Design a garden in the style of Rosemary Verey

In the centenary year of Rosemary Verey's birth, Anna Pavord visits Verey's own garden at Barnsley House for the April issue of Gardens Illustrated. Here we share some of the key elements of the garden so you can design a garden in her iconic style.


To celebrate the centenary of the birth of the writer and designer Rosemary Verey, Anna Pavord visits her former home at Barnsley House. Here she shares some of the key elements that make up Verey's style of garden design. 



Rosemary Verey always understood the importance of creating long sight-lines in the garden. One of the best at Barnsley connects the famous Laburnum Walk with a lime walk, giving a view all the way through to the classical pavilion by the lily pool.





Clipped evergreens
Rosemary Verey’s book Classic Garden Design (1984) illustrates how much she learned from gardens of the past, with their topiary, knot gardens and box-edged beds. All are incorporated in the Barnsley garden, providing structure and interest even in the depths of winter.





The Verey style depended on a formal framework, softened by generous, overflowing planting of old roses and herbaceous perennials. The structure remains intact at Barnsley, but the plants Rosemary Verey used have been joined by dahlias and an abundance of annuals, such as clarkias, tobacco plants, poppies and zinnias.





Simon Verity sculpture
The sculptor Simon Verity is perhaps now best known for the work he did on the west portal of Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York, where he was director of carving from  1988-1997. But some of his earliest work was commissioned by Rosemary Verey: the figure of a lady dressed for the hunt, the two stone gardeners who sit either side of the door leading to the potager, and the delicious frog fountain close to the Laburnum Walk.




There’s no English word that quite matches the French one we still use to describe a mixture of vegetables, fruit and flowers laid out in a formal design. Rosemary Verey introduced and popularised the potager – tunnels hung with courgettes and pumpkins, fruit trees trained in goblets and fans, and box-edged beds of chard and salad crops.




Words Anna Pavord

Photos Jason Ingram

Read the full feature in the April 2018 issue of Gardens Illustrated (259).


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