Melissa Jolly Garden Design

Melissa Jolly Garden Design
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Friday, 22 April 2011

Cornish Air

The garden at home is looking great and I will be taking some photos very soon when I've done a little more of the planting . I've left it for now as we're away for Easter- I felt it was a bad time to leave with so many plants still waiting to be put in the ground and soaring temperatures meaning that the new planting and lawn could so easily ruin in the few days that we're away. But my landscaper and neighbour, Simon Stokes, has kindly said he'll keep an eye on it all and water everything.

So the kids and I packed up the car and headed to West Cornwall for the weekend. It was a sweltering car journey but we just made it down to Zennor with 10 minutes to spare before sunset - just stunning - wrapped the kids in blankets and sat on the deck to see the sun go down before having supper with my parents, grandmother and kids.

The 5 hour journey down here gave me time to think of the conceptual garden that I'm building at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this year. As with a lot of things I do in life, I feel I have left my planning a little late. I was up at 6.45am on the first morning of my 'holiday' working on the show garden.

I'm building an art gallery where the artwork will be made up of compositions of plants inspired by artists or types of art. One of the pictures will be a jungle scene inspired by Henri Rousseau.

The house in Cornwall has a valley garden where a stream runs through planting dominated by the giant Gunnera manicata and I'm hoping we will be able to dig some up for the Rousseau composition. Gunnera is a magnificent plant, and is so exciting to see leaves unfurling and to know they will become giants 5 feet across.

I went with Dad to a local nursey as he was picking up some more Agapanthus for the garden and walked into a small unassuming place with a shed as an office with the walls laden with Gold RHS medals - what a place to stumble across! Churchtown Nurseries are regulars at all the Flower shows with their stunning Restios and they seemed keen to help out with plants for the jungle garden. Cornwall is the best place to be in my search for these types of plants and I'm off to Trevena nurseries now to see what they have there that might work.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Day 2 was not so good...

Work had to stop on day 2 as we noticed that our digging had uncovered a pretty nasty mess! Whilst excavating for the path, sewage water began to pool in every hole we dug...not nice and a bit of a worry whilst we tried to figure out why it was there and where it was coming from.

It turns out that when our houses were built we shared a septic tank with our neighbours so the tank straddles the fence line, and is still in use by our neighbours...(we have a delighful new one that is plonked right in the middle of our garden - I'm hoping the garden will look so lovely that you will not notice it but we'll soon see whether that idea works). After a discussion with the neightbours it was clear that they have some sort of fault with the drainage system on their septic tank and as soon as it was emptied all the flooding drained away.

Work stopped on the garden for a few days whils the ground dried out (luckily we had some exceptionally warm days and no rain). However, the delay of the project meant that work had to be carried out whilst I was away on holiday. Not ideal as I had wanted to keep quite a tight reign on what was going on. I've left Simon , my landscaper, with quite a few drawings and plans and I know he has a good eye, so I'm happy to leave him in control. One great thing about having the garden done whilst we're away us that I'm very excited to get home and see it - no holiday blues to deal with!