Thursday, 8 November 2012

Crete Lodge garden

I have been meaning to do a post on this garden for ages.  It belongs to Keith and Melissa and is a real labour of love.  I have posted about it before but not shown the main garden, so it is about time I rectified this.   I first met them in 2008 and have been lucky enough to be allowed to visit a couple of times every year since. Melissa is responsible for me going on the cactus field trips every year (here is the post on the last one) and is a very bad influence when it come to buying plants. I don't think she has worked out the difference in size of our gardens. This post is a mixture of my photos (both old and recent) and some supplied by Melissa where I do not feel mine do the garden justice.

The first obstacle to overcome are the guard dogs

If you do manage to somehow sneak past them you come out of the house onto the terrace. This photo is a bit old now and they re-modelled it last year.

The edge of the terrace looks over the top of their arid bank which is one of the main reasons for visiting.  I say "one" as the garden has so many areas that stand out, this is their little swimming pond with the lovely telegraph pole hut built by Keith. Sadly the last couple of bad winters have not been kind to the tree ferns or some of the palms around this areas, but like his this older photo.

I never stop being amazed at how much they manage to do,  it's not just things like digging the pond out, but all the beds have low walls made from bricks and objects they have been given or found.

So the arid bank. It forms a sweeping curve around the back of the house and is spectacular.

Photo by Melissa
The rocks are local, either from where they have excavated or from a local gravel pit.

Photo by Melissa
The bank is mainly planted with a mixture of agaves, cacti, yuccas, with other xeric planting filling in the gaps.

As if that lot wasn't enough, for the last couple of years they have been extending the bank, moving the greenhouses and adding a water storage tank. This is the size of green house I want, it looks even better now it is filled.

Photo by Melissa
Mind you their little lean-to isn't bad either.

Photo by Melissa
The other side of the end wall is going to be a cactus house with all the plants in the ground, which I can't wait to see when it is finished. This was the area between the new greenhouses and the bank at the tart of the year.

I haven't managed to get back since it has been fully planted up, but Mel has kindly let me see photos of it recently and I can not wait to see it in person:

Getting some of the plants in looked fun.

Photo by Melissa
But it was really worth it. Again it is the little details that make the garden stand out. Remember the telegaph pole hut? There were some left, so they have been used to form rasied edging to some parts of the garden.

Photo by Melissa
One section of the new bit is a massive water storage tank which is hidden by a green roof.

Photo by Melissa
At first I thought it was strange not to have added more plants, believe me Mel has no shortage,  until you see it from the terrace, or should that be don't see it for the terrace.

Photo by Melissa
The only problem I have with their garden is that I always leave feeling very inadequate in how much I manage to get done in my tiny little garden.  They do everything themselves including all the brick work. I still believe that Melissa has managed to clone Keith and has a garage full of him somewhere, can two people really manage to do this all on their own! It really is a beautiful garden, and visiting is always one of the highlight of my year.  They except visitors by appointment and if you are ever going to be near Norwich I highly recommend arranging to drop in.  (Here are links to their facebook page, and their web page).

Sadly the dogs have been trained to follow me around and bark if I go near the greenhouses unsupervised, but I always come away with at least one gift and a head full of ideas. I wonder if Melissa would hire Keith out when I come to do the hard landscaping in my garden.

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