How I created a paradise garden - from nothing but wasteland

EADT-VICTORIA HAWKINSThe home gardens of Garden Designer Amelia Singleton, in Sibton.This area

Amelia Singleton has transformed her garden at Wood Farm, Sibton over 30 years - Credit: Amelia Singleton/Archant

When you look at before and after photos of Amelia Singleton's garden, they seem like entirely different places. 

But the talented garden designer has managed transform a couple of acres of what was effectively wasteland into one of Suffolk's most beautiful gardens - with 30 years of hard graft.

Amelia Singleton's garden when she moved to Wood Farm in 1988

Amelia Singleton's garden when she moved to Wood Farm in 1988 - Credit: Amelia Singleton

When Amelia and her family moved into Wood Farm, Sibton in the summer of 1988, her garden area was rabbit-infested wilderness strewn with rusting farm machinery and crumbling agricultural buildings.

Wood Farm's garden is barely recognisable from what it was in 1988

Wood Farm's garden is barely recognisable from what it was in 1988 - Credit: Amelia Singleton

At first, she had to focus her efforts on making her semi-derelict home habitable.

As a busy mother, she could be forgiven for thinking that transforming the garden would be a far too time-consuming job.


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But after 30 years of hard work, the garden is now one of the county's finest - and is preparing to welcome visitors to look around the blooming marvel at the National Garden Scheme's open gardens event on Sunday, June 20.

Amelia Singleton has transformed her Sibton garden over many years

Amelia Singleton has transformed her Sibton garden over many years - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Amelia said the garden has "evolved slowly, initially in a rather haphazard way without any overarching plan".

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She planted bits here and there, before catching the gardening bug and going to what was then Otley College to do a landscape design course.

As time went by, she decided to design parts of the garden and gradually built it up as a whole, spending her autumns and winters completing technical designs and drawings so she is ready to start planting in the spring.

EADT-VICTORIA HAWKINSThe home gardens of Garden Designer Amelia Singleton, in Sibton.P

Amelia Singleton has worked hard to improve the garden area at Wood Farm - Credit: Archant

It includes the White Garden on what was formerly a vegetable plot, as well as an area called New Border – which provides a colourful approach, full of blues, yellows and whites including Hypericum “Hidcote” and deep purple Buddleja davidii “Black Knight”.

"It's high-maintenance," she said. "I wouldn't want anyone to think that it isn't."

EADT-VICTORIA HAWKINS
The home gardens of Garden Designer Amelia Singleton, in Sibton.
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The White Garden is part of Amelia Singleton's work - Credit: Archant

"However, you don't have to do it all at once. You can do one bit at a time. You can wait for a year, see where the sun comes and see if you have any problems with the soil.

"It's definitely addictive. It's incredibly therapeutic - in terms of mental health, gardening is really under-rated."

She added: "Colour theming has always been a part of my gardening style. It helps, I feel, to give an intensity and a distinct character to each area."

Wood Farm garden is open between 2pm and 6pm on Sunday, June 20. Admission is £5, with children able to enter for free. No pre-booking is required.

Volunteers from St Elizabeth Hospice will provide teas at the event to help raise money for palliative care.

Money from the NGS event will also go towards charities such as Macmillan and Marie Curie.

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