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Secret Garden Visit: Arne’s Maynard’s Garden at Allt y bela, Monmouthshire

Explore the private garden of one of the country's top garden designers, as Arne Maynard opens his Monmouthshire garden for a group of up to six guests. This fundraising event has been arranged to support the appeal to save the Garden Museum from the impact of the coronavirus.

Arne Maynard writes, of his garden at Allt y bela, in Monmouthshire:

“Allt y bela is a medieval renaissance tower house, cradled in a valley between grazed and wooded hillsides. It could not be a more dramatically different setting to my previous garden which was in the flat Fenland of Lincolnshire, here, where there are no straight lines and very little level ground.

I wanted to restrict my palette of plants to favourite elements: fruit trees; vegetables; topiary; wildflowers; roses and bulbs but I’ve had to evolve a very different way of planting them. I found my beloved symmetrical formality was at odds with the house and landscape and so have been prompted to develop exciting new ways of planting. Rather than creating allées and formality, the topiary at Allt y bela are like characters at a party, congregating around the house. Newly sculpted banks at the back of the house are amassed with jewel-like bulbs in long grass; roses tumble out of trees along the drive and vegetables are tended in raised oak beds that sit in a simple, naive oak and chestnut enclosure.

The land here rises from the bed of a canalised stream, gently flaring out like an open bowl. On one sloping side, we built a green amphitheatre, to look down on a grassy stage where in ‘normal’ years we love putting on plays. Beyond this, meadows, orchards and woodlands have become the setting for plants, such as paeonies, iris, lilies, trollius, asters… (the list is long!) which I might previously have placed in more formal borders.

Those that struggle to compete in meadows, are cherished in the ‘knot gardens’ and borders close to the house. Those I hold dearest of all, are in my ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, a garden enclosed by pleached crab apples, which is just outside the kitchen door, where I can look out at them at every opportunity.”

Read more about the Garden Museum’s Covid-19 impact fundraising

Arne Maynard

  • About


    An international garden designer with a portfolio of high profile clients, Arne designs gardens across the globe. He is an RHS Gold Medal and Best in Show winning designer and is hailed by his profession as one of most important garden designers working today.

Image: William Collinson