A garden donation – 59 High Street, Fortrose

Our first donated garden

This was the first donated garden. The owners were keenly interested in wildlife. The front door of this house opens directly onto the street and the only access to the garden is through the house. All materials had to be brought through the house, the only access being a narrow hall which was only just wide enough to push through a wheelbarrow. Every stone for the wall had to be picked from a field, loaded into a van, unloaded into a wheelbarrow, and wheeled through the house, likewise two tonnes of topsoil.

Awkward and unattractive

The garden, long and quite narrow, had many interesting elements, such as a hut, a lawn, a stumpery, some good plants and an attractive area in which to sit.  Best of all an impressive 8’ tall dividing wall had been beautifully built from local sandstone. A concrete flagged area had been laid to provide clean access in all weather to the coal bunker and sitting area, but cut straight across the garden.  Not only did it look unattractive but it created awkward corners difficult to garden where debris gathered.

Wild remit

The remit was to try and introduce as many wildlife friendly elements, improve the look and feel of the garden and to make it more user friendly. Taking the stone wall as our anchor we drew a curve across the flags, cut through them and built a three course dry stone incorporating additional cavities for nesting or hibernating insects. We planted lavandula ‘Hidcote’ in front of the wall, a hedge of escallonia on the bed above the wall to be clipped into a low sweeping curve rising towards the dividing wall, and an espalier apple behind the hedge.

A rustic look

We built a couple of steps up to the lawn, cut a path to the hut and reused the flags to create a path, the gaps planted with different thymes to form a mosaic carpet of different scents, colours and textures.

Check out the Star Plants of 59 High Street, Fortrose