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Jill's Jots

Beginnings

A while ago we were asked to put together a talk about how our garden evolved and from that seed, our talk From Conception to Chaos evolved. It has been well received, but I am never sure whether audiences think we were totally mad or just slightly eccentric! However, it also occurred to me that perhaps readers of our website might also like to know a little about Aulden, hence this page.

The garden to be in 1996 A view of the house

Aulden Farm is part of a very small hamlet and at the end of the 19th Century, it was then known as Aulden House, with an acre of ground. It was owned by a Mr. Griffiths who earned his living as a builder and wheelwright. The original part of the property dates to the mid-17th Century and was a Moravian meeting house in the mid-19th Century before the modern brick extension was added about 1890. We purchased the property in 1996 with the dream of developing a garden on the then 3 bare acres surrounding the farmhouse. Of course. we should have thought about the state of the house but that seemed secondary to the garden. To say it was damp would be kind as I did spend quite some time weeding inside especially above the cellar. We had been told that this had been dry in living memory but we shone a torch and could see frogs swimming - some memory! Still, we were not too dispirited and gradually over time got round to the house but always thinking about the garden and plants first - who would expect otherwise from two keen Hardy Planters, besides our living was to be made from selling plants. A plan for the garden was drawn and as visitors will know, our dream became reality and the garden is now home to a wide variety of plants, wild and cultivated, not forgetting the wildlife which may not be obvious, but is ever present.

The old Hen Coup at Aulden Farm 1997 The old Hen Coup at Aulden Farm more recently

We tried to keep the rather romantic atmosphere that the old corrugated barns gave and the remnants of the farm can clearly be seen from the old calving-stall, hay-barn, pig-sty and the not too steady hen house. These add to the relaxed atmosphere and lend themselves to an informal style which is where our hearts lie. However, both informal and formal have been mixed to add a touch of quirkiness and along with various sculptures, we have tried to create a space which we and the wildlife enjoy. If visitors also appreciate it then that is an added bonus!

Being keen plantaholics means that over the years a depth of knowledge has been built up especially in irises. In 2007 an old collection of Siberian Iris fell into neglect, we couldn't let the history just disappear so acquired the remaining plants and re-established it, with many additions, as a new National Collection. It now has approximately 150 cultivars and proves to be a useful resource for photographers as well as other irisiarians. We also act as the Collection Co-ordinators for Plant Heritage in Herefordshire and have been Hardy Plant Society members for over 20 years. So perhaps this explains why the garden took precedence over the house but was I relieved when we finally got windows and some heating!

The birches. A view of the farmyard