Adventures in Boots – Coleton Fishacre – November 2016

It was like stepping back in time visiting Coleton Fishacre during our August bank holiday in Devon. The Arts & Craft styled house was superbly curated & reminded me of childhood visits to my grandmother’s home where the bathroom furniture & colours were similar. The house & garden are now under the guardianship of the National Trust & the garden itself is RHS accredited. The site is spread over twenty-four acres and was originally planted with shelter belts of pine & holm oak way before the house was completed. The garden winds its way down to Pudcome Cove via a typical Devonshire combe which alas wasn’t open to the public but you could see it from a viewpoint half way up the cliff footpath. picture1 The route down the hillside footpath is planted with luxurious specimens of musa (banana), gunnera, hydrangea and bamboo. The combe is a micro climate which offers protection to much of the sub-tropical planting; succulents from the Canary Islands & tree ferns from New Zealand. The foot path is steep but firm underfoot with strategically placed benches to rest on the way back up. Closer to the house the planting is more formal. The flower borders immediately around the house are planted with hot coloured canna lilies, dahlias, verbena, hemerocallis & other tender plants I couldn’t name but they looked beautiful. Behind the house is a steep embankment which was of particular interest to me. I’m very fond of aeoniums & in this border were planted some fabulous specimens of Aeonium arboreum ‘Schwarzkopf’. They’d grown to a couple of metres high & they were left outside for the winter which demonstrates just how mild the climate is & the protection the combe offers. The plants were a magnificent glossy purple in really good condition. Alas they have the incongruent common name of ‘Black House Leek’-hardly inspiring. Visitors are very well catered for at Coleton Fishacre. As per usual, the National Trust does an excellent job of fleecing one of one’s dosh. The café is very sheltered-sun brollies were much sought after the day we went as the sun was searing. I read online people roughly spend two & half hours visiting this magnificent house & gardens which is frankly not enough time to do it credit; take a day, take a picnic. This flagship house & garden is open all year except on Fridays. Until next month, TTFN helen@reeleylandscapes.co.uk 077086 43313        

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