The story of Helmingham Hall, in Suffolk and other gardens

Published by Pimpernelpress the book ‘A garden Well Placed‘ is the story of how Xa Tollemache re-created the garden at Helmingham Hall, in Suffolk, UK and became a garden designer.

‘Xa Tollemache is an innately sensitive designer, combining classical and contemporary styles with a deep and perceptive understanding of the sense of place.’ as Fergus Garrett, head gardener of Great Dixter since 1992 and now Chief Executive of the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, has written on the Foreword.

Xa Tollemache started her gardening life when she moved into Helmingham Hall in Suffolk in 1975, as a young wife and mother. She spent the next twenty years learning and consequently developing and improving the gardens. It was Helmingham, she always insists, that taught her how to garden – to such effect that in 1996 she was in a position to start her garden design practice.

Xa Tollemache describes this book, her first, as ‘a storybook, the tale of the love story between me and the garden at Helmingham’. It is also a record of her career as a garden designer, exemplified by eleven other gardens, large and small, on which she has worked her design magic. The book includes her first Chelsea Flower Show garden (“I was described as ‘just an amateur’, which was true – but I did get a Gold Medal!”); and gardens at Dunbeath Castle, Caithness; Castle Hill, Devon; Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire; Bighton House, Hampshire; Wilton House, Wiltshire; a townhouse in Aldeburgh, Suffolk; RHS Hyde Hall, Essex; Stone House, Suffolk; and the garden at her new home, Framsden Hall in Suffolk.

Xa Tollemache learned how to garden, and how to design gardens, at her home, Helmingham Hall in Suffolk. She set up her garden design practice in 1996, and one of the very first gardens she designed as a professional was the Evening Standard garden for the 1997 Chelsea Flower Show – for which she won a Gold Medal. She has gone on to design gardens all over the UK and in Europe and the US as well as winning many other awards, including two more Chelsea Flower Show medals and the HHA/Christies Garden of the Year Award. She has also designed a range of garden furniture, the Helmingham Collection, and the Helmingham Rose Support. She is currently a Member of the Council of the Royal Horticultural Society, Chair of the Gardens Committee and an RHS Judge.


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