THE GARDENS AT FULLERS HILL COTTAGES
One of the delights of staying here at Fullers Hill Cottages is the opportunity to spend relaxing hours away from the hustle and bustle of everyday working life. So not only have we made sure our interiors offer a luxurious space in which to relax, but we also provide outside areas in which to enjoy the tranquility of rural life and a breath of fresh air.
All our apartments have access to garden areas, which have been designed not only as places which are attractive and peaceful, but also offer a haven for wildlife.
The first garden to be created was the original ‘Hot Tub Garden’. This was designed around the wooden decking which surrounds the hot tub, and includes a stone flagged path and patio area, a small lawn, and borders planted to provide a succession of gorgeous plants which give interest throughout the seasons.
This begins in early Spring with a colourful splash of crocus, followed by tulips in pastel shades, and then the beautiful statuesque alliums in shades of purple and white, which look like bubbles floating over the garden at dusk.
I try to use plants that attract pollinating insects, and as the summer progresses, the lavender blooms, attracting lots of bees and butterflies, quickly followed by Teucrium (wall germander), a lovely low growing evergreen herb with small mauve flowers, which edges the path, and the tall, wirey Verbena bonariensis, which is a magnet for butterflies.
These plants also attract the more unusual Hummingbird Hawk Moth, which is a delightful sight on a warm Summer’s day.
Another nectar rich plant, the Sedum, provides a food source through the early part of the Autumn.There are also blowsy grasses, elegant Agapanthus and steel blue, spikey Eringium, to bulk up the planting, adding movement and texture.
The Tack Room is fortunate to have its own private garden, again with a luxurious hot tub as its main feature, and a patio area for outdoor drinks and dining. Being completely enclosed, this garden is very sheltered and contains lovely scented plants such as Jasmine, Philadelphus (mock orange) and the winter flowering honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima.
Another winter flowering plant with a gorgeous scent is the Christmas Box (Sarcococca) which grows near the door, and is well worth bending
down to for a quick sniff!
The final garden, which is currently a work in progress, is going to be a traditional cottage style garden for our newest accommodation, Apple Cottage. The garden already has a large lawn area and some mature shrubs, and earlier this year I added some woven living willow screening to give a little more privacy. Due to the exceptionally dry spring and early summer, the creation of the borders has been put on hold until the autumn, but I am planning to create some colourful planting schemes including lots of cottage garden favourites.
Again, one of the main priorities will be to introduce plants which attract a variety of insect life. This summer I left large areas of the lawn un-mown, as there was an abundance of flowering clover which the bees found irresistible, and which also had a wonderful, honey-like scent.
Also with its own private hot tub, decking area and patio, Apple Cottage garden has plenty of space for outdoor dining and for children to play.
I manage the gardens without resorting to the use of chemicals and pesticides, preferring to work with nature rather than against it wherever possible. Wildlife such as hedgehogs and toads have been spotted, as well as newts, frogs and dragonflies which inhabit the pond behind the main courtyard. Nesting boxes were incorporated in the original conversion of the old farm buildings, resulting in an abundance of swallows this year, which are wonderful to observe on a summer evening, flying high to catch insects or chattering on the wires. Bats are also a common sight at dusk.
All these elements combine to make Fullers Hill Cottages a special place,
not just for guests, but for wildlife too.
Cathy Jefferies, September 2017