This flamboyant and dramatic garden set on a Cornish hillside teams a wealth of thriving exotic plants with a taste of the Med
Being faced with a blank canvas can be daunting. How many of us have switched from dreams of pararie meadows to formal herbaceous borders in a matter of days? When Christine Taylor was faced with the blank canvas of her former livery yard, the choice was clear.
"For some reason I knew I wanted an Italianate-style garden."
How to achieve such a garden wasn't immediately obvious. Christine and her husband Charles first came to this Cornish hillside site, with it's sweeping views of Mount's Bay, to keep horses in the early 1970s. It wasn't until 1900 that they began renovating its 18th century granite barn that was to become their home, simultaneously opening it as a bed and breakfast when work finished a year later. In 2000 the process of landscaping the old stable yard and the ground that surrounded them began.
"I went along to the library," says Christine. "They gave me a beautiful black and white book on Italian gardens which hadn't been taken out since the 1950s. I looked through it, panicked and handed it to garden designer Ian Lowe."
It was Ian who designed the layout of the garden, starting with the courtyard in front of the renovated barn. It's centered around a box parterre and fountain and framed by Canary Island date palms, figs and olive trees. By cutting into the land adding a change of levels, Ian created a raised terrace with what Christine describes as a 'bum high' wall so people can sit with a glass of wine.
By adding a lot of side terraces, Ian created a lot side terraces, Ian created four enclosures from the original yard, and a fun, secretive garden where people must peer around corners to see what comes next.
"It's about getting people to explore and get back in touch with their inner child," she explains.
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