Garden Design

It is in the DNA – 10 years in the making

You are welcomed into the unfolding story of the many generations of one family, the remarkable Quaker Backhouse horticulturalists whose legacy is being brought back to life by the current 6th generation.

Entered through an oak door, the space is divided vertically by parallel yew hedges backing wide, stone-edged herbaceous borders planted on “geopolitical grounds”. Plants from different countries are mixed in together and left to control their own borders in this art work entitled “There are no Borders Here”.  

Horizontally the space features a striking pathway laid out with cobblestones in the shape of a double helix and inlaid with crushed white sea shells.

Caroline explains: “Our joint interests as an engineer and an artist, whose combined initials form the bases 
of DNA, became the starting point for the garden. The crushed shells 
are a reference to Cave 13b [where the earliest evidence for the exploitation of shellfish has been documented] 
and the first evidence of human endeavour were the shell people in South Africa.”

In summer the metal arches are covered by white, rambling Rosa City of York, a reference to the Backhouse Nursery, which had its origins in York. Within the south-west quarter an orchard is planted with historic varieties of apple and plum trees.

A potager in the north-west quarter contains cut flowers, the daffodil collection and vegetables, which are grown following the principles of bio dynamics. In the grounds are the remains of a Covenanter’s tomb which agile visitors who wish to scale the two stone styles are welcome to visit.

Backhouse Rossie Estate is a personal and thought-provoking garden, reflecting the interests of its owners. Themes of art, science and family resonate in the design concepts, layouts and plant selections.