There is something comforting about an old garden wall that draws one in to shelter beside it, in the same way as you might hug a tree. If you are lucky enough to have good quality old walls then repair is generally better than replacement, and if your house is listed it is likely that the garden walls will be too.
Following the recent death of Riverford Organics legendary founder John Watson at the great age of 93, I thought it a good time to revisit this blog post I wrote about him in 2006: Most of my friends think we are barking mad – and I’m not sure about the less friendly, but it is true that camping in the almost guaranteed rain of our West Country is not everyone’s idea of a perfect holiday. However that is precisely what my husband and children like to do best…
An Englishman’s home is his castle, but gone are the days of the need for a moat to keep out the marauding beserkers, however we do still like to delineate our property, whether for security or for aesthetics. So how do we get the boundary treatment right in a period property?
Paths, or “garden walks”, as Thomas Mawson the 19th century master of practical design, more graciously calls them, provide the narrative plot for a garden. They lead you from one episode to another safely, perhaps expediently or perhaps gradually, but hopefully dry shod and without slipping up on the details.
In my first article on conserving a period garden I recommended beginning by researching the history and understanding the setting. This is key for a country garden as it will often have originally been planned to make the most of the setting, using the natural landform of the site when it was built.