Period Living

Hidden surprise


Character Town garden wrapping around an end of terrace, with a private courtyard garden, box parterre and brimming herbaceous borders

Size 0.5 acre

Aspect South and west facing Soil Acid and free draining

Owners Helen and Robin Russel Fisher, since 1991

House End terrace built in 1840s

Given that Helen Russel Fisher’s garden, set in a leafy suburb of Altrincham, Cheshire, is located at the junction of two roads and wraps around two sides of a mid-19th-century end of terrace house, you could be forgiven for initially thinking there was little room for originality, or indeed privacy. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

From the moment ‘Bonica’ and the cerise-flowering ‘Hinomaru’, the surprises come thick and fast. These begin with a delightful secluded courtyard garden. Surrounded by old redbrick walls, double hedges of lightly trimmed cotoneaster and yew, and a west-facing kitchen/garden room, it makes a blissful garden sanctuary. It needs to, for Helen’s job as a children’s nurse in an NHS hospital is immensely rewarding but can also be highly stressful and emotionally draining. ‘Just ten minutes in the garden and I feel completely renewed,’ says Helen, ‘although ten minutes is never enough. There is always something to do, be it weeding, pruning, deadheading… and before you know it an hour has passed. But I love it,’ she adds.

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