established in 1871
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Musk Farm is a three-and-a-half-acre country property, 6 kms from Daylesford.
The house and grounds were the original Musk Primary school, founded in 1872. The school was decommissioned in 1993 and the land and property were sold.
Stuart Rattle was an internationally-renowned interior designer. You can see a tribute to his talent posted on Vogues site here
Stuart Rattle and his partner, Michael O’Neil purchased the dilapidated schoolhouse in 1998. Over the next 15 years the house was expanded and the barren grounds were developed into 14 exquisite garden rooms. The centerpiece being The Oval, surrounded by a circular hedge of common privet (Ligustrum vulgare). A matched pair of “Pope” urns are features on the North/South axis reveals.
Stuart’s creative flair and attention to detail is still evident today as the use of hedges, gates and garden ornamentation combine to carry the eye through various vistas and create an excitement of anticipation. An exceptional example of this is seen when standing in ‘The Dixter’, on the School Road edge of the property, and looking across the Chestnut Lawn, through an opening in the X Cupresses hedge and into the Tank Garden.
Standing in the Champagne House on the northern end of the Tank garden, the eye is drawn through a border of twelve, 10-meter Cupresses sempervirens standing sentinel either side of the 25-meter reflection pool. Beyond this is the formal garden known as Pembrokeshire, which leads up to the motor-court and hedged driveway, from where the visual journey continues as one’s gaze is transported up the hillside beyond the property.
The Rhododendron Garden is home to over 30 varieties of Rhododendron and leads down to the Rhododendron Lawn which is dominated by a majestic cedar. From here one looks through ‘doorways’ in the Oval Hedge to ornate urns on the opposite side.
The Woodlands area in Spring is a mass of Daffodils, grape and blue hyacinths and provides the best view of the house. From here the house appears to be rising from numerous Buxus sempervirens which have been shaped to create ‘clouds’.
The Woodlands is overshadowed by oaks trees is also home to the Chinese Pagoda, Stuart Rattle’s 50th birthday present to himself.
Other garden rooms include the Autumn Garden, the Rondial, which contains the potting shed (the original school toilet), The Font Court, at the rear of the studio, and the Terrace Garden, above the Tank Garden.
The North Terrace, a large paved area adjacent to the kitchen door is punctuated by a series of small garden beds and centered by a rapidly expanding olive tree. This area provides a wonderful al fresco dining area and leads directly onto the Chestnut Lawn, which creates a shady alternative in the warmer months.
In 2014 - present day
The property was sold in 2014 and the clock tower, workshop and garages were added by the new owners. As were the caged fruit and vegetable structures and the Apple Walk which leads to the North Terrace. Their contribution was to repair the neglect that the garden had fallen into following Stuart Rattle’s death and to build on his legacy. Ray Williams, himself a renowned plantsman, introduced many new and unusual perennials and transformed the garden to beyond its previous glory.
The current owners took over custodianship of the property in February 2018 and are in the delightful process of watching the garden evolve through the seasons to reveal its hidden treasures as each season the foliage changes, different perennials spring to life and bulbs begin to bud.