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The Home Edit: At Home with Tasha-Jane, House with Two Chimneys
Happy mid-week! Our July guest for At Home With is Tasha-Jane, the face behind the lovely Instagram account House with Two Chimneys. I love seeing what’s in bloom in her beautiful garden in the English countryside and am also a big fan of her Emma Bridgewater china cupboard display (scroll down to see!).
If you enjoy gardening (or just love looking at gardens), definitely give her a follow. I’ve found so many new and interesting plants to try through this account! Recently, I caught up with Tasha-Jane to chat about her account, get some tips and see what’s next for her. Check out our interview below:
How long have you lived in your home and when did you start your garden?
We moved into our home a few days before Christmas in 2017! I started on the garden the following Spring. I was already a keen gardener, so it was my domain, and I had a vision as to what it could be for us as a family. The garden was beautiful as it was. It was full of wildlife and looked magical in the hard frosts that winter, but it was full of lots of overgrown mature shrubs and conifers. We soon found out that a lot of the shrubs were competing for space and omitting a lot of light from the garden, so I started by removing the conifers and some larger shrubs and replacing them with fruit trees whilst my husband worked on the interior.
How do you choose what to grow?
Our last garden backed onto woodland so we had to grow a lot of shade loving plants, but I absolutely loved visiting gardens planted up in a cottage garden style, and those that had fruit and vegetables that owners could just walk around and help themselves to. My childhood home had a reasonably large garden with a dedicated vegetable patch so I already had an appreciation as to how much fresher ‘home grown’ could taste, compared with shop bought. What could be better for supper than completely fresh fruit and veg from a tree or the ground?!
Our current garden is south facing and has an old damson tree, so I began thinking about putting some fruit trees in to keep it company before we’d even moved in! The specific perennials and cottage garden style has sort of evolved as I’ve learned more about what suits our garden environment, what colour schemes I prefer, and what flowers the rest of my family like. (It’s amazing watching the children especially, as they are drawn to specific colours and shapes / textures!) It is always being edited and is slowly becoming more ‘designed’.
I love how your garden always seems to have something new in bloom. What advice would you give someone who's interested in having their garden in bloom most of the year?
Thank you so much!
Perennial plants (plants that grow back every year) are key. You can pretty much find a perennial to suit every situation and season these days!! The essential thing is to choose plants that will be happy in the place they are to be homed. First look at how much sun the area gets. Next assess the soil type (is it acidic or alkaline, and is it cloggy or free draining). You can buy little kits for this, or just ask a neighbour who is a keen gardener what the soil is like and what plants seem to like it there!
Once you’ve got a list of plants that will be happy you can then work out when each flowers. Most online plant shops list the plants for certain situations and allow you to filter them according to what month they’re in bloom. Once you have a shortlist, you can then draw a little map to see where different perennials could go, and you could even colour code the plants for, say, the month they are in bloom in order to check you’ve covered each month. If you would like a cottage garden look you could then leave gaps to either direct sow or plant the annuals in. Ideally it’s good to then purchase the plants from a local garden centre as they will be experts in what plants will suit the area. Of course the above advice could be easily adapted for anyone who’s gardening in containers!
Tell us a bit about how you've designed the interior of your home. It looks like such a welcoming space!
A lot of people on Instagram assume our house is old as we’re in a hamlet and there are sometimes old cottages in the bokeh of my photos. We are indeed surrounded by characterful old village homes and the area and land our house is built on is steeped in history, but our house was in-fact a self build. Built around 40 years ago so quite modern. It has a definite farmhouse feel to it though. The original builders gave it character by adding quirky arches and a large fireplace, a few interesting windows etc. and that is what drew us to it when we were searching, as I usually prefer older houses! When designing the interior I didn’t deliberately go for a specific style, but guests almost always comment on how it feels like a farmhouse / country house.
I love furniture and accessories to have a bit of history and character to them, so tend to go for older items, such as the dresser that features a lot on our grid! We are currently working on our master bedroom and ensuite and that’s the first time I’ve deliberately chosen a style (Instagram is to blame for it as since joining a few years ago I’ve seen so many beautiful and inspirational grids from houses in a similar style) - it’s sort of a Victorian monochrome tiled bathroom which will be accessorised with an antique mirror (I’m still on the hunt for the perfect one) with an ‘arts and crafts’ feel in the bedroom, again giving the house a ‘country’ feel! We will likely continue that style as we work on the rest of the house now that I’ve seen so many beautiful and inspirational grids in a similar style on Instagram!
What is your favorite season for gardening and what's next for House with Two Chimneys?
Am I allowed more than one? Ha!
I absolutely love early Spring as the hellebores and daffodils especially are just so welcoming after the dark winter months. But right now (Summer) is wonderful as everything is planted (I grow a lot of things from seed), so many new flowers keep appearing and you can see fruit and veg beginning to grow everywhere too!
It’s a new chapter for us with our youngest starting school in September. I’m really emotional about it as have loved spending the majority of the time together with both children during their early years.
My ultimate goal with the exterior of our house is to get it rendered or painted as there are a couple of houses (old and new) in the village that have this, and we’ve noticed that it’s helped to give them character and ‘tie them in’ with the village! (Not that ours sticks out - the brick is not offensive, just indicative of the building’s true age). Parts of our house are in desperate need of updating so I am going to throw myself into that for a few months and also look into somehow turning my passion for gardening / floristry into a little business. I’m not sure how just yet, but I’m hoping Instagram could one day help play some part as I love being creative through there!
All images appear courtesy of House with Two Chimneys and may not be reproduced elsewhere.