Waterperry Farm, named after one of the first horticulture schools for women in Oxfordshire, England, was originally part of a vast tract of land owned by the Ballard family. When we purchased the property (then called Braeburn) in 1990, it was a gentleman’s working farm: sixty acres of cattle-dotted fields, with a dairy barn and milk house. Apart from the front and back lawns, which were graced with a few venerable trees and glorious views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, there was only pasture, in all directions. Over the next twenty-four years, we would plant at least a thousand shrubs and trees– hedging a series of garden rooms and laying paths, building several stone walls and then a pond, putting in a long and winding drive and then a stream and waterfall. Our stone-edged rose garden, with its dark soil brimming with worms, was once a bullpen!
Katherine Kane, Owner & Designer
Why I had to turn a simple childhood wish to live on a farm into this ongoing experiment in landscaping is a mystery to me. I only know that within days of moving down from New York with my husband and two young children, I began planting. And though I’d arrived armed only with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and little to no horticultural or landscape design knowledge, I was too moved by the beauty of our rolling acres not to try my hand, and too fond of the tall trees of New York, which were sadly missing, not to start right away. Before long it became evident to me that I was far more immersed in landscaping and reading about landscaping than I was in writing, which I’d always assumed would be my life’s career. As things turn out, it has taken me nearly as many years to finish my novel as to see my gardens mature, and though it’s been a true pleasure sharing the gardens through events and tours, I hope to be sharing my novel shortly too.