Inside Daphne Ledward's Lincolnshire Cottage

IDEAL HOMES; DAPHNE LEDWARD Gardening expert, author and broadcaster Lives with her husband in a 1750s cottage in a Lincolnshire village
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The Independent Online
LOCATION: Anywhere rural and away from traffic noise. I love Norfolk and Suffolk, and that bit of Bedfordshire that used to be Huntingdonshire is beautiful.

ESSENTIAL LOCAL AMENITIES: A postbox. I grow all my own veg and most of my own fruit, and I'm sure that if we were in a remote area I'd be able to grow meat too!

CHARACTER: I rather like old properties but I wouldn't discount a new house - some modern architecture is inspired.

CONSTRUCTION: A thatched house; it's cosy and welcoming and if it is old it stays the same temperature winter and summer.

BEDROOMS: Three would be enough. We don't entertain much, and if my husband's three grown-up boys come to stay, they always bring sleeping bags.

BATHROOMS: Three. I hate using communal bathrooms and queueing for the loo.

RECEPTION ROOMS: A study and a library. I've a big horticultural library built up over the last 20 years, and I inherited all my mother's books. She wrote short stories and was a great hoarder. Before she died she said, "Don't ever get rid of my books."

ESSENTIAL KITCHEN FEATURES: Enor-mous, with a high ceiling that I could festoon with dried flowers and copper pans. It would have lots of mod cons and be ergo-nomically designed.

DECORATIVE STYLE: I'd have frilly, floral drapes and co-ordinated wallpaper. The furniture would be classic, but not necessarily antique. It would have to be functional; so the settee must be one on which I could curl up and go to sleep.

LUXURIES: Automatic garage doors.

SPECIAL OUTBUILDINGS: As many as possible. I would also need a potting shed and greenhouse, the best money can buy.

VIEW FROM THE WINDOWS: Rolling, undulating countryside. Though I was born in Yorkshire, I was brought up in the Fens and high hills make me feel claustrophobic.

SIZE OF GARDEN: I've had every size of garden from a patio upwards, and the most manageable is a quarter of an acre.

NEIGHBOURS: I don't mind who, as long as they are nice.

MOTTO OVER THE DOOR: We've got one, a block of solid oak carved with our initials, two intertwined hearts and 1992, the year we got married.

WHAT IT WOULD COST: Daphne Led-ward would have to pay between pounds 200,000 and pounds 250,000, depending on area, says Christopher Newman, marketing director of Link-Up Properties Nationwide.

! Daphne Ledward is a member of Classic FM's Classic Gardening Forum team. Her book, 'The Idiot Gardener's Handbook', is published by Robson Books at pounds 10.99