How I Came to Draw a Plan of Veddw House Garden – Part 1

I first came across Anne Wareham on Twitter around six months ago. Initially I found her rather formidable but there was also great humour, a questioning nature of perceived garden wisdom and a passion for well-designed gardens that kept me following her tweets and sent me a-clicking to her website

Her garden was a revelation!  Up to then I have to admit to having been shamefully unaware of Veddw House Garden and was extremely disappointed that it had never been mentioned on my garden design course; an unforgivable oversight in my opinion!  I have since made my ex-tutor aware, suggesting that garden design students would benefit hugely from a trip to Veddw. Not to mention the tutors!

Anyway, that’s how I came across Anne’s tweet asking if anyone fancied ‘sexing up’ the plan of her garden. I was intrigued and rather impetuously I told her I’d be happy to give it a go. Impetuous as in I’d only drawn two garden designs, having just learnt technical drawing on my garden design course! I thought Anne only wanted the plan for a visitor leaflet which was partly true but, when we spoke on the phone, I was shocked to lean that she also wanted it to go in the front of her forthcoming book, ‘The Bad Tempered Gardener’ and on her new, soon to be launched website. To say I felt deeply inadequate at this point is a vast understatement! I remember asking Anne if she wouldn’t prefer someone to do a CAD drawing. I think she replied; ‘What’s CAD?’ But she felt and I agree, that a hand-drawn plan has more character and soul. It was a delight to talk to Anne who seemed genuinely excited at the prospect of having a plan drawn for her. I, on the other hand, was shaking in my size 5½ boots!

As Veddw garden is so large and by no means flat, it would have been almost impossible to survey it and draw the plan to exact scale, so Anne sent me a copy of a basic plan she had done, an aerial photograph taken in 2005 and a disc full of wonderful photos taken by her garden photographer husband, Charles Hawes I also managed to obtain a decent Google Earth image that I got enlarged.

With these resources available, I used the Google image as my basis, tracing over as much of the garden as I could see. But the problem was that not all of the garden was visible due to the surrounding tree canopy and shadows cast and Anne had also made some changes to the garden since 2005. The garden layout is complex and we concluded that I would have to see it ‘in the flesh’ in order to make sense of it all on paper, so Anne & Charles invited us to visit. Hurrah!

On a scorching weekend last June, armed with my basic plan taped to a clipboard and plenty of bottles of wine, Beloved and I set off on the 150 mile journey to the Veddw.

Coming soon, Part 2 in which lots of wine is consumed and a plan begins to emerge.

16 responses to “How I Came to Draw a Plan of Veddw House Garden – Part 1

  1. I am soooo looking forward to part 2, what a huge project for you to take on, good for you.

  2. Will you be posting the plan on your blog? – I can’t wait to see it!
    You’re right, Anne’s garden should be seen by more people…she is a truly ‘Thoughtful Gardener’ and her garden is testament to that. I can imagine how difficult it must have been to get it all down on paper, but what a great garden to get your teeth into so early on in your plan-drawing career…good for you!

    • Hi Laetitia, thanks 🙂 Yes, I will be posting the plan on next blog if I can figure out how to do it on WordPress!

      I agree about Anne’s garden, she has amazing intuition and a great understanding of plants and how she can make them work to maximum effect – e.g. using a naturally arching tree or shrub to form an arch!

  3. We couldn’t believe our luck!! I’ve always dreamed of having such a plan. Then having a book which includes so much about the garden coming out, it felt that the book would be really lacking without a plan so readers could see where things were. But how to manage such an enormous thing?

    One small tweet – and twitter world brought us Libby!! And we have been amazed and delighted at every step, up to and including the final ‘reveal’!

    Brilliant work, generous work and an really enormous, difficult challenge: well done and thank you, Libby. And we got to meet you and John too! New friends – what could be better?

    Would be lovely if it turns out to be a new career in plan drawing – and it certainly should be if you can face doing more..

    XXXXX Anne

    • Thank you Anne for your lovely comments 🙂 I can’t quite believe the step from answering a tweet to becoming a published illustrator!

      Not wishing to sound like Simon Cowell (!) it’s been a fascinating and rewarding journey with, as you say, the added bonus of making new friends. And when I say ‘friends’ I include your garden in that as the Veddw now really feels like a friend too.

      L xxx

  4. Libby that was some project to take on so early in your career. I’m really looking forward to reading part 2 and seeing your photo’s. As for getting pictures on your blog – on your dashboard there is that little row of icons – just above that to the left there is a set of pale grey icons one of the 4 looks like a music note – click on the first one – square one as its the one that upload an image from your computer. Hope that helps 🙂

  5. Can’t wait for next installment. I can’t comment on Libby’s fulsome praise for the garden but I have to say how impressed we were throughout the process by her wholeheartedness, attention to detail, and commitment she gave to producing a plan which is nothing short of a work of art.

    • Goodness Charles, thank you so much. Doing the plan of Veddw has been a real adventure; one I wouldn’t have missed for the world – and all because of a tweet! The internet is a double-edge sword, it can bring you down or it can be a place of amazing possibilities & connections. I am so chuffed and yes, a little bit proud, that you were so pleased with the finished plan 😀

  6. Looking forward to part 2 as well as seeing Veddw myself, love your writing style too EB!x

    • Thanks Emma, you’ll love the Veddw, but you do have to give yourself plenty of time to soak it up – it really got into my soul. It doesn’t just have great design it has a definite character that I felt really spoke to me. Sounds flowery I know, will be interested to hear what you think. x

  7. Inspirational! Reminder that to get anywhere you have to be brave and jump in with both feet!

  8. Great stuff, cant wait for part 2. Hats off to you taking on such a project and looking forward to seeing the result.

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