Whale Cottage, Brian Robinson’s Garden.
This charming small garden is unusual in that it has been developed by a man. Having executed alterations to the house while living in China, Brian arrived in 2005 to live permanently on Leisure Island. The name Whale Cottage came to him while standing at Dolphin Point near Wilderness on a trip to George. Having observed some ‘rocks’ which turned out to be whales, in which Brian is very interested, the name of his home was settled..
When Brian started gardening he could sit in his front sunroom and observe everyone passing by and of course, they him. A huge Coral tree dominated the front area and dealing with a very shaded garden, he was encouraged to cut the tree down. By planting other larger shrubs, his house is now private. The garden is full of warm colours and by using plants and shrubs, in scale with the garden parameters, noting now dominated.
Colours play a big part in his choice of plant material and this is evident in the front ‘sunshine’ coloured border. Warm yellows, oranges, a touch of red with velvet nasturtiums predominate, while splashes of white show through with blue also used to change the hues. Alstroemerias, shrimp plants, yellow lantana, hibiscus, white baby chrysanths, salvia, grey cineraria, yellow pansies, white nicotiana and shasta daisies and the indigenous yellow Euryops bushes, all vie for attention. In this border Brian has 2 beautiful roses in pots (Amber Queen and Tempi Moderni) and these do exceptionally well. The roses are fed by his friendly neighbour, Pam, who also encouraged Brian to extend his garden boundaries. Their shared lane is a joy to walk past with the riot of colour on one side and the serene cool white bedding begonias as well as cane begonias interspersed with campanulas, on Brian’s side. True neighbourliness!
An interesting path way with round paving stones and pebbles leads one to a secluded shady patio off the dining room and extends the eating area for a summer feast. The stunning indigenous tree which was there when Brian arrived, gives beautiful shade and the gentle wind chimes hint of an occasion to relax with a book or to chill out with a glass of something cool.
Having worked in the East for 12 years, Brian has definitely been influenced with his choice of statuary in the garden. Two buddhas, one small smiley chubby fellow with equally chubby toes, resides as a focal point low down in a corner. The other larger figure is the focal point viewed from inside the sitting room and is against a wall with a nandina, arums and white begonias to surround him in on his plinth.
Brian’s interest in fuchsias has recently been piqued and he is now on a mission to plant more. He constantly feeds the garden using organic compost, compost tea and bone meal when planting. Seagro is also used.
Having been open to advice from gardening friends Brian has developed a lovely touch and the textures in leaves, shapes and colours he is now using, bear testimony to his interest and knowledge in the wonderful world of gardening.
Contributor: Carol Kennedy
Photographs: Carol Kennedy