Real gardens: Claire’s Garden

There’s something marvellous about a garden built from scratch, especially when that garden used to look so very strange. Claire Sutton knows all about this. When she arrived in her derbyshire garden five years ago, it was a playground of the bizarre, featuring a miniature railway, a fake stream, a pagoda, a fake stone barbecue and a broken nude sculpture.

So Claire can proudly say this gorgeous real garden is the result of her own hard labour and creativity.
After dragging a great deal of the mess away from the site, Claire and her husband Ed found a dry, sandy front garden, and a north-facing, stony back garden.

‘Planning?’ asks Claire when I mention her designs for the garden. ‘It kind of evolves as and when we think of a new idea. I am not sure I could cope with coming up with the plans for a complete new garden, we just work on areas at a time.’

Although Claire never intended to grow so many vegetables, she admits the plot is gradually succumbing to ‘allotmentisation’. In the front garden, they grow onions, garlic and shallots, and lettuces, which are protected from slugs by the dry soil. And as their son George grows, so does the lawn.

But the borders are also brimming with astrantias, euphorbias and gorgeous spring colour. And on the front lawn, a mini-orchard is already pumping out Victoria plums and apples. If you want to follow the progress of this beautiful garden, you’ll be thrilled to discover Claire’s beautiful blog, which also has some mouth-watering recipes and eyewatering photography.

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