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Stuart-Smith gardens in Hertfordshire

The Barn Garden, Serge Hill and Pie Corner

UPDATE: Our 2020 programme of Garden Visits has been postponed until 2021. Tickets are automatically transferred, ticket holders have been informed.

New date: Wednesday 14 July 2021
(Original date was Wednesday 15 July 2020)

Today is a family affair with visits to Tom Stuart-Smith’s own garden at The Barn, followed by his sister’s garden at Serge Hill and his sister-in-law’s at Pie Corner. We start at The Barn, where Tom will join us over coffee to describe the making of his own family garden before head gardener Brian Maslin guides us through it, taking in the calm, contemplative Courtyard, exuberantly planted West garden, two meadows – prairie and native – and the vegetable garden with its glasshouses, holding beds and wonderful ‘shed’ designed by Ptolemy Dean. Delightfully empty green rooms form the transition to the wilder area of the garden and Tom’s latest addition, a natural swimming pond.

Just a short walk across the lane we will have lunch with a view on the expansive lawn (weather permitting) at Serge Hill, where two generations of the Stuart-Smith family have gardened. Taking a thoughtful approach to making this now organic garden her own, Kate Stuart-Smith, who will be our host, uses her keen photographer’s eye to plan the planting for different light and seasons, recording it throughout the year. In the walled garden, with its gravel paths softened by catmint and lavender, there are straight rows of vegetables as well as subtle drama from the tall grasses and lush perennial planting behind. A lovely greenhouse sits at the heart of this charming, productive space.

Finally, we all drive on to Pie Corner, where the garden made by garden designer and plantswoman Bella Stuart-Smith wraps around an elegant modern house surrounded by banks of woodland. Here, Bella will explain how she has used hedges that appear to blend into the woodland, to create a series of formal spaces. In one, cloud-pruned box is used to conceal a swimming pool and carefully positioned sculpture seems to animate the space. Room has been made for a delightful vegetable garden, its entrance clad in roses; foxgloves thrive in an area of recently cleared woodland and there is a view across the lawn to undulating fields grazed by Bella’s flock of black Hebridean sheep. This very special day will finish with afternoon tea.

This event has been organised by the Garden Museum’s Garden Visits committee. We recommend you read our Garden Visits Attendee Charter and Refund/exchange policy before booking your place on any of our Garden Visits.

Image: The Barn © Andrew Lawson; Serge Hill Manor © Kate Stuart-Smith; Pie Corner © Julia Stafford Allen; Tom Stuart-Smith © Eva Vermandel