A gardener's garden

View from West Terrace to Cedar Lawn at Tintinhull Garden

Created last century around an attractive 17th century manor house, Tintinhull Garden is one of the most harmonious gardens in Britain – the small but perfectly formed vision of Phyllis Reiss. The different ‘rooms’ are full of scent and colour, with secluded lawns, pools and imaginative borders.

House and garden work together, one setting off the other. Phyllis Reiss designed the garden with the house in mind, choosing colours that harmonised with the soft, warm colour of Ham stone and planting that meant there was something to see from every window of the house.

" I can't bear any conspicuous place to be void of flower and colour over a long period"
- Phyllis Reiss

A strong design offers mystery, with long pathways that lead the eyes and feet onwards or ‘doorways’ that give a tantalising glimpse of the next garden. High hedges or walls keep the secret until you step through into the next room. Tintinhull is a formal garden, informally planted.

Phyllis Reiss’ style was described by her friend, the garden writer Margery Fish, as ‘groupist’: plants were chosen with great care, but for effect rather than rarity value. She would repeat planting in different areas to create a unity throughout the whole garden, and had a ruthless attitude to plants that did not fit.

" We did our best to make the most of every inch of it."
- Phyllis Reiss

There are seven distinct areas, all with different characters. From the challenge of planting in dry shade under magnificent trees to the creative pleasure of bringing colours together to harmonise and contrast, the garden was planned for year-round interest.