Gardening Journalist

The Sunday Times
Ploughing through trees with a JCB

Roddy and Rachel De Thame Roddy Llewellyn doesn't let windbreaks obscure the vistas at his tranquil hilltop garden in Oxfordshire. RACHEL DE THAME paid a visit.

"I'm a vistas man" says Roddy Llewellyn as we stroll around his west Oxfordshire garden. Sure enough, as I peer through a small window in the top of a stone model of the local church spire, my eye is led past a timber arch, across a circular lawn, between four majestic yew columns, through a gate and on across another stretch of grass and over a birdbath before finally resting on a small mirror placed on the wall at the far end of the garden.

Stopping at nothing to create an unbroken view, Llewellyn simply ploughed straight through the middle of a large philadelphus with a JCB. Ten years on, the plant still thrives, albeit in two pieces, among a treasure trove of plants in his one-acre garden in a quiet village on the edge of the Cotswolds.

Here Llewellyn, 56, has found a blissfully tranquil spot after spending many years in the spotlight. Known by many for a much-publicised affair with Princess Margaret in the 1970s, Llewellyn's true claim to fame is his passion for gardening and a talent for garden design. He has live and worked in the house - a former pub dating back to the 14th century - for the past 10 years, creating beautiful gardens, including show gardens at Chelsea and Hampton Court, and writing an impressive collection of books and articles.