Norney lavenderOn two of the hottest days of the year so far, Jean & Richard Thompson very kindly allowed Grayshaw & Yeo, and 20 of our gardeners, to descend upon their beautiful NGS garden for training and inspiration.

Jean and Richard bought Norney Wood in 2006 and knew from the beginning that they wanted to create a stunning garden, despite the challenges of the site including an 8 metre difference in height between the top and bottom.

So with the help of ‘Acres Wild’, ( work began in 2008 and in the relatively short time since, they have transformed 10 acres of sandy, acidic soil into a rich landscape of roses, lavender, perennials, ponds, woodland and unique ironstone paving features. normey water featuresThe site also includes 10 acres of woodland, which are being rejuvenated and cleared to allow native flora to regenerate.

norney shadeThe garden benefits from an open, sunny south east facing plot, but this doesn’t mean that Jean or Richard have shied away from the more challenging shady parts of the garden, where they have planted anemones, hydrangeas and begonias, as well as cutting down several large trees overshadowing the front of the house.

norney pondJean and Richard also commissioned the drilling of a bore hole, to ensure enough water for the site; the well can provide up to 20,000 litres a day if the rain water collection tanks are running low.

norney limesThere is also a beautiful wildlife pond and wild flower bank, which Jean continues to experiment with, as the sloping site has proved difficult to cultivate meadow species.

With such an extensive range of projects on the go, the garden has taken on a maturity and elegance beyond its years. In response to this the couple generously decided to open their garden to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme ( One thousand visitors flowed through the garden during its first opening – testament to its universal appeal.

Getting involved…

norney roeOur gardening team were therefore more than happy to get their secateurs out and get stuck in, working in such a fantastic garden. They undertook summer pruning – dead-heading roses to remove the flower heads down to the next leaf node (or if several had ‘gone over’ in a group, removing the whole group at the next leaf node down).

The team also cut back herbaceous perennials that had flowered, removing dead, dying or dried stems to allow stronger growth to come through. The aim was to create an open network of growth to allow light and air to flow, whilst keeping the overall shape compact to stop plants from flopping or becoming straggly.

A day well spent…

norney rose gardenThis was a great chance for our gardeners to look at planting design and how to use plants to fill gaps for the following year, as well as thinking about plant combinations and planting/soil conditions.

In the Autumn, the team will return to help with replanting the borders in the pleached lime walk with alliums and camassia, after clearing some of the geraniums that were swamping other plants.

We look forward to returning soon.

Further information…

If you’d like to find out more about The National Gardens Scheme, or support their work with a donation then click HERE. For more information on the stunning NGS gardens open in Surrey, click HERE.