This is Jennie’s rustic and very attractive cottage garden. It’s been evolving naturally over the years, ever since the family arrived here in the 1950’s. As time went on, parts of the garden had become less than ideal, with uneven surfaces, weed-filled paving, and a sense that the planting had gone from ‘cottagey’ to ‘wild’…
I suggested getting rid of the awkward and muddy section of lawn at the front, and replacing the paving to make a firm and even seating area and walkway to the house. But how to upgrade such a lovely traditional garden as this without loosing it’s rustic, aged appeal?
It’s all in the choice and mix of stone. A modern well-built patio, even in natural stone, is laid with slab edges finely honed and mortar joints neatly spaced – all necessary for making sure chairs and tables sit well. But in an old cottage environment, this can look too stark and out of sync with the undressed stone typical of an 18th century worker’s cottage.
My plan was to use natural sandstone slabs as ‘flagstones’, these were laid in an evenly spaced pattern along the walkways and paths, but surrounded by crazy paving, which was tightly mortared in. Border edges were made of similarly-sized undressed stone.
The existing box hedging was extended to form a parterre, with Jennie’s lovely sundial in the middle and repeated layers of lavender, artemisia and chamaecyparis (cotton lavender) interspersed with seasonal flowers.
With many thanks to the landscaping talents of Steve Shaw, and Westcrete in Axminster for the stone.