CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Enjoying a visit to Terstan garden in Longstock

PUBLISHED: 10:50 12 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:50 12 April 2016

The rescued cottage is now pretty as a picture

The rescued cottage is now pretty as a picture


Enjoy the harmonious planting in the oasis of country charm at Terstan garden in Longstock says Leigh Clapp

The picturesque garden at Terstan is set in water meadows by the River Test with lovely views to Stockbridge Down, and has been created over 40 years by Penny Burnfield, from bramble and weed infested rough ground. “We rescued a small, damp cottage from near dereliction and have made a garden where none existed. It was a redundant cottage on the farm that belongs to my husband Sandy’s family, and had been empty for a couple of years. My father-in-law said we could take it on as it was in danger of falling into decay. But the setting was peaceful and secluded and I could see the potential in the house and the acre of land that came with it,” she recalls. Today the gardens extends gently out from the house with seven loosely linked garden ‘rooms’ that have individual character, but with common motifs of circles and ovals to give a sense of harmonious continuity.

Penny was formerly a doctor and changed career to becoming a textile and mixed media artist in the 1990s. Her passion for gardening runs deep and, combined with her artistic eye, the results at Terstan are just lovely. “As an artist and writer, I have designed a cottage garden for the 21st century, with abundant herbaceous planting, vivid colours and an ever-changing display of half-hardy plants in pots,” she explains. In spring, fresh greens from a canopy of unfurling foliage act as a foil to splashes of colour from tulips, alliums, cheery violas and clouds of dancing aquilegias.

“Gardening forms a useful counterpoint to art, a time to meditate, to let ideas develop in the subconscious, as well as the benefits of exercise and fresh air! I find parallels between the two: my garden is quite structured, subverted by the randomness of planting, and both my garden and my art often use an element of repetition to make an impact,” Penny comments.

The gravel garden by the vintage caravan and the decorative potager are open and sunny, and there are shaded areas to wander through or sit amongst the abundance.

“I’m pleased with our gravel garden, which was created about eight years ago from a muddle of features which didn’t hang together. We have laid it out with three ovals of gravel and grass, and the surrounding areas are beds topped with gravel, which the plants enjoy.”

The plant palette is extensive, chosen to suit the conditions, the loam and clay soil, and with many treasures having been given by family and friends, such as a collection of roses and clumps of irises. “I love the tulips for their sumptuous colours – like exotic silks, and I like putting new combinations together each year,” she adds.

Many plants have been propagated from seeds, cuttings and division, which is a great way to increase stock economically. The process of creating a garden has had challenges though, including dealing with the contrast from being damp and frosty in winter to hot and dry in summer . Two years ago parts of the garden were actually under water for around a month, not from the river flooding but the underground water table rising higher than usual.

Penny and Sandy have been sharing their garden with visitors through the NGS for six years and also host private visits for gardening clubs. “It’s lovely to share the garden with so many people. Often they ask for advice, or enquire about plants they haven’t seen before. I hope they will go home with the enthusiasm to develop their own gardens in interesting ways” says Penny. Coming under the spell of this tranquil garden, visitors have commented ‘a proper heaven’, ‘so full of interest’ and ‘an absolute gem’, so make sure this garden is on your list of places to visit. 

Opening times

Terstan, Longstock, Stockbridge, SO20 6DW | Sunday April 24 2016, June 26 2016, July 24 2016, September 4 2016 (2pm-6pm) | Admission £4, children free | Visitors also welcome by arrangement May to September |


Hampshire walk around East Worldham - This month head to East Worldham just to the east of Alton, following part of the Hangers Way and visiting Binswood says Steve Davison

10 simple ideas for a beautiful garden this spring - From the best flowers to plant in spring to inspiring cottage garden style – we reveal 10 things to do this month in the garden to ensure an awesome outside space

More from Out & About

Thu, 11:55

Treat yourself to lunch and tea with a visit to one of these fantastic Hampshire tea rooms.

Read more
Wed, 12:32

Is there anything more refreshing than a stroll on a crisp winter’s day? We don’t think so! Here are a few of our favourite rambles across the county to enjoy this season

Read more

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Tue, 11:55

With 100 years since the last guns were fired during World War One, we remember the sacrifices Hampshire made

Read more
Tue, 11:45

With the New Forest, South Downs and a picturesque coastline, Hampshire is an amazing place for a walk. We round up a few of our favourites

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

There is so much to see and do in Hampshire over the festive season, from carol services to markets and of course amazing food and drink and our day-by-day guide brings you the pick of the best

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

If you’re planning to add a new extension, remodel the internal layout or create a brilliant new kitchen overlooking a landscaped garden, a visit to the South East Homebuilding & Renovating Show (19-20 January 2019) at Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre is a must

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

Huge Christmas markets, frosty countryside and cosy pubs; winter in Hampshire is second to none…

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

When it comes to celebrating the festive season, Winchester is alive with the sound of music. From Cathedral choirs to community singers and from family musicals to classical concerts, there’s something for everyone

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Get in the festive spirit with our selection of the Hampshire's top dining experiences this Christmas…

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

This thriving community in North Hampshire is a desirable location for residents and visitors alike

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Running a successful regional theatre means thinking beyond the bricks and mortar to reach out to the community. We ask four of Hampshire’s leading impresarios, how do they ensure that the show goes on?

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Savour spectacular views of the Needles and Alum Bay and discover history tales on this invigorating walk on the Isle of Wight

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

With late-night shopping, fairs, Christmas markets and plenty of food and drink, we’ve rounded up some of the best festive offerings in Hampshire

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search