Anyone who has visited Harefield Barn will have noticed that we are rather partial to the odd standing stone! We have always loved the beauty of granite, both in its natural form, and once hewn, into items of formidable strength… and weight!
It was a material often used on farms for gateposts and rollers, but once modern, more practical alternatives came along, the old granite items used to turn up fairly regularly on auction sites and in farm sales. Needless to say, I couldn’t resist amassing a bit of a collection, as I love the many ways they can be used in gardens, both in formal and more natural settings.
Once we started building Harefield Barn, I wanted to find ways of using and enjoying them, but we didn’t realise it was going to become quite such a coordinating theme. Before the building even emerged from the field, the entrance had gained a small selection of granite along with silver birch trees and pebbles. More take pride of place in the turning circle outside the porch, but this time paired with more formal clipped planting.
We had acquired a number of old granite rollers, some of which now act as a pretty formidable deterrent to anyone who might have driven over the grass. Three more have been upended, and one forms the base of our ‘Sphere’ in the wild flower meadow. The other two stand proudly either side of The Clock House – perfect for festoon lights or bunting.
With ‘lockdown’ upon us, and sadly no weddings for a while, the moment was right to decide what to do with the final four pieces which had been languishing on pallets waiting for the perfect location and time. A large square gatepost has been placed alongside the ginkgo tree in the meadow and is now ready for a new addition (don’t worry – not granite!) to be revealed at a later date. Of the other three gateposts, two have their original fixing holes, (hence the rather strange photo!), and yesterday we ‘planted’ them in a group together, where the grass will left to grow longer, and joined as soon as possible by a specimen tree. The choice of tree is still under debate, but we think something native rather than ornamental would look good, preferably with all year round interest. My personal favourites at the moment would be a bird cherry or Cockspur hawthorn – the jury’s still out!
One thing I do know, is that Robert will be relieved that our eclectic stash of granite has now been used! Unsurprisingly, he’s had quite enough of digging large holes for them, and putting up with my indecisiveness on where they should be placed let alone their orientation – after all, they are not the easiest things to manoeuvre! And “enough is as good as a feast” as they say – we hope visitors to Harefield Barn like them as much as we do.