Jul 312014
 
Tanglewood Garden, Cornwall

Newbridge, nr Penzance, Cornwall

In Cornwall recently, I spotted a handwritten sign to a ‘wild garden’. The morning’s plans were immediately ditched and we swerved down a narrow country lane in search of it.

I’m glad we did. The garden is called Tanglewood, and the first part of it is woodland. We were immediately charmed by the miniature door at the base of a tree, complete with miniature axe and logs, as if the inhabitants of the Magic Faraway Tree weren’t far away. There are chainsaw wood carvings dotted throughout the garden, made from trees that have fallen, all with a humorous touch.

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After the woodland bit, the garden opens out and becomes a series of large ponds, all dug out by the owners. A pair of wooden legs dive into one pond, and a kingfisher (complete with crown) is doing a spot of fishing in another.

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This is not a manicured garden – there are many native trees and flowers, and brambles, nettles, grass and weeds are allowed to flourish in order to benefit wildlife.

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The owners’ humour is in evidence everywhere (I know how the chap below feels…).

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As we were walking around, we bumped into the owner. He told us that he and his partner bought the site in 2001 and have gradually been developing it. At the end of our chat I said that I particularly liked the miniature door at the base of the tree. He looked at me, completely deadpan, and said, ‘That was already here – it nothing to do with me.’

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Jul 242014
 
Lavender in front garden

Bath

This is my front garden, a couple of metres square and planted by the previous owners. For a few weeks in July it looks like a pint-sized patch of Provence and is much remarked-upon. I love it.

Compared to this time last year, it has attracted very few bees – last year, dozens and dozens of them were buzzing all over it; this year, I’ve only spotted two or three at a time. I hope they’re simply getting a ready supply of nectar elsewhere, and it’s not a sign of bee decline.

At some point the lavender will have to go, as it’s getting a bit leggy in places. But I might just plant more – it’s incredibly wind tolerant (the wind howls up from the valley sometimes), and is neatly evergreen when it’s not in flower. It even manages to obscure my recycling crate.

Jul 222014
 
Scented-leaf pelargonium

Belcombe Court, Wilts

Pelargoniums have one thing in common with succulents in that they don’t need much watering. I’m spending an inordinate amount of time watering at the moment, with a hose that behaves like a demented serpent, so anything that isn’t needy on the watering front is very welcome.

I’ve got several types – ‘Attar of Roses’, ‘Fragrans Variegatum’ and ‘Candy Flowers Dark Red’. Some are in my conservatory, and some are outside. The plants in the conservatory are much more impressive – they’re smothered with flowers. The ones outside are smaller, with fewer flowers, and a little rain-bashed.

Jul 172014
 
Sweet pea and sunflower at the Holbourne Museum, Bath

Holbourne Museum, Bath

There are some stunning pots outside the Holbourne Museum in Bath at the moment. They’re huge and stuffed with all kinds of delights, including cerinthe, verbenas, sweet peas and sunflowers (I think they’re ‘Vanilla Ice‘). Amazingly, they seem to be supported by a single bamboo stake. Definitely inspiration for next year.