Secret gardens of St Ives


Last weekend we took part in this annual fundraiser event in St Ives.  This is the second occasion we have opened our garden for the Secret Garden event.  The first time was in 2018 when we had only been in the cottage for 5 years.  The garden we took over was mostly lawn with one or two shrubs.  Surrounded by hedging & Cornish hedge (wall) it is a private & enclosed garden space.  Over time we have created a veg patch, where we do battle with the slugs & snails who obviously love what we grow!  We do have slow worms & toads though but I don't think they can keep up.  The warm & damp conditions are ideal.



We tend to grown more foliage plants than flowers - which is not to say we don't enjoy them too.  Succulents do very well & we particularly love the structure & variety of these plants.  Luckily the climate in St Ives allows us to grow these without too much worry of frost.




My studio is situated in the garden which allows me to enjoy the plants & changing seasons, as well as keeping an eye on the cats!  Treacle is still fairly young & spends a lot of time watching the insects & birds.  Thankfully no casualties yet.

In 2023 we had the 'moon gate' as a present from mum which really adds a statement to the space.  I had seen one on a gardening programme some years ago & eventually found one online.  You had to assemble it yourself which Tim managed very well!  A couple of the cats have been to the top & the birds seem to like it as a perch (& pooping station!).



Usually there will be echiums flowering somewhere in the garden during the spring/summer months.  These incredible plants create such structure to the garden & the bees absolutely love them.  They are bi-annual although sometimes take 3 years to flower & will self seed themselves liberally.  



We have 2 large box balls which we planned when we first moved in 11 years ago (they were football size then).  There is also a Myrtle bush which was posted to us by a friend who also lives in a 'Myrtle Cottage'.  The large agapanthus were transplanted from a neighbours garden as they were having lots of building work done & would have been lost under the rubble!  It is so nice to have the established hedge as a green backdrop to the plants but the black studio & shed also give a strong contrasting background to the foliage.



We have a visiting gull who hoovers up any left over cat food!  They can get a little cheeky tapping on the kitchen window if they feel there wasn't enough!




The most recent addition to the garden has been a large fruit cage to enclose the veg patch.  This will protect the produce from being dug up by the cats (both our own & various visitors!).  We had to take down the lovely fig tree, planted 9 or 10 years ago which had rather taken over the area.  However we did save an offshoot which we plan to keep restricted in a pot!



The open garden event was a huge success raising nearly £3000 for local charities.  The visitors to our own little space seemed to enjoy our efforts & also the peek into my garden studio.  Having spent quite a lot of time getting the space tidy we can now enjoy it ourselves over the summer months.





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