Nestling on the southern edge of Dartmoor, The Garden House sits at the head of the beautiful Lovecombe Valley commanding magnificent, panoramic views – a world away from nearby Plymouth. My wife Ros and I came here to work in the summer of 1978 and found a magical garden which had been created by Lionel and Katharine Fortescue over the previous thirty years. They had assembled an astonishing collection of plants in the wonderful setting of a 400-year-old, two-acre walled garden with, at its centre, a sixteenth-century gatehouse. To add to the all-pervading romance of the place, they had thatched the old barn nearby. In late July, the lower terraces by the barn were awash with flowers ” a mix of filipendulas, sidalceas, delphiniums, dieramas and campanulas, with the scent of philadelphus filling the air. To someone reeling from the bittersweet emotions of graduation this was more than just a tonic; I had no hope ” I was hooked. The excitement of that first year is hard to describe. In early spring, Design ideas uk what I had presumed to be bare ground erupted into a multitude offlowers. At college, Ros and I had kept two pink eryth-roniums (dogtooth violets) on our windowsill and had christened them Eric and Ernie. Here, at The Garden House that spring, the ground was covered by many thousands of Erics and Ernies in white, pink and shades of yellow. Great drifts of blue chionodoxa under the magnolias intermingled with native primroses and wood anemones, producing memorable tapestries.