Moving just 15 miles transported this Somerset couple to a different country as far as their plants were concerned...
Would you move for a microclimate, or buy a house for a rose? Nicky and David Ramsey were living 1,000ft up on Exmoor making a garden from stones and ferns when they discovered a mere 20 minutes in the car transported them to a different country as far as plants were concerned.
The area between Porlock and Porlock Wier, on the north Somerset coast, has been luring plant lovers for over a century thanks to its free draining soil and mild maritime environment.
“The first thing I saw when I came to up the drive was a colossal Rosa odorata ‘Mutabillis’ and it’s the reason I bought the house!”
“After eight years of gardening in a harsh climate, it has been such a miraculous release. It’s a joy to grow anything you want here”
What they brought was an Arts and Crafts House overlooking the sea, with formal stone terraces and borders, a camellia walk copse and ponds. The garden has been loved with a fantastic range of unusual shrubs from drimys to myrtle and eucryphia, but had become overgrown and crowded.
“The downside of a garden like this,” says Nicky, “is that everything romps away quickly and unless you keep on top, you’re soon in a jungle.”
A field behind the house has become David’s domain. It’s planted with an orchid wildflower meadow and vegetable plot. With an interest in beekeeping, many of his plant choices are led by what benefits the insects. The other side of the garden is distinctly Nicky’s and she has concentrated on softening the very linear Edwardians Arts and Crafts terraces by adding more herbaceous elements and lots of roses. They’re grown without chemicals and Nicky takes care to remove black spots, feed them properly and plant resistant varieties. The protected climate means that by September there’s a raft of plants finding their stride with salvias, agapanthus, nerines and amaryllis all playing a part as well as autumn colour from shrubs such as acers.
To find out more about our Garden of the Week, pick up the latest copy, or subscribe to Garden News to receive a copy every single week!