A gardener's 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 Phyliss Reiss. The different ‘living rooms’ are full of scent and colour, and feature secluded lawns, pools and imaginative borders.
Enclosed by brick walls added in about 1720, this area of the garden was originally laid out by Dr Price in 1904. What remains today is an intricate blue lias pathway leading down to the fountain garden.
Phyllis Reiss lived at Tintinhull House from 1933 until 1961 and she designed the planting in Eagle Court for year round interest, which she could admire from her living room window.
This garden is dominated by shrubs and small trees. Reiss originally planted topiary box domes flanking the path through Middle Garden and Eagle Court. Unfortunately, due to box blight these were replaced in 2017 with yew, which will be trained into domes as they grow over time.
The central feature here is a circular lily pool with a simple fountain enclosed by yew hedges. The borders surrounding the pond have recently been rejuvenated and are filled with white roses and other flowering plants.
There is also a small foliage garden beyond the fountain. This is where, until shortly after the Second World War, Captain Reiss's garden shed stood; nowadays a small bench surrounded by clipped bay affords views eastwards towards the house.
During Mrs Reiss's lifetime, visitors were not allowed into the kitchen garden. She believed that vegetables were for eating not looking at; this is why the views through the kitchen garden were planted with flowers
Captain Reiss had a passion for pears, and grew pear trees here as espaliers; these can still be seen here now.
Today this productive kitchen garden grows a range of vegetables and cut flowers which are often sold in the shop. Recent additions are the ‘step-over’ apple trees which border the vegetable beds.
In 1947 Phyllis Reiss changed what used to be a tennis court into the pool garden. She dedicated it to the memory of her nephew, a Fleet Air Arm fighter pilot killed in the Second World War. It was designed as a reflective space, with contrasting borders of strong and pale colours facing each other.
Today we continue to follow her colour schemes, but we explore new planting combinations, following the experimental approach Reiss set out.
This was the first area Captain and Mrs Reiss set about developing. It had been a rough paddock with a muddy path running along the north wall of the house.
One of Phyllis Reiss’s best known colour combinations was purple and gold, which can be seen in the east facing border here.
Behind the formal garden is the peaceful arboretum; a beautiful area of woodland that provides a contrast to the formal garden. Today it is a secluded oasis where people can enjoy a walk or make use of the picnic tables located there.