The Walled Garden at Mells

Mells, Somerset
Mells, Somerset

My perfect afternoon involves a few key elements: a garden to nose around, some plants for sale, bric-a-brac to peruse and a cream tea. The Walled Garden at Mells offers all of the above and is therefore very much my kind of place. Add some freshly cut local flowers, a pizza oven and an adjacent field of cows and you’ve pretty much hit upon my idea of nirvana.

Mells gravel_edited-1

The garden has minimal hard landscaping, feels slightly ramshackle and is informally planted with perennials and annuals. Old apple trees provide shade and there’s lots of interesting sculpture among the plants.

Mells buttonholes

While we were there, a team was quietly preparing bouquets of locally grown flowers for five weddings that were taking place that weekend. Here’s a selection of the buttonholes. Subtle, aren’t they? But lovely.

Take-home ideas from Chelsea

Brewin Dolphin2_edited-1
The Brewin Dolphin garden

What I like doing best at Chelsea is looking for ideas that I could replicate in my own garden one day. And as I may finally have one (fingers crossed – it’s all going through at the moment), this was a year when I could actually walk around noting ideas that I could actually put into practice. Hurrah!

There were quite a few roses around this year, and I liked the informal, lax habit of the Rosa rugosa in the Brewin Dolphin garden (above).

The Telegraph Garden
The Telegraph Garden

I liked Christopher Bradley-Hole’s garden but felt I’d seen many elements of it before – the multi-stemmed trees, blocks of box and yew, the meadowy planting, the cow parsley… Not only in previous Chelsea gardens but also at the Canal House in Amsterdam last year. That said, I love a multi-stemmed tree, neatly clipped box, and a bit of meadowy planting, and would definitely like to include them in my own garden.

The Homebase Garden

I also the loved the way that edible and ornamental plants were mingled together in Adam Frost’s ‘Sowing the Seeds of Change’ garden for Homebase. I will definitely be doing this – I want to cram in as many edibles as possible.

Un Garreg (One Stone) garden

I loved this simple oak bench in the Un Garreg (One Stone) garden. It may look simple but I bet it cost a small fortune.

Get Well Soon garden
Get Well Soon garden

The pebble path in the Healing Garden was designed to be walked on barefoot, stimulating reflexology pressure points.

Get Well Soon garden

Ponds scare me. They look complicated to get right, and I’ve seen a lot of bad ones. But this looks really doable – it’s shallow (so not too much digging) and the pebbles cover a multitude of sins.

NSPCC Garden of Magical Childhood
NSPCC Garden of Magical Childhood

And for sheer flight of fancy, who could resist this kids’ treehouse in the NSPCC garden? I think it made everyone want to be a kid again.

So there you have it. This time next year I may be the proud owner of a garden that contains some multi-stemmed trees, blocks of box and yew, some meadowy planting, lots of edibles, a pond and a reflexology path. And a treehouse, obviously.

Pippa Greenwood’s barrel greenhouse

Pippa Greenwood's barrel greenhouse

I went on a photoshoot at Pippa Greenwood’s place last week. It was mind-numbingly cold with a biting wind but Pippa was very jolly and fed us cupcakes and pizza.

I totally fell for her barrel greenhouse. It’s made by a Scottish company, Carrick Cooperage. It would be perfect for a small town garden, or even a balcony. I was very tempted to sit in it, out of the wind, leaving Pippa and Paul the photographer to get on with it, but I soldiered bravely on.

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Chaun’s place


My friend Chaun tells me that this bronze container is specifically made for storing a hosepipe. I’m not entirely sure I believe him, but it does have drainage holes and it is the right size. Whatever it is, it would make great storage for all manner of garden bits and bobs. It comes from TK Maxx.

But maybe you’re more interested in the cat. Wispy spends most of her summer sleeping on the compost around the fig tree. The trunk is covered with chicken wire because she likes to use it as a scratching post.