Work in progress on a job in Coverack on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall.
The far side of the garden (with stonework/Cornish Hedge) was landscaped and planted this Spring. The near side will be done this coming winter and I’ll plant in the following spring. The larch shed was built by woodsman Will Gillchrist and has replaced the day-glo B&Q version that once dominated the bottom of the garden - it’s green roof was sown this spring with a coastal wild flower mix. All of the stonework was done by Mark Harris, a real master craftsman who has spent his life working with rock, both below and above ground.
During the preparations for landscaping we unearthed an ancient sewage manhole cover, right on the edge of the garden where we needed to build the Cornish Hedge (earth filled stone wall). Mark managed to bridge the gap using a technique more commonly seen on Cornish road sides where a hedge or wall runs over a storm culvert. It’s a shame we couldn’t match the other built in benches, but I was really impressed with the solution - the top of the hedge is still filled with earth and has been planted.
The hedge acts as a visual and ecological buffer zone from garden to surrounding landscape. It has been planted with a screening hedge at one end, but for the most part is sown with the same coastal mix of wildflowers as the shed roof. Gaps in the sides of the walls have been sown with Primrose, Erigeron, Sea Campion and Californian Poppy. The success of this and the rest of the garden will rely on sympathetic management by the gardener Martin Pascoes. He works in domestic gardens, but has also worked on local nature reserves. He will need to keep a gardeners eye out for thuggish natives, whilst being sensitive to the shifting nature of plant communities, encouraging a balance between the ornamental and the local.
The location of this house and garden is so beautiful and particular that I felt that any design for the garden must have a strong sense of the vernacular and a respect for the landscape. It’s early days yet, but with the help of the wealth of knowledge and talent of local tradespeople it’s achievable. I have no idea how any landscape designer could work without these alliances, or without an ongoing relationship with the site, but apparently they do.