Our garden over the years

Date Palms formal parterre and fountain - ednovean courtyard gardenThis month I’d like to show you the changes the setting of Ednovean Farm has seen as it evolved from the combination of a Farmyard, a sand ménage and open field to the sub tropical gardens that you will find surrounding our home today.

I must admit it was searching through our photo box for some pre digital photos for our website “about us” page that inspired this first blog of the New Year. So some of the snaps today are pro photos that used to be used for publicity, before moving on to my usual more relaxed snaps that I usually share with you.

As it is quite a big garden now I’ve concentrated on the first befinings when we started work to remodel the old farmyard near to the house into a series of Mediterranean inspired courtyard spaces.

 

1991 and the change began from a farmyard to garden

Early photo of Ednovean Farm

Looking down into the farmyard from the fields above

 

The old farmyard had been sunk low into the hillside over the centuries and the first recorded occupation of the site points towards a church in 1290. The buildings were tucked low under the sky line because in those dark days, danger could come from the seas and the tempting silhouette of a settlement could bring danger – in fact the Barbary pirates were still snatching people from Penzance as late as the 17th Century. This precaution left us shielded from the cold Easterly winds but with a challenging lack of topsoil near to the house.

Granite barn conversion 1991

 

We spent a year prior to our marriage in 1991 renovating a 17th century barn on the site before removing the concrete that surrounded our house and then proudly patted down the surrounding area as we made our first home together.

Ednovean Farm courtyard garden today

The view down over the gardens at the present time

 

It was only in the year 2000 that we seriously considered making a courtyard garden in the old farmyard, inspired by the Mediterranean and a line from Gladiator about the “Palms, Olive’s lavender and sweetly scented Jasmine.” So the germ of an idea formed and after exploring the local library for Italianate design I gladly handed the enormous tomb unearthed there to an experienced garden designer, Ian Lowe (sorry now retired) with the immortal words “I’d like a parterre included”

 

Ednovean 2004

 

The Parterre was not such a strange choice for a novice gardener as our home and gardens also has to work hard welcoming our Bed and Breakfast guests, so a strong structure and form to the garden would help it to look good in every season.

 

The Parterre and courtyard garden

 

Stone mushroom and garden gate flanked by granite posts

The courtyard garden was approached from the top farmyard, now a car park via an initial formal garden flanked by an entrance path of reclaimed granite setts – this lead in turn towards a hedge dissecting the area that artfully conceals the rest of the courtyard from this first entrance.

2018 a formal sub-courtyard garden

September 2018

 

Ian worked with the levels in the gently sloping farmyard (employing a JCB) to add a raised terrace by the front door with a “Bum height wall” which would look down on the Parterre and allow a flight on step on one side to allow us to display some lovely inherited hand carved stone planters.

 

Date Palms parterre and fountain - ednovean courtyard garden

February 2018 The steps that flank the sunken courtyard parterre and fountain

elderly cat sleeping on raised stone wall - courtyard garden

2018 – Reclaimed granite was used to top the courtyard wall

 

Ian was also able to squeeze three more side courtyards into the farmyard by a clever manipulation of space:   A small enclosed focal point at the end of the terrace faced by the front door

 

Top terrace flanked with Greek pots

August 2018 on the higher terrace in the courtyard garden

 

and a raised Lutyens style half-moon that holds a bench as a viewing area for the Parterre (it has to be said this is mostly used by the cat who treasures the seclusion there!)

sleeping cat on sunny stone bench

Spud enjoys the secluded stone bench

 

and a Dining space just beside the house, that holds an original farm pump.

Lawns, Dat Palms, figs flank the courtyard - Ednovean farm

August 2018 – Fig trees soften the courtyard boundary enclosing Date Palms

 

Finally a small lawn was laid with the boundary soften by a cordon of fig trees encircling two and later a three Date Palms

Palm flanked gateway from Mediterranean style courtyard - Ednovean Farm

Planting has softened the courtyard over the years – here the gateway leads to the outer garden

The sundial garden

Formal box sundial and wildflowers

With the first project completed I felt confident to tackle a second formal garden behind the house on my own using the surplus box plants, a little baler twine to frame a sundial bought a few years before for our third wedding anniversary. This area appears slightly sunken below a bank planted with sheltering Phormium and palm to protect us from the south-westerly gales of the open seas.

The outer garden

 

By 2002 the desire for green grass and topsoil had driven the garden plans onwards to make a further sweeping lawn above Mounts bay encircled by Cordyline Australis smuggled home one at a time from Safeway’s at £1.00 each.

Palms and an Olearia Hedge now shelter the garden

This December in the outer garden

 

Finally the horses sand school was repurposed into an Italian Garden of intimate garden rooms and just lately I’ve had a little more time to think about redesigning and reclaiming each space.

Urns flanking Italian Garden entrance

The main avenue that dissects the Italian Garden with separate rooms leading from it (last years snap)

 

On our open hillside above the village of Perranuthnoe making shelter for the garden from the sea breezes was one of the first priorities and an encircling hedge of discreet blue-grey Olearia with fine almost rosemary like leaves that makes a tough protection for the plants without detracting from the lovely views across Mounts bay.

 

The life of the garden

August - cana in the lower garden

August 2018 in the lower garden

 

Our garden has see so many changes and every year and if you follow my garden diary each month, you’ll know that there is always a little project to dream about or to tinker with and whilst I used to joke that I knew nothing about plants but could always find the check out at the garden centre I notice that these days I’ve magically started to hoard cuttings taken through the year for different projects…. and the garden year has only just begun!

sub tropical aloe bordering a garden path

January 2018 spinosissima-aloe flourishes in the Italian Gardens

And finally this December in the garden

Early Narcissus Soleil d' Or

In our December garden spring has come early with the first Daffodils already in flower!

Explore Cornwall - Sunset with village silhouette against sea

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So over the course of twenty eight years from our first faltering beginnings the garden here has grown and blossomed – slightly larger than absolutely necessary probably beauce when we opened for the National Garden Scheme I took the need for forty five minutes interest to mean “Keep garden guest walking for forty five minutes!” but I love every inch of  the garden though and look forward to showing you its progress throughout the year

About Christine Taylor

Charles and Christine Taylor have hosted Luxury Bed and Breakfast at Ednovean Farm Nr Penzance in West Cornwall since 1991 and live there with three cats and eight horses including a Spanish Stallion called Danni. Ednovean Farm has been awarded AA five star gold for Bed and breakfast and is included in The Michelin Guide and The Alastair Sawday Guide . The Farmhouse and gardens has been featured in BBC Homes and Antiques, Homes and Gardens. Period Living and 25 Beautiful Homes as well as being used as a film and photo shoot location. Christine writes a weekly blog about life on the farm and garden with an occasional series about places of interest in West Cornwall concentrating on those off the beaten track places atha only the locals find

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