Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Sunshine and cattle

For no particular reason, here's a rather nice photograph of our South Devon herd enjoying the sunshine.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Garden update - wisteria

The wisteria is really showing off.  It's out in force on the front of the house, on the casita and by the central entablature of the terrace.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Sycamore felling - brave stuff!

The sycamore is finally down.  It was sad to lose a 100ft tree; it always is.  However, it wasn't in a great state with a fair bit of rot, and it was threatening the surrounding buildings, and indeed our visitors!

Now, here is some brilliant tree surgery.  This wasn't an easy job.  After chopping off the top hamper, the team had to thread the main trunk through a small gateway such that it fell clear both of a water tank on the one side, and Harold Peto's casita building on the other.  Skill indeed.  Here it is:

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

First day of the season - and removing the old sycamore

What a glorious day to welcome the summer season - 18 degrees at its hottest, with a slight breeze, bright sunshine... wonderful.

But it was also a sad day, as William Waldren's team of tree surgeons arrived to begin a two-day 'sectioning down' of the old Sycamore above the Oriental Garden, photos below.  The tree was condemned as dangerous (to people and buildings) when it was found to have a broadly hollow trunk, and with the high winds this winter we were crossing our fingers rather!
The loss of this tree will certainly affect the structural look of the garden, but as with all living elements of gardens, as one thing is lost, others take over and the focus shifts.

In addition one of the false acacia (robinia) trees in the main yard was taken down as it was showing signs of leaning in a rather uncontrolled manner.  Attractive stumps!

Monday, 31 March 2014

A busy day, planting, casting and mowing

A hive of activity today helped by the warm dry weather.

On the back terraces, Joff and Shane have been casting the concrete foundations for the posts which will hold up the second run of Peto's climbers for our historic reconstruction of his rose garden.  
Rose expert Robert Mattock of has managed to track down old forms of roses that Peto would have used, based on the the metal plant labels which we have dug up in the borders over the years.  Planting should be taking place at the end of the month - so watch this space (phase 1 on left, below, with phase 2 on next terrace up, to the right)
Rob has been laying down some very smart lines (above, and below) with the mower in the first big cut of the season. The smell is glorious, and the results speak for themselves:

And Shane has also planted out two venerable, old rosemary plants, one garden form (left) and one wild form (right).
It is a challenge to know what to do when a structural element is forcibly taken away from the garden.  The design must adapt for sure, but there are a lot of considerations.  The rockery here has been built following the demise in the winter storms of one of four lime trees, and whilst we wait to see whether there is any residual disease, or other factors, the rockery is a good 'for the time being' solution.
The surrounding wild flowers will fill in the bare patch above the rockery.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Season begins on April 1st

A series of spring images to lighten the mood.  The borders remain unplanted owing to the late weather, but we anticipate the bulk of the planting will be done in late April.  The cherries on the main lawn are having a great year, the wisteria looks to be on course for late April, air-frost permitting.

We open on April 1st for the season - more info at


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Spring: sprung.

Following months of rain, the grey warmth of the March sun has awakened not only the songbirds and pheasant, but also the early blossoms.  In particular the camellia by the loggia is on fiery form.
  The old, venerable rosemaries...
 and the cherry blossoms are early:
and the beautiful pink one on the lawn will be out in force in a couple of weeks.
 The optimistic shoots are coming through on the great terrace...
 Although the weather has meant that the borders are only being planted out in the coming fortnight, as we continue with Alison Jenkins' exciting planting scheme:
Iford opens for the year on April 1st - we look forward to seeing you!