, Shrewsbury, SY5 0SJ.

Owners: Carol and Stuart Buxton, tel: 01588 650289.

Opening date: May 22, 11am to 6pm.

The garden
In 1990, a JCB and a Hymac arrived for three days. Two pools were created using the clay which is our only soil; a minor ditch/stream was intercepted and directed to the upper pool exiting to the lower pool and back. Both machines then dug the whole acre which was pick-axed to remove the best part of 30 tonnes of boulders, then cultivated, rotavated and finally raked to a seedbed, taking 24 man-days. The garden evolved and plants, trees, shrubs all have to survive our inhospitable soil. Road gravel, farmyard manure, composted bark, leaf and waste compost are applied regularly but cold wet winters cause us greatest losses. We are at 1,100 feet and see all the seasons. The garden is sheltered by woodland, which gives us perspective and depth to our planting.

How long has the garden part of the NGS? Seven years

Favourite species
Carol: primulas candelabra, florindae, irises and sweet peas.
Stuart: hostas, phlox and Montana clematis.

Gardening tips
Have a St Valentines Day Massacre. We always apply slug pellets around this date as the soil warms so slugs and snails emerge. Get them eating pellets before new growth of plants emerges, its too late to apply when damage is apparent. Always read the label. We refuse to buy plants requiring a) full sun b) free draining soil c) winter protection.

Opening day highlights
All monies from teas will go to the Porridge Project, a charity that provides a mug of porridge for malnourished schoolchildren in Tanzania. 11 will feed one child for a year.

Points of interest
Three streams intersect the whole five acres of which two acres could be described as garden.
2) The two pools.
3) The location: "far from the madding crowds ignoble strife" and "along the cool sequestered vale of life" (Thomas Gray 1716-1771).

And to the building society surveyor who wrote, when we applied for a mortgage "There is no garden, and at this height, elevation and aspect, there never will be one," we say, "come and see for yourselves."


Sunday 1 Holly Grove, Church Pulverbatch

Monday 2 Millichope Park, Munslow

Friday 6 Wollerton Old Hall, Wollerton, Market Drayton

Saturday 14 Dudmaston Hall Gardens, Quatt, near Bridgnorth

Sunday 15
Ancoirean, Alveley, near Bridgnorth Oteley, Ellesmere

Sunday 22 The Citadel, Weston under Redcastle Longner Hall, Atcham, Shrewsbury Marehay Farm, Ratlinghope

Sunday 22 Swallow Hayes, Albrighton

Thursday 26 Preen Manor, Church Preen

Friday 27 Wollerton Old Hall, Wollerton, Market Drayton

Sunday 29 Walcot Hall, Lydbury North

Monday 30 Walcot Hall, Lydbury North

For details of these and other Shropshire gardens open throughout 2011 see the NGS Yellow Book 2011 or go to


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