We built in 1991 as a holiday home and on visits normally 3 times a year I laid out the front garden which was open to the road. I have always been interested in colour combinations and the beds in front I kept to mainly white and green with a touch of blue and yellow. I have since added a touch of orange in the form of leonotis, hibiscus and clivias. These colours reflect the furnishings in the dining room and lounge which look out onto this garden through the low cottage windows.
As we came from a huge farm and never had neighbours, we had an amazing view from every room. I had to adjust to being surrounded by huge double story houses, so we designed a courtyard that is totally private, sheltered from the wind and North facing. I had to concentrate on the outlook from where we ‘hide away’. Each of our 4 bedrooms has a ‘cameo’ feature with the garden plantings reflecting the colours of the bedroom in the plantings. I have used plates, a recessed birdbath, a concrete bust of a lady, metal and stone birds, a large ceramic frog and other focal points to draw the eye away from the surrounding houses.
The view from our bedroom is of the flowering cherry tree which was a very early planting and looks so beautiful in late October early November and the cottage garden plantings which I love so much. I am a plant collector and the main bed which our small sitting room and bedroom look onto is filled to the brim with lots of perennials which pop up and have to be thinned out and shared with other interested gardeners. Having had 3 sons I never had the opportunity to play dolls so my first project after retiring here in February 2005, and with my husband’s help I decorated a Wendy house using rose fabric to line the walls and filled it with my children’s books, Lego, farm animals, my old dolls and teddy bears. Down the garden path is this child’s fantasy and the fairies definitely live here. Our little ones make their own gardens using the fairy garden artifacts near the house, and play as children should do, getting dirty and enjoying the flowers so reminiscent of my childhood. I am truly blessed with 6 granddaughters and 3 grandsons. They love sharing ‘Goko’s’ folly and spend time creating their gardens.
Gardening is my passion and as creaky bones and arthritic joints prevent heavy work just being able to enjoy the birdsong, perfumes, colours and shapes, clouds and the peace of watching the water from the hosepipe spray. Sitting enjoying tea and a quiet read is a bonus no one can deprive me of. I have a gardener once a week and love to see how energetic youth is. What a conjuror he is to trim edges and topiaries so perfectly and mow the lawn so it looks like velvet and not be crippled by the end of the day.
If we are home the kettle is usually on at 11am or 4pm so pop in. I love sharing our ‘piece of heaven’.
Carol is a member of Gardening at Leisure
~ Text by Carol Kennedy
~ Photographs by Esther Townsend