Sheila Batterbury’s Garden 
19 Jul 2006, updated 2009, stored on
batterbury garden, bath UK
New Garden website begun Apr 2009 - go to


Green-fingered couple move beloved garden 120 miles.

My Mum, Sheila Batterbury, featured in most of the British national newspapers in the first week of 
July 2006, in the midst of a glorious English summer. She is a bit of a character, a former cookery 
writer and the author of several cookery books in the 1960s (under the name Sheila Graham). 
However over the last 20 years gardening has been her thing. When she moved  house from 
London to Bath in 1995, she uprooted, moved, and replanted over 600 plants from the old garden 
in Eltham (top pic, middle,  left) into the new garden (top and bottom pics). 
The media found this very eccentric, and the press descended on her house. 
First the local paper in Bath, UK (the Bath Chronicle) ran a story on her Bathampton
 garden, just prior to it being open to the public to raise money for charity through 
the National Gardens Scheme. The interesting feature of the terraced garden is
 that it was created from a bare field (see top pic, middle, right hand image) using earth-
moving equipment, lots of local stone, and much hard work. 
The story about moving all the plants was taken up by news networks and ended up in the Daily Telegraph, 
the Daily Mail, the Mirror, the Express, the Times, the Sun, was reported on BBC 
R4's Today programme by John Humphries, and she was interviewed for regional
 ITV (HTV). Unfortunately the newspaper reports all contain errors – e.g. my parents did not buy 
any land to create the garden, and the actual distance the plants were “moved” is 
105 miles (not 150 as the Express and Mirror say).
The story was then translated into various languages including Hungarian and 
Swedish, and appears on numerous blog sites and gardening pages worldwide.
I still remember the garden moving process, which is what the papers were
 interested in as an example of British eccentricity, but I am not sure why it reached
 the news... However the results are certainly very impressive. 
Gardening skills have not been inherited by her children!
Garden is featured in the National Gardens Scheme.  It is usually open on a couple of 
occasions in the British summer. 
Contact Sheila Batterbury - Sheila “at” (use @ for “at”) or see her webpage

Simon Batterbury


The making of a Garden Sheila Batterbury 2007.

We moved from SE London to Bath in the autumn of 1994. I was loathe to leave my plants
behind and so they came with me, completely filling a large furniture van. But the rough sloping ground
behind our new home had to have the attention of my builder’s JCB before I could even consider planting
anything. Most of it was heavy clay and boulders and I couldn’t get a fork through it to my great
disappointment ! So my plants had to sit out the winter months in trays and old manure bags.
To my delight they all survived. So, as the builder worked, moving topsoil, building terracing,
laying lawns and making borders, I was able to start planting. It was a monumental task in a
particularly hot summer.

But a garden doesn’t stand still and it is still developing. Each year we work on new plans.
This year, taking into account the global warming issue, we have made a pebble garden and
created two Alpine beds. We also have a stone circle to sit in. All are very new but should help
to cut back on summer watering. In the autumn I planted heathers on a rockery bed. Some thought has
to be given to parts of the garden as yet undeveloped. I am now lucky to have the help and advice of
two loyal young helpers. Between us we have created paths, moved shrubs and plants, and even trees.
Seating areas have been created, mainly for visitors, I rarely sit down !

Paths wind their way up past the terraces, past packed flower borders and through shrubberies, over
lawns and under the rose arches to the top of the garden. Up here at the top there are wonderful views
over Bath and the countryside beyond. Behind, as a back-drop, are the woods and fields that are home
to all manner of wild life. On summer evenings balloons often drift silently overhead.

Coming down the garden you have two choices. The straight path that runs down from the summerhouse has
the fencing covered with Clematis and climbing roses. There is a small stretch of woodland here created
for ferns and shade loving plants. If you look down towards the house you will see our vegetables planted on the garage roof !

On the opposite side of the garden is a small tool shed and a walled raised bed which we built for
Rhododendrons and Azaleas-which don’t thrive in Bath’s acid soil. In May it is a riot of glorious colour.
Next there is a border of Delphiniums and foxgloves to be enjoyed before reaching our large compost bin and
cold frame.

The top terrace is home to a miscellany of hardy geraniums. They are good ground and flower throughout the
summer. The terraces below are planted out annually with cottage garden plants. Many of which are grown
from our own seed. Follow down past the heather rockery to the greenhouse where a lot of hard work is done.
I have become an obsessive plant collector over time. I now collect my own seeds and propagate cuttings in the
greenhouse. We have created quite a large pond and waterfall. We started with just eleven small fish ! Both
ponds are full of interesting pond life. Alongside the pond is an alpine bed full of little treasures.

Then its time for tea! Sit awhile on our Patio. I have a library of garden books if you have questions to
be answered. Hopefully we will have some plants ready for you to buy to take away with you.

In these troubled times my garden has been described as a peaceful oasis and can be visited in most seasons by appointment.

And before you leave it is worth noticing the stonework in the front garden.
It was a fairly inhospitable place before we had to have the front drive tarmaced a couple of years ago.
We got rid of the dried up so called 'lawn'. New borders and beds were created for plants that were tough enough to withstand the rather tough conditions on north facing side of the house. They were carefully chosen to look attractive year round. They also had to be proof against the deer that wander freely around here!


The stories

Bath Chronicle. 24 June 2006. Garden’s 100 mile move to new home. (by N Stone) not on web anymore

The Daily Mail.  30th June 2006, p9. Green-fingered couple move beloved garden 120 miles. (by Luke Salkeld)

The Sun. 1st July 2006, p8. Garden transplanted. (by John Coles)

The Daily Telegraph. 1st July 2006, p3. Wife moves heaven and earth. (by Richard Savill)

Daily Express. 1 July, p3. We moved 150 miles and took our garden with us. (by Padraic Flanagan)

The Times. 1 July 2006, p 20. My garden's my pride and joy – so I took it with me   (by Simon de Bruxelles)      

Daily Mirror. 1 July, 2006. p27. Plant Potty: Sheila digs up entire garden and moves it 150 miles. (by Richard Smith)

Aftonbladet, Sweden. 3rd July, 2006. Tant tog med sin trädgård i flyttlass. (By Jens Kärrman)

Featured in Chat magazine, 2006

Amateur Gardening Magazine (IPC), summer 2007 (4 page spread, September issue)

Radio and TV

The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4, 1 July 2006 (7.18am). John Humphries reviews today’s papers.  

ITV television (HTV) 2006

Blog discussion

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