A Light Bulb Moment


This is the view of the beech border at the bottom of the lawn. Not taken today, obviously.

It’s currently a very high, dense green wall and really quite oppressive. But without the leaves on the trees we can better see the structure. The beech trees had their tops taken out a number of years ago and as a consequence are now rather ugly. The rhododendrons were planted rather too close together. Believe it or not there are about eight of them in that row, all jostling for position with flowering diminishing a little more each year.

But the real shame of all this? Just beyond and below the trees the river meanders through. We can hear it bubbling away, but from the main part of the garden can’t see it at all. We’ve always talked about removing the trees, relocating the rhododendrons and opening up the view, but how to cope with the steep drop in level at what would then be the edge of the lawn?

Inspiration came from Emily at Daisy! and her visit here:



 This stunning garden has been developed by Derry Watkins, with her architect husband, who also runs the nursery Special Plants just outside Bath. I had to see it for myself. It helps that Derry opens her garden to the public every Tuesday in summer and also gives a talk. This week the subject was close to my heart.. Summer Flowers for Shade. How could I not go?

The low box hedge in the photo above is a brilliant concept that would so work for us too. High enough to define the lawn and prevent visitors walking close to the edge of the slope but low enough to see over. Mike said those chairs were rather comfortable too. Doh.



Once I’d got him moving again we were able to see how Derry copes with the same challenge as me.. gardening on a slope. She has terraces too. And swathes of plants which cascade down the hillside in a riot of colour and texture.



Every border was crammed with plants in bloom.

Diminutive species placed on the top of walls, where they can be viewed at close range. Taller varieties planted low on the slope, left to grow to the point where their flowers are level with the eye.



Interesting topiary and the beautiful rural view


And then of course there is the nursery. The menfolk sat in the sun on a well placed seat. It reminded me of one of my favourite clothes shopping haunts in Scotland where they have a ‘husband creche’. Leather chesterfields, newspapers and coffee. Leaving the ladies free to browse in peace.





I might have come away with a plant or two.