43 Mardley Hill; Luscious planting and quirky corners

This unexpected garden in Welwyn, Hertfordshire is full of luscious layers created by plantaholics and packed with unusual plants. There’s a focus on foliage and the creation of a long season of interest and with tranquil and quirky seating areas and a delicious tea on offer too, it’s a garden to add to your ‘favourites’.

A closer look


The garden design is open-plan with curvaceous borders that are densely and richly planted with a huge variety of foliage colours and textures. Owners Kerrie and Pete are constantly developing the space and adding new plants.

“We find that visitors stay for quite a while, viewing the garden from the different seating angles and levels,” says Kerrie. “The outdoor armchairs overlooking the pond are always a popular spot.”

There are many quirky and unusual features in the garden. The different planting areas include: a sunny border with grasses, alliums and honesty; partly shaded banks with a magnolia, azaleas, dicentras, moisture loving ferns and aquilegias; three white-stemmed birches underplanted with spring bulbs, epimediums, painted ferns and an increasing collection of choice and rare woodland plants such as paris, podophyllum and trilliums; tree ferns, tetrapanex rex and a schefflera create a canopy for interesting foliage plants; a raised slate bed planted with alpines; a man-made bog area with large-leaved plants such as gunnera, rodgersia and ligularia; a small wildflower patch around an old apple tree.

“We are also plant Heritage Plant Guardians for three garden-worthy plants that are rare in cultivation. Photographs on display illustrate the garden transformation since 2009 and we label many of the unusual plants. A chicken coop features in one of the beds and our bantam Pekin chickens will be pottering around. We offer generous portions of delicious home-made cakes and scones, all served on vintage china and sell plants that we have grown from seed, cuttings or division, so the selection differs each year.”

Find out more about garden openings for 43 Mardley Hill here

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