Monday, June 07, 2010

A Garden fit for Fairies.


In 1959 Mary Benger and her husband John moved to Burrow Farm near Dalwood in Devon. Whilst her husband built up a dairy herd Mary started to make a garden round the house. With four children to care for time was limited but what had started as a hobby became an absorbing occupation and she planned to create a garden she could open to the public. She extended it to the old Roman clay pit which was full of brambles, nettles and fallen trees.


The first years were taken with clearing scrub and planting trees and shrubs and eventually in 1993 they replaced the existing bungalow with a house and added the Courtyard Garden and Terrace Garden. The planting has always been informal with old roses, geraniums and herbaceous plants and the Pergola Walk was the first area with a formal design.


The Millennium was marked with a special garden which took two years to create and a lake was dug later that year with the planting of azaleas and similar plants. A summer house was built in 2002 and a craft shop and lecture room in 2006. Another garden has recently been created to celebrate their fifty years at Burrow Farm.


The garden covers ten acres but as John and Mary own 35 acres I suspect it will continue to grow. I particularly liked the mix of wild and cultivated flowers and enjoyed wandering round with no-one else around , getting lost, scaling little hills and dropping into dales and wondering where the fairies were hiding. I know they were there.


22 comments:

Queenie said...

They were just out of sight. Are the foxgloves out yet? As a child, growing up in Devon, I was convinced that fairies lived in foxglove bells.

Pat said...

Queenie: no they weren't out nor the sweet peas which I know they love to stick their heads in.

Keith said...

Pat, you are a great photographer. Those pictures are fantastic. When I take photos they always turn out grotty!

Fairies? I can go one better than that, I have gremlins in the compost heap. Not many people can say that.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

What a fantastic display of horticulture! I have NO talent for this sort of thing. I routinely murder anything that requires watering or care. Jack the Ripper of the plant set.

Pat said...

Keith: you are kind. My little digital is so idiot friendly it makes it easy for me.
Are the gremlins a good as worms in the compost heap?

The UB: don't despair - I didn't become interested in gardening until the boys left home and I needed something to nurture. You have plenty of time to become a gardener and to collect memoir fodder:)

R. Sherman said...

Thanks for the always enjoyable tour. I think it's time for the EMBLOS & I to check out a few gardens around here before it gets too hot.

Cheers.

savannah said...

what a gorgeous garden and testament to REAL skill! i do try my hand at gardening, sugar, but the heat and the humidity seem to conspire against me! *sigh* i am going to try my hand at some hydrangeas this weekend. if it works, there will be pictures. xoxoxox

Kim Ayres said...

Maggie is constantly frustrated at the fact I have no desire to do any gardening. Planting, weeding, digging, cultivating - none of these things has any appeal. However, I do enjoy sitting in a lovely garden. And if there's a tea room, even better :)

Scarlet Blue said...

I'm another who is a little bit too lazy to create a beautiful garden, but I appreciate what others can do.
Sx

Pat said...

Randall: it is a very calming thing to do and all the senses are catered for - a win win occupation.

Savannah: I have deep pink ones but I used to love deep blue ones I saw in the Lake District. It depends on your soil apparently. Good luck;)

Kim: yes I can see you must be a big disappointment. If only you could play an instrument or take photographs or write or SOMETHING.

Scarlet: pots can be fun too. I'm going a bit potty this summer.

Eryl Shields said...

Fifty years and ten acres!!!!!! Gosh, I'm breathless at the thought. I have about a tenth of an acre and in fourteen years have just about managed to cultivate a bed the size of a small kitchen table.

The pictures are fab.

Pat said...

Eryl: size isn't everything;)

Young at Heart said...

how very lovely, I have fingers that are anything but green but despite that still persist in filling pots with pretty things.....while they last!!

Kate Lord Brown said...

Gorgeous pics Pat - *so* welcome to see all those shades of green!

Pat said...

Y at H: I'm about to receive my third order from Sarah Raven whose mail order thingy I find excellent. And with that provenance (married to Vita Sackville West's great grandson? and living at Sissinghurst- why wouldn't it be?

Pat said...

Kate: I hope you are not missing them too much. Today is wet and dreary.

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

I'm hoping to open the bijou urban courtyard garden to the public in a few years. I've just planted a wisteria in a pot and it's climbing at the rate of about 3 inches a day. I think it must have been planted with magic beans.

Pat said...

Daphne: I've been meaning to ask you about the BUC. You're luckier then me with wisteria. Mine never flowered after eleven years - and then I left home.
Well done. Photos please.

Madame DeFarge said...

A wonderful series of photos and good to know more about the story behind them.

Pat said...

Madame D: so glad you enjoyed them;)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Mary Benger lives! She's proof that when you're passionate about something, and put your all into it, you achieve amazing things.

Pat said...

GG; I chatted to her husband but the glimpse I got of her was bottoms up in a green house and I felt sure she didn't want to be disturbed. Really hands on and she must be getting on in years. Wonderful.