Situated just to the west of the house, Hunting Brook’s shady forest glen is a place of leafy, Tolkienesque beauty, with steep, wooded banks that plunge precipitously down to the edges of a chattering, rocky mountain stream known as ‘Hunting Brook’. Beside its fern-lined banks and in the middle of this woodland glade sits a rough-hewn banqueting table, where over the years Jimi has hosted some of his celebrated gardening/ health and wellbeing workshops. It was the discovery of the stream’s historical name, ‘Hunting Brook’, on an early nineteenth-century map that prompted Jimi to name the garden in its honour.
A skilful, thoughtful mix of the old and the new, and still ongoing, the planting in this area of the gardens consists of a blend of tall and well-established broadleaf and coniferous trees sensitively thinned and crown-lifted by Jimi to create room for an understorey of unusual, often slow-growing woodland plants that will gradually mature over the ensuing decades. Some, such as young specimens of the fast-growing coniferous Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), were grown from seed collected by Jimi during his plant-hunting expedition to China in 2002. Fascinatingly, the seed came from the very same Dawn Redwood trees first discovered by Chinese foresters during the 1940s. Before this, the genus was entirely unknown to botanists.