Inspiration. And Cake.

We’ve had a rare day out.

Docton Mill Gardens on the Hartland peninsula. Nestling in the bottom of a woodland valley, albeit closer to the coast, I hoped it might have a similar microclimate to mine.

And according to their website, voted best tearoom in Devon too.


Bog Garden Wm


The shady bog garden.

Ferns, astrantias, hostas and candelabra primulas flourish in the permanently damp conditions. Hurrah, damp shade I can do. But will it ever end up looking as good as this?


Bluebells 002 Wm


Rustic steps down the hillside and the quite amazing bluebell walk.


Rhododendron 001 Wm


 Rhododendrons in bud


 Fern 003 Wm


 Shuttlecock ferns, emerging into the dappled sun


 Docton 003 Wm


 The garden has been developed around an old water mill. The sound of the water is never far away.


Poppy Wm


Mixed borders in the sunnier part of the garden.

A dramatic combination of colour and shape, poppies in bud against the striking leaves of the phormium.


Docton 002 Wm


 Docton 001 Wm


 Allium 001 Wm


Colourful borders alongside the leat.

Yep, plenty of inspiration here.


And the cake?


 Teashop Wm


Coffee and walnut.

A bit of Mike’s Devon Cream Tea too..

Yum Yum.


Linking up to The Bloggers’ Cut for the Chelsea Fringe 2013 at Veg Plotting.


2017-11-13T20:46:07+00:00June 2nd, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Rose H June 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    What a joyus day out in beautiful gardens, no wonder they inspire 🙂 I’m sure your garden WILL look just as good too!
    Cake looked good – I’m hungry now 😉
    Rose H

    • Jessica June 2, 2013 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      I hope the garden will look as good Rose, but it will take a long time! We did learn a lot though, like how to create steps down the hillside from logs.

  2. Sue June 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Looking at that garden makes me realise that your own is just a slightly wilder and as yet not totally tamed version, and in my opinion a bit of ‘wild’ is good.

    As for that cake…….drool !!.

    • Jessica June 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      A bit of wild IS good and I want to retain it, for the sake of the wildlife that thrives in this place. It just needs reining in. A bit.

  3. Denise June 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Aaah, cake! Say no more…

    • Jessica June 2, 2013 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      It was delish..

  4. countrysidetales June 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    A pretty much perfect day out: flowers and cake, and a presumably healed husband? Couldn’t stop looking at the pics- what a lovely place to spend a day. Inspiration abounds, so I expect to hear a great deal about new plants appearing in your garden over the coming weeks! CT x

    • Jessica June 2, 2013 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      He hasn’t a mark on him. Unlike me, still with swollen ankle a month after spraining it…
      The range of plants for sale was quite limited, sadly. But I do have some ideas, particularly for the wood.

  5. frayed at the edge June 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    Coffee and walnut is one of the few cakes I don’t like …. which was a problem a few years ago when I was at a judge at the local show and had to taste a whole batch of them – each one worse than the last! We had a long walk along the river this morning, ending with our famous “two scone lunch”!!

    • Jessica June 2, 2013 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      I put the scones in the photo especially for you Anne..

  6. Crafty Gardener June 2, 2013 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Looks like it was a wonderful outing.

    • Jessica June 2, 2013 at 10:24 pm - Reply

      Sometimes it’s nice just to have a break, and even better when you can pick up ideas from someone who is trying to garden with very similar challenges to yourself!

  7. Vera June 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    What a lovely tranquil place, and that piece of cake made my mouth water! And with proper cream! Crumbs!

    • Jessica June 2, 2013 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      West Country clotted cream. Yum. No crumbs left. 🙂

  8. jabblog June 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Lovely – you either come back from such places invigorated or despairing (or is that just me?) Looks lovely – and the cake – Yum:-)

    • Jessica June 2, 2013 at 10:31 pm - Reply

      It certainly makes you think about just how much work lies ahead… so a bit of both really!!

  9. snowbird June 2, 2013 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    How heavenly. I love the sound of running water, and that waterfall is delightful. As for the cake….drools!xxxx

    • Jessica June 2, 2013 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      We started out on a hike to the coast, where there is allegedly a much bigger waterfall. Sadly the path got wetter and wetter, and when it became completely flooded we had to turn back. Perhaps go back after a dry spell, or with wellies!

  10. VP June 2, 2013 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    What could be finer than discovering a new garden?

    Discovering a new garden with the reward of cake at the end of course 🙂

    Thanks for joining the Bloggers’ Cut!

    • Jessica June 2, 2013 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      It was a smashing day out, and thanks for giving me the excuse to do it VP. We get so absorbed in our own gardens, it’s a good idea to get out, see something else, and come back to look at it anew.

  11. Abby June 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    Oooh, nothing better than looking round a lovely garden (which that is) foillowed by tea and cake! X

    • Jessica June 2, 2013 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      It’s a real treat Abby. If the weather holds up.. will have to do it again.

  12. haggiz June 3, 2013 at 7:56 am - Reply

    I love the steps down the bluebell hill, looks like a lovely day out, especially the cake! Julie x

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 9:21 am - Reply

      It was possibly my favourite place in the garden, so peaceful.

  13. Anny June 3, 2013 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Coffee and walnut cake and admiring someone else’s hard work – perfect! We’ve just been away camping and now our garden is doing an excellent impression of a wilderness, I might just go into the kitchen and make a cake…

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 9:25 am - Reply

      You’ll need to spend some time sitting and thinking about what to do with the garden.. with some tea and cake. Hope you had a good break.

  14. BadPenny June 3, 2013 at 9:35 am - Reply

    What a gorgeous place to visit … and cake too ! ( you had your cake and ate it – how lovely x )

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      It’s quite a trek to get there, lots of windy country lanes, but well worth the effort!

  15. Rosie June 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Well, you learn something new everyday! I never knew that it was called Shuttlecock Fern. Looks like a beautiful garden which I’m sure gave you lots of inspiration. The cake looks very tasty:)

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm - Reply

      Lots of ideas, but lots of work too.. !!

  16. Em June 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    What a fabulous place; you certainly made it look fabulous anyway. CAKE…………mmmmmmmmmmm.

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 10:24 pm - Reply

      Walking round the garden builds up an appetite. I’m sure they send you up and down hills deliberately..

  17. Vintage Jane June 3, 2013 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Lovely photos of a well deserved day out … M x

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      It is good to have a break once in a while, even if you do come back with a list of new jobs!!

  18. Simone June 3, 2013 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    A gorgeous looking place and a lovely cake to round off the day too!!!

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 10:27 pm - Reply

      I was spoilt for choice. Next time it will be the Lemon Drizzle cake..

  19. Serendipity June 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    Hello, I found you via Jo at “The Good Life” and have loved reading all about your house and garden. You’ve worked very hard to make it a beautiful place and I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes. I can relate to the wildlife frustrations, we have all sorts of creatures visiting our garden, rabbits being the worst culprits, but they are fun to watch! xx Debbie.

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Debbie and welcome to rusty duck!
      Rabbits are the one thing we don’t seem to have, yet, and I’m touching everything made out of wood within reasonable distance.. It’s great to have the wildlife and they are such fun to watch. Even the squirrels and I have to confess a grudging respect for those, they are persistent little blighters and love nothing better than a good game!

  20. rachel June 3, 2013 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    Nice garden, but oh – that cake! Why is it that as soon as I embark on a sensible eating plan, everyone starts posting fattening foodie things that I just love? So cruel….

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      Fear not Rachel. Sensible eating plan underway here too. The price of cake was NO ice cream out on the hill today, even though it was hot. And, sacre bleu, NO wine this evening either…

  21. CJ June 3, 2013 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    A wonderful garden. I’m a new visitor to your lovely blog, here from The Good Life. Beautiful pictures, and a lovely post. I shall return!

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      Hi CJ and many thanks for visiting!
      We are so lucky in this country to have so many beautiful gardens to visit. I just hope this weather keeps up!

  22. CherryPie June 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    It looks like a beautiful garden and the tea-shop has my favourite cake too (coffee and walnut), What more could a girl ask?

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 10:52 pm - Reply

      Not much, Cherie!

  23. Wendy June 3, 2013 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    It looks a wonderful walk; I love wooded valleys with waterfalls and streams. The alliums look very striking.

    • Jessica June 3, 2013 at 11:00 pm - Reply

      There is something about water isn’t there? I’m going to have to find a way of giving alliums another go. The mice had the last lot.

  24. Josephine June 4, 2013 at 1:55 am - Reply

    Inspiration indeed, so lush and green and “English”.
    Tea and cake….{slobbber}

    • Jessica June 4, 2013 at 9:31 am - Reply

      It was a real treat. Not least because, for once, the English weather was good enough to sit outside and enjoy it!

  25. Velva June 4, 2013 at 2:47 am - Reply

    Beautiful, beautiful, and beautiful again. Thanks for sharing

    • Jessica June 4, 2013 at 9:55 am - Reply

      You’re very welcome Velva!

  26. Linda June 4, 2013 at 7:30 am - Reply

    That’s an inspiring garden. I think the sound of water would add something special to a visit as you wander around. I would love to live near a gentle channel of water like that. Your lifestyle and gardening is just as inspiring Jessica. I’ve popped over from Jo’s blog and will be visiting again! Have a peaceful day!

    • Jessica June 4, 2013 at 10:29 am - Reply

      Hi Linda and welcome to rusty duck!
      We have a small river running through here but it is inaccessible at the moment, buried in a jumble of brambles and fallen trees. The plan is to work outwards from the house down towards the river. A long term project with a pot of gold at the end!

  27. Jo June 4, 2013 at 11:00 am - Reply

    I’m pleased to see that you’ve had some visitors pop over from my blog, I’m sure they’ll enjoy Rusty Duck just as much as I do. Coffee and Walnut cake is my hubby’s favourite so that would have been his choice too, I’d have gone for the cream tea. I’ve just been saying this morning how I must buy some more alliums, they’re blooming in my garden at the moment, but a little sparse. Such wonderful plants.

    • Jessica June 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      The mice left me just two alliums, and very lonely they look!
      Many thanks for your kind comments on rusty duck Jo. They are truly appreciated. Jx

  28. Sarah June 4, 2013 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    What a lovely garden you have visited and that does look a lovely cream tea and cake. What a shame we couldn’t share some with you!
    Sarah x

    • Jessica June 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      If you are ever in North Devon I would recommend visiting. Very peaceful. If you went on a weekday probably even more so.

  29. Anna June 4, 2013 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    Now that looks like a most delightful garden and a delicious cake. Have just found my way here via the lovely VP and Jo 🙂 I will call again.

    • Jessica June 4, 2013 at 11:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Anna and welcome to rusty duck.
      Your cake looks more like a work of art! I am on my way over to find out more..

  30. Natalie June 4, 2013 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    Oh MY! Is that clotted cream I see before me??

    • Jessica June 5, 2013 at 12:13 am - Reply

      Genuine Devonshire clotted cream.. And very delicious it was too.

  31. ropcorn June 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    So much beauty! And i LOVE the look of that cake – yum! :p

    • Jessica June 6, 2013 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      At last the weather has warmed up here, and the flowers have come out!

  32. Esther Montgomery June 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Wish I had ferns in my garden. Can smell the cake – delicious. Wish I could eat wheat.

    • Jessica June 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      Hi Esther and welcome to rusty duck!
      You can have too many ferns. Here the common variety seeds (spores?) everywhere and I am forced to treat them like weeds. They’re thuggish and take over the borders if I don’t get them early enough. The more ornamental types, of course, are a different story!

  33. Shirley June 13, 2013 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Oh my Jessica… just the garden visit for me… and I am partial to a piece of walnut cake and can see the coffee mix could be tasty. Both garden and cake get the yum thumbs up from me 😀

    • Jessica June 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm - Reply

      Stopping for an afternoon tea and cake is a rare treat for me, and to enjoy it in such lovely surroundings made it even better.. welcome to rusty duck Shirley!

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